If your tech startup has a product and is ready for the next stage, the next step towards becoming a global technology success is most likely joining an accelerator.
muru-D is the startup accelerator backed by Telstra, and so far it has accelerated 77 startups with world-changing technology businesses.
So we caught up with the head of muru-D, Julie Trell, to find out what advice she would give to any budding technology entrepreneur who is looking for acceleration.
How would you describe a startup accelerator to a first-time founder?
As Annie Parker, one of the co-founders of muru-D, describes it, it’s like The Voice or Australian Idol for founders who have great ideas and seek the support of experts who have ‘been there done that’.
You present your idea and what you hope to build or how you plan on changing the world and or solving a problem. These experts choose to work with you and provide coaching and tools that will help your team find success.
At the end of the program there is one ‘performance’ where everyone wins. Rather than growing their fans and followers, they gain investors and customers. And the journey begins.
How would you know if your startup is ready for an accelerator?
If you are looking for support, connections, coaching and you are ready to ask for help, then you’re ready for an accelerator. No founder or company is the same and not all accelerators are the same. Do your homework on what accelerator programs can do you for you.
What questions do you need to ask yourself?
Figure out what it is you need – is it access to capital? Connection to mentors? Getting educated on the ins-and-outs of running a start-up? Legal advice? Marketing? Sales? Pricing? Do you want to be with other startups eager to receive coaching and share similar struggles?
Or do you need more practice with soft skills like communications, leadership styles, or motivation? Do you need to sharpen your EQ (emotional quotient)? Then find the accelerators or programs that will address those needs.
How do you find an accelerator?
Simple answer: Google “accelerator” or “incubator” for startups and hundreds will appear. You can get a feel for what kinds of accelerators are out there, where they are located, what their requirements are, and what their focus is.
F6S and Angellist also have databases of all things startups including accelerator programs around the globe. It’s not a bad idea to have a profile on either of those platforms if you are looking for an accelerator, mentors, investors and/or a community of startups.
What should you do once you have found the right accelerator?
Once you do your homework and get a feel for a few accelerators that resonate with you, reach out to the portfolio companies who have been through the program. Contact them (tweet, email, LinkedIn etc.) and ask what their experience was like and if they recommend it and why. Recognise if their needs were the same as yours and evaluate accordingly.
It’s also important to understand how the accelerator engages with founders and companies after the program finishes. Is there an alumni community that you can reach out to for questions, connections, or just to unload? What is the ongoing support?
What is the best way to apply to an accelerator?
Once you get an idea of the right accelerator for you, the timing and location of the program, then you can apply online. Many applications will require a short video of you as a founder or your product or service, and what problem you are solving. Don’t worry if you don’t have a polished or professional video, often times the simplest short authentic videos work best.
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