My Views on Recent Trends
I’ve done a lot of travelling recently, participating in several judging panels for other Startupbootcamp accelerators and colleague programs. Let me share a few observations:
- I see more and more later stage startups applying for accelerator programs. Do they still qualify?
- It is true that some teams get stuck. For whatever reason, real progress is slower than expected. I see more teams that have already received angel or even VC funding deciding to apply for a startup accelerator program. There are different reasons for this development.
- No-one denies that is really hard to launch a company with a scalable business model and product. Many teams lack specific know-how, a strong network, and the right mentorship to scale up locally and internationally. They feel that a startup accelerator could give them just the boost they need to get back on course. From our side, we do not penalize applications who have already picked up funding. But we will check carefully what has held up progress so far. If asked, we will give our honest feedback about whether the problem can be fixed and whether acceleration would really benefit your startup.
- Are we aware of the Series A crunch that’s going on?
- YES. Getting angel funding is one challenge. But moving on to a Series A, when you have little market traction and lots of competition from companies at a similar funding stage is tough. No-one said it was going to be easy!
Startupbootcamp is different from other accelerators. We don’t stop after Demo Day. In fact, we’re aware that for startups, that’s when the crucial talks with investors really start. It’s for this reason that we have developed an Alumni Growth Program and recently appointed an Alumni Director, someone with a huge amount of experience in helping startups get to the next round of funding.
- I see 2nd or 3rd time (serial)entrepreneurs applying for our programs.
- We note in the current list applications from team members who are on their second, third or even fourth startup. There are also applicants who have just successfully exited. So what is driving them to apply to Startupbootcamp? When we challenge them during Open Pitch Days, they come back with similar answers.
- It is extraordinarily difficult to go from great idea to real world product, especially when the idea has not yet been validated by the people who will pay for the business growth – the customer. It is even more difficult to create a great company that operates on an international scale out of a (great) product. Startup teams are rarely able to do this on their own. They get access to relevant expertise in an accelerator program like ours. They already understand the value of a strong advisory board what their strong contact network provides to a startup.
- I am seeing several 2nd time entrepreneurs wanting to move into completely new market. They sense an opportunity, but lack in depth business intelligence and/or relevant contacts. An accelerator puts you in the spotlight, which can lead to market interest from investors, publishers, journalists, future employees etc. Several good arguments in fact to apply for a program.