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When trying to establish your startup in the market, you may run into some issues along the way. Fortunately, you can use an accelerator to help rapidly develop your product and service to be more recognised in the competitive market. Several accelerator programs available throughout New Zealand can help your early-stage startup expand rapidly. This article will outline what a startup accelerator does, the advantages of using one, and if they are suitable for your company. 

What is a Startup Accelerator?

A startup accelerator is a short-term growth program that promotes a few years of growth in the span of three to six months. Furthermore, the program will focus on rapid product development and often have a fixed duration during which they will improve your business. Certainly, accelerator programs will require applications, and the screening process is highly competitive. However, using an accelerator can significantly benefit your business through their various services such as:

  • training: mentoring and coaching from industry experts. You also have the opportunity to attend seminars, workshops, and pitch practise sessions;
  • co-working: you will usually have access to office space and time to develop your startup;
  • seed funding: accelerators often offer seed investment;
  • networking: through an acceleration program, you can meet other early-stage startups and exchange ideas. In addition, you can work with innovators, founders of successful companies, and alumni of the program; and
  • demo day: you will have the opportunity to pitch your startup to potential investors where you can attract seed investors, angel investors, or venture capitalists.

By list, some accelerator programs in New Zealand include:

  • Kokiri – for Maori-led startups;
  • Flux;
  • Sprout; and
  • Lightning Lab.

Application Process

The application process is competitive, and you could be up against many other applicants. Moreover, a program will accept startups in cohorts, so there are limited opportunities to apply each year. Correspondingly, the stages of the application process are:

  1. making an application: you will need to specify your idea, target market, the team involved, and other vital details that could lead to your success;
  2. assessment: startups will go through the pre-screening phase in which the program will assess your revenue potential and strength of the product or service offering;
  3. interview: the accelerator will certainly want to know about you, your team, the product, and your current successes;
  4. evaluation: you will definitely need to provide statements about your revenue, legal statements, and any claims about the company as evidence; and
  5. acceptance: once accepted, the program will decide what support your startup will receive.

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What an Accelerator Program Looks For

Generally, getting into an accelerator program is a highly competitive process. As shown above, you will need to apply, be interviewed, evaluated, and accepted. Evidently, accelerator programs want startups that show great promise and growth potential. Consequently, they mostly look for crucial elements in your business such as:

  • a strong business plan;
  • minimum viable product – your product has some buyers already or has some free users;
  • strong teamwork abilities;
  • scalability potential;
  • high revenue potential; and
  • entrepreneurial spirit and drive.

You may not have all the critical elements at the moment but can prepare before applying.

For example, you can prepare by drafting a business plan, making a prototype of your product, having an innovation mindset, and learning from existing entrepreneurs in your relevant industry.

Advantages of an Accelerator Program

Utilising an accelerator program for your startup is a great way to grow your business quickly. An accelerator comes with many other benefits such as:

  • growth potential: your business may be able to scale up within weeks;
  • feedback: advisors can provide you with feedback, so you stay on track;
  • networking: access to other entrepreneurs through mentorships and coaching opportunities;
  • seed investment: you may receive funding from the program or attract investors through your pitch as the end of the program;
  • prestige: by participating in such a program, investors are confident that you have the skill, drive, and training to run a business successfully;
  • ongoing support during and after the program ends;
  • skills development; and
  • risk management: the accelerator program can identify risks and help you minimise them.

Is an Accelerator Program Right For Your Startup?

Despite this, an accelerator program may not be the right fit for every startup.

For instance, some startups will suit an incubator program better.

However, an accelerator program is a good fit for you if you:

  • want to grow quickly;
  • are willing to hand over some control to mentors and successful entrepreneurs;
  • can impress investors through your business plan and records from the program;
  • can relocate onsite to the program; and
  • have the time to give undivided attention to the program, attend meetings, seminars, and workshops.

Key Takeaways

An accelerator program can help you rapidly grow and scale your business in the market. This is because you will have access to continued support, mentoring, and opportunities to attract investors. Although an accelerator has many benefits, you need to go through the application process and be accepted into the program.

If you need help with accelerator programs, our experienced startup lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use an accelerator for my startup?

An accelerator can help you grow rapidly in the market and give you access to potential investors and entrepreneurs who can guide you on your journey. Therefore, your startup will look more appealing to the market, making your business more profitable. 

What is an accelerator?

An accelerator is a program that focuses on rapidly developing your business and its product and services. 

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