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The Key Parameters An Accelerator Looks At Before Selecting A Startup

The Key Parameters An Accelerator Looks At Before Selecting A Startup

Besides A To Do Attutude, An Accelerator Needs to Look At A Startup's Resilience

The rise in the number of startups the world over has also led to a simultaneous rise in the number of startup accelerators. So just as startups are spoilt for choice as far as accelerator programmes are concerned, similarly, accelerators are besieged by a multitude of startups vying to get in the programmes. Thus it becomes important for an accelerator to carefully choose the startups for its programme, in order to not only improve the startup’s performance but also maintain its success ratio.

But what are the key parameters on the basis of which this decision should be made? This is a question that is mulled upon always when selecting a startup for an accelerator programme.

Primarily, there are five broad areas that should be looked into while selecting a startup.

The To Do Attitude

The primary area that one would look at is the “attitude”. This is a critical quality for any startup to succeed. Very often, you come across people who have what are considered by some as the right credentials in terms of educational qualifications. However, sooner than later, the business turns south.

At the same time, there are those who, when you meet them initially come across as completely unsure of themselves, reticent and shy, without any specialised formal education whatsoever. However as time goes by, slowly but surely, they keep evolving and things move northwards on a firm footing.

The fundamental difference that drives this is nothing but attitude. They come with a “to do” approach, are open to advice and suggestions. They are coachable and are willing to get their hands dirty. All of these add to having the right attitude. It is very difficult to help someone who is unwilling to accept it.

Resilience To Ride Through It All

Secondly, as a fallout of the right attitude, one also develops resilience. This is equally critical when running one’s own business. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted and there will be many moments of self-doubt, especially when hitting humongous roadblocks or suffering from cash crunches. It is important that a founder has the strength to ride through it all.

A Self Sustaining Idea

Of course, the business idea has to make sense. This will not be perfect or constant.  However it should have some basis of being self-sustaining in the long run. After all, it is eventually about making money. Businesses that are based on another business driving their destiny makes one worried. The business model can pivot along the way which is also perhaps one of the outcomes of joining an accelerator programme. However the revenue potential should clearly be part of the plan.

The Gut To Run A Business

Then again, a largely overlooked area is “gut”. This also plays a role when selecting a startup. But what drives gut? Simply, experience. There is no logic to it. However as time goes by and a founder gains experience in the areas of running one’s own business, working for organisations and dealing with people, one gets a certain element of practical experience relevant in this context. A combination of all the factors is what adds up to gut. Normally this gets sharper over years of experience which is true for most things.

Commitment Of The Founders

In addition to the above, another important area is the startup’s commitment to the programme. A lot of startups like to flirt with what is on offer in the environment. While it is perfectly legitimate to make an informed decision on the basis of what is available, to make full use of the programme, it is critical that one is committed to the entire process. One cannot take a selective, cherry-picking approach. The programme has been designed to offer support in all aspects of running a business and one has to trust it.

Learning and growth are not an overnight processes and require patience and commitment. For a startup to make the cut, not only for the accelerator program but as a startup itself, commitment of the founders counts as one of the most important factors.

While these may not be the exhaustive list of criteria an accelerator looks at while selecting a startup, however they are some of the areas which an accelerator can definitely not choose to ignore when making the final decision.

Author

Vibhuti Channa is Director, Espark-Viridian Accelerator. Vibhuti has 25 years experience, covering on-ground fieldwork and central level operations, in leading business operations, marketing and strategic roles. He has worked in India and South East Asia across the FMCG, durables and luxury industry.

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