How to prepare a good application

April 2019

MiraclePlus hosts Accelerator twice a year, in the application, the most important thing is to give a clear introduction - who are your target users? What value does your product provide? What pain points does your product solve for target users, or what new experience does your product bring to users?

Seriously, never underestimate the importance of SPEAKING PLAINLY in your application. The mentors in charge of project reviewing may not understand your industry. When preparing an application, you need to be concise and clear so that even a layman can understand it. If you can clearly express what you do, what value your products have, and who the target users are, you are already ahead of most applicants

Many projects are excellent, but if founders can't clearly introduce themselves and what they do, we can't tell if the project is good or not. Every year we receive some applications that are obviously good or bad, but there are so many others in between that it's hard for us to tell. These applications look promising, but the applicants don't give us a clear enough message to help us understand what they are thinking

According to our estimations, more than half of applicants who qualify for interview invitations fail at the application stage because they fail to explain what they are doing exactly

If you want your application to stand out, you must be especially clear and concise. If we receive 1000 applications and we need to finish reviewing them in 10 days, we have to review 100 applications per day. That means, on average, the partner who reviews your application has already read 50 that day and has 50 more. Thus, you must be exceptionally clear and concise to make your application stand out. Whatever you want to say, say it with the most simple words at the beginning

All MiraclePlus partners will review the application materials. We read individually to avoid group thinkin

The first question we pay attention to is "What does your company do?" Even though it's not the most crucial question, we look at it first because we need something to MARK the application so it'll leave an impression in our minds

The best answer is very practical

Please avoid polishing your ideas with too many marketing phrases. For example, "We're going to change the relationship between the human and information," we've been immune to this kind of claim, and they're just like noises to us. They might sound impressive, but it conveys nothing. You can check your answer by doing the following - can your readers retell it? If the reader doesn't get a clearer message after reading the above sentence, then it fails to deliver the information

Meanwhile, please avoid elaborating on the importance of the problem you want to solve in the beginning. For example, “Information is the lifeblood of modern organizations. The ability to transfer information quickly and efficiently to those who need it is critical to a company’s success. All other things being equal, companies that gain an advantage in using information effectively will outperform.” Competitors do it better." After reading it, your readers have no idea what you're talking about. A good answer would be: "A database with a wiki-like interface, combined with a GUI that can control who can view and edit objects." We're not sure if this will be the next Tencent or Ali, but at least, after hearing it, we start to imagine what it would look like

In most cases, founders are reluctant to provide factual descriptions because those descriptions seem to limit your potential. "But it's more than just a database with a wiki-like user interface!" However, the less restrictive your descriptions are, the less you can say

In the same way, we recommend that startups do the same on Demo Day. It is better to describe your project "too detailedly" than to try to paint a big picture and lose your audience. If you have a simple one-sentence description of what you're doing, even if that only conveys half of the product's potential, that's pretty good. Think about it, as soon as you finish your first sentence, you're already at the midpoint of your journey

A good way to describe your project concisely is to explain it as a variation of something your audience already knows. You don't have to worry about it making your ideas look "derivative". In the past, some of the best ideas in history started by combining two existing ideas, and no one before realized that it could be done. For example, "It's like an internal Wikipedia for organizations", "It's like an answering service for email", and "It's the Taobao of job hunting". Descriptions like this are very effective

After spending about 20 seconds trying to understand the startup idea, we look at what kind of startup team it is

We want to know what kind of team we are dealing with. Three best friends who are about to graduate from college? Two co-workers who work at the same large company and want to jump ship? Are they all programmers? Or partners of programmer and businessman? In total, there could be 20 to 30 different combinations of founding teams

Then, we try to understand the past experiences of the founders. The most important question in deciding this is "Please tell us in a sentence or two about something impressive that each founder has done." To us, this is the most important question in the application. The question is very open and there is no standard answer. It could be that you did quite well in school, or you wrote a very popular software, or you paid your way through college after leaving home at 16. We place a higher value on how big the achievement is than on what kind of achievement you reached. Succeeding in a startup is "extraordinary" in one word, so we're looking for people who can do extraordinary things

As with other questions on the application, the best answers are the most specific and pragmatic. Specific examples would be more convincing. Many people answered this way: Jordan is a very dedicated person, and he gives 100% effort to every project. However, such generalizations are not helpful. We don't recommend that you list your start-up experience as your most impressive achievement, because we already know you did it. Why not talk about something else?

If you can't think of something that would make you stand out, why not choose the most difficult thing you've ever done? Preferably (though not necessarily) the most intellectually challenging

After getting to know the founder, we spend more time understanding the start-up idea

We pay more attention to founders than ideas because most of the startups we invest in will change their minds drastically afterward. If a group of founders is impressive enough, we will invest in them decisively. Of course, sometimes a really good idea also attracts our attention—because it proves that these founders are smart

When we look at a start-up idea, we focus on your insight into it, not its type. Just as what we look for in founders is how big the achievement is rather than what achievement it is. What are the features of your solution? Are you going to start an auction website? This could be a good or bad one. What matters is how you compete with Taobao

You need to elaborate on the uniqueness of your solution very specifically, how you will differentiate, and how you will break the monopoly of big companies. Introductions such as "It's well designed and easy to use" are common mistakes. It's not an insight, you're just claiming that you're going to perform well

The best start-up ideas are usually idiosyncratic, and very likely they will hit serious roadblocks. They sound crazy to most people, but we want to see that you are aware of these obstacles and have at least one idea of ​​how to overcome them

We'd be happy to get an application that answered "What are you going to do with a new search engine that can compete with Google?", as long as it's followed by "We know this sounds impossible, but we think we can gain a foothold in the following ways..." Even if the plan has only a 1% chance of success, it's worth supporting

However, if we find out that your idea may face obstacles, but you have never thought about it, it seems there's some trouble. You have at least a few days to ponder your thoughts, whereas we have only a few minutes. Theoretically speaking, it is difficult for us to object with a reason that even you have not thought of

Therefore, we recommend that you reveal all flaws in your thinking as much as possible, rather than trying to hide them. If we think of a question that you didn't put up, we tend to think you haven't thought it through. Moreover, we pay more attention to you than your thoughts, and it would be unwise to hide potential problems at the risk of failing in the application

If the founder seems promising and the idea has great potential, we are willing to spend more time reading the application materials

We check submitted videos (Statistically, we're more likely to interview people who submitted videos), we watch presentations, and we look at answers to more realistic questions like equity allocation

If founders look promising but their ideas aren't, we'll look at the answer of "founders' other ideas". We are willing to provide founders with funds to support them to implement their alternative plans

All in all, we recommend that applicants help us believe that you are great. Investors are optimists, and we are the opposite of most people you meet in your daily life

If you say you want to build the next Ali or Tencent, most people's first reaction is to doubt. It's partly because the chance of success is slim, and also because most people easily feel threatened by your ambition: you seem to look down on them, even if you don't mean to

Investors are different—not because they are more generous than others, but because they get equity. Tell investors that you will build the next Ali, and they will be full of enthusiasm. They don't question it immediately because they like to bet risks. Also, they don't think you're condescending because they want to achieve something great with you

Like all other investors, we want to believe in you and your star-tup idea. Please let us see your outstanding strengths, and some unique insights into the problems you want to solve

Meanwhile, please remember to be "concise". Please don't try to convince us. If we can understand you, everything else will follow. Every redundant sentence in your application will cause negative impacts. A good way to avoid this would be printing out your application form, crossing out all unnecessary information before submitting your application, and making sure what remains is specific and practical