The startup accelerator application process

One piece of advice I have found helpful to new founders is going through the application process for startup programs.  Whether an accelerator, incubator, launch, or other flavor of program helpful to early stage startups – almost all of the application processes are incredibly helpful.  The goal of course is to have ready and willing founders ready to join the program, but not everyone should.  I will leave the why vs. why not to another post, but the application process itself can help founders get on the same page and outline the vision for their company.

The obvious programs that are top of mind for me are; YCombinator ApplicationTechStars Application500 Startups Accelerator Program, there are hundreds that have similar application questions

Questions this from YCombinator:

Ycombinator questions

Some questions I am paraphrasing that I ask during my mentor sessions that I find are helpful to founders

Who is on the management team right now?

How long have you been focussing on revenue?

What happens if you do not get into this program?

Who own the company and the breakdown of the ownership right now?

What are some of the challenges you have faced that are still unresolved?

What is the headline for your product launch in consumer/trade/enterprise?

…and the list continues.

These things make people think about things in a way that is structured and organized, and forces founders to come together.

Sometimes its easy to brush aside the more mundane and boring questions that really help define the vision for a business.  The application plays the “bad cop” in this scenario and lets the team focus on what is most important which is coming together and making sure they are on the same page for the future of their business.


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