Startuppers of the country, you are reading The Tech Portal on a bright (and sunny and hot!) mid-week afternoon, probably debating about the startup ecosystem of India right now! If you have been reading to much of Benjamin Joffe’s Ecosystem Analysis, it is really okay to feel dismal about the state of affairs in India, but trust me, all that litters is not poop!
So, while India has seen a surge in the number of accelerators and incubation spaces recently, a lot of questions about the relevance of these programs are raised very often by startups (and we are a confused lot, yes!). Accelerators, as the name suggests, usually run in batches and are aimed at accelerating the growth of a startup by rigorous walkthroughs, training sessions and product development support. These programs are highly focused and usually fund the startup in return of certain equity. (Throwing in a fun fact – The First startup accelerator program of the world was launched in 1959)
Let’s talk about this, then! I bring you a few reasons why joining an accelerator program might be a good idea and why these accelerators are the torch-bearers of our startup ecosystem –
1. Less Monotony, More Product Focus
Working in an accelerator program is rigorous, as I already noted above! With a cool office setup, the startups do not have to worry about the mundane, day to day administrative tasks and instead the entire focus goes on product development. Most of the accelerator programs also offer support services and tangible resources such as accounting assistance, legal guidance and much more.
2. The Social & ‘Un’Social Network
In the startup ecosystem, your network is your net worth. Accelerators provide you that! With an awesome pool of mentors, angels and industry experts, they get you in touch with people who can be just perfect to help your startup scale up to new heights. Moreover, your startup batch-mates can be very helpful at times for exploring new synergies, combining efforts, sharing of knowledge and even patting your back at times of failure. It also helps you in learning from mistakes that others made and not you!
3. The implied PR
Accelerator Programs tend to have a very strong PR and Media network. You get coverage, you come into limelight and people start knowing you. Yay! Media and Tech Partnerships become easy to crack with the tag of a big accelerator program on your back. YCombinator has largely seen highly scaled up startups come out from its batches majorly because of the PR network that the tag offers. However, the selection rate in accelerators like YCombinator is 1-3% only! (But no dream is too big to achieve, remember?)
4. MVP, Product Market Fit & Feedback
In a few months of being accelerated by a popular accelerator program, you would feel your journey transform from an MVP to developing the right product market fit, then developing the product further from the initial customer traction and then scaling up your product to new heights with proper customer feedback mechanism. Basically your MVP becomes a ‘business’. This transformation is faster (or accelerated), with lesser pitfalls and fewer struggles than others in the same sea of unknown.
5. Funding, made easy
May it be an industry veteran who went on to start his own business or a college drop-out, getting funded from investors is not easy! While accelerator programs do not guarantee fund-raising, but they not only introduce you to a network of angels, VCs and mentors, but also helps you develop a healthy, mastered and defensible business model around your idea.
These are only very few points on why you could think of joining an accelerator program, or at least explore the option that exists! After all, the studies suggest that startups who pass out of an accelerator program have a lesser chance of failing! But everything is not as rosy at it sounds, as accelerator programs have their own drawbacks too. Moreover, you need to exactly know what you are looking for before joining an accelerator program (For Example, Accelerators are not a place where you get an office space and free beer)! We may cover those points in a future editorial!
Comment below to tell us your experience with an accelerator, if you have been a part of one or why would you like to join one! Till then, Happy Wednesday people!