Below is the “Tip of the Week” transcript from the Podcast Episode 17: The Startup Accelerator (Troy Henikoff)
I really respect the transformative ability that accelerators have on startups. But during the interview, I could not stop thinking about how difficult it is for startups to get into top accelerators. A very small fraction of the startups in your ecosystem will ever have the opportunity to participate in one of these top tier programs. But that doesn’t mean that startups can’t leverage many of the same benefits themselves. Troy talked about a fixed time period, setting KPIs, meeting with mentors, getting seed capital, and co-locating with other startups. With a strong adviser or early board member, startups can set goals or metrics, pick a date by which they launch a formal fundraise, reach out to or colocate with similar startups and connect with successful founders that have dealt with common challenges. And when it comes to mentoring I have found, more often than not, successful entrepreneurs are happy to spend their time and share their thoughts with early-stage founders. As a startup, if you’re coachable and willing to pivot to succeed, these mentors may even end up investing.
While the breadth and depth of resources through these top-tier accelerators can not be replicated, the vast majority of startups will never have the opportunity to participate in one. If you are an investor working with a promising startup, help them build their network. Encourage them to reach out to others. Set goals and have a review cycle where they are assessed. If one is resourceful, hard-working and resiliant enough to build a successful company… why not accelerate theirself?