Toronto-based MaRS Discovery District recently released a report called Seeding Success: Canadian Startup Accelerators that breaks down numerous aspects of accelerator programs in Canada.
In the report, six benefits of accelerators are cited, as described by the program directors and the entrepreneurs that participate in the programs. If you’re a founder considering applying for an accelerator, check out the main six benefits:
Networking is always of value in the startup world, and accelerators present a wide array of such opportunities. “One of our alumni from the first year is getting all his connections for his ventures in Silicon Valley through The Next 36,” says Claudia Hepburn of The Next 36.
Being in an accelerator offers at least some degree of prestige, as most applications aren’t accepted. “We’ve taken the top 1% of companies,” explains Andy Yang of Extreme Startups. “We’ve vetted these from hundreds and hundreds of applications. It carries a lot of weight.”
According to program directors, one great benefit of an accelerator is that it adds a layer of efficiency to the startup’s entire process. “Accelerators make everything more efficient,” says Patrick Riley of the Global Accelerator Network. “If a company can go to one place and get mentorship, investments, and collaboration with other companies, that’s the ideal world.”
Accelerators are great for allowing people to collaborate with the bright minds of other eager and competitive entrepreneurs. “When you’re in an open space and you’re working with another 10 or 15 entrepreneurs or engineers or designers or marketing people, there’s a lot that happens,” says Ben Zlotnick of INcubes.
Accelerators are likened to universities, where some formality and discipline helps hone the focus of entrepreneurs. “We realized through our insight discovery that entrepreneurs in the city of Toronto were lacking that type of accountability and that type of engagement and training, and that’s what we really need,” explains Tamara-Melissa Huggins of Driven.
Accelerator programs offer an ideal way to test and ensure the commitment of all founding members of a startup team. “It was our way to weed out those who really didn’t want to be there,” explains Adam Jarczyn, an entrepreneur behind Hovr.it.