Applications for batch 1 are now closed. You may still apply for future batches which are yet to be announced.
Applications are open for
the second cohort
We’ll be in touch to schedule a call
Full day of interviews and exercises at Wamda X Dubai
Meet your buddies and mentors on orientation day
Co-Founder & CEO
Jabbar Internet Group
CEO & Founder
Founder & CEO
Co-Founder & CTO
Head of Business
Co-Founder & Co-CEO
Co-Founder & Co-CEO
The Luxury Closet
Founder & CEO
Founder & CEO
CEO & Co-Founder
Founder & CEO
Applications are still open but will no longer be considered for the inaugural batch after January 30th, 2019.
The inaugural batch will begin on February 28th, 2019.
We believe that you know what is best for you. While we'll be here to guide you, this is a relatively hands-off programme that emphasises relationships over programming. That means what you do with your time and during your meetings with your Wamda Buddy, mentors, and peers is entirely up to you. Having said that, we will be conducting events regularly and providing you with plenty of workshops and educational seminars.
The ideal outcome involves building an initial team, as well as formulating and validating your business idea, so that by the end of the 4 months, you are able to launch your business and receive your first round of investment. Having said that, this is a fellowship programme. All fellows are part of the Wamda community for life, and not launching a business by the end of the programme is totally fine. You got in because we liked you as a person, and value you being in our network. If you go on to join another team, or join one of Wamda Capital's portfolio companies, or even go back to your previous job, that's also fine. That is why this is a grant-based and not equity-based programme.
Not a problem at all. There are multiple options at that point. One option is to extend the grant on a monthly basis until you are ready to launch your business. Another option is for you to join one of the other fellows as they launch their startup. A third option involves joining one of Wamda Capital's growth stage companies. Finally, you may decide to go your own way and do something totally different.
We understand that the process of starting a business might seem more appealing than it actually is. We also understand how frustrating the early days can be. Perhaps you are not getting value out of the programme. We're OK with terminating the agreement at any point during the programme if either party is unsatisfied for any reason whatsoever - no strings attached.
The programme aims to capture a broad range of fellows. There is much debate in what makes for a "good" founder, and the characteristics attributed to successful entrepreneurs are diverse. We want Wamda X to include driven fellows, eager to disrupt the status quo, but also mature enough to know how to maneuver in the real world. If you feel like that describes you, and the market failure you are trying to solve can mean the opportunity you are working on is sizeable, please go ahead and apply!
This is not a startup accelerator programme. We do not accelerate startups, nor do we have a curriculum. We invest in fellows and individuals. Startup accelerator programmes are good, but they often focus on the post-launch stage of the startup cycle, the point after which founders have built an early team, have put together a polished pitch deck, and maybe even have a product. Not that we're averse to including any of those in our programme but Wamda X is pre-idea, pre-business and far more interested in the individual than in the startup. We are different to accelerators in that we are a programme that focuses on businesses at an earlier stage than the typical accelerator.
The process is designed to allow us to screen for the qualities we believe exist in good founders. The best founders we've invested in often come by referral, so if you know anyone we know or we've invested in, get them to refer you to the programme. It may feel more like a job interview, with questions that may not seem relevant to your business idea, but we are interested in getting to know you as a person. Founders are the single most critical factor that contribute to the success or failure of a startup, and therefore our screening process is centred on getting to know the fellows. Having said that, you may expect the following: 1) online application, 2) another round of online questions, 3) a quick phone/Skype interview, 4) an initial screening in-person interview in Dubai, 5) a full day of interviews and exercises where you'll be tested on your ability to work under stress while keeping your eye on the big picture. In all of these steps, we're assessing your problem solving skills as well as your propensity to keep your cool under stress.
Based on their ability to think critically about a problem and solve it in a smart manner, their ability to work under stress, their ability to work with their peers, and how driven they are to solve a market failure.
You can apply at any stage you like. You can have a vague idea of what you want to do, or at the point where you already have a product generating revenue.
Wamda X heavily emphasises network over programming, therefore we do not have a curriculum to share yet.
The inaugural batch will begin on February 28th, 2019. Applications closed on January 30th.
You will receive 15k AED monthly for 4 months, that comes to about $16k in total. The agreement will be monthly renewable, so either party may terminate or extend the grant period. You will also receive about $9k worth of in-kind support, in the form of incubation space that you may use for 12 months, along with workshops and seminars that will be paid for by Wamda. The grant money will convert into 5% equity if you form a business within a 12 month duration of programme completion. We also have the right to invest $100k in your business in return for a 10% stake. An aditional 1% of the business will be distributed to the mentors of your batch to ensure they are aligned with us and incentivised to maximise their support. So, in total, we will receive 15% equity in return for a $125k investment (with a post-money valuation of $1m) along with an aditional 1% that will go towards the mentors from your batch.
Not at all, as a matter of fact, we're being generous! Let us explain why: The startup stage is often the toughest, and founders often depend not on financing, but on a network of peers and mentors to help incentivise them to launch their startups. We also know the most successful businesses are often launched with a solid support network, often in the form of a founding team. Having said that, Wamda X is a co-launch programme. We want to partner with you from day 1, and are able to continue to financially support you as you grow. We will put you in touch with successful mentors who have gone through the startup process. Financially, the initial grant of $16k converts into 5% equity. That grant is matched with $9k of in-kind support which includes workspace, programming, etc... 5% for 25% means your business is being valued at $500k from the very first day! In addition, we're giving 1% to the mentors of each batch in order to ensure they are sufficiently incentivised to engage with fellows. The following $100k ticket is for 10% of the business so in reality, we are valuing the business at $1m from the day it launches. While seed round companies in the region often raise ~$500k at a $1.5m-$2.5m valuation, that is a round that usually comes at a later stage. Think of the $100k as a pre-seed investment, and the $25k grant and in-kind support as a family and friends round.
Of course, but you need to make a convincing case for it. For example, if you've already raised money, or are at a later stage than most other fellows, or perhaps you have some deep-tech patents registered that are critical to the business' success, we're happy to find a middle ground alternative. Otherwise, we believe our offering is fair, but we are also aware of the fact that it might not appeal to everyone.
Absolutely! We have a venture fund and can finance your business all the way through Series B if we maintain alignment and we like the traction you've achieved. We will also help you fundraise from the wider investor network in the MENA region and beyond at every stage of financing.
If a 2-person team applies, you will receive a $25k grant as a team.
A Wamda Buddy is someone you can count on during the programme for anything you may need. You may depend on your Buddy to bounce off ideas, or use them to open up the Wamda network. You can also think of the Buddy as a counselor in case you need any support. Your Wamda Buddy has likely seen many companies over the years, and will be able to help you get on your feet in the early days of your business. You and your Buddy must have chemistry, and we will not force you to work with a particular Buddy. This relationship must naturally occur, and while we will help facilitate this process, you need to find your own Buddy at Wamda.
Mentors are core to Wamda X. The programme would not exist without them. Much like the Wamda Buddy system, the relationship you build with your mentors will be organic and not unforced. You must naturally find the right mentors for you, and you must "sell" them your idea and vision much like you would any other supporter of the business. We encourage you to research our mentors before the programme, and even reach out to them if you like, so that when you meet them during orientation day, you have an idea of who you'd like to work with.
We will facilitate introductions during orientation day and beyond, but the relationship must naturally make sense for both mentors and fellows. You must work on finding the right mentor for you. We will not match you with mentors.
Mentors will receive equity at the accelerator batch level, but we also encourage fellows who successfully found a business to carve out 1%+ to distribute to mentors they really like, be they from the Wamda network or beyond.
Mentors at Wamda X are founders themselves, often still working at their scale-ups. You will find that most mentors have built startups that have achieved significant traction, in the form of millions of dollars in revenues and who have received multiple rounds of financing for their businesses. They know what it is like building a business in the region, and are going to be invaluable to your business.
Three primary ways: 1) show us that your idea is worthwhile, and that it is scalable and solves a major market failure. 2) Show us that you are capable of putting together an early team, with a diverse skill set. 3) prove that you are receptive to feedback and are able to work with our network and team
We encourage you to do so, and may even invest more than that ourselves! We can work with you to find the right amount of financing for that stage of your business.
That is fine, we only need you to be in Dubai in person for 2 or 3 months, so that you're able to maximise the value of the programme.
Not at all, you may choose how long you'd like to be here, but we suggest being here at least for the first two months so that you're able to benefit from the programme.
Yes. We need to get to know you, and you need to get to know us! If this poses a logistical problem, please reach out so that we can try and help find a solution.
Sure, that is usually a straighforward process and we can help facilitate it.