When it comes to entrepreneurship, the choices of what is the best path to take can vary between individuals. After all, taking the startup route can be a personal journey, full of many twists and turns. However, almost all entrepreneurs have to make decisions about accelerators.
But even with the rise of startup popularity and the number of accelerators across the country dedicated to assisting early-stage startups prosper, choosing the right accelerator for yourself can be one of the most impactful business decisions you can make. Not all accelerators are created equal – and choosing the wrong one can be detrimental to the success of your business.
In a recently-published blog post, angel investor and Hyde Park Angels cofounder Jeffrey Carter lays out the many different things you need to consider before applying to an accelerator. His main arguments could be summed up in the following four points:
What Are the Qualifications?
When it comes to business know-how, an entrepreneur has real-world experience that can aid them in directly impacting the community. That being said, those running the accelerator could have a limited perspective on what actions need to be taken to best impact the success of early-stage startups. Examine whose is leading the accelerator, and what experiences and knowledge of startup success they are bringing to the table. Have they successfully built their own company? Multiple companies? How have their goals shifted, and are these goals similar to your own? are questions that should be at the forefront of your own research.
What Do Their Success Patterns Look Like?
Along with the knowledge and experience that your accelerator leaders are incorporating into the program, great care needs to be taken in examining what success looks like for them, and if these success patterns match your own.
Support & Transparency
For early-stage startups, networks and support system are crucial for establishing long-term business success. Who are the mentors of the accelerator, and what are their own specializations and qualifications? What networking opportunities are provided, and how are mentors trained to expand their role for those they mentee? Are the mentor/mentee matches for the mutual benefit of both parties, or does it only impact one positively?
The retention rates of those who have gone through the accelerator program and those how have gone on to give back in some way may also influence your decision to join a particular accelerator.
Another big thing to consider when choosing the right accelerator for your business is to examine the level of transparency the program has with you. Whether you're speaking with the program co-founder, a mentor, or a volunteer, you should feel the same level of comfort and openness when discussing program specifics that will have a great impact on your experience.
The Final Verdict
In the end, there are a variety of factors to consider when you are looking for the best fit for your business. Although not all accelerators are created equal, there is just as much variety when it comes to the entrepreneur and business style you have. Finding the right fit for yourself may take some time, but it's time well spent for the end result that will align you with long-term business success.