There are so many accelerators, incubators and support services for startups these days, it’s great that there is so much help available but it can be tough knowing how good the programs are and support they offer. So how do you know if the accelerator is right for you and your startup? Here are our tips for assessing a program. By founders for founders
Look for programs run by people that have founded startups and run businesses, you want the help and advice of people that have been through the journey and know what it takes. You can learn from both their successes and failures and benefit from their network. Programs run by non-founders is a bit like the blind leading the blind or teacher that knows some theory but has never put it into practice. Mentors
If you are not getting outside you’re comfort zone you are not learning and developing yourself as a founder. You want people that give you real feedback and will push you (in a good way) to progress. This also depends a lot on your mindset. Funding
One hot topic at the top of every startup founders mind is the investment. I would challenge you on whether you really need the money? Do you want to give away part of your company especially when there is so much ‘free’ money about? In our experience most startups don’t really need it yet – you need to focus on validating your business model and that means putting the time and effort in talking to your potential customers. Trying to spend money on growth before you are at this stage is a waste. You need to put in the ‘sweat equity’.
Track record Don’t be blinded by vanity metrics – some programs will boast about how many applications they get or the number of mentors they have, or fancy office spaces. The only real measure of an accelerator’s success is the success of the companies that go through the program. It’s important to check out their stats, if they are willing to publish them, and if they don’t I would wonder why? Here’s ours.
Look at the experience of the founders that have been through the program, reach out to some and ask them about it. You want to hear comments like these; “THINK Accelerate was an amazing experience. What was most striking was that I developed highly valuable skills and experiences on a personal level, which are vital for running a startup and to be fit for leading it through both ups and downs..” – Jakob Gelberg | Co-founder of BIGHEART “I really enjoyed being part of THINK Accelerate. Being part of the program allowed us to take part in some valuable workshops giving us time to reflect and improve how we were running our business. We also met with top entrepreneurs and investors and were really impressed with the level of talent and experts in the area.” – Heidi Lindvall | Co-founder of Storygami “A very rewarding program that raised the entire company to a whole new level”. – Priscilla Olessen | Co-founder of Hoofstep What is THINK? THINK runs 4 programs, THINK Forward, THINK Accelerate, THINK Smart & THINK Fintech. Accepted startups will join a 3 months global accelerator program with an international mentor network, workshops led by industry experts, tailored coaching, introductions to investors, 6 months free office space and access to products with a value of over $300,000 from Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon, Stripe, Hubspot, Trello and many more. THINK Accelerate is our general program helping early stage tech startups in all areas such as Saas, Paas, e-commerce, e-sports, healthtech, deep tech, VR, AR, AI and others. To learn more and apply go here. THINK Fintech startups will participate in the same great THINK Accelerator program with the additional support, knowledge and coaching from Øresund Fintech members, plus access to technology from Crunchfish, Smart Refill and others. Fintech startups have the opportunity to receive an investment of 150K SEK. To learn more and apply go here. THINK Smart focuses on smart city start-ups, developing solutions around urban planning, waste management, smart building, smart home, smart mobility, smart grid, smart energy, smart production, smart government and open data. Startups have the opportunity for a test bed in the H+ ‘Smart City’ project, the largest construction project ever undertaken in Sweden. To learn more and apply go here. Not yet ready to apply to an accelerator? Then sign up to be notified when we open applications for THINK Forward our pre-accelerator program here. And signup for Startup Labs and get free coffee, wifi and space to work, plus coaching from Think Accelerate, SoPact, Nyföretagarcentrum and Venture Lab each week here. And if you have questions about the programs don’t be afraid to reach out to the team running it. You can contact Jenny our Head of Programs here.