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How I applied and got accepted into Alliance accelerator + Interview tips
For all my friends who ask the same thing over and over. Share with whomever you think it may be helpful as I share real practical advice here!
Step 1: Fill out and submit the application on the Alliance website. As simple as that. It’s a rather unusual one and asks more about the founders than about the idea. I’ve added a demo video that we had from one of the hackathons, but I don’t remember recording anything specifically for Alliance.
Step 2: Ask for a referral from a friend. I asked my friend, but now I also can make them.
Step 3: Wait for an interview invitation. Right after submitting the application, I received an invitation for an interview, followed by instructions on preparation. Alliance’s instructions have a list of requirements and an intro from Qiao "to save a few precious minutes". That’s how you know that shit is serious and you don’t go there to chit-chat.
Step 4: Prepare for an interview. Luckily I had a bunch of pitch calls earlier, so I didn’t need to prepare much, as I knew my line and what questions may be asked. But If you haven’t—that’s the best you can do, practice your pitch and know how to address the weak points, there is no any special format you need to practice (looking at you, YC). On the day of the interview, I just tried to stay energized and, haha, at the last moment put on a Solana hackathon t-shirt to look like a true degen 🤘
Apart from the obvious, the best you can do to prepare for an interview is to listen to Qiao and Imran’s podcast Good Game, where they walk you through their way of thinking and the problems they see. Also, check out the list of Startup ideas covering what the Alliance team sees as a good opportunity to invest.
You may argue, “it can’t be so simple, why would anyone share their decision-making openly?”, but believe me, web3 space is still amateur enough and a lot of founders are still dizzy after a bull run party, that even when you tell them “do X, there is a business case there”, they will reply “Yes, but my token…😵💫”
Step 5: Take a first call. On our first call, we had Qiao and Roberto, the call itself was quite intense, they were asking about the essence of the idea and tricky points, but at the same time, I felt they understood what we were doing and the risks associated. I liked that. They asked more about the AdSense part of our idea, and at one point Qiao said it was one of the most interesting ideas he had heard recently. At that moment, a spark of hope lit up in me. Later, Roberto and I argued about whether there is a space for ads in web3 at all, but Qiao himself began to defend and develop the idea, and all I had to do was confirm what he had already convinced himself of. Something you don’t need to ask twice.
Step 6: Take a second call. There are supposed to be two calls in total, and on the second call I talked to Imran, and we discussed the same things over again, I again liked the level of understanding and questions, but there was nothing noteworthy.
Step 7: Wait for the results.
At that moment, I already had a sense that everything was good because Qiao liked the idea and the second call was just a formality, but the results weren’t coming… The remainder of our funnel was still dragging, but very uncertainly, and it was clear that Alliance would have solved many of our problems in one shot. I was starting to get nervous.
In the end, we got invited for another, third call, but there were no slots in Calendly, to what I wrote what the hell did you send us, to what Imran immediately at 4 am (my time) replied "are you available now?"—”aha, just finished with the work and was waiting for your message," I think 🙄
I didn’t want to stay in uncertainty, so I opened my eyes, got up from the bed, dressed up, and took the call. On the call, Imran asks what exactly we want to do, NFT analytics or AdSense, and how we would implement it. My hunch was right: I started pushing for the AdSense idea, “analytics… you know, forget about it… the ad network is a real deal”, but how to build an ad network and where to even start I had no clue.
Step 8: Accept an invitation to the program.
That’s it. In a couple of days, we received an invitation. They don’t drag it, and don’t ask “who else is investing?”, they make the decision themselves that takes balls and deserves appreciation. Participation in the accelerator is free and isn’t tied to the investment, so I accepted it right away and started sending toxic emails to the funds that were stuck in the middle of the funnel, saying “see you at the demo day, fools.”
But the little I knew who was the real fool… Find it out with me in a future article with a review of the Alliance program and the demo day.
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