A startup accelerator is simply an organization mostly founded by a seasoned tech entrepreneur to help startup founders turn their big ideas into businesses. Also known as seed accelerators, these organizations enable startup founders get their hands on the resources, skills, and connections they need to grow their businesses.
Startup accelerators also offer other professional services, like legal and accounting services, to seed-stage startups.
Invitation to join a startup accelerator program starts with an application. Startup founders can search and apply for accelerators of their choice online.Thereafter you read up the instructions and the eligibility requirements . Normally, once you apply, you need to stay in touch with the program management so you will be able to get all the relevant guidance from them. You might also seek the help of professionals in building a basic business plan and some financial forecasting. Who knows? The accelerator you applied to might demand for one. Requirements generally differ with startup accelerators.
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Getting into the world’s top startup accelerators is very competitive, but if your application turns out successful, don’t start feeling like you have built a billion dollar business already. It is okay to start relishing the idea of mentorship from successful startup entrepreneurs, thousands of dollars in seed funding, and life-changing connections, but this shouldn’t get to your head.
The startup accelerator might not live up to hype, and you might end leaving disappointed. This is common, because despite the enormous amoun things startup accelerators having been doing right for startups, there remains some that they have not gotten right. What follows below discusses what startup accelerators do and do not do well.
Pros of Startup Accelerators
Most startup accelerators provide co-working space to startup founders that they have chosen to back. In this co-working space, team members from several different startups share offices, work benches, conference rooms, WiFi, and even coffee machines. This fosters collaboration among startup founders.
Startup accelerators give out tens of thousands of dollars in seed funding to startup founders participating in their program. This fund, not only helps to cover early-stage business expenses, but also the travel and living expenses of the team within the duration of the startup residency.
One of the most important benefit of an accelerator is the expert advice participating startup founders receive from experienced entrepreneurs invited by the organization. Among the experienced and successful entrepreneurs that offer mentorship at startup accelerators are people who have founded billion dollar startups.
To gain from the advice and mentorship on offer, startup founders need to realize what mentors are and what they are not, and be sure of what they want from them.
Another service offered by tech startup accelerators is providing critical connections to investors. Most of these established accelerators are backed by teams of angel investors and venture capitalists who are always in look-out for promising business ideas to invest in.
As a result of their participation in the startup accelerator program, startups are provided a solid introduction to these investors, an enormous benefit for any founders that have performed their fundraising activities.
To gain mazimum advantage from fundraising, startup founders need to have a clear understanding of their finances, the magnitude of the desired funding and a clear plan for its use based on measured future projections for revenue and costs.
Cons of Startup Accelerators
1. Doesn’t guarantee startup success
Passing through a startup accelerator offers no guarantee that your startup will come out to be successful, and this is the case for even those that passed through big name accelerators like Y Combinator and Techstars. The fact is that, there is not enough fund money to fund all the startups graduating from startups accelerators, and your big idea still stands a high chance of dying with you even after passing through an accelerator.
There is no reasearch-backed data that proves that startup founders who take the route of the old-fashioned hustle are less likely to turn out successful than those who chose the startup accelerator route.
2.Cost in equity
Knowing that you are giving up a hefty percentage of your company by passing through a startup accelerator program is a very hard thought that not every founder can stomach. That being said, the experience gained and the connection has an influence that lasts as long as you remain in business, and we all agree that connection is priceless in business.
Do you even need to be in a startup accelerator?
If startup accelerators equal residency at a tech hub in a particular location, then the internet, the cloud, and smartphones are “disrupting” the industry at an alarming rate. Startup founders can get mentorship they need from anywhere. You can get consultancy services and inspiration from online sources, and there are online tools that will help you manage cash flow, find investors, and collaborate with other founders from even your kitchen.
So, while you can get ideas, connections and fund from startup accelerators, they aren’t all you need. With the right technology you can grow your business – and I mean raise funds, build connection, and receive mentorship – from anywhere.
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