Most startups fail. In fact, according to multiple studies based on a ten-year span, over 90% of them do. But there are ways to increase your startup’s chances of success. One way is to join a startup accelerator.
What is a Startup Accelerator?
A startup accelerator is a program that helps young or early-stage companies grow rapidly and successfully. The program provides mentorship, resources, and funding.
Accelerators typically offer a fixed-term program lasting 3-6 months, during which the companies receive intense training and support. The startup accelerator gets a share of equity in the new business.
How to Qualify for a Startup Accelerator
Suppose you only have a vague idea for a product and no business model. In that case, you are not qualified to apply to a startup accelerator. To qualify, you must be a new business ready to scale up.
A Minimum Viable Product
You must have a viable business model based on a minimum viable product (MVP). An MVP must have a target user clearly identified. It must also specify the user’s problem that it will solve. Solving this problem must save the user time or money, or both. You must prove that your MVP is the best way to solve the problem efficiently.
You must validate the need for your MVP and its potential success. To do this, you must do market research, including focused group discussions with representative samples of your target market. You must know the direction in which your product can improve and grow.
A Strong Team
Furthermore, your business must be founded by a strong team. Proven teamwork in building the business from scratch ensures better chances of success.
When you apply to a startup accelerator, you must show that your business only needs the right mentorship and capital to snowball. The application process is rigorous and highly competitive, so you must stand out.
Why go through this effort? Just look at a few of the successful businesses that were first boosted by startup accelerator programs: Airbnb, Dropbox, Twitch, and Stripe.
These are the main benefits of joining a startup accelerator.
Startup Accelerators Provide Experienced Mentors
Startup accelerators provide access to experienced mentors who can help your business grow and succeed.
Mentors can train you on how to read and understand your market and competition correctly, how to market your product successfully to investors and customers, and how to ensure compliance with regulations. This includes how to use communication effectively in pitching and marketing.
Mentors can also give more detailed practical guidance such as how to work with design partners, what key employees to hire first, and how to close deals. They will provide you advice on how to deal with rapid growth, such as how to keep work harmonious within your team to prevent friction and mistrust, and how to avoid burnout. These are just some valuable things your team can learn.
Startup Accelerators Provide Funding Opportunities
Startup accelerators offer funding opportunities that can help you get your business off the ground. On graduation, graduating businesses present their business models to investors. This provides a great opportunity to receive feedback on your business model and to secure funding for your startup
In addition, during the program, you will have opportunities to meet with venture capitalists (VCs), angel investors, and other investors who may be interested in funding your business
A 2019 study showed that companies that graduated from the best startup accelerator programs were able to raise funding 171% more than companies that did not.
Startup Accelerators Provide Access to Resources
Startup accelerator programs make up a large segment of the market for workspace for rent. That is because they provide these workspaces to young businesses they are nurturing. You will have to move to these spaces once you are in a program because it enables your team to focus.
Also, the workspace will be equipped with all the technology tools you need. These are the types of equipment that are still beyond your budget but you can use them now in the process of growing your business.
Startup Accelerators Provide Networking Opportunities
When you join a startup accelerator, you gain access to a network of contacts that can help your business grow. These include other startups, entrepreneurs, experts, investors, potential partners, and customers.
That is valuable because you can get feedback on your business from them. You will also have the opportunity to learn from their experiences, share best practices, and avoid making the same mistakes they made. You can also develop relationships with potential partners and customers. All of these relationships can be helpful in the future of your business.
Prepare for Rapid Growth Through a Startup Accelerator Program
If you have a new business, you can work to qualify for applying to a startup accelerator program. A startup accelerator can help your business achieve rapid growth by providing experienced mentors, funding opportunities, access to resources, and networking opportunities. If you are ready to scale up your business, start preparing to apply to a startup accelerator today.