Startup ABC #1: Accelerator
In the context of startups and startup companies, you have probably heard the word "Accelerator". But what is it actually? We succinctly have summarized the answers to the most important questions about the startup accelerator here for you.
An accelerator is a startup funding program that is similar to a boot camp for founders. This means that if you manage to get accepted into an accelerator, a few weeks of hard work await you! However - and this is the great thing about these programs - during this time you will be supported by professionals and experts to get the best out of your business ideas. The goal of accelerator programs is to increase the growth of the accepted startups, to make their business ideas marketable within a few weeks or months and, if necessary, to gain external financing for them. To this end, the respective founders are supported in improving their business models, sharpening the products or services of their startups, implementing initial projects with customers and putting their companies on a growth course. True to their name, accelerator programs can be real catalysts for the growth of your startup.
How long do you get which kind of support?
The duration of accelerator-programmes is several weeks or months, but usually a maximum of six months. During this time, you will receive various forms of support - often financial resources in the form of startup funding or salaries, the provision of jobs and resources, professional support from mentors and coaching on various topics.
At the end of the accelerator-programs, there are usually so-called "demo days", where you have the opportunity to present your business idea or your company to potential investors and to network with various stakeholders.
Which providers of accelerator-programs are there and what are the conditions for funding?
Operators of accelerator-programs are often large corporations, but also universities and other public institutions. Especially the accelerator-programs of corporations are usually industry-specific, which you should take into account when searching for them. You can search for programs here, for example:
The quid pro quo for funding under accelerator-programmes is often the sale of shares in your company.
How can you apply for these programs?
Usually you can apply for an accelerator-program online through the respective provider's website. Most often, you'll need to fill out an application form and upload a pitch deck that describes your business idea. Since the pitch deck is the basis for the shortlist, you should pay great attention to quality when preparing it. If you pass the pre-selection, you will usually be invited to telephone interviews or a pitch in front of a jury.
Is it possible to apply for an accelerator-program without a concrete business idea?
If you don't have a concrete business idea yet, applying to a so-called "incubator" might be the better choice for you. These programs focus on the development of business ideas. They are therefore "incubators" for ideas, while accelerators are the catalysts for already existing business models.
Where can you find more information about accelerator- and incubator-programs?
You can find out more about the differences and similarities between incubators and accelerators on the pages of the Gründerplattform, an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and KfW: https://gruenderplattform.de/finanzierung-und-foerderung/finanzierung-finden/finanzierungsmoeglichkeiten/accelerator
If you're thinking about applying for one of the existing accelerators or incubators but still have questions, feel free to contact us directly for a consultation.