Last week we reported about the first set of results from the Vigo survey. Today it is time to dive into the second set of results and see how the survey looks as a whole. In the first batch we learned that transparency was one of the key issues with Vigo that needed improvement. The second set of results will continue from question 7. Vigo system is exactly what we need in the Finnish startup ecosystem to create more high growth startups.
In question 7 we asked how well Vigo in its current form answered the needs of the Finnish startup ecosystem according to the respondents. With an average of 2.81 from a little over 100 responses we can see that in it’s current form Vigo isn’t quite there yet. This shouldn’t surprise anyone though, it is the first iteration of the program and I’d hate to see it stagnate and keep its current form. This is much of the topic of debate we had in the comments of the first set of results.
In question 8 wanted to know how easily the Vigo accelerators can be reached if one wants to get in touch with them. In this question the results are skewed to the right making the accelerators easier to approach, according to the respondents. The average for answers in this question was 3.1 meaning more people believe they’re easy to approach.
I also believe, based on the question of transparency that many more would answer towards easily approachable if they would know more about the companies. I personally know quite a few of them and I’d argue many are easy to approach. This question is also a bit debatable in a sense that people see easy in many different ways. Someone who has been pitching to the companies on Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley might have a totally different view compared to someone who is making their first approaches to an investor.
Question 9 tried to find out how well the investments and deals the Vigo accelerators have done go inline with the larger public’s view of best-of-breed companies. The average for this question was 2.4 meaning that most respondents believe that they have not funded and accelerated the best of the best startups around. The answer however is questionable for a few reasons, based on the answers from previous questions. If there is very little transparency, it is hard to know what kind of companies the accelerators have funded. On the other hand, many of the respondents are startups (if this corresponds with the demographics of our readers).
Question 10 was aimed towards the board of the Vigo accelerator program – how well have they succeeded in deciding on the right accelerators, meaning how high respondents would rank the competence of Vigo accelerators. The average in this was 3.18 so it can be said most of the respondents believe the accelerators are somewhat competent. I believe this too, could be improved dramatically with transparency. Much of the problem can also be related to the fact that the Vigo accelerators do not market themselves all that much and this relates directly to the state of their online presence, there isn’t a lot of it. If they would share more of their thinking and views online I’m sure we’d easily move to an average closer to 4.
Nearing the end of the survey we asked how well the respondents understood the goal of the Vigo accelerator program. With this part we actually talked to the Vigo steering group for advice. The alternatives were given by them. The alternatives were (1) Create a fast-lane for startups to get public funding, (2) Create successful first class accelerators to Finland, (3) Create an “Israeli-type” speedway for Finnish startups to get funded and accelerate into the international IPO & exit market and (4) Other. Almost 40% of the respondents answered 3, while 23% think the goal of Vigo is to give a fast track for public funding and 20% believe that the goal is to create successful first class accelerators to Finland.
In the last question we asked how the program should be improved. The answers were clear this time as well. The alternatives were (1) All accelerators should have a big fund supporting them with 16%, (2) The process should be more transparent with 30%, (3) The process should be more simple and clear with 18%, (4) The accelerators need to be more competent with 4%, (5) There needs to be more accelerators with 10% and (6) Other with 23%. It is clear that many of the improvements deal with basic communication (2. and 3.). These are clearly the biggest improvements that need to be done before anything else on the performance of the program can be really said or done.
With a relatively high number of people giving answers with Other, it demands a quick analysis as well. Many of the respondents answered they’re not sure that the division of responsibility in the program is correct. Few demanded success fees instead of direct payments from the startups to the accelerators. Others also wanted to see the whole system more market driven with government support. Government support was also seen too strong in the form of support agencies (Tekes, et al) being able to single handedly decide the support of a startup in one answer.
It is clear that this sparks a lot of debate about the Vigo program, which is good. There’s a lot of good in the program itself, but it demands quite a bit of thinking through together with the other stakeholders in the ecosystem. This would essentially mean that the steering group open up its processes and work more directly with the startups and accelerators. I’m sure there’s great potential in slightly fine-tuning the methods of work while improving the whole system. Needless to say, basic improvements in the areas of clarity and transparency need to be carried out quickly.
What are your thoughts on this? Did we miss something? We’d love to hear your opinions on the study in the comments.