Going to enter an accelerator? Does the initial investment look enticing? What do you need to know to be able to tell if they are offering a good deal for you?
Since Y-Combinator opened its doors in March 2005 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, hundreds of accelerators across the world have opened. You may recognise some of these.
But before we look at the questions to ask, what is an accelerator?
An accelerator is a cohort based, fixed term education program with connections and mentors culminating in a pitch event.
The best accelerators educate you to create a business that generates revenue from customers. This takes significant time and expertise, so some accelerators simply train you to pitch for money from investors.
So what questions should you ask?
What is the curriculum? Does it cover Customer Discovery, Value Proposition, Product Design, and Financial Planning amongst other things?
How is traction demonstrated? Are you going to manufacture and sell something?
Who is in the network? Are they the right people for you? And, how much time will they have to devote to your company?
What do the contracts actually say? Can you understand them? In any case, it is always wise to seek independent qualified, legal advice.
You know what, if you do the Lean Commercialisation Program, you will not need to enter an Accelerator. You get to keep all the fruits of your idea.