PROGRAM APPLICATION BASICS
What types of startups are best suited for the Bits x Bites?Food technology startups that leverage foundational technologies in hardware, software, internet, biotech. We are also interested in consumer packaged good startups. For a partial list food technology startup categories, click here.
What stage of startups are you looking for?Early/Seed Stage/Series A.
How many teams do you invest in?Between 8-12 teams a year.
When does the program begin and end?The acceleration program for each startup officially begins when the legal process finalized. Each program lasts 120 days, and after completion, the teams will be invited to pitch to the Bits x Bites network of investors and potential customers. They will also join our alumni network and continue to stay connected with our mentors.
Where does the program take place?The program and the workspace we offer are based in Shanghai, China. For international teams, while we do not require the companies to relocate to Shanghai, we work with each founder to ensure they get the full benefit of the program through a combination of remote meetings and customized visits to potential Chinese partners and suppliers.
What is your evaluation process?Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Teams that are shortlisted by our investment committee will be invited to an in-person meeting or a video call.
Will the information in my application be treated as confidential?Your application is your marketing pitch to join the Bits x Bites Accelerator and therefore should only contain non-confidential information. Please do not submit any formal business plans, trade secrets, or proprietary information about your product. All information disclosed to us in your application will be considered non-confidential public information. Bits x Bites will only treat information as confidential if the information is covered by a formal, written confidentiality agreement signed by us prior to disclosure.
Does Bits x Bites own the intellectual property developed by my company during the Bits x Bites Accelerator program?No. Intellectual property developed by your startup is retained by your startup.
How do I apply?Please click here.
Do you provide funding? What are your terms?Yes, our investment size varies depending on the stage of your company, typically ranging between USD $75,000 - $500,000 (RMB ¥500,000 - ¥3,000,000) for no more than 15% of ownership.
Do you provide living expensesNo. We do not provide a separate stipend for living expenses.
What language is used during the course of the program?Both English and Mandarin.
Do I need to compensate the mentors separately?No. Mentors are passionate about food technology, and they want to make an impact and help others to do the same. But they’re also busy people with fast growing startups to run, breakthrough research to focus on, or multinational brands to manage. If you find that mentors are delivering real value over the duration of the program, you may find it in your best interest to engage with them in a formal, sometimes monetary, way during or after the program. We’ll make the introductions, but these decisions are between you and mentors.
How are startups and mentors matched?In a personalized way. We spend a lot of time getting to know our roster of mentors, which allows us to understand their work, expertise, and passions. We also spend a lot of time getting to know you. Mentors have tremendous potential value to startups, and a good match for both sides goes a long way in realizing that potential. Because of varying needs and availability, we will make several suggested matches.
Why 120 days?To survive and thrive in today’s fast-paced environment, companies must move fast and stay nimble in changing market realities. That’s why our program champions lean startup principles to starting a company and launching a new product. In 120 days, capable teams with raw ideas can quickly build prototypes, test the market, and make the necessary changes before launching a new company or product. This pace and flexibility is one important factor that has enabled startups to disrupt traditional companies in which new products could take years to develop.
Will you help me recruit?We are happy to make introductions to potential key hires. We have a strong network across China and even international markets. We recognize having the right team dynamics is critical to a startup’s success and can remain a tough challenge no matter how big you grow. Our priority is to equip you with the tools to attract and retain the talent most suited for your team. You will also learn tremendously from the successes and failures of our mentors’ own experiences.
Will there be a kitchen available for prototyping?Yes, you have access to a kitchen lab.
What equipment do you have in the maker shop?You will have free access to an onsite maker shop.
Will you have a channel for me to test my product?Highly likely. We prefer to work with startups that we have the resources to help grow, and these include online and offline retail channels in major cities in China. We also have many partners in food systems across the world that we can tap into. Based on your specific product, we will work with you to assess its most appropriate channels.