Accelerator programs have become a staple of the tech community in recent years, providing support and great value to entrepreneurs and startups that are looking to propel their ideas.
Recently, Verizon made available to its 2014 Powerful Answers Award winners a custom three month accelerator program at BootUp Academy in Menlo Park, CA designed to educate and accelerate their business growth, provide Verizon subject matter expert mentorship and drive their winning ideas to market faster. These startups participated in intensive workshops and product development tutorials, and connected with global advisors, mentors, subject matter experts and more. At the end of the program we asked this question of three participants: –“Do accelerators matter, and if so how?” See their responses below:
Business direction clarity
According Oded Ben Dov, CEO of Sesame Enable, “the benefits of an accelerator for a smaller operation like ours are great because of all of the content shared, from learning how to secure funding to hiring the right people for your business. There are also many connections that are fostered within accelerator programs that can bring clarity to your business you wouldn't have otherwise. For example, I was introduced to one investor who really helped to crack our business model, got me to see things in a new light and pivot our business slightly to ensure commercially viability. Just this week upon graduating from the program we were able to ship our first product -- a huge testament to the effects of an accelerator program.”
“Lastly, for international entrepreneurs, joining an accelerator program in the heart of the Silicon Valley (or other locations of interest to your business) can have a huge impact in helping immerse yourself in the local culture, business acumen and more” he added.
Mentorships that move the needle
“As an early stage startup, one of the things that I feel every entrepreneur needs is access to people that have the experience of creating a successful startup. It’s valuable to share these stories between early stage companies and those who have made it, and the accelerator is the facilitator of these connections. Otherwise, it’s hard to find mentors and experts in specific areas you need support in, such as business plan development, finance, presentation skills and product design. Accelerators have the unique ability to get everyone together in one place,” said Danny Weissberg, CEO at VoiceItt. “We now have a better understanding of our target market, the ecosystem at large and how to execute correctly when our product is ready for primetime.”
Time and space to refocus and reimagine
“Accelerators bring to a startup a diligence or capability (something the company lacks) to push the business along to another stage. For us, it was getting out of New York and out of the day-to-day grind of business operations. I was able to physically move myself to Silicon Valley for a few months. Without this time and space, I would not have the point of view I do now and needed distance to really work on the business like I have,” said Marshall Cox, CEO of Radiator Labs.
Do you have a great idea to solve one of the world’s biggest problems?
If so, then you have a shot at winning up to $1M in cash prizes as well as a chance to participate in an upcoming custom accelerator to drive your idea. For all you entrepreneurs and innovators out there, head to powerfulanswersaward.com and enter your idea. This year’s challenge is looking for innovative solutions in the fields of Emergency Response, Transportation and the Internet of Things. Submit your idea by June 18, 2015.