Inside The Accelerator: Unrest

Welcome to the first of our new mini-series ‘Inside the Accelerator’. The series will showcase and delve deep into some of the exciting and diverse accelerator programs leading the way in their respective fields. This is part of our commitment to using our platform as a means of supporting the startup ecosystem beyond funding alone.

We aim to educate founders on navigating the landscape and growing in a more challenging climate. On behalf of our members, we’re looking forward to exploring the benefits and challenges of joining accelerator programs, as well as the impact that accelerators have on the startup ecosystem.

In the first in the series we shine a spotlight on Unrest. Led by Orr Vinegold and Anas Hassan, Unrest is a mission-driven startup accelerator and the only one in Europe solely focused on consumer-impact businesses. Guided by its three pillars of impact, resilience and diversity, Unrest focuses on consumer businesses because of its belief in ‘the collective power we all have in driving shifts towards a fairer inclusive economy.’

In this interview, we delve into the selection process, program structure, and the pillars that guide Unrest’s approach, as well as the invaluable resources and support it offers to start-ups. If you’re an impact-driven founder seeking the next step in your start-up journey, Unrest might just be the accelerator for you.

Tell us about your accelerator?

Unrest is Europe’s only accelerator for consumer impact businesses. We support founders of pre-seed and seed stage start-ups ready to re-imagine what business can do for the planet and people. Our companies are at the forefront of innovation and change, creating supportive cultures to grow and succeed. These companies are the future, and together, we will launch the most successful of them. 

What is the selection process for startups joining the program?

The first step for start-ups interested in joining the Unrest programme is to upload a pitch deck on our website. We invite start-ups who we think could be a good fit for the programme to an online interview with members of our team.

The objective of this interview is to learn more about the start-up and founder(s), and to answer any questions from founders about Unrest. We then invite selected start-ups to a Discovery Day, where they can meet more of the Unrest team, as well as other founders who have applied to the programme.

The final step in the process is a selection committee that reviews all applications who have made it to this stage, and makes decisions about who to invite to join the programme.

What is the duration of the program? 

The Unrest programme takes place over 4 months. The Spring/Summer programme typically runs from March to July, and the Autumn/Winter programme generally runs from September to January. 

What is the structure of the program and what do you provide in terms of resources and support for startups?

We provide a 4 month programme focusing on 4 key pillars: branding and marketing, fundraising, impact and community. We partner with world-class experts, including organisations such as Uncommon Creative Studio, BCorp, Seedrs and many others. We also provide customised 121 support for our cohort founders with weekly office hours, executive coaching and mentoring. 

What is the equity model for the accelerator program?

We take 2% equity in our cohort companies (capped at £33K worth of equity). This ensures that our incentives are aligned – we succeed if our start-ups do. It is also a realistic approach given the cash challenges of early stage start-ups.

You are guided by your three pillars of impact, resilience and diversity. Why did you choose them?

Before launching the Unrest accelerator programme, we carried out a lot of desk research and spoke to many start-up founders as well as leaders of existing incubator and accelerator programmes. As a result we identified impact, resilience and diversity as three key drivers of sustainable success. 

There is a sound business case behind this approach. Mission driven companies typically grow 2.5 times more than companies without a strong impact mission at their core. Diverse teams deliver 2.3 times more value than non-diverse teams. And the share price of companies with engaging, resilient cultures is 65% higher than for other companies.

One example of our commitment to supporting a more diverse start-up landscape is Unrest North, our programme for under-represented founders based in the North of England. 

Aside from the business case for our approach, it’s also the right thing to do. The world is changing. Consumers, founders and employees are all increasingly demanding a new way of doing business. One that demands profit, not at the cost of people and planet, but in support of it. 

Startups should join my accelerator because…

Unrest is Europe’s only accelerator for consumer impact businesses. We offer a unique 4 month programme together with world class partners. We have supported 47 start-ups so far, with well over 90% of them still going strong. Between them, our start-ups have raised over £7m in funding. We can help impact-driven founders take the next step in their start-up business journey.

Unrest have a forthcoming Demo day on 5th July which is an opportunity for you to hear from founders on the Unrest Programme as they share the fire that drives them, their vision for a fairer, cleaner, healthier, more diverse world and what they’re doing to make it a reality.

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