As a leading early stage accelerator, “What are the bases that one uses to select a startup?” is a question that is often asked. There are broadly three areas that would form the basis for selecting a startup looking at today’s market.
The primary area that an accelerator would look at is the “attitude” of the entrepreneurs – this is a critical area 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, the business very soon turns south. Equally there are those who initially come across as completely unsure of themselves when you meet them, reticent and shy, not any specialised formal education, however as time goes by, slowly but surely, they keep chipping away and things move northwards on a firm footing. The fundamental difference that drives this – attitude. They come with a “to do” approach, are open and 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 that they need coaching. 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 times of self doubt, hitting humongous roadblocks, cash crunch – all of it. It is important that you have the strength to ride through it all.
2. Business Potential
Ofcourse the business idea has to make sense. This will not be perfect of course, however it should have some basis of being self sustaining in the long run. 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 program, however the revenue potential should clearly be part of the plan.
3. Entrepreneurial Gut
An often ignored area is “gut”. This also plays a role when selecting. What drives gut is simply experience. There is no logic to it, however as time goes by and you have had experience in areas of running your own business, working for organisations, dealing with people, you get 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.
In addition to the above what is expected from the startup would be commitment to the program. A lot of startups like to flirt with what is on offer in the ecosystem. While it is perfectly legitimate to make an informed decision based on what is available, however to allow making full use of the program, it is critical that you are committed to the entire process. You cannot take a selective, cherry picking approach. The program has been designed to help support in their entirety and you have to trust it. Learning and growth are not overnight processes and it requires patience and commitment.