What Are Startup Accelerators?
Most startup accelerators support early-stage innovative startups with high growth potential. They do so by offering training, mentoring, education and, for the most part, financing, either through equity-based or equity-free funding. Accelerators run for a fixed period of time, varying from a somewhere around 6 weeks up to 12 months or more. During such a program, startups get extensive and intensive support in disciplines such as business development, product development, sales, marketing, legal and fundraising.
What Does it Take to be Part of a Startup Accelerator Program?
Startups apply to join an accelerator program. Accelerators will usually have a set of requirements they want you to meet, such as a working MVP, a well-functioning team and, to some extend, traction. Through the application process, you will be asked to submit things such as documents, video presentations and business plans. The accelerator will then assess the applications they receive, after which point interesting startups will be invited to come pitch for the accelerator team. Depending on the nature and popularity of the organization, you'll have to go through several pitch- and interview rounds before eventually being selected to join the program.
Why Should You Join a Startup Accelerator?
Joining an accelerator will set fire to your startup journey. You'll get a full eco-system of support, mentors who devote their time and attention to build and grow your venture, access to a huge network of potential investors, partners and customers that would probably take you years to build yourself. You'll get training in entrepreneurship, leadership, business operations, strategy and everything else required to build a successful business. And you'll get it from the some of the most experienced and successful entrepreneurs and business people out there. Having been part of a startup accelerator will also calm down investors you meet in the future. They know that accelerated startups know how to execute and aren't afraid to put in the hours - things all investors look for, before they pull out their wallets. Last but not least, it will get you funding. Most accelerators will invest in you, when you join their program. Anywhere from covering your expenses through the course of the program to investing a lot of dollars in exchange for equity. Always keep in mind that giving away equity means giving away control. That being said, joining the right accelerator will be worth it.