Anyone applying to accelerator programs?

Partially just curious, partially looking for intel...

I'm applying to a few accelerator programs, hoping for a little bit of $ and the networking/advice that comes with it. I know that often accelerators are looking for businesses that are more VC-bound, and I'm more in the bootstrapping camp (obviously).

There are a few accelerators I've found that do cater to bootstrapper-types (tinyseed.com, for example), but I fear that my team and I are too early to be interesting to them, because we're still trying to build the product and user base while holding down full-time jobs, so it looks like we're not committed (even though we are!)

  1. anyone else exploring these options? any links you'd care to share?
  2. has anyone gone this route - if so, have any wisdom for the rest of us?


  1. 1

    Used to work for Techstars. Anything I can help :)?

    1. 1

      Thanks for the offer! I guess my main question would be: other than revenue (which we're obviously working towards and focused on), what measures or information help make a team really interesting to an accelerator?

      I get that the word "accelerator" is telling -- they want to "accelerate" growth for companies that have already started to show traction and just need to pour gasoline on the fire.

      What I'm struggling with, though, is that GETTING to that point feels like the really hard part - the part where most people could use the most help. My team and I have been working on a product for 2 yrs. We KNOW there's something there, and that it's just a matter of surviving long enough that we can iterate to the exact right solution. We also have a strong conviction (based on research, market signals, the general economy and social shifts, etc.) that this is the right time. Right now our product is rudimentary, and we're doing no marketing, but we still have people signing up - we're just struggling to convert them with the current version of the product, so we're learning and making adjustments... but not really any meaningful revenue, yet.

      This is my second startup - with my first startup, I took the leap and left my fulltime job, spent a lot of $, learned a lot of lessons, and vowed to do things differently the next time. I'm currently working toward getting myself in a financial position to leave the job again with more personal runway... but if we were to get accepted to an accelerator, I'd be able to do that a bit sooner. (Not saying I'd pay myself a salary - just that it would be a guaranteed runway extension for the company, and a big huge help.) As I said above, we really feel that NOW is the time, so it feels like time is of the essence... but that means we're applying to programs before they might consider us "ready."

      Any thoughts on the first question I posed, and/or any critique re: anything else I've said? I appreciate any and all feedback and suggestions! Thank you!

      1. 1

        Cool stuff!

        I can’t speak on behalf of other accelerators. But we usually measure a company based on 6 attributes: Team, team, team, idea, market and traction.

        People comes first. We believe in measuring their skills, dynamics and relationships. You also need to demonstrate the uniqueness of your company and how do you scale.

        When you select an accelerator, make sure their portfolio companies and mentors align with your goal.

        1. 1

          Thanks! Appreciate the response and insight.

  2. 1

    Tinyseed funding is so you can go full time I believe. You do need traction though which might be hard to get working full time.

    @robwalling might be able to answer it better than I did :)

    1. 1

      The accelerators I know (including TinySeed), look for traction (usually revenue) as one signal. Most will not fund pre-revenue/pre-launch companies. I believe there are incubators out there that are earlier stage than accelerators, but I don't know of any off hand.

      As always, my advice is to do what you're doing now: don't ask for permission, build your business.

      I would encourage you to keep pushing until no one can ignore your perseverance and traction. And feel free to reach out to me directly (https://robwalling.com/contact/) if you want advice or a sanity check on your current direction.

      Good luck!

      1. 1

        Thank you! I appreciate the response, and will certainly reach out when the time is right. We have plenty of perseverance, but not quite as much in the way of traction just yet - we're working on that. Hoping it'll look a little more compelling in January. :)

  3. 1

    I am also looking for the accelerator but only to guide us in the marketing. If they offer $ then also good. I am more into bootstrapping thing so no to equity dilution.
    TinySeed.com are good platform if you want to sell your startup to good people what I think.

  4. 1

    From what I understand, places like TinySeed and Earnest Capital, need to see some kind of traction/revenue to have the confidence to invest.

    Many of the people that they've invested in are members here on IH.

    1. 1

      ah, thanks. I'm a relative newbie (or at least, haven't been doing a very good job with consistency - so many things to juggle!) - so I don't know the community very well yet!

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