In search for new opportunities and hoping to get connected with like minded entrepreneurs, many startup founders join accelerator programs all around the world.
Looking back at this time there are some recommendations for a successful accelerator program:
Quality is key
It all starts with the organizing team: A team that has wide experience in entrepreneurship, knows the sector and also the industry the startups operate in, is able to pick the most promising startups. Quality brings quality, so before worrying about finding the startups that will be able to tackle the market and gain top positions, it is important to bring together excellent people to run the program on the day to day basis. To select the startups but also to give them structure and support while they are going through the acceleration process.
Analyse the startups thoroughly
Before beginning the acceleration phase of three, four or six months as it is typical, it is important to understand the startups well. What phase are they in? How do they work together? What are their next goals? So as to be able to craft a good plan for their time in-house, to find the right mentors that match their needs and to check up on them at needed times. Taking the time to evaluate the startups in the beginning will make the matchmaking with mentors, the timelines and deadlines and goals for Demo Day so much more fitting and fruitful for the startups.
Keep your priorities clear
Instead of for developing their business some of the entrepreneurs get distracted by all that the new surrounding has to offer them. Four months filled with cool things but maybe too many different things so as not to focus on what matters. The organizers put a lot of effort into bringing in professionals of different fields to conduct workshops or give speeches for all to learn from but since the offer is so big, oftentimes it is hard for the startup entrepreneurs to combine all. And on top of educational offer, a load of fun and recreational activities, the thrill of being in a new environment in a foreign culture surrounded by new friends also made for many distractions.
All in all, an accelerator buys a startup time. Time to focus on their product, to understand the customer’s problems, to develop solutions and to craft a plan for the future – it can be a moment to focus on getting the business running. However this time needs to be treasured and treated carefully. For most entrepreneurs it is important to have a top-quality staff, to analyze the startups at the very beginning assessing their needs and to keep the priorities at the top of mind.