Can we get 200 Applications, 10 Finalists and 6 Winning Startups in 6 Weeks?

We need to attract 6 of the best Startups in Europe in just 6 Weeks, and we’ll be sharing the whole excruciating, beautiful process on this Blog.

Welcome to the New StartUp Yard Blog. Getting here wasn’t easy. Why is there a dragon in the lobby anyway?

We’re Going to Have an Insane 6 Weeks.

That’s putting it mildly. Recent conversations with friends go something like this:

-Hey, we’re redesigning our website and expanding our focus to all of Europe, recruiting at least 200 applicants, and we’ll select 10 finalists and 6 teams to enter our 3 Month Acceleration Program in Prague.

-Great! Sounds like a challenge. When do you launch? Q3 2014?

-Huh, what? We launch next week.

– Oh… ok. How long do you have to get the applications?

– Six weeks.

– Oh… Are you sure this is a good idea?

– The Board says it’s fine…

– Ok…. good… luck.

We’re a StartUp Seed Accelerator that is actually being run like a startup. It’s going to be great.

Is This a Bad Idea?

Not necessarily. Our feeling is that a startup Accelerator should be run a lot like a startup. Experiment, take risks, grow into new spaces, and never lose the edge that made us entrepreneurs and inventors in the first place. We’ve done this before, so while it can be scary, we know it’s actually supposed to be. That’s how you know you’re doing something really unique.

Blue Screen of Total Panic


0x00000000D1… Of Course!

Is 200 applications a lot? Yeah, it is. And worse yet, we know the bulk of the applications for the next Acceleration round won’t come in until the final week. According to TechStars, a whole 25% of applications come on the very last day. We’ll have 2 months to review, vet, select and invite 6 teams to Prague. Even if we just spent the 2 months reading, there would only be time to review each application for a few hours at most, but we will have to have most of the teams selected within a month, in time to prepare their accommodation, their travel arrangements, and the logistics of a 3 months stay in the heart of Europe. More importantly, we’ll have to prepare a huge team of mentors, investors, and others who will work directly with the teams, according to their needs and various stages of development.

The Stakes are Rather High

We’re making decisions that affect a lot of people’s lives, including our own. We’re going to be working with the teams we choose for 6 months (3 months in Prague, 3 months back home), and those teams are going to be building products and services from scratch. And we’re going to be making a largish investment in the ideas that get those teams to our offices in Prague, not only in money, but in time; the time and attention of some very important people we’d rather not let down.


Tom Gets Us

Which is good news for you, denizens of the startosphere: because we’re going to lay it all out here.

But This is Exactly Where We Live

If there are 6 teams of startups in our program, we’re the 7th startup. That’s our ethos. That’s why this Blog won’t be a PR Machine. For the next half year, we’re going to share every gritty detail of life at StartUp Yard, as we cull and cultivate 6 of the most promising startups in Europe,  and put them through one of the toughest and most rewarding experiences of their professional lives.

The idea will be to build, in breadth and depth, a vision of the process through which our startups get funding, achieve success, crash and burn, and maybe even become profitable. We are admirers of the work of such notorious Blogs and Bloggers as Agent of Truth, Paul Graham, ViperChill and Unicorn Free, and we intend to laugh and cry together, as we build something we’re proud of.

Our Homebase at Tech Square, Prague.

Our Homebase at Tech Square, Prague.

Why do this? Well dear friends, because our purpose on this Earth is not to make starting a new business pleasant or even necessarily easy, but to make it comprehensible; to make it possible. Because while some would have you believe they’ve got a secret sauce, and can sell you the formula for $99, we don’t use any sauce at all. We just work hard and well, and we think you should to. And that’s not a formula that is for sale anywhere, because good ideas are easy, but making them work is hard (and way more fun).

Does your office have a pillow room? Ours does.

Does your office have a pillow room? Ours does.

And while we can’t make you work hard (if the promise of doing great work isn’t enough, nothing is), we can help you to work well, and that’s what we are going to try to do here. You can call it a public service, but the public includes us: this Blog will be a platform for our attempts to positively affect the ecosystem we work in.

Why Quality Matters

We hear big numbers a lot when we talk about “growth hacking” and data. But focusing on those numbers, as entrepreneurs, often leads us to forget what they mean. Startups define their successes in numbers: a market cap, a number of users, a CTR or a retention rate, but these numbers are the result of two things: the quality of the product that is being offered, be it represented in the marketing or the website, or in a piece of software or hardware itself, and the quality of the process that the company follows in getting from the first user, to the hundred thousandth. These are the factors that will matter to us here: the things that lend a product or a service real value: that they work well, and that they are put in the hands of people who need them.

But Please, What’s Your Pitch?

Hang on, let me get a copywriter.

StartUp Yard is a seed accelerator for technology startups. For 3 years, we’ve been working with teams from all over Europe with great ideas, helping them to turn those great ideas into great companies. And so far we’ve done well.

startupyard-3-years-infographicsThe Accelerator Program

The life of StartUp Yard revolves around the Accelerator Program, a 3 month intensive residency at our offices in Prague, Capital City of the Czech Republic. Here you’ll be mentored and coached by scores of entrepreneurs with combined decades of experience doing what you’re trying to do: building and launching a tech startup from scratch. Our mentors have worked with Google, IBM,, and Yahoo, to name a few; we have angel investors, tech directors, PR managers, a pro native English copywriter, and more.

European teams chosen for this program get free lodging and food for the 3 month program, return flights to one of the most beautiful cities in the world, as well as over $300,000 dollars worth of perks from Microsoft, Google, and our other partners.

Better than all that, you’ll get hands-on training from a dynamic team of mentors, walking you through every step necessary to make your company a success, from legal, to finance, to hiring, to site design, and giving you the chance to perfect your pitch and see what’s possible. We don’t just tell you: we work with you to get these processes moving. The grueling first 3 months ends on Demo Day, when you get a chance to shine like it’s 1979, and you’re Steve Jobs (or maybe you’re Woz, that’s fine too).

Following the 3 month in-house program, teams return home to launch their companies for another 12 weeks, remaining in constant touch with mentors and the StartUp Yard team, as your company grows and matures, culminating after another 3 months in Investor Day- a conference in which you’ll get the opportunity to to be judged by highly qualified investors.

We forge connections, build relationships, reinforce good organizational habits, and work our teams down to the last detail. That what we love doing: helping you work well, and encouraging you to work hard.

Because we’re good enough, we’re smart enough, and gosh-darnit, people like us.

Thus ends “PR” in this Blog, in a traditional sense. And thus begins our real purpose:

We will attempt be to lay out transparently, and in detail, from all the pretty and not-so-pretty angles, what starting a company with us really looks like. We want to learn something, and we hope you do to. Everything will be fair game in these pages. Anything can happen (and probably will).

What can you expect along the way? We’ll be posting interviews with Entrepreneurs, mentors, founders, angels, and even copywriters. We’ll be going into detail on the nitty gritty, funky little details that make the difference between life and death for a startup that’s working with us. And we’ll be addressing the big questions too: why start a business, how to build a company culture, and how to deal with success and failure. If we think it, and it isn’t too stupid to live, we’ll tell you about it.

Trying to Live by Our Principles

“When Cortez reached the New World, he burned his ships. As a result, his men were well motivated. Personally, I give us 1 chance in 3” – Sean Connery, The Hunt For Red October

This blog will also be a place where we attempt to live by our principles. So when we tell a young company that a boring PR Blog is a very bad thing, we have to sort of mean it, and not have a boring PR Blog. If we say take risks, we have to take risks. Beyond that, we’re going to push ourselves here to engage you, by giving you content that actually matters- something in which you’ll find real value. If we can learn from our mistakes, so can you. If we can learn from our successes, so much the better that you do too.


Data and Search now the heart of StartupYard for 2014

Are you ready? We are accepting applications starting today for our April 2014 round!

This round will focus exclusively on teams working in Data, Search and Analytics.

We will be setting our sights on the best teams in these areas from all over Europe; selecting only 6 from 10 finalists for our 3 month, English-language only Acceleration Program. Teams from outside the Czech Republic will receive free accommodations in Prague, and one payed return flight from anywhere in Europe.

The comprehensive program will cover all aspects of creating and growing a business, from legal and accounting, to hiring, code review and company culture, with access to 90 specialised mentors, media trainers, a professional native English copywriter and blogger, and perks worth €250,000.

Prague attracts many data companies, so we felt it would be to the benefit of our upcoming class if we specialised. We have a very clear objective: to attract the most ambitious projects from all across Europe in the fields of Data, Search or Analytics. To achieve that, we have put together a package we hope no entrepreneur in Europe could refuse. If you are working on any project related to Data, Search or Analytics, you have until Jan 31st, 2014 at Midnight to apply.


Seznam Opens Part of Its Full Text Search Technology for StartupYard 2014

Today is a great day for the future startups of StartupYard 2014! has decided to open part of its full text search technology to the teams that apply for the 2014 round, to help them with their large data projects that need extracted data from the Internet. started as a one-man band and during the past 17 years has become a major Czech influential technological company and a media house in one, which is preventing Google from gaining the majority or monopoly on the Czech market. full text search technology is based on Hadoop and Hbase. The 2014 StartupYard teams will have access to a test cluster of up to 100 million documents from the Internet. All of them pre-crawled and sorted into entities such as domains, webservers and URLs. Each of these entities contains its own attributes for fast analysis and sorting of each web page in the cluster.


“We have made a basic analysis for each webpage in the cluster so the teams know its content as a derivate with many parameters such as the language used and meta-descriptions. All of the documents in the cluster are regularly updated and more parameters and content can be added if the teams need and request them,” 

Marek Nový, Head of Business Development at

Good news comes in pairs. Today StartupYard is accepting applications for our April 2014 round. This round will focus exclusively on teams working in Data, Search and Analytics.

Teams will receive free accommodations in Prague, free lunch and one payed return flight from anywhere in Europe.

We will be setting our sights on the best teams in these areas from all over Europe; selecting only 6 from 10 finalists for its 3 month, English-language only Acceleration Program. The comprehensive program will cover all aspects of creating and growing a business, from legal and accounting, to hiring, code review and company culture, with access to 90 specialised mentors, media trainers, a professional native English copywriter and blogger, and perks worth €250,000.

Prague attracts many data companies, so we felt it would be to the benefit of our upcoming class if we specialised. We have a very clear objective: to attract the most ambitious projects from all across Europe in the fields of Data, Search or Analytics. To achieve that, we have put together a package we hope no entrepreneur in Europe could refuse.

The application closes at the end of January. Please help us spread the news by sharing this article!


StartupYard Appoints Cedric Maloux As New Director

We are very happy to announce that Cedric Maloux is joining StartupYard as its new Director. He will be running the acceleration program in Prague and oversee daily operations. Cedric has been managing Internet startups for more than 17 years.

We started our acceleration program 2 years ago and invested in 22 technology companies till now. “Going forward, we plan to do things differently. We will focus on a different vertical sector every year. This year we have chosen to hunt for projects related to Data, Search and Analytics,” says Cedric Maloux. “Our home market is in the Czech Republic which is well-known for great data, search and analytics companies. By specialising our program, we also want to attract entrepreneurs across Europe and offer them a unique 3 months acceleration package.”

Born in Paris, Cedric is a life-long entrepreneur. He founded his first internet company, a French community and news portal in 1996 which he sold in 2000 and since then has been managing startups during the good and bad times of the internet economy. He is best known as the founder of AllPeers, a Czech company which attracted numerous accolades and awards 6 years ago, as well as investment from Index Ventures and Mangrove Capital Partners. He’s the former CEO at Geewa where he transformed the Czech casual games company into an international success with Pool Live Tour on Facebook played by tens of millions of people every month. He first started working with StartupYard as one of the program’s mentors in 2011.

Welcome on board Cedric!


And the Winner Is… Demo Day

It was a crazy Monday. June 3rd. A part of Prague was flooded, we had to decide for go or no go for Demo Day on Tuesday. We did it and 200 attendees prepared a great evening to our 6 teams and judges. Thank you.

And the Winner Is

The crowd voted for the best pitch and the People’s Choice went to 2 team members will be attending Pioneers Festival in Vienna.


The judges – Peter FabianAmit PaunikarMichael Schuster and Michal Truban – had a tough time to choose the best team …, because: “” provides a clear solution with the most potential of success given incremental direction and guidance and investment. The business model has been proven in other markets. They did really good job of explaining the problem and its nuances (parents/friends not always available, trustworthy service – an absolute must). And for obvious desire to succeed which became apparent during Q&A (“we tried this, did not work, so we tried something else” – profiles => video profiles => friends) – they’re working on the product layer by layer.” 2 team members will be exhibiting at Startup Alley and attending TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin.


All stuff from Demo Day (video, presentations, photos) is available at

News of the Week, May 16

What’s going on at StartupYard

We are in full swing! and Travelatus launched their public beta. Startitup has passed the mark of 1100 users and started monetizing. Yummy’s biggest deal so far has been 300 orders for Barcamp Prague. got into the final selection round of Wayra Czech Republic. Some of us presented at Pioneers Unplugged Prague. Thanks to Brave New Media, one of our seminars turned into a rather real thing. In preparation for our D-Day, we have regular pitch sessions with our amazing mentors.

What’s going in the region

StartupDigest for CZ events
23-24/5 Shift (Split, HR)
2-4/6 hy! (Berlin, D)
3-4/6 DEMO Europe (Moscow, RU)
4-5/6 Webinale (Berlin, D)
13-16/6 Startup Island (Hvar, HR)
24-25/6 bitspiration (Krakow, PL)

News of the Week, April 23

What’s up at StartupYard and Central Europe.

News of the Week


StartupYard alumnus Brand Embassy is the only Czech based company chosen as a 2013 Red Herring Top 100 Europe! Do you want to find out how to build reliable cloud applications? We are hosting an event with Netflix Director of Cloud Solutions next Tuesday. There are only a few tickets left

What’s going on at StartupYard

We all have brought our companies to the user testing stage! StartitUp threw their first webinar with Ash Maurya. After having seen over 70 mentors, we are in the midst of business skills seminars and workshops, some of which are open to public. Spring finally arrived to Prague and we gladly moved our regular beer gatherings into the open air.


What’s going in the region 

StartupDigest for CZ events
upcoming Startup Live events
26/4 International Startups Meetup (Bratislava, SK)
13-14/5 EBAN Annual Congress and Awards (Vienna, AT)
14/5 Heureka (Berlin, D)
16/5 Capital On Stage (Berlin, D)
23-24/5 Shift (Split, HR)
31/5-2/6 Webinale Connect (Berlin, D)
3-4/6 DEMO Europe (Moscow, RU)
3-5/6 Webinale (Berlin, D)
13-16/6 Startup Island (Hvar, HR)
24-25/6 bitspiration (Krakow, PL)

You can subscribe to our mailing list for more news

Welcome 6 New Teams for 2013 Spring Program

It’s been long. A long selection process, 6 weeks. But we’re proud now to announce 6 amazing teams. We accepted applications from 12 countries and selected 6 startups from 5 countries. The third cohort begins their 6-month acceleration program on March 11 in Prague.

Who are our StartupYard Spring 2013 heroes?
We help parents meet the most reliable babysitters. operates in the Czech Republic now.
Co-founders: David Hrachovy, Petr Sigut and Vaclav Kuna (Czech Republic)

HowDoI Tutorials
Interactive tool for website owners to create tutorials and guides in a few minutes.
Co-founders: Lukas Haraga, Jiri Otahal and Michal Pustka (Czech Republic)



Step-By-Step Startup Guide with action items that will help entrepreneurs get their startup from idea, to product, to traction, and to funding.
Co-founders: Edward Liu and Yitao Sun (USA)

Event travel made easy. It helps visitors of concerts, festivals and conferences to plan their trips.
Co-founders: Valentin Dombrovsky, Vitaliy Korobkin and Denis Volkov (Russia)
The essential career tool for professional fine artists, keep portfolios and CVs up-to-date with ease.
Co-founders: Abe Han and Patrick Urwyler (Canada, Switzerland)

Yummy Food Delivery
How to eat healthy at your desk. Its focus is B2B delivery.
Co-founders: Kristina Sediva and Tomas Netrval (Czech Republic)
Facebook page Yummy Food Delivery

Recruiting has begun

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Startups In Big Companies

This is an invitation for our event next Monday. And a short remark on startups and corporations.

On Monday, October 8th, we hold a meet-up for entrepreneurs with guys from (Czech internet #1 company, 1000 employees in a few months). It’s about their experience with product management, UX, launch, marketing, PR, …

Some people have asked me why Seznam and startups? What can entrepreneurs learn from corporate guys? I’m sure this is a big mistake of many geeks. I like these words from Saul Klein who worked in corporations and has become one of best investors, a great motive WHY: ‘You learn a lot about scale, you learn a lot about process. Any small company really, hopefully, aspires to be a very, very big company and having worked inside some of those big companies, I’ve a sense for what a small company looks like when it grows up.’ (Read the whole interview by Ivo Spiegel for Kernel.)

This is why it’s really worth coming (if you’re in Prague).