Hey Startups! Should You Pursue An Accelerator or Pre-Accelerator?

by Lorena Bernal
Blog Post

Cheers! You are accepted… 🙂

These days, an exciting occasion for any startup is to get accepted into accelerator programs.

The accelerator incubator’s sole purpose is to foster extreme and rapid growth for the startups they’ve added to their portfolios. And it’s happening left and right for startups today.

Mobile app startups are at the forefront of it all due to the innovative tech that stems from mobile technologies. This innovative tech spans from stuff like wearable tech, fitness technology and apps.

It’s an exciting occasion for any startup. Who would not like to get into incubators that will help their business actually get traction? Once awarded the opportunity to sign up with an accelerator, these startups are helped immensely.

They receive product development guidance, mentorship, facilities to work in and access to top of the line technologies, more funding opportunities and much more. The incubation is more than a nudge to grow faster. It makes growth all but certain.

That’s because by the time an startup is in an accelerator, they will have a solid business plan and proof of scalability. This accelerator eventually gets them funding.

Your startup can’t just survive with enough money, and that is why accelerators are so valuable.

Right now, money is relatively easy to raise for startups. Europe has enacted government grants to help startups get funded… so now public and private VC investors as well as various other types of angel investors are rampantly funding all types of startups and entrepreneurs today.

But funding is not enough. A solid business plan and validation is a must.

A percentage of these funded startups run their ideas straight into the ground due to a lack of structure that could really scale. And because of ideas that weren’t validated. That’s why accelerators are needed.

So, how do startups get into accelerators? With “Pre-Accelerators”.

Robin Wauters from tech.eu describes pre-accelerators like this:

“Pre-accelerator programmes essentially cater to people with ideas (or not even that yet) who are gearing up to join a ‘proper’ startup accelerator such as Y Combinator or Techstars, or for an early product launch – but aren’t quite ready yet.”

Because, as a startup founder, you must have a valid business plan with proof to back it up, joining a pre-accelerator program is a smart way to get a head start and possess a higher chance to being selected for your ideal startup accelerator.

5 Benefits Startups Receive From Joining A Pre-Accelerator

Benefit #1: Gain Validation and Traction.

You need these to get the right attention and eyes on your business.

As a startup founder, getting into a pre-accelerator can help you get your first paying customers; something that validates your idea.

Not only will a pre-accelerator help validate your idea, but if you are driven with passion but can’t quite grasp that idea you know is there on the tip of your mind, then pre-accelerators have the mentorship needed to craft that passion into the idea you’re looking for.

Gain some paying customers soon after and your startup will then be on its way to getting serious funding and serious growth.

Even if you’re not looking to save the planet right now, the process of validation and traction can spawn new ideas and ventures, which you can get help navigating in an accelerator or pre-accelerator.

Benefit #2: Meet The Right People

Pre-accelerators allow you to rub elbows with potential future co-founders as well as other great people you want to be associated with.

All these relationships forged that stem from a pre-accelerator are positive and beneficial to your mindset and your startup business.

Self-proclaimed startup aficionado João Oliveira shares in a Medium piece about pre-accelerators this same sentiment:

“ these programs are great to meet not only experts or experienced entrepreneurs but also co-founders. Some programs like Entrepreneur First only accept individual applications, in a model that has very interesting results with formed teams receiving investment from Y Combinator or Index Ventures.”

Benefit #3: Build Customer Development Skills Through Preparation

What pre-accelerators let you do is test, test, and then test some more. It’s this grueling process that sometimes may take longer than expected that gets you accepted into accelerator programs, or finds you a great investor that helps fund your launch.

These tests create a strong customer skill set because you come to know your product backwards and forwards and can explain your business plan and goals to anyone based off of actual customer feedback data accumulated through testing and validating stages.

Also, quick tip: using gamification for app engagement is a solid strategy to test, too.

Benefit #4: Gather And Acquire Necessary Feedback

When your startup is in a pre-accelerator you have access to experienced mentorship and professionals that know how to create business.

Mobile app startups and the industry itself still conforms to the rules of business. And getting such golden advice from experienced people such as managing directors of all the top accelerator programs will automatically craft your mobile application startup into a far more fundable one.

Benefit #5: Gain So Much Yet Risk So Little

It’s called “equity free knowledge.” And with pre-accelerators, you have a lot of it.

Often with accelerators, you forfeit a piece of equity in exchange for the massive benefits they bring you.

Accelerators are not 100% guaranteed to make your startup a successful rock star, but pre-accelerators basically are!

How so?

When in an pre-accelerator, you get guidance and help to form your business idea and validate it. You do things you would be doing in an accelerator but more so things from a slight earlier stage.

These important tasks that build the base of your long term success are completely zero risk within a pre-accelerator because you’re not giving up any equity in exchange for all the benefits your startup receives.

What this means is that your startup can catapult itself and gain rapid growth without much exposure to risk. Pre-accelerators are a win-win scenario.

Should You Pursue An Accelerator or Pre-Accelerator?

To be accepted into an accelerator program is a day of celebration for any mobile app startup.

Thousands upon thousands of applicants strive to get accepted each year, but only a fraction get the nod. It’s incredible how beneficial startup accelerators can be for mobile app startups.

We’ve looked at just a few of the benefits, and as you can see, it’s not even about funding — it’s about the connections, network and help you can get.

The question now becomes, “where do I sign up?” Well if you’re ready to sign up, go ahead, but if you’re not, or if you want to “confirm” that you are, why not take a look at some pre-accelerators?

To learn more about this, contact us at hello@koombea.com and we can discuss how to help develop and prepare your mobile app startup for getting into a pre-accelerator.

In Koombea we understand how to build products, not just web or mobile apps, we have a proven track record that makes us the best experienced partner for your business.

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by Lorena Bernal
Blog Post