1. Fresh Code – We all start coding at the same time. It’s cool to work on designs beforehand, digital mockups, open source frameworks, and anything else available to everyone, but keep things within fair limits.
2. Code Review – Winning teams may be subject to a code-review at some point following the event or immediately before winning. This is to ensure that all code used is in fact fresh.
3. Ownership and IP – You own your IP and whatever you create. Simple as that.
4. Team Size – No more than five people.
5. Submissions – Each hackathon has its individual hackathon.io page where projects need to be submitted by the designated time. You’ll receive an email with instructions on how to do just that.
6. Demos – You’ll have 2 minutes to demo the functionality of your project and talk through your idea, and 1 minute for Q&A from judges.
7. Be cool to your fellow hackers!
▸Execution: How well did the team execute and explain their problem? Did they demo a working solution?
▸Fundability: How viable is the business model?
▸Value Proposition: Does the project create value for customers?
▸Scalability: How many people / how impactful is this idea?
▸Design: How well is the app designed? How are the look and feel and UX/UI of the solution?
There are a few key differences to be aware of:
In the past, GSG held a week-long series of workshops, mentoring, hacking, and pitching to educate applicants on the basics of startups and help them through the process. This year, we are prioritizing demos of product features and introducing topics in a more gradual way and only when relevant. We don’t want to overwhelm teams with information, and so, for example, will only begin to speak with you about marketing once you are clearly nearing launching your product publicly online..
Our goal for your team at the end of the GeeXelerator is to have a functional product online that customers want to use. Only then will we begin to talk about investment and other topics—without a product and users, your startup is just an idea.
We expect to select up to 40 teams to start in the GeeXelerator, and a maximum of 5 teams will be selected to participate in regional startup competitions and pitch to investors. GSG has full discretion over the number of teams selected.
Commitment is critical. Every cofounder should be willing and able to commit 10-15 hours/week of time and energy to reaching out to customers, launching a fully usable product with main functional features, and solving a real problem in the world. We are also looking for people who are prepared to contribute to the community of teams in the accelerator by committing to coming to workshops once a week at our co-working space, using our mentorship network and connections to your fullest benefit, engaging in GSG’s programming activities, and actively sharing and learning with other founders in the program. We expect that you all come to the program with an open mind and great attitude ready to learn, improve and launch your product!
Yes. GSG’s time and resources are very limited, just like yours. We cannot afford to waste resources on teams that are not committed, as it also takes time and resources away from the more committed teams. We will ask you to sign several agreements if you are accepted that outline our expectations (for example, missing meetings with mentors, failing to present deliverables or meet milestones, etc.). If you are removed from GeeXelerator because of lack of commitment, you will be required to repay any grant funding that you may have received from GSG and our partners.
We are interested in two types of businesses:
1) Highly Scalable Products: We are interested in startups that have the potential to scale (e.g. reach hundreds of thousands, if not millions of customers). There should be potential to target large markets in the MENA Region or around the world. However, your idea should also be able to be tested here in Gaza/West Bank. For example, because of the limitations on travel, it is very hard for Gazan teams to launch a startup serving customers in the US or Europe because of the difficulties in talking with customers and lack of familiarity with the markets. You should first focus on customer segments and specific markets where you can actually pick up the phone to talk with or meet in person with your first users. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to know what your users really want.
2) Highly Profitable Products for Local Palestinian Market: We recognize that not all online products launched from Palestine can achieve large-scale or may be appropriate for venture investment. Alternatively, we are interested in product ideas that may be targeting the local market, but these products must a) be technology driven, and b) must be able to demonstrate rapid revenue generation potential. If a founder decides to focus on the local market, it must be able to demonstrate that the product can achieve revenue generation quickly, and be highly profitable as a substitute for product scalability.
You are self-learners. Before thinking to ask someone something, you Google it first. You are willing to adapt, be flexible, and learn quickly. You or someone on your team is outgoing and not afraid to cold call users and accept tough feedback about your idea or product. You are passionate about your idea and have a clear vision of a problem you are trying to solve—ideally one you have faced yourself. You have a co-founder who is a software developer or are partnering with one who will help you get your prototype off the ground. You ideally have professional work experience.
No, sorry. Given the restrictions on physical goods in Gaza, we can’t support hardware companies at this time.
There is not set number, but at the pre-product stage you should really not have more than four members and all should be founder-level participants. It should be clear what value each person brings to the team at this stage. You also should not focus on titles, but on describing what each person contributes. Titles like CEO or COO really do not mean anything before you have a product or users, so when we ask you what your team members do, tell us what you actually do, not what your title is. If you have other people working on the project (interns, etc.), that is okay, but don’t include them on your application. If you don’t need a cofounder, then you should demonstrate that you can build your product yourself.
Check out our Startups page to see previously incubated and accelerated startups.
GSG is the leading co-working space, startup accelerator, and technology education hub in Gaza. We bring together online freelancers, outsourcers, and startup founders together under one roof to share ideas, learn, innovate, code, and geek out!
Founded in 2011 in partnership with Google and the international NGO Mercy Corps, we began by holding the first Startup Weekends in Gaza and expanding education about tech entrepreneurship. In 2014, we began working with individual startup founders to grow their businesses outside of Gaza and to develop our own incubation curriculum. In 2014 and 2015, we facilitated the first venture investments into Gazan startups.
GSG is a program of Mercy Corps, and as such works hard to leverage its international presence and network. We are a part of Google for Entrepreneurs’ partner network, receive support from Techstars, support from 500 Startups, and other world class accelerators around the world, all of which benefits our entrepreneurs.
This program allows for people to work from their homes or somewhere other than GSG co-working space. However, we have a limited number of seats reserved for GeeXelerator teams in our co-working space. These are on a first come first served basis. If you want to work from here, you need to come early. We cannot guarantee dedicated desks for individuals participating in the program.