02. Discovery

Corporate Start-up Accelerators

An accelerator that cuts through the “innovation fluff” to achieve problem-solution fit.

Investment: 12 weeks | Basic 8,500 | Standard €30,150 | Disruptive 52,550 per team

Start off with a Kick Off.

Immerse in a 2-day workshop which gets corporate start-up teams testing critical assumptions around innovative ideas. Each team is guided by their personal AfCE mentor throughout the 2 days to ensure the correct assumptions and customers are identified and the best experiments are conducted.

The Curriculum

Define your elevator pitch
How to identify early adopters
Identify your most critical unknown assumptions
Setting up your experiment
Run interviews with real customers
Complete your 1st experiment loop

Team participants form a strong bond with each other and their mentors, which is the first critical step taken before entering the 12-week Corporate Start-up Accelerators phase.

Adapt your accelerator design from 3 proven blue prints

Accelerator processes that work!

Since 2014, AfCE has been perfecting designs of internal corporate start-up accelerator programs across 24 countries and 8 languages. Different designs are required to meet different disruptiveness levels of ideas as well as the various requirements of teams. Use the table as a basis to design your program with.

Tried and Tested Methodologies

AfCE tutorials and assignments support critical innovation steps over 12 weeks

Weeks 1 – 3:
Design thinking


Your work during the next 3 weeks is very much about clarifying your customer, problem and solution to find a good fit between all 3. The tutorials and assignments will help you to explore questions such as: What’s the best way to identify early adopters and segment our customers?

  • What are customer’s pains, gains and jobs to be done?
  • How do we build an end user profile?
  • How do customers solve the problem now and what competitors are out there?
  • How big is the market?

Weeks 4 – 6:
Lean Start-up


Over these 3 weeks you will zoom in on your solution and try to understand exactly which features of the solution are the most important to your customer. Through Pretotyping and Prototyping you will try to gain compelling behavioural evidence that customers would use your solution if you were to build it. You will explore questions such as:

  • Can we solve the customer’s problem?
  • How should we prioritize our features?
  • Can we learn what would satisfy our customers and even make them passionate?

Weeks 7 – 9:
Marketing & Sales


Now you will dive deeper in testing how you can gain awareness and traction, hopefully winning your first “customers” who demonstrate true intent to buy or use your solution (which still may not exist yet):

  • How can we use channels and messaging to convince people to buy / use?
  • Do we have good unit economics for a viable business model?

Weeks 10 – 12:
Business Model + Pitch


The last few weeks are spent on completing your business model and checking if you can validate any critical assumptions that are missing. You will feed all of your learnings into a concise pitch deck ready to ask for funding or justify why the idea should not be funded:

  • Do we have a viable complete business model suitable for our organization?
  • Can we clearly and confidently ask for investment & tell our story?


Our program has seen around 60% of teams achieving problem-solution fit and raising internal investment to continue into an incubation phase. 20% successfully demonstrate why the venture should not receive investment and only 20% fail to reach a conclusive outcome.

The Value

     World-Class Mentors vs Consultants

    Transfer of skills and mindset to intrapreneurs

    Experiment based

    Structured approach creates accountability and monitoring of development

    Be pitch ready by the end of 12 weeks (over 70% success rate)

    Full participant evaluations and certification provided

    Part time next to day job

    Identify the most critical assumptions

    Learn lean experiment design and tracking

    Learn and practice interviewing customers

    Practice data based decision making

    Foster teamwork and culture change

    Cross functional exposure and learning

    Pre Kick Off preparation support

Client Success:

Bayer tested accelerator programs with 8 different agencies (selected from 100 agencies) before settling on AfCE’s approach. The decision was due to AfCE demonstrating a high level of expertise in lean start-up for experimentation, as well as receiving ultra-high trust in mentors which produced very real and tangible innovation results, better than previously experienced. After 3 years of implementing these accelerator processes, Bayer value the resulting portfolio of innovation projects at close to EUR 1 Billion.