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For those who are new to the London Startups scene or live in another country, Jon Bradford is the co-founder of F6S and Tech.eu, he used to be Techstars London MD and is now Central Working and Jon Bradfield’s director … In another word, he is one of the important faces of the London Startup scene.
And he’s right , today many Startups prefer to go from accelerator to accelerator than facing VCs and Angels.
I meet more and more of entrepreneurs whom objective is to join an accelerator with no real need for help, just because « it’s how it works now ».
Right, getting accelerated is a great opportunity, you are working in such a dynamic environment with mentors, advisors and other entrepreneurs working on their startups too, you develop your network, learn from great speakers and at the end you have the opportunity to pitch in from of a room of potential investors. Besides, It’s really exciting to be part of this private club.
Of course, it is helpful to have a bunch of successful entrepreneurs and specialists looking at your business.
“Have seen a trend where startups bounce from one accelerator to the next because it is easier than raising seed funding” – Jon Bradford
Nevertheless, there is still a few thing to consider:
1. Is accelerator really what your company need right now?
> What are your objectives?Do you need advice or money? When asked to successful young entrepreneurs if they have been accelerated, you’ll see many didn’t follow the MVP -incubator – accelerator – funding path.
2. What are YOUR criteria?
There are a few criteria you can use to select your ideal accelerator short list:
> Average accelerator programme has a duration of 3 – 6 months. For an accelerator programme that takes less than 3 months, be sure to have a look at a detailed programme to be sure the area you are looking for help with is covered.
> You are asked to move your core team and your office where the accelerator takes place for the entire duration. It’s important to understand the benefit to be in a specific city for your business and to forecast the costs.
The place is also something all the team has to agree with. It can be relatively easy for a young core team to move in another country or city for 6 months, but more painful when the core team has families to take care of.
- Equity taken VS investment
> Famous accelerators such as Y Combinators or Techstars take about 6 – 8% equity and invest between $25k and $250k (there are different equity/investment deals within every accelerator). Be sure to understand all the terms of the contract, after all, you’re signing an investment agreement when joining an accelerator programme.
- What mentors are you looking for?
> Mentors are the selling point of accelerators. Before applying, it is important to have a look at the mentors. Do you need hardware experienced entrepreneurs or software guru? B2B or B2C strategist? Does your industry is so specific that you need advice from entrepreneurs in this area only?
3. What is the startup profile of this accelerator?
- What kind of startups the accelerator you are looking to apply for already accelerated?
> Some good accelerators don’t have any specialisation, by looking at their previous cohort, you can have an idea of what kind of startups they accelerate.
- How much did those startups raise and what did they do after the programme ends?
> Best accelerators are transparent and share about their previous cohort updates.
- How many startups will be accepted into the next cohort?
> Too many startups in a cohort means it will be difficult to book office hours and one-to-one meetings with mentors.
Joining an accelerator Programm that doesn’t match your company needs will, in the best case, be a waste of time, but in the worse case, it can severely hurt your business.
Better spend more time working on research and on your application for a few accelerators than applying to as many programmes as possible, crossing fingers one of them will accept you.
Have you ever been part of an accelerator programme? Are you considering joining an accelerator?
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