How to Build Your Own Accelerator

It is generally known that Amsterdam is a startup heaven. The people’s minds seem to produce more novel ideas than ever, however, many founders could use some support in scaling their businesses. This is where accelerator programs come in. Typically, accelerators offer a three to four months program designed to help startups get up and running by expanding their businesses in exchange for equity in the startup. As such, there is a strong focus on trainings, workshops, mentorship, networking opportunities, finding investors and other startup fun. Accelerator programs are booming. So, why not start your own accelerator? After all, it is extremely rewarding to help others chase their startup dreams, it demonstrates your commitment in the industry and benefits return on investment. Here’s how to build your own accelerator.

Step 1: Be a Founder and Have a Great Team
Clearly, starting an accelerator is not for everyone. In order to attract entrepreneurial talent, you need to have some sort of credibility so that you can prove that you properly understand what is going on in the industry. Most accelerators’ initiators are or have been successful founders themselves which makes them inspirational, to some extent. In addition, running an accelerator is a lot of work, for which you will need a team. Joining forces with other founders, mentors or industry experts might be a good idea in order to establish a reliable and experienced team.

Step 2: Get Active in the Community
Once again, we highlight the importance of having a proper network, like we did in this blogpost. Amsterdam’s startup scene offers plenty of startup breakfasts, techy Meetups, entrepreneurial speed dating events and other opportunities to make even more valuable connections. In other words, it is relatively easy to get in touch with promising entrepreneurs that are experiencing resistance in their attempts to scale their businesses. 

Step 3: Be of Use in the Community
Once you are getting active in that startup community, it’s time to start helping the community. Think of hosting Meetups yourself or matching people in your network to one another. It is key, however, that you do not expect anything in return. Again, we are highlighting the importance of building credibility and trust. 

Step 4: Define Your Value
The huge amount of accelerators out there, indicate that there is plenty of demand. It also indicates, however, that you will need to distinguish yourself from the competition. Therefore, it is important that you actively think about the kind of value your accelerator can offer startups. This could include specific mentorship, a certain kind of exposure or some special type of access to your network. What do you and your accelerator team possess that might benefit the startups you are trying to attract? 

Step 5: Design the Program
Based on the value you will be delivering, develop an attractive and feasible program that is going to help the businesses you will accept thrive. Set a time frame, get a space, clearly define every step and milestone that you will be guiding those founders through. Also, think of how much equity you will be taking in each startup and how many startups you will be able to take on at a time. After that, make sure to assemble all resources necessary to realize the program designed.

Step 6: Get Selective
Now that you are inspirational and important in the community, chances are startups will start to be attracted to you. Define what types of companies are worthy of your time, funding and mentorship. In doing so, be specific. Set criteria based on the idea’s potential, how nimble and experienced the founders are. Most accelerators create an online form first, after which interviews will take place. Determining who you are going to mentor is an extremely important step. Make sure you choose wisely and consistently.

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with start-ups and scale-ups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through.

Want to learn more? Contact us through [email protected]