You might be wondering what the hustle and bustle on startup accelerators are about. For the past years, there has been quite a lot of buzz on this topic. Accelerators are frequently referred to as a way for startups to grow. But how does this work? How will you know if your startup is ready for an accelerator?
An accelerator is a type of business program that highly supports early-stage businesses. These cohort programs offer education, mentorship, and funding. Startup accelerators have been helping businesses to grow to the next level. In just a span of a decade (from 2005–2015), startup accelerators increased from zero to over 200 in the US alone. These organizations are sprouting like mushrooms all over the globe. Its rapidly growing number could only mean that they are instrumental in scaling businesses.
Some notable businesses that successfully completed an accelerator program are Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, Reddit, Coinbase, and Weebly.
At a glance, some startups assume that an accelerator program guarantees sure funding from investors. However, that is not the case most of the time. The competition is high, and so much is at stake. But weighing all the possibilities, a startup accelerator is worth every risk.
Startup Accelerator Processes
Joining an accelerator is quite tedious. It has a long and agonizing process. For a startup accelerator, here are its processes:
- In choosing an accelerator, one must have social proof. Shortlist accelerators who have high-profile “graduates” of their programs. Make sure that the businesses mentioned are successful. Also, find out how much funding these businesses received. Connecting with an accelerator of an excellent track record benefits you more in the long run and helps your company grow.
- Network and connections are essential in every business aspect. Accelerators are one of the platforms that can help you build these connections. That is why it’s vital to find the right accelerator that can bridge you to people that are relevant to your business. Evaluate the accelerator of your choice. Find out who their mentors are, their field of expertise, and the quality of their programs.
- Make sure that the accelerator of your choice is near your location. As mentioned, there are a lot of accelerators in the US and around the world. You need an accelerator that’s within convenient reach.
Apply to the accelerator
Once you’ve chosen an accelerator, go ahead and apply. During the application, engage with the operator and find out more about them. Once your application is approved, it does not obligate you to join and accept the program.
Try to recall your conversations and determine if the program they are offering is right for you. If you don’t think that it can help your business, you can always opt out even if you are accepted. Some startup founders have also pulled out even after they were accepted.
If you don’t get the approval, don’t be disheartened. You can always try with another accelerator. But before you do, reevaluate your application. Find out what aspect or factor resulted in the rejection and try to remedy this as soon as possible.
Once you are in a program, you are expected to participate in seminars, workshops, and mentorship opportunities that will help you in growing your business. In attending these, you should always have an open mind. Be a sponge that absorbs all the information that you can get. By the end of every session, find out what will work for your business.
Graduation day! It is during this stage that you apply everything they’re acquired from the program. After this, you present your startup’s business model. Your presentation will then decide whether you get the funding or not.
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What to expect from an accelerator
Some might expect startup accelerators to be solely about funding. Well… yes, but that’s not all. A startup accelerator program is more than that.
When you get accepted in an accelerator, remember to set your mind and your schedules properly. You will embark on an intensive series of seminars, workshops, and mentorship week by week for three months or more.
Though your calendar will be jam-packed, your mind will surely be full. These seminars and workshops can help strengthen your business and solidify your MVP. For every session you attend, always keep your business in mind. Try to assess what techniques, systems, or methods will work in growing your business. During the program, find a mentor that will share practices that ensure better results.
The sole interest of startup accelerators is to help startups get the funding they need in bringing their business to the next level. But your success always depends on how you put your learning into action.
Is your business ready for an accelerator?
Before you jump out of the boat and climb into a ship, you need to make sure that you know how to swim. You can’t just decide to join an accelerator simply because you own a startup. Not every startup is ready for an accelerator. Ask yourself and gauge the status of your startup.
As a startup founder, can you afford to allocate 100% of your time for the accelerator program? As mentioned earlier, your schedule will be overflowing. Besides, the pressure and competition are intense in this arena. You need to invest your time and effort to be on par with the other startup founders. You also need to be coachable. Are you willing to listen, learn, and apply programs organized by others?
Focusing on your business, accelerators set a criterion to judge if your business is ready for them.
What makes your business different from others? It’s not enough by merely answering this question. You must convey your competitive advantage to the accelerator effectively. Use the elevator pitch. You must show the accelerators that they can also benefit from your business success.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
An MVP is a technique used by businesses where they deliver a product with satisfactory features in the shortest time possible. Along the way, additional features are added to make a reliable product. Accelerators tend to bypass startups without an MVP. The absence of this is an indicator that the business is yet to develop a product or service that they intend to sell to customers.
What good is a strong product concept without a capable team that can build it? You need a team that can develop your product to build a specified customer program. A strong team is an assurance of a stable product, boosting chances of success.
How can Full Scale help you?
If you need a capable tech team to prepare you for a startup accelerator, then you need to look up Full Scale. We only hire top-tier developers, testers, designers, and project managers who are equipped to develop software products. You don’t need to micromanage your startup. We’re here to help you focus on creating innovative ideas to grow your business.
Not only that. Full Scale is led by two successful entrepreneurs, Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson, who are experienced in the startup industry. This power duo can help you scale up your business. Talk to them, schedule an appointment here.