Growth hacking experts have long known the power of incubators and accelerator programs to help new business owners successfully launch their companies. Incubators are often useful for startups who are focused on collaboration while keeping costs low. All the while, accelerator programs tend to be a better fit for startups that need venture capital and a stimulating environment to quickly take their business to the next level.
Accelerator programs provide office space, cash investment, and mentorship to startups they accept for a short period of time (generally 3-4 months). In return, the owners of the program typically have a small stake in your company that can average 5-10 percent. Accelerators can increase your startup business resources while providing the environment and startup mentors needed to jumpstart success.
Should I Join an Accelerator Program?
Accelerator programs are not right for every business, and it’s important to know if the pluses outweigh the minuses for your startup. If your business is well on its way to success with few roadblocks along the way, you’re probably past the point where an accelerator program is beneficial. However, if you’re a first-time CEO struggling with your business or revenue model, or believe that startup expert help from proven thought-leaders would light the fire under your business, you should look into accelerator options.
How Do I Choose the One that is Right for My Startup?
Once you’ve made the decision to look into an accelerator program, it’s important to keep a few things in mind to help you choose the right one. One of your first considerations should be geography. If you don’t want to relocate your entire business, it’s best to investigate programs in the city where you and your team are currently located. Here are some other important tips:
Know Which Type of Accelerator is the Best Fit
Generally speaking, there are two different types of accelerators: private and corporate. Private accelerators typically invest under $120,000 in participating startups and receive 5-10 percent of their equity, and are more ideal for businesses that are just starting out. Corporate accelerators are focused more on businesses in later growth stages that need their business model and startup growth strategies honed by professional mentors.
Choose One That Aligns With Your Startup’s Values and Goals
Pairing a startup with an accelerator program is like arranging a good marriage: it needs to fit for both parties. Make sure you talk to the program’s leaders to make sure their values and goals align with your own. You should also check out the other participants in the programs to make sure there are no conflicts of interest or values.
Talk to Other Startups Who Have Participated
A good accelerator program should have a list of startups that have ‘graduated’ from the program and gone on to achieve success. Reach out to a few of them and ask questions about their time in the program. How did it help them grow a startup? Would they do it again if they had the choice? What were the pluses and minuses?
Look for Expertise and the Right Connections
One of the key benefits of an accelerator program is access to entrepreneurs and consultants who can mentor you through your challenges and connect you with possible investors or collaborators. Texas-based Seed Sumo, for example, is run by a group of startup founders who have created companies that now generate more than $300 million in sales a year, and has successfully mentored startups like POLCO and Knocki.
Choosing the right accelerator program for your startup can be one of the first steps on your path to growth. With access to funding, new business mentorship, and an environment that inspires innovation, an accelerator program could be your key to success, too. If you are interested in learning more about how Promeets can guide you to the right accelerator program, or our angel investor partners, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 (650) 460-1648. Also, visit our website to download the Promeets app.