When Are You Ready for an Accelerator?

When Are You Ready for an Accelerator?

04-Sep-2014 by SophiaKirova

Now that you have weighed the pros and cons of joining an accelerator (also here), it’s time to check the boxes of the readiness test. How do you know if the time is right to join an accelerator?

Here at Startupbootcamp HighTechXL, we’ve spoken to quite a few teams wanting to join our programs. But we know enthusiasm isn’t everything. You can be an early-stage or a late-stage company, a first-time entrepreneur or a third-time one, however, you need to have a couple of things in place. Let’s dig into these, shall we?

Idea is King

Yes, your product is what makes you unique. Perhaps someone is already working on that thing that you are working on, too. Nevermind! The question is, what do you do differently – is your product more affordable, is it faster, does it have a übercool design, is it coupled with a super-sophisticated software algorithm or incorporated in a micro device? It matters whether you can bring a tangible, trailblazing change to an existing market. And it matters to have at least a prototype or proof of concept ready for acceleration.

But Team is Queen

Behind every awesome company, there is an even more awesome team. We’ve learned from experience that a strong team is more critical than a brilliant idea for startup success. Let me quote: ‘We love teams who have already done stuff together… Startupbootcamp will load on tons of pressure and there will be tension. It’s a real test of everything you’ve got. We look for tight teams who can handle it.’ So, it’s important that you really hit it off with each other.

What is more, the sooner everyone knows the part they have to play, the better and smoother their professional acceleration will be. There will be only one CEO, doing the pitch; one marketing person, who’d be learning how to build your brand, one or sometimes more product developers to focus on building something the market really needs. Everyone has a different, but equally important, role.

We want to know who you are! Here’s a great 140-character example I came across recently

The essencce of your shortbio

Time is not your enemy

We want to help you do amazing things in 3 months. But you have to help us, too. To join an accelerator, you must be 100% committed to the program and that begins with being committed to your team and idea. You and your team have to be willing to relocate for at least 3 months, leaving friends, family, dogs, cats, parrots, and loved ones at home.

Once you get here, you’ll endure three months of blood, sweat, and tears, the latter quite literally; hard work, twists, turns, and hurdles. These pay off in the end, believe me. It’s the only way to truly immerse yourself in the exciting new chapter of being your own boss.

If you think you can work on your startup while still doing your corporate job, you are probably too early for an accelerator.

Haven’t got a business plan yet?

That’s fine. It helps if you have identified your market and if you can point to the ‘why’ are you creating what you are creating. But if you are still filling the gap of how to monetize your idea, we’ll help you elaborate an efficient business plan with a well-calculated customer acquisition costs and matched product/market fit.

But for that matter, Be like water, my friend

I’m not sure if you are a martial arts fan, but you must’ve heard of these words of wisdom. Bruce Lee’s allegory of life philosophy basically stands for two things: agility and strength. Water is powerful enough to crush anything and at the same time flexible enough to never be harmed. It runs quick and always finds its way.

One of Lee’s personal diary entries reads: ‘Water is so fine that it is impossible to grasp a handful of it; strike it, yet it does not suffer hurt; stab it, and it is not wounded; sever it, yet it is not divided. It has no shape of its own but molds itself to the receptacle that contains it. When heated to the state of steam it is invisible but has enough power to split the earth itself.

Why am I telling you all this? Because entering an accelerator unselfishly is indispensable to making the most out of your time here. You need to be coachable and resilient. You will meet SO many mentors and will be given SO much advice that unless you are ready to filter and actually apply the useful input, you’ll probably end up frustrated, with a bitter taste in your mouth. So, be flexible, like water, my friend.

Let’s do the test!

1. Awesome product? – Check

2. Expected time to market less than a year? – Check

3. Awesome team? – Check

4. Wrote everyone I’ll be gone for a while – Check

5. Why did I pick this idea to work on? – Work on that answer

6. There are plenty of people who need what I’m making? – Check

7. Left ego at the door – Almost there

Scenario 1: Checked less than 4 points? Then we recommend you to try the next Startups Weekend first.

Scenario 2: All checked? Congratulations! You’re all set up to join an accelerator.

Scenario 3: Still doubting? You can always come to one of Startupbootcamp open Pitch Days to get some feedback. Here’s what to expect:

The One Thing About a Pitch Day No Startup Can Resist

If you have enjoyed this post, you should also check out our video on the topic! Cheers, @Sophia

When is the right moment to join an accelerator – Broos Bakens – Startupbootcamp HighTechXL – Weekly ( 04/09/2014 ) from StartupbootcampTV on Vimeo.

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