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Accelerator programmes, often known as seed accelerators, assist startups in learning how to operate their businesses. Read our advice on what to expect and how to prepare ahead of time.

Accelerator Programs

What Are Accelerator Programs?

Accelerator programmes, sometimes known as seed accelerators, assist businesses in learning how to operate their businesses by offering mentorship, education, and funding. Mentors are available to assist entrepreneurs in navigating the competitive and often perplexing start-up industry, and may even assist with finance. The programmes are often quite short in duration (e.g., a few months), with the goal of teaching the participant many years’ worth of experiences and knowledge in order to shorten the timeframe for achievement. Typically, the programme concludes with a public pitch event where entrepreneurs may present their ideas to possible investors. Accelerators often ask for a modest stake in the firm in exchange.

Accelerators are similar to business incubators, but there are significant differences. For example, incubators typically concentrate on nurturing a concept, while accelerators often focus on accelerating the pace of growth of an established firm that is already passed the “idea” stage. Furthermore, unlike accelerators, incubators often do not work on a predetermined timetable.

To get accepted into an accelerator programme, you must first apply and then attend an interview. If you are approved, you will be taught alongside other entrepreneurs. The seats in an accelerator programme are very difficult, with only one or two out of every hundred candidates being chosen.

You may boost your chances of acceptance to an accelerator programme by doing the following:

Prepare Your Company’s Legal Documents

If an investor loves your concept, it doesn’t imply they’ll back it wholeheartedly. They will want you to show that you can operate a company and that everything in your current firm is in order. This implies that you should have the following items organised and readily accessible:

The articles of incorporation.

Bylaws of the company

Operating contracts.

Information about the Board of Directors.

Minutes of the meeting

You should think about incorporating in Delaware ahead of time, although this may or may not be necessary for initial admittance into the programme. There is a strong probability that you will need to take this step in order to attract investors, but the time and relevance of when the step is made is dependent on a variety of circumstances. Remember that if you incorporate in Delaware, you must also register the company in the state where you conduct business, which might add to the expense of a cash-strapped start-up.

Prepare Intellectual Property Agreements

An accelerator will be interested in knowing that your company’s intellectual property is secured. Speak with an attorney to ensure that you have done all necessary actions to protect your trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. Click here for information on how to effectively safeguard your intellectual property.

Improve Your Elevator Pitch

During an interview, your elevator pitch may make or break you. This pitch is a condensed version of who you are, what your firm does, and what you want from the individual with whom you are speaking. Your elevator pitch should be no more than 60 seconds, preferably no more than 30 seconds. During the interview, you will most likely be asked to present your pitch, so concentrate on what is most essential.

Here are some excellent elevator pitch tips:

The opening sentence should catch their attention. Be honest. They are subjected to hundreds, if not thousands, of these pitches, and hackneyed “marketing” phrases might cause their eyes to glaze over.

Describe your product and the issue it answers in simple words so that people know precisely what your product will accomplish.

Explain your background as well as the background of your team. Give actual instances of things you have done well in your life, whether it is connected to business or something entirely else. Remember that they hear a lot of these pitches, so offer something that will stick with them.

Describe the advantages of investing in your company.

Have a strong call to action.

It’s usually a good idea to customise your pitch to the audience and avoid jargon. You may find it beneficial to write down, rigorously revise, and rehearse your pitch before delivering it, but remember to be yourself.

Conduct research on competitors as well as the Accelerator Program.

An interview for an accelerator programme is not the place to “fly it.” The interviewer wants to know that you’ve done your homework on competition and can provide something unique. Furthermore, always prepare by studying the accelerator programme so that you can explain why their programme is the greatest fit for your firm. A list of some of the greatest accelerator programmes may be found here.

Conduct Mock Interviews

This may be the most crucial aspect of preparing for an accelerated programme. The interviews will be fast-paced and filled with questions. During these mock interviews, you should concentrate on the following points:

Don’t go on and on. They expect responses that are clear, succinct, and substantial. Make sure your responses are succinct. Don’t let your thoughts stray.

Prepare for “painful” inquiries. These are competitive programmes, so don’t be taken off guard. Always be prepared to provide an honest response. Remember to always be yourself.

Check that you and your co-founders are on the same page. This isn’t the place to argue.

Don’t try to hide your flaws or make up broad, general assertions about your competitive edge.

Never get defensive.

Bring your enthusiasm and charisma to the interview.

You want to walk away from your meeting with the accelerator confident that you and your company have the potential to be huge.

Make a list of questions to ask the interviewer.

You will have the opportunity to ask questions. In fact, the interviewer may think you’re unusual if you don’t; after all, you’re there to give someone a piece of your company. Make sure that some of these inquiries are directed at the mentors in the programme. This will also assist you in determining if the accelerator is appropriate for you.

Compile Founder, Shareholder/Investor, and Fundraising Information

If you already have shareholders, you’ll need some basic information about them. You should also have information about your other founders and team members ready. Accelerator programmes may be more likely to choose you if they have faith in not just you, but also in the team you have assembled behind you.

Many firms enter an accelerator programme with no investors, which is OK. However, if you do have investors, obtain their contact information. It will assist to demonstrate to the interviewer that others believe in your proposal.

In general, accelerator programmes give a modest amount of initial financing. This will not sustain your firm indefinitely, so be prepared to describe your strategy for collecting funds.

Have Proof of Market Validation and a Customer Acquisition Strategy

Market validation demonstrates to the interviewer and potential investors that your concept has a chance. Validation may take the form of anything from revenue data to email server lists demonstrating that individuals are interested. You don’t want investors to wonder whether anybody will pay for your goods. Likewise, you must be able to articulate your marketing plan. It may also be advantageous to have a prototype or minimal viable product to show the interviewer.

You may be interested in reading the guides on how to raise money from friends and family and how to raise venture capital as next steps.