What to Ask Before Entering an Accelerator

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"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great." -- Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan, A League Of Their Own

Being in an accelerator is not easy.  In 90 days, you're expected to have a functioning product, customers, traction and a line of investors ready to invest before being sent on your merry way to navigate the startup "valley of death."

(Co-founder Layla Tabatabaie on Demo Day in Memphis)


Here are some positives about being in an accelerator:

  1. Obtain initial cash infusion to quit job and work full-time on your startup
  1. Gain structure and a roadmap on what milestones you should reach first
  1. Gain a network of other entrepreneurs, some of which may become good friends
  1. Gather support from these other entrepreneurs to reach contacts normally outside your reach
  1. A copy of the video of your demo Day pitch.  Some investors now require a pitch video to send in with your deck, executive summary etc. 


Here are some negatives about being in an accelerator:

  1. Many accelerators have limited resources.  Before accepting an invitation to an accelerator ask the following questions: 

    1. What are the strings attached/requirements of the program? 
    1. Are you receiving the stated amount of funding or are portions of it expected to pay for other expenses, such as attorney fees and use of the office space.  
    3. Are you expected to stay in the region of the accelerator to qualify for follow-up funding? 
    5. What are the motivations for investing? Remember many accelerators get money from the government to fund startups, so unlike traditional investors that typically are seeking a return on investment, there are other considerations and incentives for providing funding and an acceleration program, such as staying in the region to spur local economic development.

(BarterSugar sharing what it's like to conduct a last minute pivot before Demo Day with StartupGrind Memphis)

If you're applying to accelerators and incubators, then you're ready to make the necessary sacrifices to turn your aspirations into reality.   If you have any questions or need any help, feel free to drop us a line by sending us a message through the "Contact" tab above.  

And to re-post one of our favorite Lori Greiner quotes:

"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week."

- BarterSugar