Did some digging in the archives today, and found this post from 4 years ago called “are accelerators really the solution”. While it’s always somewhat embarrassing to read old writings (as it should be), revisiting this is especially so - since we launched our first accelerator program less than a year later.
This month we’re accepting applications to our seventh batch, meaning we see accelerators as part of the solution. What happened? A few things:
We realized accelerator programs appealed to certain founders that we had difficulties reaching otherwise. People “stuck” with regular jobs and mortages in need of funding to really take the step and become entrepreneurs. An application deadline creates urgency in a good way.
We realized there are certain advantages to funding companies in batches. You can streamline the selection process and also the paperwork, meaning entrepreneurs can receive funding quicker.
We realized there are certain advantages to working with startups in batches. Or really - startyps benefit from being part of a batch. Having relationships to a few founders in roughly the same phase - a peer group - can be very helpful when you’re stuck. It can normalize problems and take the edge off. And sometimes someone else has already solved a similar problem.
We realized cannibalization wasn’t something to be worried about. If starting an accelerator meant we would do less ad-hoc investments through the year, that wouldn’t be negative. The objective is to fund and support top entrepreneurs, regardless of how it’s done.
We’ve been doing it for a few of years now, and the results are gradually emerging. Becoming a overnight success in startupland takes 10 years, but companies like Imerso, Confrere, Fundingpartner, Oivi, Age Labs, Defigo and Diffia are gradually getting there. Also, the program has improved significantly, and continues to do so.
If you’re looking for funding and early-stage support for your startup, I would strongly recommend you submit an application for our fall batch. The application deadline is September 1st, and you can read more and apply by clicking here.