You have started your own business and reached a point where you need professional advice, direction, and some funding. Most likely you have done some research on Startup Accelerators and what an Accelerator could do for your own startup.
If you are still doubting whether joining an Accelerator program is the right choice for you and your startup, find 10 reasons to join an Accelerator program below.
The fact that your business model and ideas have been reviewed by a group of experienced founders/C-level executives, will help any early-stage startup. This is beneficial for the startup founders to assess their own business. Furthermore, it can help your startup's credibility with investors, journalists and potential clients. It helps to say that your startup has gone through a rigorous selection process and was chosen as a very promising startup by an accelerator programme.
Learning how VCs pick the startups they invest in can be extremely valuable to your startup. As accelerators end with demo-days where startups present their businesses and the progress they have made during the programme to an audience of potential investors. These potential investors usually include VCs. Knowing what and how to present can increase your chances of securing the next round of funding for your startup.
Running and operating a startup is a major challenge and can be a lonely journey. Accelerators help you by providing mentors, corporates, and experts who can support you and your startup. Getting a share of their experience, direction and knowledge would be beneficial for any founder. Furthermore, the mentors can also provide emotional support which can be very valuable for some startup founders.
Many startup founders are first-time entrepreneurs who often don't look much further beyond the coming 6 months- to 1 year. This makes sense as the business's survival is still quite uncertain. Accelerator mentors will help you look at the bigger picture.
As mentors will look at your company with an outsider's perspective, they will notice issues that will be hard for the founders within the company to notice.
Accelerator programmes like NEXEA's will keep on providing benefits and support for the startups even after they have already gone through their Accelerator programmes. The mentors will still be available to provide mentorship and use their network to help your startup. The top startups within the cohort will also receive funding to support further growth.
Accelerator programmes teach you many of the important skills you will need to run your business. For instance, marketing, finance, communications, and technical skills. The Accelerator programme can be seen as an immersive educational experience, where founders are able to learn at a very high pace in a short and intense period.
The founders can absorb years worth of learning within a period of a few months.
Through the Accelerator programme, you gain access to a wide network of Angel investors, family offices, and Venture Capital firms. It is likely that you will need this network by the end of the Accelerator programme when you need to raise funds to further grow your business.
Startup Accelerators often include target audience members at demo-days. This way, the target customers can hear about your startup and the product/service you are offering. You can gain an edge by already starting to build recognition for your brand.
The publicity Accelerator programmes provide can also help you validate whether there is any product-market fit. If the fit is not there yet, you are able to tackle the issue early on. These customers can then be retained as future customers once the product is fully ready for launch.
In many cases, the founding team will not be operating optimally in some areas of operations. Oftentimes, the strategies and tools used by large corporates do not work very well for startups which are growing at a high rate. Accelerators help the founding teams build proper strategies and roadmaps for their operations. Accelerators also find in what areas the founding team is lacking certain skills and advise on the hiring-process to fill-in the skills gap.
Accelerator programmes help startups grow exponentially. Many times, startups' growth will stagnate at a certain point as the founders are trying to solve a problem or have reached a ceiling they can't manage to break through.
Through an Accelerator programme, you will be able to meet with peers and experts who can guide you on using key sales & marketing strategies to push your startup towards the next stage of growth.
Even though it might sound strange, it is actually hard to meet people who are doing the same things you and your founding team are doing, even in entrepreneurial and tech hotspots.
An Accelerator programme will enable you to meet other like-minded entrepreneurs within your cohort or from past programmes. Meeting and working together with people who are going through a similar journey as you are, can greatly motivate you and your founding team. These bonds might even lead to new opportunities in the future.
As many startup founders are first-time entrepreneurs, they have not yet experienced the pressure and hard work necessary to successfully grow their business. Accelerators provide the pressure and push you to work with hard deadlines. The programme will also teach you how to build a framework to be able to meet such deadlines. You will learn to work more effectively and efficiently which will be of great help in the future.