Did you know that world-renowned companies like Airbnb, Sphero, Dropbox, Sendgrid and Talkdesk have something in common? The answer might be “They are all successful start-ups that the world is buzzing about.” It is true but did you also know that they have something else, something vital in common? They all went through an accelerator programme. These companies are graduates of Y Combinator, Techstars and 500 Startups, which run successful accelerators. Here are 10 ways that a start-up can benefit from joining an accelerator programme.
1)Access to life-changing mentors and more!
Any start-up will know that they are missing something, usually experience on moving forward with the plan. It is hard to tell if your business idea is displayed the right way, if your messaging is correct, if you have the right tools and resources, if you have the right connections; there are many points that need to be addressed. An accelerator has got you covered; you will have access to seasoned veterans in entrepreneurship who will be there to guide you on your quest to reach your goals. Accelerator programmes seek out and assign mentors that are a good fit for your business idea. Mentors usually range from founders of start-ups, to titans of the tech industry, to major CEOs of fortune 500 companies. They will give you advice and some will work with you closely and resiliently during the period of the programme.
2) Learn a lot in a short period!
Accelerator programmes are usually just 3 to 4 months long. But don’t be fooled by the short duration, as they can be one of the most intense educational programmes out there. During the programme, a start-up will be taught how to write a business plan, do pitches properly, find the right tech to use, sharpen their vision and many, many more useful skills and techniques that will support you in accomplishing your vision. Accelerator programmes are likened to a 2 year MBA program, distilled to a timeframe of a few months.
3) Work and connect with established corporates!
Some accelerator programmes work with established, big companies and assign mentors from them. These programmes usually follow a theme that many major companies are interested in. In other cases, a major company will run the whole programme. You will have access to these major companies’ that have proven business methods and their existing, vast resources. You can learn from major companies and also, your start-up company can seize the golden opportunity to form business alliances from the get-go.
4) Get that funding you need so you can focus on doing what you do best!
Accelerator programmes usually provide funding of 120k USD to 150k USD to the start-ups during the programme. You will not have to worry about funding during the programme and you can focus on learning and improving. Usually the accelerator companies will also want to invest in your company as most of them run a venture capital fund on their own.
5) Work with and foster relationships with other like-minded start-ups during the programme!
Accelerator programmes usually have a cohort of a few selected start-ups. Not only will you be offered the opportunity to learn from mentors but you will also be given the opportunity to work with budding entrepreneurs who are on the cutting edge of their field or are working on a totally new product. You will collaborate closely with them, learn from them, maybe teach them and form bonds that will lead to more opportunities in the future.
6) Gain access to a wide network of entrepreneurs after graduation!
Any business person knows that simply talking to the right person at the right time is all that matters. Once you are a part of the accelerator, you are just not a participant, you will become a part of a family of worldwide network of founders, entrepreneurs, start-ups and major companies. This will open many more doors for you to proceed with your mission.
7) Get that follow-up investment from Investors, VC firms and Corporates!
Major investors, VC firms and Corporates are looking forward to the Demo Day at the end of an accelerator programme. They know that accelerator programmes seek out “diamonds in the rough” start-ups far and wide and help them shine as they should. By joining an accelerator programme, you will have their undivided attention and the chance to get that follow-up funding to help you accomplish your vision.
8) Take your team to a higher level!
You all know the story of major tech companies, they all started from a handful of individuals who shared a common vision. Each brought something new to the table and enabled one another to reach new heights that they couldn’t achieve their own. Start-ups are all about the team, it is probably the biggest asset that they have. During an accelerator programme, as intense as it is, you will spend more time with your team, learn from one another, understand one another’s roles and enhance your team dynamics.
9) Open your eyes and experience a different part of the world!
Accelerators programmes usually ask you move under their roof so that they can work with you closely. Silicon Valley for Y Combinator, San Francisco for 500 Startups, Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris, Tel-Aviv and many other locations for Techstars. By moving to another part of the world, you will open your eyes to a market that you usually don’t get to experience first-hand.
10) Obtain better chances of success in the future!
It is common knowledge that current major tech firms are not an over-night success story. They usually started out as a small team and through many years of hard work and dedication they have become what they are. For every success story, there are many more failures and broken dreams. A report from CB insights shows follow-up funding for graduates from accelerator programmes. From the major accelerators, 22% of graduates of 500 Accelerator get a follow-on funding, 33% of Y Combinator graduates get a follow-on funding and 34% of Techstars Accelerator graduates get a follow-on funding. As funding is crucial for longevity and growth in any start-up, joining an accelerator programm gives you a better chance of accomplishing your mission.
Here are some accelerators in Asia that you will find interesting:
Rakuten Accelerator powered by Techstars: https://www.techstars.com/programs/rakuten-program/
ICE71 Accelerate by NUS Enterprise and Singtel Innov8, run by Cylon: https://ice71.sg/programmes/
DBS Accelerator powered by Nest https://www.dbs-accelerator.com/
Sparklabs Accelerator: http://www.sparklabs.co.kr/sp/program.php
Are you a start-up interested in joining a major accelerator? Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. You can now apply for their very first accelerator program with Rakuten in Singapore this year. They are looking for entrepreneurs and start-ups who are advancing social messaging technologies, with a focus on the Viber application. During the three-month program, you will receive 120,000 USD in funding as well as get access to mentors from both Rakuten and Techstars. Find out more about the program here. For interested start-ups, the deadline is April 27, 2018! Please sign up and we can share the details of the program directly.
Are you an entrepreneur working on a cool product and looking for more than just a co-working space ? Do apply for a hotdesk here and become part of the exciting community that we offer at BLOCK71 Singapore.
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