Do you need an accelerator?
Tonight I decided to find out what an accelerator and an incubator look like, how they are created, who are they good for and who should actually avoid them. So let’s start with finding out what an accelerator actually is.
WHAT IS AN ACCELERATOR
HENRIK: Accelerators were initially started by a gentleman called Paul Graham who designed the blueprint for what an accelerator. He started an organization called Y Combinator also referenced to as YC here in Silicon Valley.
SIA: This is Henrik Scheele, a Danish serial entrepreneur who now lives in San Francisco. Hendrik is a global keynote speaker and he works with a long list of industry leading companies, universities and Start-Up accelerators in over 25 countries around the world.
HENRIK That is incredibly successful and they’ve started all kinds of incredible companies, most notably companies like Airbnb and Dropbox, Stripe and Reddit, Coinbase, Mixpanel, Quora, Optimized Lead, like some of these. Many many unicorns have come out of YC over the years and they’ve really laid all the groundwork and they tested on all different approaches and ended up with this 12 week program you get now. I think it’s about one hundred fifty thousand dollars, so that you can focus.You don’t need to make additional income, you get 150K to be part of this three month program.
SMALL BUSINESS VS STARTUP
SIA: Before we move any further, there is something we need to clarify. I have heard people using “business” and “Start-Up” interchangeably when they do talk about accelerators. But I am sure there is a difference. And by far not everyone was an idea is a good fit for an accelerator and should consider it.
HENRIK: You made a really good point in asking me to differentiate between small and medium-sized companies and high growth startups because that’s another common misconception. People don’t quite understand that when we talk about startups in Silicon Valley we talk about these high growth startups and those are very different animals compared to your average small business. You can absolutely be an entrepreneur. And that’s one of the things I always make a point in emphasizing when I’m teaching entrepreneurship.
I think it’s great to be an entrepreneur and be a small business owner. Absolutely phenomenal. You can actually have a life if you are running a small business which won’t be possible if you’re starting a high growth company.
But if you want to change the world and if you want to impact a billion people, there is no choice but you have to go the high growth startup route. You will have to raise tens of millions of dollars in funding and play that game but it comes with a lot of consequences. When you go down that high growth startup road, when you take funding, you give up equity and automatically you’re giving up control. And after two or three rounds of funding, guess what?
Now the investors are in charge and you could actually get fired from your own company. So it’s one of those things that people tend to glorify, these high growth entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk.
But it really comes at a high price as well. You can be a great entrepreneur and run a small business or what we sometimes refer to as more of a lifestyle while you are growing more organically, simply powered by your own revenue. As you increase your revenue, you can hire more people, you can sell more product and so on. That can be a very healthy business and you can become very wealthy running that type of company. It’s just not going to be nearly as fast. And so typically in Silicon Valley and in another sort of top startup ecosystems, we talk about high growth startups and they are the ones who are going for and the billion dollar acquisition or IPO and hoping to become this unicorn company.
What does it look and feel like to be inside a world-class accelerator like the world famous Y Combinator Henrik is talking about? It is very hard to get into any of those top accelerators. It actually is harder to get into Y Combinator than into Harvard or any other Ivy League school. So Y Combinator gets thousands of applications each year and they pick up a handful of applicants. So what they’re trying to do is to make you fit over the course of 12 weeks a year or two years worth of progress for your business. An accelerator will supply you with access to all the best mentors or mentors they can get and technology experts in your very specific domain that you can think of and that’s the benefit.
It all comes to the point at the Demo Day or sometimes they call it Pitch Day after the 12 week period where you get to present your Start-Up to a room packed with some of the best investors in the world. The investors also know that the quality of the accelerator program is so high so they trust you, they assume that your Start-Up already made a lot of progress. They assume that you found at least some initial product-market fit and you’re ready to build the next unicorn Start-Up and that’s what they look for after this 12 week. Accelerator model is really very intense and you work maybe something like a hundred hours a week and you are constantly changing your idea based on the input you get from the market.
WHAT IS IT LIKE INSIDE ACCELERATOR
HENRIK: You have this very intense mentorship model where you’re constantly getting new input from all these different very smart people. You get all the introductions to potential supply chain partners, manufacturing partners, distribution partners, partnerships with people who could help market your product and so on. Then you have the Demo Day and evaluations of these YC companies some of which literally started twelve weeks ago and now are in the tens of millions of dollars. So you have much better odds of raising a lot of money. Some of my friends have gone through YC and they all say that it’s just the access you get and the exposure you get on that Demo Day especially is just outrageous. They all get oversubscribed which means that you basically have more investors asking to invest in your company than how much money you actually need. So you have to say no to investors which is a very unusual situation for entrepreneurs, at least so early in the process, but that’s what happens.
HOW TO TELL A GOOD ACCELERATOR FROM A BAD ONE
The way Heinrich describes the top 10 accelerate sounds quite enticing. Wouldn’t you want to be oversubscribed and chased by investors and launch your own AirBnB or Dropbox? Before you throw away your full-time job and begin a Start-Up founders journey, how do you know for sure an accelerator or an incubator is going to improve your chances of success? It’s really hard to tell just by looking at the glossy web site what goes on inside an accelerator program. They all have the same promise of helping you to get to the next level. But they offer little specific information about how they go about it. It makes it pretty hard to decide whether to apply to one at all and also to determine which one will be the best personal fit for you.
HENRIK: Initially ask yourself and your co-founder what kind of company we’re trying to build here. Make sure you have aligned your expectations on the type of company you want to start. Because I see a lot of confounding teams that haven’t really taken the time to sit down and create a good co-founder agreement. And where you also have this honest heart to heart on how big do we want to grow this potentially? Do we want to start a unicorn you know disruptive a billion dollar company and work 100 hours a week and not see our spouses and our friends for the next 10 years because that’s what it takes.
If you want to build a unicorn, a billion dollar company and you want to change the world, you’re not going to see your family, you’re not going to see your friends, you’re not going to enjoy weekends and happy hours is going to be super focused for a very long time. And the risk of failure is very high. So, first of all, you need to sit down and say OK, how fast do we want to run? What are we willing to sacrifice to build this company? But if you say “OK, we’re going to give it everything we’ve got for the next five to ten years”, then you need to be very picky with the type of accelerator you choose.
You want to make sure that there are industry experts in your specific industry so that you feel like the people that you are going to be talking to and spending a lot of time with and actually have real connections to offer you and real personal experience. Not just that they’ve been part of a company at a later stage but they need to have operational experience from the early days, where they raise the funding, where they made those critical decisions that could make or break the company. And ideally also some people with a good Rolodex that they can open up to you and in a place where there’s a culture for opening up and sharing. So you should absolutely be willing to also move to find the right accelerator with those type of people.
But what are some of the warning signs? I guess I would spend some time talking to startups that have been through the program and really tried to evaluate how ambitious they are and whether they felt the mentors were truly dedicated to helping them out. Was it hard to get face to face time with the mentors? What was the quality of the investors on Demo Day? Again, depending on what you’re trying to get out of this program. If you really want to raise funding, you should really ask a lot of questions about Demo Day and the quality of the investors and how much money have previous cohorts raised? Are they able to actually connect with not just investors who like to call themselves investors and attended a lot of Demo Days but real investors who are active and are investing? Y reputation will also be ultimately tied up with this accelerator.There are a few places you can go to check out the credibility of the accelerator and the start-ups this accelerator has supported in the past. Look at Crunchbase and Angel's List for a good indication of quality. Click To Tweet
ANDREA: Crunchbase.com is pretty much a network of businesses and people that actually set up those businesses, so you can see you can learn a whole lot about a particular company around the metrics behind them.
This is Andrea Piazza who designs accelerators amongst others for Start-Up Bootcamp, but also produces a weekly into producing a podcast and is a business mentor himself.
ANDREA:Also you can learn a whole lot about their founders and the people that have invested or joined a board or somehow have helped that Start-Up. So Crunchbase is a wonderful base for that type of information and you can find a whole lot about companies on Crunchbase. It’s a highly reputed, high authority. That is a pretty good source. LinkedIn would be another source for the people that are not familiar with Angel List. It’s angel.co. The idea is that you would have LinkedIn for people involved in the Start-Up world so you can also and learn more about a particular company or a particular person and who they have engaged with, what is their expertise in the industry and so forth.
Check with the start-ups that graduated from the accelerator, try to approach them via the resources that I mentioned before (LinkedIn, CrunchBase, Angel list) and approach them saying “I’m considering this accelerator. I noticed that your company has been part of that in the previous class. Can I buy you coffee? Would you recommend it? Would you be able to tell me more about it?”
You’ll be surprised you’re gonna get a high rate of return on that because Start-Up founders are very sensitive to this and they understand that pointing people in the wrong direction is not a good thing. So developing that and networking with graduate founders is gonna be really of help in terms of validating that this is the right accelerator for you
So we are checking the credibility and we’re talking to the people who graduated. Another thing you can use Crunchbase for it still look into the quality of start-ups and success rates from a particular accelerator. You can search for a company that interests you and then when you further drill down you will see which accelerator they have attended and how much investment they have raised. There is one more thing to keep in mind. And it is what type of accelerator you wanted to choose. Some of them specialize in the industry, for example, food or travel. Others take one product or one idea and apply it across all industries. For example, biotech accelerator, that would be looking for companies with ideas involving biotech regardless of which industry this technology will be applied to. Accelerators assume that when you apply you already have an idea, have a team co-founder and ready to conquer the world. But what if you just have a hunch? Or maybe you have more than one idea and no team or no co-founder. How do you get to that next stage, the next level of maturity of your business idea? Well, one of the ways to test out the waters is to join a so-called pre-accelerator.
WHAT IS A PRE-ACCELERATOR
KSENIA: Something like Startup Onramp is usually for people who still have a job and full time job sometimes, and they have a side hustle and then something that they just don’t know how to take it further.
I’m talking to Ksenia Demidova who is looking after an Australian Gold Coast-based pre-accelerator program called Startup Onramp. This pre-accelerator started in Brisbane and was so successful with its very first-year cohort that the founder of Onramp was able to secure government funding and he now rolled out the program across Queensland.
KSENIA: The Startup Onramp has been founded by Colin Kina who is a serial entrepreneur and it started in Brisbane. So they run their own first cohort in Brisbane and they got extremely successful. They had about 12 startups graduating from that program and continue their journey. The Gold Coast Innovation Hub chose Startup Onramp to run at our premises because it is a brilliant program. It is a great pre-accelerator program which means obviously that the businesses come there with just an idea. They don’t necessarily have to have revenue or clients just like accelerator will have requirements for. And it takes them through completely the very beginning of what is a startup, what differentiates successful startups from failures, and goes into depths of investing and getting investments and pitching for investments. It actually takes through the whole journey of what you need to know to start a tech startup.
Something like Startup Onramp is usually for people who still have a job, and full-time job sometimes and they have a side hustle and then something that they just don’t know how to take it further. That’s when they’ve actually come in for Startup Onramp further. Once they’re developing the idea, they already have a business app and they already have potential clients or connections or whatnot. They come to the Gold Coast Innovation Hub and a business incubator would obviously be able to provide them with context, with support, with mentoring accountability and also a great space to work for and collaborate with other like-minded individuals. Accelerator is actually a structured mentoring program and it’s obviously a past the companies already wants to grow. And it’s either we look for two types of companies as the first one is people who already have a product and already have revenue, and the second one has been potentially operating for a long time and they already have millions of revenue but they actually want to enter a high growth phase. So that’s tied to types of accelerators that we’re going to be running as well.
Very recently there was a report published by Start-Up Public that puts Australia in the top five countries worldwide to found a Start-Up. The best place among the five best places and this year Australia was only superseded by the US, UK, Canada and Israel. Not too bad. And if you are thinking about moving to Australia and planning to start a Start-Up, then you should consider Sydney because based on that same report, Sydney is the best city in Australia for start-ups.
I think this is an amazing result considering that only five years ago Australia had just four accelerators and now there are over 25 incubators and accelerators to choose from. Down Under.Recently Australia introduced a new visa that allows Start-Up founders to live in Australia while building up their start-ups and no investment capital required. Just bring your good idea. Click To Tweet
So if you decide a Start-Up is for you, you know now where to go to establish it.
Let’s assume that finding the 10 million dollar funding is not necessarily your primary goal but you still want to go through the acceleration process. So I wonder, are there other goals? Is there anything else that you can get out of the accelerator other than just the money?
HENRIK:If you’re still trying to determine product market fit and you haven’t really found your customer base, then you want to make sure that there are people in the mentor network that really have started from scratch several different times, ideally, again, with industry experience related to the company you’re building. People who can give you some advice on that because that will just be incredibly valuable and help really fast track you to a better direction if you can find people who’ve already done it, who already seen it, who know how those people think and have dealt with these types of customers before. That’s especially true for B2B, it’s all about finding those people who have the right connections and right insights because those things are typically hard to test. But if you end up with a mentor who’s just been in that industry for 35 years, that person will be able to open those doors and you can get on the phone with those potential customers on day one. And that will be just invaluable for your experience. And on the flip side, if your growth challenge is more around manufacturing or distribution channels or whatever it might be, then find again mentors who have experience with that part of the business.
Andrea Piazza has another tip, I even would say, another approach to picking the stage of your entrepreneurialism journey when you should consider joining an accelerator. I actually would say it’s quite an opposite to what Henrik just suggested.
ANDREA: When joining an accelerator, when considering one accelerator, make sure that you actually take your Start-Up and your idea as far as you can get. That is going to give you an upper hand when negotiating down the line very important things such as equity. So the principle is, if you can validate your idea, your product and your business before joining an accelerator, that is going to give you an upper hand because the number of things that you need to do while in the accelerator is less. That is in direct conflict with the idea of the accelerator which is precisely to actually get some of that done. But the farthest you can go before you join it, the more relevant you become to the partners that are sponsoring the program, to investors that are going to be considering investing in that cohort of start-ups, and even to your customers because you are going to be closer to them in terms of having an offering that is pre-validated and a better understanding of your sales model and your business model.When considering one accelerator, make sure that you actually take your Start-Up and your idea as far as you can get. That is going to give you an upper hand when negotiating down the line very important things such as equity. Click To Tweet
It appears to me that so much quality and value of an accelerator actually depends on Mentors. I just wonder what does it take to be a good mentor? Why somebody would agree to be a mentor, to spend all this time, share their knowledge? But they’re not getting paid for it. And also you know if you want to make two years worth of progress over the course of just 12 weeks, you absolutely need people with real expertise in the room and not some former math teacher that decided not to become a director over but be a part of this particular accelerator.
HENRIK: You need somebody who has personal entrepreneurial experience, who started companies, who’ve been through what we call the trough of sorrow, which is this miserable time in an entrepreneur’s life where you’re desperately trying to find product market fit. So you’re trying all kinds of different things to figure out what actually works and if you haven’t gone through that process of customer discovery and customer development, basically, this process where you’re constantly iterating and testing different ideas in a very systematic way in order to find this product market fit. Finding out what kind of product people actually want to use or what they want to buy from you. It’s very hard to teach it.Many mentors that I come across have a very genuine wish or hope to give back to the next generation of entrepreneurs. But I see many of the mentors that are relatively successful, they also used this as a way to find new portfolio companies. And so they’re hoping to potentially invest in you at a later stage. Basically look at this mentoring role as the ultimate way of doing due diligence on you and your team. To actually be part of those conversations: they can see how you think, how you make decisions, how you operate and they’ll get some very valuable insights to add to the growth trajectory of your company. So I’d say some of them are in it for the potential financial opportunity of investing in you at a very early stage, but many mentors are also just really interested in giving back and they believe in entrepreneurs and the way that entrepreneurs improve the state of the world. They also get energy from it. It’s fun to be a mentor. It’s fun to be part of a company and many of the mentors might have done it four or five or six times and they’re done being the founders themselves but they still enjoy the rush, they still enjoy this very exciting process of starting a new company and then they get to be part of it without being the one who has to work at 3 a.m. to fix some bug on the web site.
The truth though is that not every mentor you will be introduced to is the right fit. Your relationship with your mentor is a matching process and you do need a mentor that has experience in the industry that you were in and has successfully solved problems similar to those that you are facing. And that’s not necessarily the case with the very first mentor that you will be introduced to and your accelerator.
ANDREA It’s a little bit of a matching process in the sense that sometimes the communication may not flow well. Sometimes the mentor doesn’t really have the particular expertise that you’re looking for or they are not that experienced having those problems solved or sometimes maybe they’re too set in their ways which is probably the hardest to diagnose. They really think that there is one type of a solution when in reality there are multiple ways of finding a solution for that problem that you’re facing. So to me, it’s really to check on their credentials. You have a conversation, you see how far you can go. You do not fall prey to biases into thinking that just because the communication is not flowing, there is not the right person for you or vice versa because the conversation is flowing so well and they are so engaging that they are the right people for you too. It’s really a process of finding multiple mentors and checking and invalidating those ideas with multiple people as you go through that journey. That is one of the reasons why the accelerators are over a course of time. So we actually have the opportunity to find multiple mentors to solve different problems in potential even to hash out you know just like doctors. You know, somebody told you one diagnose and one course of action, maybe you want to talk to somebody else who is equally experienced and might have another take on the problem.
I did know so you can go from mentor to a mentor. Can you come to people who organize accelerate and say “Well, we’re not clicking… Can you help me find another one?”
ANDREA There is usually a pool of mentors available to you. Out of that pool of people, you’re probably gonna be paired with two or three right off the bat. And I think there should be some flexibility around.
I think that should be part of it for a variety of reasons. Nobody is going to be reading too much into that. If they’re reading too much into that, that is the wrong accelerator and there is the wrong mentor for you too.
With all these benefits of mentorship, education and potential funding, it might actually be quite exciting to apply and enjoy join one of those accelerators but I’m not sure if that is for everyone, even if you’re qualified to be a Start-Up.
HENRIK: We’re not all cut out to start our own companies and we probably even shouldn’t even try to go down that route because it’s incredibly hard and most people just end up becoming depressed or at least very frustrated if they tried to start an entrepreneurial endeavour without being really in it for the right reasons. You can only become an entrepreneur if you’re not just passionate, but actually obsessed with a problem that you want to solve.
If you need to make money, I always tell my students:If you want to make money – don't be an entrepreneur, don't try to start a company if you just intend to make money. Click To Tweet
Much better to study finance or something like that and go to Wall Street, or find another path because entrepreneurship is extremely hard. It is an extreme sport to start a new company and it’s just very difficult but it has become very hyped and a lot of people now talk about entrepreneurship and a lot of students at least want to try it out. And I think that’s for the most part good. I’ve talked about this in some of the TEDx Talks I’ve given over the last couple of years on this topic of why all young people need to have an entrepreneurial mindset.
So the world is changing at an exponential rate and we all need to become effective problem solvers. We all need to be good at adapting our skill sets, our mindset, our tools so that we can continue to create value for the world. And if you don’t have this entrepreneurial attitude and are willing to adapt you, will become obsolete and you will have a very hard time finding a job or are certainly creating one for yourself.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT IDEA FOR AN ACCELERATOR
If you decide to join an accelerator, there’s also always the question if what you have in mind would actually make a Start-Up or a small business. And so coming up with the right type of idea becomes very important. Ksenia refers to it as a painkiller and not a vitamin pill type idea. So I want to know from Ksenia how she suggests people work hard if their idea is any good.
KSENIA: So I think the first thing is the frequency and the use of the idea by the potential customer. So again
So that analogy is used quite a lot. Is it actually really some sort of pain for the customers, the pain that they actually really have always or is it just an add-on to their life. And like the vitamin, obviously, it doesn’t necessarily actually make their life so much easier. And I have a very very strong need for it. Also, you can have a Google test which is actually a toothbrush test. So which means that if you’re a customer, ideally you’d be potentially using it just as often as you brush their teeth. So at least twice a day. And that idea has obviously legs to grow, it has an opportunity, it just depends on the need of it. And the next thing is to understand how much can you grow in scale. And if you can grow in scale, how much your cost will or will not increase with that as well. Again, that’s a reason why software and tech companies are always fantastic. The ones who produce the software and produce something that people can use. Scalability is a big thing. So ask yourself a question if that business can actually go worldwide? Does it have the ability to grow? How much? Also, the biggest differentiation between startup and small business that if your consumer base grows exponentially and really massively, does your revenue and your cost increase as well? If you’re actually putting the time into it and it all definitely depends on yourself, then that’s not going to be a startup. And at the same time, if you require more customers to use it but your cost unnecessarily grows much either, there will be a startup as well. A really great example of one of the businesses that came in so many layers as you went through. So she’s been a hater in hate tribe for about 10 years. So a massive program problem that that space has and come up with solutions, it’s software that helps out at high tech professionals and repopulates the documents already that HR professionals use and also especially focusing on the law mitigation. So she launched that. That’s definitely a startup, it has an ability to cover the market not only in Australia but all around the world. Obviously, with some differentiation from countries, like, different law and whatnot, but again this scope is absolutely massive.
If listening to our guests makes you want to join accelerator and you are prepared for the hard work and the loss of some equity of your company, then let’s look into the best way to get the most out of you accelerated experience. So what is it that you need to focus on when you are inside the accelerator? Is that your mindset? Is it the maturity view idea? So this is what I want to know from Andrea.
ANDREA: So number one would be clarity on your goals. What is it that you want next? You named of several of these things, is it your product that you want to validate? Is it your market that you want to get a better grasp? Is it a customers that you want to acquire and validate your sales process? Is it the partners that you’re trying to attract because they are gonna be taking you to the next level? They’re gonna be allowing you to have access to something. Or is it investors? So clarity on your goals is really the first thing that you want to have when you are being approaching or you’re being selected as part of an accelerator. I think the other thing is to take the accelerator seriously. In other words, the activities that are working, the steps that you’re taking. Even though they may seem sometimes redundant, do your part, do your homework. Be there, be present and really try to think through and see your business, your ideas for the lenses that they’re proposing you. The other idea is for you to network smart. In other words, when you’re being provided opportunities to network within the industry, within other people, make sure that you are tapping into the things that are going to be relevant to you, the things that are going to be making an impact to your goals.
WHAT IS AN INCUBATOR
HENRICK: It varies anywhere from simply just a co-working space that they call an incubator to some kind of combination of an accelerator and an incubator where you have a co-working space but twice a week there might be workshops on various topics related to the startup process. They might have different experts come in and talk to you about blockchain and A.I., machine learning and the Lean Startup method, customer interviewing, minimum viable product experiments, how to run landing pages, and how to do A/B testing or split testing. So you test out all the price point and you have workshops on marketing strategies and things like that, growth hacking and so on. But it’s not nearly as structured as an accelerator and it doesn’t necessarily culminate in a demo day as such. They’re simply just helping you grow your company in some way form.
Incubator sounds like a good place for a small business to go to someone who not necessarily is looking for a big investment. And who is not a Start-Up but wants the benefit of networking and education.
HENRIK: I’d say many of the co-working spaces these days also have started to incorporate a fair amount of educational modules. I sometimes work out of an accelerator or sort of a co-working space called The Vault here in San Francisco. And every week there are free workshops that you can sign up for that will help you understand all these different techniques and principles and guide you through the right tools and they will show examples on other companies that were able to find a new product market fit or create a new smart growth hack to optimize their marketing, automation or find new channels. So basically the value of being part of an ecosystem is hard to overestimate. It’s so valuable to see other entrepreneurs who are also struggling and you share experiences and you just have you know five minutes. Over lunch with other people who are going through similar things. So I’d say instead of just renting own office, definitely go be part of some type of co-working space where you can find explainers who are going through similar experiences, and there will be people just automatically hanging out there who can help you a lot.
All of these great programs have one significant downside. They all want and need you to relocate so that you can join. But so many people and in particular women cannot uproot their families and move for three or six months to another city, country, or even a continent. So now and then online accelerator programs pop up, very often specifically geared actually towards female entrepreneurs. And very quickly after they pop up, they also disappear. And this makes me wonder if an accelerator program can actually be successful if running online.
HENRIK I think you and that’s also what I hear from my friends who’ve gone through YC or TechStar, 500 Startups or some of those other really well-run accelerators, that you get to be part of this cohort where you end up becoming really close with the other startups that are going through the same process. You’re going through the same pain and the same Trough of Sorrow where you’re desperate trying to build something that people like and want to pay for. Your product breaks down or your top engineer leaves you, and what are you going to do. But there are people next to you’ve gone through similar experiences and that can help you out. And if you don’t have that face to face way of really building those relationships, I don’t think you get completely the same out of it. However, what I have seen work to some extent is if you start with maybe two weeks of a face to face boot camp style program and then you follow up with another eight weeks off of more online programming. Then you’ve still build those relationships and even though you’re only talking to each other on phone calls for the following weeks, you still have that kind of relationship.
So, let’s sum it all up.
How to choose the right business accelerator for me?
- Know your basics and find out exactly what the terms of joining accelerator are
how much equity will you have to give up and what exactly an accelerator is offering in return.
- Focus on mentors
Ideally, you want 3 mentors in the program to have experience in your field and know a lot about a problem you want to solve. Find out how much one on one time you will get with your mentor and keep in mind you can ask for a different match if the first doesn’t work out.
- Apply for the biggest and the best accelerator
don’t settle for the most convenient one, too much depends on the accelerator quality. And because it is So hard to get accepted into the really famous ones, applying to your local accelerator can be a good backup version.
Remember, you don’t have to join accelerator just because you need money, you can also join it for so many other reasons, just be very honest and clear with yourself why you want to join.