Being accepted into an acceleration program is a big step for entrepreneurs when starting their journey. But how do you know that you have chosen the right program, when there are currently a lot of options on the market? How do you increase your chances of being accepted? There are some things that need to be thought through before submitting your company or business idea for consideration.
Today we are sharing what you should know before applying for an accelerator.
Why should I apply for an accelerator?
An acceleration program is a program aimed at a selected group of startups, with the goal of taking them further. These programs provide support in improving and expanding your business, through training and mentoring to improve business skills, contact with investors and customers, and even financial support. These can be a real getaway especially for first-time founders and with little knowledge of the startup ecosystem.
In short, the main benefits of applying for one of these programs are:
Advice: the transmission of strategic knowledge to enter the market successfully;
Network: in addition to support in improving your pitch, these programs allow you to connect with valuable stakeholders and even belong to international networks;
Investment: these programs are a good way to reach investors or even win monetary prizes to launch your business
You probably know of several success stories that started with this type of program. This is the case of Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit and the list goes on. Some well-known startups have also resulted from BGI's acceleration programs, such as Feedzai, which recently was valued at $ 1 billion, and became part of the list of unicorns in our portfolio.
What is the best option for me?
First of all, you have to keep in mind the stage of your business. If you only have an idea or a prototype that you want to launch on the market, the best option is to apply for a seed or pre-seed accelerator, which will help you to develop your idea, your team and get the first customers and investors. If your business is more advanced, you should probably look for an acceleration program that will help you scale and expand it. Still, there are tailor-made programs that help you in each stage of development of your startup, giving you the tools you need to move on to the next stage.
Another thing to take into account is that the accelerators can be more generalist or focused on specific sectors, such as digital, health, food, sustainability, among others; or in verticals, such as consumer products, renewable energy, real estate, transport, and so on.
In addition, you can choose programs that have a limited time, or others that keep in touch and provide ongoing support after the program.
What should I consider when making my application?
The application phase is essential for accelerators to assess whether startups are suitable for the program or not. For this reason, the accelerator registration form tends to be long and cover both information about the business and the profile of the founders. Some things to be evaluated in this process are the traction of your business, your team and the availability to participate in all events and activities in the program.
Here are some things to keep in mind when filling out the application form:
Always read the rules and regulations. You won't want anything to pass you by.
Reach out to the Program Manager for more information and get to know the program more. Do not have problems asking for help and clarify the points that you find less evident.
Don't leave your application to the last minute. As we said, forms can take a little longer to complete. You must ensure that you fill it out in advance so that you can clear your doubts in a timely manner.
Keep it simple and easy to read. Put just enough information for the accelerator to call you for an interview.
Try and get feedback about your application, if not accepted so you can do better next time.
Use examples, proofs, diagrams, images to explain your concept.
If you are interested in applying for an acceleration program, we have some open opportunities that may interest you. Reach out to us, and we will help you to find the most suitable program for your business.
Also read: 8 startup facts you probably didn't know