3 tips for getting onto an accelerator

from ex Techstars & Oxygen associate, Umesh Kumar

The IncuBus London incubator programme is on a mission to help get startups onto the world’s best accelerators. Throughout the 12 weeks they spend with us, we prepare them for the tough selection criteria they will face when applying to an accelerator. As part of getting them accelerator ready we invite down accelerators, their alumni and past colleagues to give our startups the lowdown on what they’re looking for and how to best prepare for one.

This week Umesh Kumar joined us for a mentor session with Class 3, shared his valuable insights & gave us 3 tips for getting onto an accelerator below.

You’ve been involved in several accelerators over the last few years. Tell us a bit more about this journey…

I worked for Oxygen Accelerator as business development associate and helped them with their London programme and the 10 teams we had there. After that I worked in the second London programme of Techstars. I helped the teams growing their business from a business development point of view, so with their marketing and PR, sales and advertising.

This is where I met one of the mentors who wanted to set up a property accelerator. So I helped to set up Pi Labs (Property Innovation Labs), which was founded in July last year and is based at Second Home in Brick Lane.

What are you working on nowadays?

I moved over to set up a company called Pace Ventures, which is an innovation consultancy business. We help big corporates to partner with startups and other brands like incubators, accelerator programmes, co-working spaces, hackathons, innovation and tech teams. Everything we do is around getting corporates more entrepreneurial, creative and engaged with the startup community.

Here’s his 3 tips for getting onto an accelerator programme:

Accelerators are very different in terms of what they are trying to get out of their programme or whether they are industry focused or not. But I think there are three main areas that they look for.

1. Unique Selling Point.

I think everyone talks about USP-s, but very few really hit the nail on the head. You have to explain how you are different to the competition. If you can really nail what your USP is then accelerator programmes will like you.

2. Team.

Most accelerators accept candidates and startups that have a good mix in their team — both technical and business development. You need a well-rounded team, at least co-founding team in order to be successful and get investment.

3. Financials.

Understand your business model and your market size. You also have to know who your competition is, what your revenue model is, as well as projections. The startups that get into accelerators understand all these things and articulate that in their application. Accelerators are there to help you but they are there to make money. They are a business; they are investors looking for a return. If you have these three things you’ll do well.

Thank you Umesh for your time & 3 tips for getting onto an accelerator!

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Umesh Kumar interviewed by Evelin Torocsik

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