By Fernando Berrocal
If you’re a brand-new startup in 2022, you’re likely seeking funding and expert assistance from several sorts of investors. Startup accelerators are among your top options for finding such resources and leveraging them within your own organization. The application procedure–specifically, your submission form–serves as your entry point into the best accelerators, such as Techstars and Y Combinator.
However, you must realize that the finest accelerator programs are extremely competitive. Less than 1% of entrepreneurs who apply are ultimately accepted. To increase your chances of gaining entry to one of these programs, specific information and technique is required. Here, we will go over the main points to take into consideration when approaching a top tier startup accelerator.
Put Your Team First
A startup’s team is the most significant factor in early-stage success. Assessment of your team will be the primary criterion for admission to these accelerators. Try to spend as much time with your startup team as you can. This demonstrates your overall teamwork skills. It's not simply just intelligence and business motivation; it's also what is often called "job chemistry". There are countless business concepts, but successful businesses depend on outstanding startup teams. The investor mentality is: If you can't even recruit excellent co-workers, why should we expect you to be able to amaze customers?
Here is some expert advice on improving overall team chemistry: try to collaborate with people you truly like. Always start with those you value and like being with. If one of these specific statements is untrue, then we have a problem. Remember: there is very little that will “get past” a skilled business veteran appraising your startup. For instance, if your co-founder is a great person, but for some reason you just don't get along, it will be evident. On the other hand, your co-founder could be one of your buddies, but he might not have the skills or experience to help you lead your small business.
Apply as Early as Possible
Try to be aware of the application deadlines and complete them early. Thankfully, these dates are easily accesible. For instance, applicants must submit their applications between January 5 and March 15 for the session beginning in June. Applying early enables the accelerator to give your application the full attention needed. Waiting until the final few days before the doors close makes it more difficult to do so. Nevertheless, it is advisable to apply early, even if you believe you'll have, for instance, significantly better figures or demo videos. You may always share updates and improvements with them at any time. Consider your application the start of a business dialogue with the accelerator.
Make yourself stand out from the start. Despite their efforts to pay attention to every candidate startup with fresh eyes, after receiving a few hundred applications, admissions reps can lose focus. In your startup accelerator application, they will want to see proof that you are unique, whether you were the captain of your college sports team, have good memory skills, or have a thousand customers signed up for your beta launch. Tell them about the things you have enjoyed doing in your spare time. Divulge how you have used creativity in the past to solve issues for pleasure, profit, or altruism. By making your application stand out from the crowd, you will instill a sense of urgency in the accelerator team to get you on board.
Have Good References
Recommendations spark the interest of the accelerators and propel you directly towards approval. A solid recommendation from a member of a crucial startup business network (such as a startup mentor or even a startup founder) would undoubtedly help you stand out from the competition. Working hard to earn a great recommendation is an excellent sign of the determination and creativity behind you and your startup efforts.
Do Your Startup Research
Learn what kind of business concepts have been approved in the past–and what type of issues they like assisting in the resolution of. Show them not just why you'd be a fantastic match, but also (and more importantly) how you'd take a fresh, original perspective to the issue. A plus is also letting them know how and where those startup accelerators might help you. When they are sorting through applications, information like this–which mentors you want to work with, or why their network may help you grow your startup–is highly pertinent to their selection process.
Show Them Business Traction
Although they welcome applications from candidates at all levels of business growth, they want to see that you have momentum on your side. Tell them why your overall business concept is great and how it can grow more, whether you're a team of three workers with a beta-testing product or a more established business of a dozen of workers with a million dollars in annual sales and seed money already secured. Depending on the stage of your business, this can entail adding Google Analytics to your application, creating business demo videos, or outlining the genuine interest your beta users have in helping you improve your product. The more traction you can demonstrate to them, the more impressed they will be.
(Some) Branding is Beneficial
Make every effort to build a brand around you and your business. As soon as the accelerator team begins to examine your application, they will operate in the same way that you would if you were in their position. Examine the website for your information and your online personas. See whether anyone is already discussing your new venture or product online. This early in the game, you don't need an important newspaper to give you rave reviews–but any signs that this is going to be a great business will be helpful. If design is not your strong suit, leverage friends, colleagues, or connections from your personal and professional networks to assist you. Even better, enlist a co-founder who can lead branding initiatives. By addressing these considerations early on, your organization can reach its ultimate potential–perhaps through admission to a top-level startup accelerator.