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Program Overview

Twice a year, we run a three month Poland Prize Accelerator Program in Poznan, Poland. We believe that by connecting and unlocking the world's data, that we can profoundly improve our lives. The program’s focus is to establish Poland as the country of first choice to conduct business in Central and Eastern Europe. We will provide a more comprehensive support to mid-stage startups who have a complete working prototype and are ready for start their DFM stage. Unlike our other accelerator programs, Poland Prize takes 0% equity.

Our Offer:

Up to USD $59,000* in exchange for 0% equity of your startup

*The offer is a combination of Cash ($25,000), Prototyping Budget ($19,000), and Additional Services ($15,000).

  • Funding - Focused on helping you prototype & market validate a finished Hardware / IoT product with speed, coupled with follow on funding opportunities.

  • Travel to Hong Kong / Shenzhen - The trip’s purpose is to bring you to the world’s largest electronics market (Huaqiangbei) and help familiarize yourself with the mass manufacturing / production process.

  • Mentorship - Our in-house experts and a mentor network will guide you through all the essentials of starting a business: branding, legals, fund raising, manufacturing, marketing, production, and sales.

  • Network - As your business begins to scale, we’ll begin to introduce you to our international network of startups, investors, and partners to support your business growth.

  • Customized curriculum - The curriculum is catered to your startups specific needs. Wherever your business needs support, we’ll step in to provide guidance.

  • Technical onsite training - During our on-site training, our international experts will be onsite to teach you about everything required to bring a product to market.

  • Startup perks package - Global partners have offered their tools and services at a discounted rate for our portfolio companies.

  • Weekly 1:1 office hours - The Brinc Accelerator team will host open office hours to provide continuous support to your business development needs and help push you towards yours goals.

  • Monthly founder hour - Our international portfolio teams dial in for a monthly Founder Hour where they share their progress, challenges, and future plans.

  • On-going support - Upon completion of the program, the Brinc team will continue to supporting your business development and growth. We will always be there to help!

Application Requirements:

  • Startup focused on completing a working prototype and ready for DFM that fits within one of our Poland Prize (Hardware & IoT) investment categories.

  • Must have a working prototype or show technical capabilities of being able to produce your product.

  • At least 2 co-founders with relevant industry experience.

  • Scalable business model with high growth potential.

Program Requirements:

  • Startups successfully accepted into our accelerator program will need to:

    • Be present in Poznan, Poland for the entire program for on-site training.

Applications are currently CLOSED. Sign up below to get notified when applications open.

Program Timeline

Program Co-Financed By:

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Our Partners

Brinc Perks

As part of the Brinc portfolio, you get more than an investment and hands-on program, you also get access to perks from service providers that are critical to your success. Our perks package is worth more than $500,000 USD and becomes more valuable every day. And even after you graduate, you still get all new perks over time, so you'll always have access to the latest and greatest that the Brinc family has to offer.


What are the commercial terms for the program?


Teams joining the full Poland Prize acceleration program receive $59,000 USD* in cash & services for 0% equity.

We invest in teams tackling a wide variety of problems from all over the world, coming from different markets with different economics and benchmarks. The Acceleration Program will be centered around prototyping and preparation for seed investment, therefore we require you to dedicate part of that money towards services that will allow you to meet Acceleration goals.

Here is a breakdown of the funds available:

  • $46,000 awarded in cash.

  • Of this $46,000, we require teams to spend $19,000 on prototyping services.

  • Additionally, teams will receive $13,000 worth of accelerator services (mentorship, consulting, education).

*Offer based on the Exchange rate PLN/USD

Why do we need to register our business in Poland?


Poland makes a lot of sense for hardware in the CEE region.

There are many reasons why incorporating in Poland makes sense for hardware businesses:

  • European Union member

  • access to European market

  • Fast-track visa process with support from Polish Goverment

  • Low cost base

  • Active and supportive startup community

  • Active investor community with numerous pitch and networking events

  • Easy company setup and operation

  • The ideal test bed for your product or service ahead of regional expansion

  • Strategic and cost effective location within the Center of Europe

  • Fastest Economic Growth in Europe

What can I expect after the program?


After we've completed the 3-months, you'll still be a part of the Brinc family. You will be presented with a post-acceleration programme that will be solely targeted on getting your startup getting seed-round in Poland 

Brinc created a vast network of VCs investing only in hardware startups so we will be there to help you realise your dreams of taking your startup to a new level.

How long does the incorporation take?


It can take up to a couple of weeks if done by the book as startups need to hire a sworn translator and have all the paperwork in order as well as to handle Notary Office themselves. This also adds additional costs to the incorporation. We at Brinc, however, found a better way we suggest all the startups to take. A startups provides all the necessary details (i.e. the name of the company, advisory board members etc.) and a chosen attorney-at-law does all the hard work, establishes the company and then sells it to the startup members (100% shares, 100% clean company with no history or debt) for the initial capital he had to deposit to be able to do so. This way startups can be established within a couple of days instead of weeks. After the purchase the Startup shall file these documents to the National Court Register to register the actual owners of the company (startup members) and the management board, which shall consist of at least one startup member.

Do startups have to pay taxes in Poland?


Startup is a typical limited liability company, which operates in the Republic of Poland, so Startup is required to pay all the taxes as any legal entity conducting business in Poland. The main tax in Poland is VAT tax (value-added tax), which in most situations is neutral for companies in their business relations. If your Startup hires people, the Startup will have to pay social taxes from the contract agreement signed with Startup’s co-workers or employees. It is advisable to register Startup as a VAT taxpayer and European VAT taxpayer as quickly as possible (just after incorporation of the Startup). To conduct business properly in the legal and fiscal matters it is important to choose an accounting firm, which will be able to file necessary documents for the tax institutions.

Do startups need to apply for a temporary residency in Poland?


Legally, no. But it is highly advisable as it shows a good faith in front of investors and proves the team is willing to stay in Poland and do business in here. In addition, depending on the nationality of startup founders, some may need a residency to freely enter and leave Poland.

Can startup members leave Poland during the program?


At least one member of the team has to be on location during the whole acceleration program.

Are there any rules regarding behavior in the office?


In general, you are never alone in the workplace so you need to behave with utmost respect to others and their work as well as to avoid by all means things you wouldn’t want to be done to you. Apart from the obvious in our work space you can’t eat at the desk (there is a common co-working space near the kitchen for that), you can’t consume alcohol unless it’s allowed for a special occasion, and you are obliged to keep the place tidy and quiet. Once you leave the program (for any reason) you must return the Business Link entry card you will be given at the beginning of the program to enter our facilities.

Will Brinc get startup an investment?


The sole goal of the Poland Prize program is to help startups find an investment in Poland by increasing startups’ investability as well as through introductions to VC mentors that will help in this venture. Brinc can not promise a startup that it will get invested. Nevertheless, by choosing a team to participate in the program we recognize that it has a good chance at raising significant interest from VCs in Poland. We will connect startups with Polish VCs that might be interested in investing in them. At the same time we believe startups are lead by entrepreneurs who understand their responsibilities as founders/owners and will do the hard work themselves. We will also be offering a post-acceleration programs for those who would like additional help in raising funds locally.

What happens in case of any prototyping delays?


There are numerous reasons for the project to be delayed. Some examples are late BOM submission, BOM errors or changes, SOW and contract signature delays, the project’s functionality and priority changes and others. In general, Brinc doesn’t take responsibility for delays and mishaps of external companies. However, having startups’ best interest in mind, Brinc will help in mediating between sides and looking into the problem while providing the best possible solutions.

What services does Brinc provide within the grant itself?

  • We provide access to mentors with both Polish and global expertise in: finance, business development, technology (software, hardware, firmware, BOM optimization, prototyping, SOW, PRD, manufacturing)

  • We organize both a VC Speed Dating and a Demo Day for startups to pitch in front of Polish VCs

  • We provide shared office space in Business Link Maraton office building in Poznan, Poland

  • We grant access to the LMS e-learning platform

  • We organize a not refundable trip to China/HK

Is the trip to China/Hong Kong mandatory?


Yes, it is. We believe it’s beneficial for the future of any hardware startup. Our main goal during the program is to increase startups’ investability and the knowledge of manufacturing processes. Up- and downsides of mass production in China as well as the knowledge of local culture and pricing are all valuable from the investors’ point of view.

Who pays for the trip to China?


The trip to China, specifically to Hong Kong and Shenzhen, takes place during one of the weeks of the acceleration program. Accelerator covers the following costs:

  • Flight to Hong Kong

  • Transit cost from Hong Kong to Shenzhen

  • Accommodation in Shenzhen

  • Transit back from Shenzhen to Hong Kong

  • Flight back from Hong Kong

All other costs are startups’ personal expenses and won’t be covered by Brinc.

The trip is for one person per startup ONLY.

When should startups start applying for visas to Poland?


It’s crucial that teams are on location in Poznan when the program starts. Depending on where the team comes from it may take up to a few weeks just for the appointment at a consulate or embassy in certain countries. It is highly advisable then all the teams start applying for visas to Poland at the start of the Ramp Up stage.

What is the deadline for the scope of work submission?


The Scope of Work (SOW) is the area in an agreement where the work to be performed is described. The SOW for hardware should contain any milestones, reports, deliverables, industrial design, PCB design, and end products that are expected to be provided by the performing party. The SOW should also contain a timeline for all deliverables.

We want startups to start the work as soon as they step foot in Poland. Because of this, we will push for the SOWs to be finalized and approved by our team by the end of the Ramp Up phase. This will help our hardware partners and the teams to jump-start the work and hopefully be done with prototyping by the end of the program. Keep in mind that hardware prototyping takes time.

When should the SOWs be signed?


Even though we cannot fasten the signings of SOWs between our teams and external partners it is one of the milestones that triggers one of the grant’s tranches. At the same time a team shouldn’t expect any technical work to be done or provided to them without having the SOW signed. Any delays in signing SOW will cause delays in prototyping as well and it’s best if teams have something to show potential investors during the Demo Day.

Which companies can a startup choose for the prototyping services?


Firstly, the vendor needs to be Polish. Secondly, it needs to be checked and approved by Brinc Make in terms of its resources and capabilities to make sure the vendor will be able to deliver on time. This is why we work with the already approved and proven partners, namely Summer Agency (Cracow), Hardware Hub (Poznan), Mindsailors (Poznan), Vorm (Cracow) and Spel (Cracow).

How can teams spend the grant money?


We require teams to spend $20,000 of the grant money on prototyping services. The rest of the grant is to be spent freely by teams. At the same time we strongly advise to take a reserve for accommodation and tax related costs as well as any sudden necessities. When it comes to prototyping it has be aligned with the SOW accepted by Brinc’s Head of Hardware (also related to one of the grant’s tranches).

How will the grant be paid?


The grant is paid in tranches. All of the tranches have their own milestones for the teams to achieve. More on that in the attachment no. 3 of the acceleration agreement.

Which bank to choose for the company in Poland?


In general we leave this bit to startups. However, since Brinc Poland’s bank account is with the ING, we suggest the same for the teams as having the same bank account allows us to do instant transfers 24/7.

How can the teams increase their investability on their own?


Polish VCs will always look at the teams’ willingness to stay in Poland and to do business in here. Things that convince them on that are: temporary residency in Poland, having university professors on board as advisers, having technical and business partners in Poland. And last but not least: sales. Brinc can help out in acquiring residency, contacting the teams with academic masterminds and helping to find the right partners. The sales part is on the teams although we can try connecting teams with some industries suitable for them.

How many VC’s are there in Poland?


There are currently over 60 VCs in Poland, twenty-something accelerators, numerous grants and even more PE investors. The most common ticket size is $250k while some VCs like Arkley Brinc have tickets up to $800k. The Polish investment ecosystem has been constantly growing. The public sector alone will invest over $22B by 2022 in startups and R&D, the most of any European countries.

What’s there to know about Poland?


Poland has a population of 38,5M people. Its economy has been constantly growing for the past 27 years (being the only country in the European Union in that area). Poland has 23rd GPD in the world and is ranked 24th in ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rank. The country has an A credit ranking and was added to the FTSE Russell developed countries list in September of 2018, becoming the first developed country from the former Communist bloc. Poland is also a member of the European Union, Schengen Area, United Nations, NATO, Visegrad Group and OECD.

Why does Brinc have an office in Poznan and not in Warsaw?


Poznan gives the perfect balance between work and leisure. It’s also exactly between Warsaw and Berlin. It’s very well connected through its airport to all of the European capitals. There is also a lot of capital in Poznan, a couple of VCs, a huge academia with over 40k awesome students graduating from 8 national universities every year (20 more private ones are not included in the that). Poznan has also access to some the best hardware house- and software- houses in the country.

Where should the teams live in Poznan?


Since Brinc Poland’s office is located in the heart of the city, we suggest looking up Airbnb for any places nearby. The office’s address is Business Link Maraton, Królowej Jadwigi 43, 61-871 Poznań. The teams pay for the accommodation themselves.

How much does it cost to live in Poland?


This is obviously very subjective as it depends on how one handles money, what standard does he want to live up to etc. However, on average, the accommodation plus food is around 1,000 Euro per month per person.

Are there any other grants in Poland the teams might want to apply for?


There are actually many. We are partners with one of the most efficient companies in Poland in this regard. At the beginning of the program we will invite them to our offices in Poznan so they can have 1 on 1 talks with the teams and evaluate what grants are eligible for which teams.

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