Accelerator team errors: how to attract the next round of investment

    The most powerful projects fall into the accelerator, which, as a rule, go through several stages of selection. And it seems that everything in the project is there - a strong team, a viable idea, a market, competitors, thoughts on how to develop the project. But then something goes wrong, and the project fails, without having received the next round of investment.
    In this post we will try to figure out what went wrong and give tips on how to avoid mistakes and better prepare for work in the accelerator. We will consider it a personal victory if our post saves at least a few teams from mistakes, allows them to successfully complete the acceleration program and attract the next round of investment.

    So what went wrong?

    Mistake 1. Scheduled businessman

    Accelerator is not only about money, but about the intensive development of projects. And this, in turn, is impossible without constant master classes, discussions and consultations with cool experts.

    And in general, at some point you need to make a choice for yourself - to work on your main job or to engage in a project and focus on it. It is impossible to be an entrepreneur on a schedule, from 9 to 5 working at work, and from 6 to 9 doing the project.

    In our opinion, getting into the accelerator is just that point of reference when you need to choose which axis you will go - hired or entrepreneurial. Firstly, when the founders of the project work at their main job, they usually miss a significant part of the workshops and consultations, and as a result do not receive the key value of the accelerator. Secondly, competitors are also on the alert and, giving 100% their best efforts, are likely to overtake you in the end, while it is very difficult for working founders to intensively develop their project, they can work on it only in the background.

    If you are not ready to fully concentrate on the project, then you should not go to the accelerator, but it is better to develop the project in the background, quiet and then go after the investment, if possible.

    Mistake 2. Product Care

    Very often, project teams fall in love with their projects and lick them to the smallest detail, rather than rushing to the market and asking their customers if the product / service has any value and whether to make sales.

    Often the second mistake is related to the first: the founders think that it’s enough to find cool developers and write good technical specifications, and you can safely do other projects or work yourself. But the product is not equal to the code. Look around you - not a single project failed because they had a bad code, but problems with consumers, competitors, logistics and product values ​​were and always will be. They will have to be solved non-stop every day.

    Morality:A product is not technology or code. Constantly test and improve your product, the main thing is to find your target audience and hypotheses as quickly as possible on the value that your product carries.

    Mistake 3. “I know everything!”

    Often, project teams decide to “score” at educational master classes and meetings with experts, because “but we already know / read it, we’ll better get a product.” (For example, at the beginning of the QIWI Universe program, project teams often complained to us that because of intensive training, they did not have time to work on the project).

    At the same time, teams miss important features of the educational process precisely in the accelerator.

    Firstly, it is the exclusivity and practical orientation of all classes. It’s one thing to sit at a lecture with hundreds of other such students, it’s quite another to have access to a cool expert for several hours, who will analyze your project.

    Secondly, all classes in the accelerator are usually interconnected and complement each other. For example, it makes no sense to spend an advertising budget when you have problems with usability. That is why it’s not worthwhile to “score” on some master class just because “we don’t need this topic yet”. In business, many processes are connected and it is better to understand this sooner rather than later.

    Thirdly, as a rule, accelerators, through their friendly channels, manage to invite well-known experts and entrepreneurs, who in the future can be very useful to teams through their extensive acquaintances. And this chance cannot be missed!

    Morality:If you go to the accelerator for the multiple growth of your business, then you need to go to all workshops and meetings with experts, and not just sit and saw the product (this can be done successfully at home without giving up a share in the project). We noticed that in Russia as a whole there is a rather arrogant attitude towards education, as to something divorced from reality, and often this trail comes from the institute's years. However, practice shows the opposite - the best results are shown by those entrepreneurs who are trying to absorb the maximum amount of useful knowledge and skills from the educational program.

    Mistake 4. “Kick me!”

    Many teams, having got into the accelerator, think that the accelerator team will constantly follow them on the heels and constantly offer them something (introduce them to the right people, go to the conference, etc.).

    On the one hand, this is indeed so - at special traction meetings that take place every week, the accelerator team discusses all the plans and achievements of each team. For many teams, this is an occasion to pack up and speed up.

    But this does not mean that the accelerator becomes your nanny. Just because the team itself knows best its product and its consumer, which means that it should be active and say what it lacks and with whom to introduce it.

    Moral: The accelerator team usually has the opportunity to solve a lot of your questions through their experience, connections and expertise, much faster than if you worked on these issues yourself. But in order to get this help, you need to formulate your questions and tasks and not be afraid to ask them.

    Error 5.Neighbors are just dirty dishes and useless chatter.

    Accelerator is a unique place where many talented guys with promising ideas gather at once.

    But, as a rule, teams are too focused on their product, and do not take advantage of the opportunities that the accelerator ecosystem opens before them.

    Firstly, other accelerator teams can become the first users of the product and give the team honest feedback, which ultimately can save the team from wasting time.

    Secondly, accelerator projects can perfectly complement each other both in terms of competencies and in terms of products. For example, share your experience on how to set up or do something.

    Thirdly, other projects are also communications - contacts of customers, developers, contractors. Many coworking neighbors have experience working in companies whose contacts you might be looking for.

    Moral: Take the time to discuss your project with other accelerator teams, don't be afraid to ask them for help. In general, be more social! :)

    Error 6. “I did not hear the alarm clock” The

    acceleration program is a marathon for the project team and, above all, for the founders. If your project has received investments, you have hit the accelerator - this is not the finish line on which to relax, but only the start, after which you need to start working even more intensively and not slow down.

    Unfortunately, many teams are relaxed by the free work schedule and instead of accelerating, they believe that the most difficult is behind, and then they are surprised why competitors overtook them and received investments, and their project did not survive.

    Moral: If you decide to go to the accelerator, prepare yourself mentally in advance that you will have to work a lot, a lot. Think about what time you are comfortable starting to work (for example, from 11 in the morning) and make it a rule not to deviate from it. This technique perfectly disciplines in the conditions of a free work schedule.

    Also popular now: