“Across the board, accelerators provide one key value: dramatically expanding your network.”
One VC puts himself in the shoes of “an entrepreneur” and lends his insight on whether or not joining an accelerator is right for your company.
By Jeff Bussgang
Originally seen on the blog Seeing Both Sides
As accelerators like Techstars gain in popularity, many entrepreneurs wonder whether they should be applying and, if admitted, joining an accelerator and when they shouldn’t. I get this question a lot from my students, particularly as they’re graduating and scrambling to figure out where they should start their company, how to raise capital and whether an accelerator is right for them. Here are a few guidelines that I would think about if I were an entrepreneur making such a decisions.
First, broadly speaking, accelerators serve a very valuable role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. In many ways, as Eugene Chung of Techstars NY points out, they are like finishing schools for entrpreneurs. Like a college, there is a rigorous admissions process. And once admitted, the participant receives an extraordinarily rich education, in this case in the field of entrepreneurship. Also like college, the best accelerators represent valuable networks, where your “classmates” and even other alumni as well as boosters all become a part of your professional support system. Finally, the brand of the network will always be associated with your brand. Dropbox and Airbnb will always be known as “Y Combinator companies”, which initially helped buttress their brand, and more in more is helping enhance the Y Combinator brand.
So with that in mind, here are a few reasons when I think an accelerator is a great choice for the entrepreneur:
• Outsiders to the Entrepreneurial Community. You are early in your entrepreneurial career and want to super-charge your entrepreneurial network. To be clear, this is not a comment about age – you might be in your 50s and new to entrepreneurship. But, as Launchpad LA’s Sam Teller observes, “Across the board, accelerators provide one key value: dramatically expanding your network.”
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