Tech Accelerators are becoming as prevalent as a workout class at SoulCycle. The questions to consider before applying are who benefits from accelerators and how will it add value.
Early stage companies that have strong founders, a consistent team, and product or service already in development benefit from accelerators. The intense curriculum, networking and demo day can catapult startups to the next stage (hence the name accelerator). Here are the key benefits well-defined early-stage startups gain from accelerators:
- Networking, which includes access to large companies, investors, and the startup community. The connections formed in accelerators are vetted, so this is a great opportunity to form substantial relationships.
- Training and mentoring, which are key for development. The intense curriculum is an opportunity to learn new skills and best practices. Curriculums often focus on product development, new customer acquisition, investor pitches, and legal advice. Mentors offer guidance that help startups unlock insights to achieve that next level of success. The schedule can be so intense that it also becomes a crash course in time management. Teams learn to quickly process information and filter through advice for that golden piece of wisdom (a great life skill in addition to career skill!).
- Investment, which means the acceptance rate is low for top accelerators but the personal investment in success is high. Accelerators invest a set amount of capital in startups in exchange for equity. Capital investment also keeps the accelerator dedicated to the company success.
The consistent piece of advice from accelerator graduates, if you choose the accelerator route, make sure it’s the right fit. Graduates point out that although accelerators are a great option, it does require a large time commitment and giving up equity. Ask yourself if these factors will likely pay-off.
- Consider if the networking, curriculum, and mentors have the right expertise to compliment your company needs.
- The top accelerators (Y Combinator, Grand Central Tech, Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab, MassChallenge, Dreamit, to name a few) may require relocating, so determine if this is the right time to relocate or if it will be too disruptive.
- Also, consider the environment. Some accelerators are geared to attract the post-college entrepreneurs, while other accelerator programs are in a more established office-type environment.
The United States alone has over 200 accelerators, with the top ones receiving over 5,000 applications per program. It is competitive to get accepted into the elite programs, so if you determine the time is right to apply, feel confident that there is something out there for everyone. The right fit will jump-start you to the next step.
The follow-up question is, what happens after the accelerator?
WorkVille‘s coworking space is home to many accelerator graduates, many are from YC and Accenture’s programs. After the intense accelerator, they choose Workville because we offer a similar professional, friendly environment, but we give them the autonomy to focus on their own work. Our team takes care of their everyday needs and creates a friendly, productive atmosphere for them to thrive.
To learn more about what our founders have to say, and to take a tour of Workville, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.