Start-up accelerators are a business growth scheme or program that helps improve a business’s growth and quality of services. They are like the Beast Barracks for start-ups. Although short-termed, it produces tremendous results for business owners. It is commonly said that graduates from top-tier accelerator programs make progress and achieve a lot in a short period.
Should I apply to startup accelerators?
Once you are clear on the kind of product/solution you want to build, have some product-market fit, and have a basic functional team that can execute the project. You should apply to an accelerator! The next best thing that can happen to your startup once you have all the basics sorted will be getting accepted into an accelerator.
What are Startup Accelerators?
First off, let’s explain what start-up accelerators are all about.
As a startup founder, more often than not, there are situations that are stretching the limits of all you learnt in business school or your experience in entrepreneurship. Accelerators can be really helpful in getting through these tough spots. They provide a soft landing for entrepreneurs where you need funding, advice, and mental models to guide your decision.
The startup accelerator Model.
The help you need is structured in a “boot-camp-like” program, to help you scale through the phase you are in. Competition in the Start-up space can be intense, and every startup must constantly evaluate and build on their competitive advantage. One core principle about accelerator programs is that they have a narrow focus. They scout for upcoming, newly-founded companies with momentum for development. Sometimes accelerators want start-ups in a particular industry, so you must pay attention to what the accelerator program is looking for before applying.
Accelerators vs Incubators
Accelerators differ from incubators. While accelerators are focused on accelerating companies (like the name implies) and scaling them up, incubators aim at brooding on newly-founded start-ups to help them develop and maximize their resource.
Incubators can be regarded as preparatory grounds for accelerators. In the same vein, the time frame for accelerators is for a few months, incubators last for a longer term- sometimes it takes a year or more to complete a program.
Brad Feld, Co-founder, Techstars, described the accelerator experience like this: “The accelerator experience is a process of intense, rapid, and immersive education aimed at accelerating the life cycle of young innovative companies, compressing years’ worth of learning-by-doing into just a few months”. Perhaps an accelerator is what you need to scale up your business to the next level.
Why you should apply to startup accelerators
- Extensive Support from Mentors
The truth is running a Start-up can be tough. Accelerators provide you with direction, experience, and knowledge. When you are a part of an accelerator, you get to be mentored by Pros in your industry- folks that have gone ahead of you. You will get to learn from their mistakes, their strength and draw inspiration from their success stories.
2. Access to potential investors
One of the amazing things about accelerator programs is that they connect you to potential investors. Who knows, Mark Zuckerberg might be in the room when you would be presenting your company’s idea. These days accelerator programs fix a meet and greet session with investors, perhaps this can be the door that opens all other doors for your company. Don’t think about it too much, apply for an accelerator program today.
3. Accelerated knowledge
An accelerator program packs in so much information from the years of experience and skills that each mentor has amassed. The volume of information you would get access to in an accelerator program would speed up your startup to the next level. Simply put, you would be leveraging on the wisdom and accumulated knowledge of mentors. Without any controversy, this would put the odds in your favour in the startup space.
4. You would learn proper Risk Management
The truth is, the fear of failure is a common emotion shared by many start-up founders- especially when your start-up has scaled through the incubating phase. Accelerators would help you understand the risk you are taking, from the market you are entering, the product you are offering, and the concept that you are selling. An accelerator would help you identify risks and help you minimize them to the barest minimum.
5. A clear cut perspective of the future
Perhaps you are relatively new to the market and the complexities in the start-up, and you are unclear about the future of your start-up. Mentors in accelerator programs can help you see the complexity that will develop in time and steer you in the right direction to deal with it. They can ask the questions that get you thinking of the bigger picture and what it should look like. Then these mentors can suggest the tools and tactics get you there.
6. Accelerator program would give you the right Motivation and Morale
We all need the motivation to keep going on in life, whether as a writer, an artist, an entrepreneur, or a start-up founder. When you listen to the ups and down of mentors in accelerator programs, you would find solace in the fact that you are not alone. And whatever stage you are in, you would realize there is a high chance that you would make progress.
Applying for an accelerator program could get your start-up a financial raise, but it’s the least important reason to join an accelerator. The money roughly represents about 10% of why you should join the program.
The value is not in the money; it’s about the long-term opportunities and success in your business.Business HUb One
You can get your business funded much faster than on your own due to the network you gain access to; but essentially before you are ready to take any external money you need to know what you are building, who are your clients, how you test your value proposition, how to get your customers on board, what are your challenges as an entrepreneur to build a successful business. And how to overcome these problems – this is what you get within three months.