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7 Tips for Applying To An Accelerator

Necessary Preparations To Apply

The last three months I have been applying to business accelerators.  Since I’m trying my best to adhere to the stay in place order I now have more time to share what I’ve learned.

It goes without saying, that it is important to make your application stand out. Here are the things I’ve learned as I research and apply for business accelerators/incubators.

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1. Research 

Before you hit the apply button browse the companies website.  I read the history of the accelerator, and check out their social media and about web pages.  I look for what type of entrepreneurs the organization has supported in the past. If they’ve supported a lot of medical related projects, and your work is not in the medical space, then move on and search for a accelerator with a  better fit. On their social media pages if they’re frequently retweeting ideas in the tech space and your idea is tech related then it helps to gauge the companies values.   

Applications can take up a significant amount of time answering questions, and submitting supplemental material.  Before you invest in the time to apply make sure this accelerator is the right fit for your startup.      

Related: How I Choose A Technical Bootcamp

2. How It Works

Read the timeline for the length of the program.  Make sure that you’re available the entire length of the program.  In addition, check the location and out-of-pocket expenses associated with the accelerator.  If the initial launch of the program is held in a different city make sure that you factor in the cost of a hotel, and travel related expenses.  

3. Materials

Find out early and plan ahead for what are the expectations applying for the accelerator/incubator.  Have your company description, value proposition, sample introductory video, and other materials ready.  This will help with providing a clear and concise business model. 

Related: Twelve Tips For An E-Commerce Startups

5. Numbers

Know your numbers.  What’s the population that you’re targeting a.k.a. your customer types.  What are possible revenue streams? Is there a possibility of licensing or patenting your idea?  How much money have you earned in grants, crowdfunding, and or loans. Also, be able to positively state what accomplishments you’ve achieved i.e. customer discovery interviews, etc.?

6. Requirements

Are you a solo entrepreneur, a team (titles, roles and team dynamics), and or do you a tech co-founder?  These are all some of the requirements that different accelerators have as a requirement for applying. Also, some accelerators don’t fund early stage startups, or small businesses that haven’t earned a certain amount of money.  Because of this carefully read all of the requirements every accelerator requires before applying.     

7. Office Hours

Connect via social media, and email.  It’s a great idea to connect and inform the accelerator  about what you are doing. You will always get a better response if you’re a known startup than being a company they’re unfamiliar with.  Tell them about your business, schedule a meeting or a virtual call and go to upcoming events. 

With deadlines on a rolling basis, stay updated on application deadlines and apply to accelerators as soon as possible. Be as brave as possible  when you answer questions and make it memorable!

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