Questions about the Pre-Production Accelerator:
- Is there a deadline for applications?
- We’ll be taking applications for the Winter 2015 Cohort through December 7th, 2014. The deadline for applying for the Summer 2015 Cohort is midnight on April 30th.
- Does my entire team need to be in Montreal?
- Your core team needs to be in Montreal for the duration of the program. Part of the experience, especially the learning and teaching part, comes from being in the same physical space. Also there’s the Office Badger…
- Do you take studios from outside of Canada?
- Absolutely! We can help you get settled if you’re an international team.
- Does my team need to be complete before we apply?
- Your core team–meaning the team that will be in Montreal for the duration of the PPA–needs to be in place prior to submitting your application. This doesn’t mean you can’t bring new folks on board after you leave us, of course.
- Does my team already need to be incorporated?
- For those legally allowed to work in Canada, we can take teams that are either already incorporated or teams that are not. For international teams, you must be incorporated already.
- Can we use contractors if our team is missing a key resource?
- Your team’s three keys roles (Business, Tech and Creative) cannot be outsourced. But you can get outside help for other missing pieces. For example, La Hacienda (from award-winning Papo y Yo) is a key partner and they will be able to provide audio production help to any team that needs it.
- Can you apply solo or do you have to be part of an existing team?
- Based on the criteria you’ll find on the Programs page, you’ll notice that we require a team of no less than 3 people.
- Do all team members have to be full-time?
- Yes. It’s really, really hard to be a part-time entrepreneur. This should be all you’re focused on during the time you’re with us and beyond.
- There is mention of an additional 2 months to work in the Labs after the 3 month program is over. What’s that all about?
- There will be a couple months gap between the end of one PPA cohort and the start of the next PPA cohort. Teams that are on the verge of signing a deal or finalizing their production funding may be invited to “linger” longer in the Labs to help reduce burn before their funding comes in…and to make sure they don’t run off to Belize with all the money.
- What if I want to make a PC game. Are only mobile/tablet games allowed?
- We would love for you to apply with a PC or console prototype. We are platform and business model neutral at XL!
- How can the funding be used? Are there any restrictions?
- The use of the funds is relatively flexible, though we will help you with your budget and planning. And we’ll certainly question that “design retreat cruise” to the Caribbean. The focus should be on using the funds to achieve the goals of the PPA, namely refining your prototype and securing your production funding. That means using it to pay team member and contractor wages, funding a trip to a key conference, paying for a slick trailer, etc.
- What’s the deal with the 0.16% equity per $1000 formula?
- If you decide to take the maximum amount of money ($50k), we want to cap our equity stake at 14% to make sure your company can raise funds from additional investors down the road. That happens to work out to 0.16% equity per $1000 invested. It’s kind of a weird percentage, but who are we to question math? As another example, if you need $14k in funding through the program, our final equity stake would be 6% + (14 * 0.16%) = 8.24% total. The bottom line is that you decide how much money you need, and the equity you give us varies accordingly.
Questions about the Finishing Fund:
- Is there a deadline for applying to the Finishing Fund?
- No, there is not! We’re always looking for interesting projects to invest in, so there are no hard deadlines.
- My studio is located on Mars? Can we apply?
- Technically, yes, because we’ll consider investing in your game no matter where your studio is located.
- Whoa, track record of success? How much success are we expected to have had?
- We are looking at how many games you have already shipped as a studio, and how well those were received in the marketplace (i.e., press reviews, user ratings, etc.), and to what extent they generated enough revenue to keep your studio alive. We are not expecting team members to be zipping around town in Ferraris due to their past blockbusters.
- What determines how much equity we give XL?
- The range is generally 2%-9%, depending on a number of factors. Some of the things we consider include how much help you’ll need from XL’s experts, how close you are to launch, the experience of your team, your studio’s past successes, and how much funding we’re providing.
- To what extent can XL management or mentors mandate creative decisions (e.g. “Change those ninjas to dragons, sir!”)?
- We can’t. We’re here to guide and help, and perhaps in some cases strongly encourage you, but these are your games and your decisions.
- If against all odds we fail, what do we “owe” back to XL?
- Nothing. These aren’t loans. That said, we do hope that you’ll share your story with others in the XL family so they can learn from your experiences…even if they’re painful!