Read all the FAQs
We are proud to have built an investment programme with founder-friendly terms. These are some of the most frequently asked questions. If there is something we have not covered, please email us.
Maze x provides a fixed-term investment of €100k for each venture that joins the program. Of this investment, €40,500 (+ VAT) is to be paid for the hands-on support and the rest is for you to use freely. The investment is made via a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) agreement, which converts into shares in the next equity financing round. MAZE X does not provide follow-on investments but offers support in the fundraising process. While joining the maze x program does not guarantee follow-on investment from Mustard Seed Maze (MSM) or other partners, there may be opportunities for follow-on investment.
A Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) agreement is a founder-friendly investment instrument that maze x uses to invest in its portfolio companies. With a SAFE, we offer a €100k investment, with the ability to convert it into shares in your next funding round. The SAFE comes with a 20% discount and a €5M post-money valuation cap, the highest valuation that we will convert at, even if your next valuation is higher. This instrument allows us to support early-stage startups without requiring them to determine a valuation at the time of investment, which is often difficult for early-stage companies.
After the selection process and SAFE agreement signing, you will receive €100k. You are expected to transfer €40,500 (+ VAT) to MAZE Impact S.A to begin the individual hands-on support. You will work closely with our team to define in which areas your venture needs the most support, and the team will define a series of sprints directly tailored to your needs to address your business challenges. For 3 months, you will work with the team on an individual hands-on approach, and afterwards you will have continuous access to our platform.
Maze x and MSM are two distinct investment programs under the maze impact umbrella. Both maze x and MSM share a commitment to impact investing but have different investment focuses and approaches. Maze x invests in early-stage startups and provides individualised hands-on support to help them grow, while MSM invests in pre-seed, seed and Series A stage companies with a more developed business model and traction.
While maze x does not typically make follow-on investments, we are committed to helping our portfolio companies succeed beyond our initial investment. We provide knowledge and support for fundraising and pitching, with expert workshops and introductions to other players in the ecosystem. Our connection to MSM does not imply that there will be a follow-up investment in your company, but we may introduce you to MSM or other partners who are interested in investing.
The money is transferred to your company right after signing the SAFE agreement.
The cash left after paying for the hands-on support can be spent at the discretion of the startup, with the support of the maze x team, and aligned with the milestones set.
At maze x, we believe that hands-on support and financial support go hand-in-hand. That's why we provide a range of non-financial support services, such as mentorship and access to our network of experts, to complement the financial support we offer. We believe that this combination is the most robust way to help our supported companies succeed.
If you're interested in having us consider your venture for the maze x program, the first step is to submit the application form on our website. Once you've submitted the form, we will review your submission and be in touch with you as soon as possible.
Of course! We understand that you may have some questions or concerns before submitting your application. If so, direct them to email@example.com. You can still submit the application form leaving the pitch deck section empty.
The team analyses submissions on a weekly basis. Because of the high-volume of submissions, and in order to go through each of them carefully as we are mindful of the effort of the founder to apply, we commit to getting back to you in a maximum of 10 days, to tell you if we are considering you for an investment. As for the following due diligence process, it will be case by case.
Yes, you can have participated in other accelerators before. In fact, if you've completed other venture-building programs, you're probably at the perfect stage for maze x.
Yes, you do need to be incorporated as a company to participate in our program.
Yes, if we have decided to pass on investing in your venture, you are welcome to reapply if circumstances change and you believe that you still fit our investment criteria.
Your pitch deck should provide us with a clear understanding of the problem you are solving, your proposed solution, the size and characteristics of your target market, your customer acquisition and retention strategies, your revenue model, and your plans for product development and fundraising.
No, we don't typically sign NDAs with startups we engage with. While we have a policy of keeping information confidential and not sharing it with third parties, it wouldn't be feasible for us to sign NDAs with every startup we work with. Additionally, as investors, we need to maintain an objective and impartial view of each opportunity, and signing an NDA may limit our ability to do so.
While we would love to be able to provide feedback to every venture that applies, the high volume of applications we receive makes this difficult. However, if your venture fits our investment criteria, we will be more than happy to schedule a call with you to have a more in-depth conversation about your solution.
At maze x, we invest in very early stage impact ventures that follow the lockstep model, and have raised little to no capital before. Our focus is on companies operating in the European market, regardless of where they are based. We prioritize software investment opportunities, but there can be instances where we will invest in hardware companies.
In terms of impact, we remain open to various areas, but our focus areas are in line with the climate transition, digital transition, and demographic transition. Some of the specific VC verticals we are interested in include, but are not limited to, sustainable energy, circular economy, health tech, ed tech, femtech, elderly tech, future of work, smart cities, and mobility.
At maze x, we are generalists, although our focus is on three main pillars: sustainability, education, and healthcare. As a result, it's probable that we will invest in ventures within these same sectors.
At maze x, we focus on investing in pre-seed ventures, and ideally, we aim to be one of the first investors listed on the cap table. While we prefer to invest in ventures at the earliest stages, we also consider opportunities for investment in ventures that have already received funding, as long as the scope of the round they are raising fits our investment strategy. We seek to invest in ventures beyond the idea stage, meaning that you should have at least developed a minimum viable product (MVP) for your product or service.
Yes, while we generally prefer to invest in teams, as having co-founders can really strengthen the future success of the venture, we still consider individual founders with strong projects and teams.
When evaluating a company, we focus on three key areas - impact product, market, and team:
- Impact product: We evaluate whether the business is creating impact on one of the world’s largest environmental and social problems while also generating revenues. We also assess whether the timing is right and if it's possible to scale the business.
- Market: We look for product-market fit and assess the size of the market. We also consider whether the business is focused on the European market and if it has validated its market potential.
- Team: We evaluate whether the team has the ambition, sense of mission, expertise, and experience required to build the business. We also assess their ability to execute quickly and raise follow-on capital, as well as the dynamics within the founding team.
Yes, you can have raised capital before. We are comfortable with other investors being in your company's cap table. Our investment conditions remain the same, with a 100k ticket size through a convertible note with a 20% discount and a 5M cap.
If you have raised previous capital, we will take a closer at the structure of the round you are currently raising and see if it fits within our scope.
Yes, that's no problem! While we are based in Portugal, we invest in ventures across Europe. As long as your venture is incorporated in Europe or has most of its operations in Europe, you are eligible to participate in our program.
Since 2018, we have accelerated three cohorts of startups in our old version of maze x. We run the programme as a traditional cohort-based accelerator, not investing in ventures. Based on our learnings, we decided to change this. The new maze X invests in founders and offers a hands-on programme fully tailored to the needs of founders and accompanies them to raise their next round.
Nope! After years of running our accelerator with the traditional cohort-based model, we decided to test differently now. We are moving to a more tailored version, with the sprints following your specific needs to 1) avoid wasting your time on things you know already 2) speed up progress on the areas where YOU need help. However, we still believe in the power of the community created with an accelerator: you will have access to your peers and other alumni to learn from each other.
Yes, we are flexible with starting times. We understand that different startups have different needs, so we review this on a case-by-case basis with the maze x team.
We do not have pre-established piloting opportunities with corporates, however one of our priorities is supporting you in finding relevant commercial opportunities.
Our program is designed to give you hands-on support for 3 months, but we also offer post-program support to continue helping you grow your impact. That support is given through our platform, including resources, community directories and access to perks. We will also work with you towards preparing your next round of financing.
Yes, the program is fully run in English.
Yes, you can! While we have a fixed network of experts in relevant business areas such as product, sales, communications, HR, impact, and specific industries, we are constantly looking for opportunities to connect you with the right people. If you have a specific need or request, we will actively search within and outside of our network to find the best expert for you. Throughout the hands-on support program, we will work to ensure that you have access to the expertise and guidance that you need to succeed.
The hands-on support is delivered on a fully remote format. Although you are always welcome in Lisbon, there is no obligation that you are based here to be considered as a viable investment for maze x.