”The basic advantages of an Accelerator are: 1) learning opportunity & Mentors (helping avoid typical startup pitfalls & speeding up your growth efforts); 2) access to $$$, either within or external; & 3) the PR value & exposure you get from these programs“. Wiz4.biz
Accelerator Topics: Knowledge, Support, Action, Leadership, Motivation, Customers, the Best, Vision, Launch, Risks, Fit, continued Support.
Help, Help !!! You have a startup, but you are at the point where you could use advice, direction & a little funding. That’s when you hear about 1 Accelerator located around the country that offer three- to four-month programs where you can get those things you are seeking. If you are still in doubt about going this route, here are 12 reasons why you should join an Accelerator:
1. Accelerated Accelerator knowledge
An Accelerator program packs in so much information from the years of experience and skills that each Mentor or Accelerator manager has amassed. This concentrated form of information allows you to speed up what you are doing with your Startup. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, you are leveraging their years of accumulated wisdom to launch your startup in a better planned strategic way. Clearly, this can improve your chances of success.
2. Comprehensive Support
Operating a startup can be lonely & challenging. That’s where an Accelerator can help. When you work within one, you get support from Mentors and those sponsoring you. Besides emotional support, they can provide direction, experience & knowledge. Plus, you have the support of other founders in the Accelerator program with you.
3. Lots of Action is an attraction.
While an Accelerator program may seem like a short time, those few months are jam-packed with activities that benefit you & your startup. Although Accelerator programs do vary, a typical program includes meetings with mentors, feedback sessions, “demo day” presentations, networking & social activities. There is a lot of info to get from these events and even more to apply directly to your startup.
4. Leadership Skills development
An Accelerator program focuses on teaching you the skills that are essential for running a business, including Sales & Marketing, Communications, Finance and even some Technical skills. An Accelerator also help you share your skills with other founders who are in the same program, providing a great testing ground for disseminating your skills later on to your own team.
5. Motivation & Morale
The collective and collaborative environment found in an Accelerator is sure to keep you going and moving forward. Inter-action with other founders is a powerful motivating force. When you hear about their own self-doubts, fears & challenges, it resonates with you. It reminds you that it is possible to overcome those doubts and work together to clear your respective hurdles.
6. Gateway to future Customers
Accelerators are now including Target audience members at Demo Days so they can hear about what you are doing as you share more about your project. This can create an early buzz about your startup. The advance Publicity can also help you validate what you are doing and give you a timeline to work toward, so you keep those future customers ready & waiting for your launch. The prospects you interact with during demo days or via other channels, can form the start of an important database of leads, as well as give you a head start on brand development & recognition.
7. Investor Access to the best.
While Accelerator programs don’t tend to give out much in funding, what they do is connect you directly to interested Investors who are drawn to an Accelerator in the hopes of discovering the next big thing. During an Accelerator’s “demo days,” many investors are invited to watch the presentations. There is also time to meet & mingle with investors. This opportunity can open the door to additional funding offers, especially when the investors see that the Accelerator program has helped you further develop your startup into something that shows the potential for good return.
8. Develop your Vision: (a big-picture, long-term view)
As a founder, especially a first-timer, it can seem impossible to look beyond the first six months to a year. However, it is vital to work toward a much longer view & outcome. Mentors in Accelerator programs can help you see the complexity that will develop in time and steer you in the right direction to deal with it. They can ask the questions that get you thinking of the bigger picture and what it should look like. Then these mentors can suggest the tools & tactics to get you there.
9. A Launch platform
An Accelerator can work for startups in all phases of their growth from Launch to Scaling. You may have encountered a problem or reached a growth plateau. An Accelerator can be that personal trainer who helps you get to the next level – that you couldn’t figure out how to get to on your own. This might include using the Accelerator and the expertise within it, to launch a more diversified offering or expand into a new market.
10. Managing the Risks
The “risk” of failure is on the mind of every startup Founder. Various functions such as product development, pricing, technology, operations, customer service, marketing, finance & HR have to be cohesively managed. Execution of each of these elements has a direct impact on the performance of the venture. An Accelerator can identify the “risks” within your concept and help you work on minimizing them. Also, those within the program can provide you with direction in pro-actively taking on risk and managing it effectively.
11. An Accelerator for everyone
Accelerator don’t offer one model or format to fit all. The growth in accelerator programs means that there is one that most likely addresses your growth stage, location, industry or niche, desired level of oversight & involvement, planned outcome or any other factors that are critical to what you want to accomplish. The result is an ideal environment that will help you thrive.
12. Continued Support – long after the program ends
Just because the Accelerator program ends in a few months doesn’t mean the support does. Long-time relationships develop at Accelerator. The alumni network is always there to tap into -to inquire about talent, seek investors, or get feedback – as you continue with your startup or take on any other projects in the future.
4 Accelerators selected in Bay Area (of top 10) that help Startups Grow to the Next Level
Admission to an Accelerator program offers help every startup founder can use. There are new Accelerators & Incubators popping up around the world to help these startup founders develop their ideas into viable businesses. Startup Accelerators provide advice, resources, events, connections & mentoring beginning in the early stages of a startup. While some startup Accelerator specialize in certain industries or technology, others are willing to assist all types of startups. Admission to an Accelerator program doesn’t guarantee success, but it offers help every startup founder can use. Consider one of these top Accelerator when you are ready to take your startup to the next level:
#1. 500 Startups
is located in Mt View, CA & San Francisco, – as well as Mexico City. Its Accelerator “Seed“ program lasts approximately four months. Focused primarily on Tech startups, 500 Startups has actually invested in over 1,600 companies since 2010. They will invest money in your startup for a certain percentage stake in it and they provide, a list of great mentors. alumni.
#2. Y Combinator
is in Mt View, CA and runs a class of 100 startups that runs over a period of 3 months. They are one of the most recognized startup Accelerator with alumni that include Dropbox, AirBnB & Reddit. The program includes an investment for a percentage of the company, time with Y Combinator partners, and weekly dinners with speakers from powerful Silicon Valley organizations.
#3. Alchemist Accelerator
is a six-month program headquartered in San Francisco. Their focus is on enterprise startups with much less hands-on approach offered. All events included in the program are optional except the Demo day. There is a network of mentors offered with investment funds coming from large companies like Cisco.
is located in the San Francisco Bay area and is partially funded by Stanford Univ. There are no fees and the Accelerator takes no equity in the startups it helps. [Wow !!!] There are significant resources available as well as education, mentorship with over 200 Serial entrepreneurs & VCs from major companies, + assistance & expertise for a range of industries. They have helped hundreds of startups build out into some of today’s most innovative companies
Comments: Do you know any Accelerators or Incubators in Silicon Valley, Bay Area or beyond that you could recommend?
from Entrepreneur Zine 2/18 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz