Should I Apply to a Startup Accelerator?
At Poppins & Partners, we are keen advocates for entrepreneurs participating in startup accelerators as it provides support and education, grants access to investors and mentors, and helps entrepreneurs develop their skills and grow their companies. It’s also a great opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs and form partnerships, especially in industry-specific programs.
Accelerators span several weeks (10-12 are the most common) and most accelerators offer a small seed-investment which can help pay for ramen noodles and Red Bull while going through an intensive development and validation process, surrounded by other teams of entrepreneurs sharing that journey with you.
Where to Find Accelerators
There are thousands of accelerators all over the world for different types of startups with different benefits to participants. Some are general, e.g. Startup Reykjavik (Iceland), while others are industry-specific, e.g. Barclays Accelerator Powered by Techstars (Israel).
Here are a few accelerators to check out:
Women’s Startup Lab, Silicon Valley - Open for Applications!
A leading accelerator for female founders. A 12-month program that includes a two-week immersion and residential program.
Katapult Accelerator, Oslo - Open for Applications (Nov 9th)!
Focused on impact-tech. A 3-month fast-paced, hands-on program to help scale your business offering access to a global network of leading thematic mentors, dedicated expertise to unleash the potential of AI in your business, investment into your company as part of the accelerator program, and access to further capital and investors to support your company.
Startup Tourism, Iceland - Open for Applications (Dec 3rd)!
A mentor-driven, business accelerator for tourism startups in Iceland.
Techstars , Worldwide - Open for Applications!
Mentorship-driven accelerators. Their three-month program is designed to help you gain traction through deep mentor engagement, rapid iteration cycles, and fundraising preparation.
have several accelerators open for applications, e.g. Techstars Berlin (Nov 4), Techstars Lisbon in partnership with Semapa Next (Digital Transformation - Nov 11), The Arcadis City of 2030 (Nov 11), Air Force Accelerator (Nov 30), and Barclays Accelerator (Dec 16).
Startup Bootcamp, Worldwide - Open for Applications!
Run 20+ programs around the world: From FoodTech, Internet of Things, Fintech, Smart Cities to Smart Energy and more. Their tailored 3-month accelerator programs are designed to support ambitious early-stage companies grow in the most relevant industries.
Startup Reykjavik, Iceland
A seed-stage mentor-driven accelerator program. An intensive program runs every summer in Reykjavik, Iceland. It is a seed stage investment program where the teams selected to participate receive $22,000 (2,4 million ISK) in funding along with access to top-notch mentors, office space and a host of perks.
TINC Tech Incubator, Silicon Valley
An intensive 4-week accelerator program to validate your product/market and business model fit and potential for global scale in the most competitive startup environment in the world.
Nordic Scalers, Stockholm
In the Scale-up Lab, you get 1:1 support from experienced entrepreneurs, access to our expansive global network, to work with proven scaling toolkits, and to develop an even stronger peer network.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Before you apply you need to decide first if this is what you really want. Chances are this accelerator isn’t very close to home, so you need to figure out if you can leave for 10 weeks+ to participate in the program as most accelerators are pretty strict on the entrepreneurs being on-site throughout the whole program. So for those of you who have families, be sure to have them onboard when making the decision. Three months may not seem like such a long time when looking at the prospective outcome, but take it from us, it’s hard to spend such a long time away from offsprings and partners. If you feel like an accelerator outside of your country (or city) is not an option, try looking for one that’s a bit closer to your home-base.
Industry-Specific vs. General
If there is an industry-specific accelerator that your company is eligible to apply to, we would always recommend that above a general one. It will give you more network exposure and most likely create more partnership opportunities while connecting you with industry-focused investors.
As mentioned before, there are thousands of accelerators around the world and they most definitely aren’t all worth the shares you give up or the time you put into them. Some have become industry standards of sorts (Techstars), while others are slowly but surely making waves in the accelerator community although relatively new (Katapult). Try to find people from your network (or from your networks’ network) who have gone through these programs and ask them about their experiences. Search the internet for reviews. Go to events organized by the accelerators and talk to their directors or team members. Do they seem like they know what they’re doing? Are they nice people (would you want to spend three months working beside them every single day?
In a couple of weeks we will be launching the 2019 P&P Grant Calendar, which will also include deadlines for the most prominent startup accelerator programs. If you want to be kept posted on the launch, join our community (below) and you’ll be the first to know. You can also watch this space as well as our Facebook site for updates.