The Early Stages Episode #5: Accelerate!
As good as the idea or team may be — to survive as a startup, you must sustain. And in doing so, any help is useful. Learn about the magic of accelerators.
The cliché of nerdy dudes in a Silicon Valley garage churning out their dream all on their own is outdated. The startup founding reality is different today. It is more diverse, not only in terms of the founders themselves but also in the opportunities young founding teams have to develop their idea into a sustainable company. You don’t have to do it all by yourself, there’s plenty of help out there.
In recent years, accelerators have sprung up all over the world. And research results show: Almost two-thirds of all startups that have gone through an accelerator program say it has been significantly important for their success. But what are the benefits of an accelerator, when are they truly helpful and how do you get the most out of it?
Our podcast series “The Early Stages” walks you through the “Startup Journey” in six episodes — from founding to funding and growing your startup. In each episode, host Julia comes together with founders and an APX expert to discuss one stage in the process of building a company, sharing their personal experiences, learnings, and advice for other up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
In the fifth episode of our podcast series, our host Julia meets Rapha Steil, Co-Founder of Quin, who just recently finished the program at APX, Evgeniya Polo, Co-Founder of Emmora and APX Alumna as well as Robert Martin, Venture Manager at Porsche Digital and advisor to startups in the APX portfolio. They talk about their experiences with accelerator programs.
Mentorship, funding, networks: The perks of an accelerator
There are many accelerators out there and they all offer a different program. We at APX offer a tailor-made growth program for very early-stage startups to make them ready for follow-on financing and an initial investment of 50,000 EUR in return for five percent of equity. All podcast guests agreed that the biggest perks of an accelerator are mentorship, funding and the network. So when is the right time for a young company to apply for an accelerator? Evgeniya has a straight answer: „It’s never early enough to start looking for acceleration“, she says. Robert, who is an experienced startup advisor claims that most companies coming into the program at APX face one common problem regardless of their individual product: „The most difficult challenge is to get enough users in order to validate your assumptions and prove market fit.“ That’s where accelerators can help.
How you get the most out of your accelerator experience
A special feature of APX’s accelerator program is the fact that it’s tailormade to the startup’s individual needs. The thing with accelerators is that they can offer a lot of opportunities for help — but you need to take them. This may sound basic, but it’s important: „Be open. You have to get out of your comfort zone and question yourself,“ says Rapha.
Evgeniya adds: „You learn the most from listening and talking to others“, she says. Whether in workshops or sessions with the community, there are many people with a lot of expertise in different verticals in most of the accelerator’s networks. They are ready to help you!
What accelerators look for
Now that you have chosen to join an accelerator, one question remains: How do you get into the program? First of all, check the focus of the respective accelerator. Evgeniya reveals how the pitching process at APX worked: „There are basically three questions: ‘Why this? Why now? Why you?’“
Do you have an idea for a product and an answer to these three questions? Then either apply to APX right away or listen to the whole episode to learn more about the value of accelerator programs.
APX is Europe’s leading pre-seed VC and accelerator program for very early-stage startups. Based in Berlin, we invest across industries in great teams building digital startups — often as their first investor — and support each team with EUR 50K, access to an extensive network, and a tailor-made growth program to secure follow-on financing. Send us your pitch deck today.