Did you meet Laura Rietel (and Nick Churchouse from Lightning Labs) on Thursday 2 May 2013?
If not, you missed a great night!
Laura shared her experience with Business Accelerators.
I loved her presentation style. No slides. Just a few notes, lots of stories, and lots of questions.
Casual and friendly, it felt less like a seminar and more like a chat with an wise friend.
If you didn’t already know, Business Accelerators like Lightning Labs in Wellington have 90 days to turn ideas worth zero into companies worth millions!
So if these accelerators take 90 days, what does everyone do for the other 275 days of the year?
90 day business acceleration programmes are a very intense period for everybody:
- The participants who give up their lives, jobs, and family time for 90 days to be there
- The organisers who put in 12 hour, or 18 hour, or 20 hour days to ensure the teams have everything they need
- The mentors who pour in their expertise and knowledge (for free)
- The investors who pour in the money before day zero (when the companies are worth zero), on the hope that on day 90 they’ll be worth millions
It was interesting to hear how the top business accelerator in the world, TechStars, tried to cram 2 programmes into a single year and burnt out every stakeholder group involved.
If they can’t do it, no one can, so don’t even try.
Why Are Business Accelerators So Awesome?
- Because you compress 2 years of business growth and learning into 90 days
- Because a fast failure is a good thing
- Pivots make you stronger (75% of teams pivot), but “spivots”, when you spin around and around make you dizzy
- The value comes from the mentors advice and how you react to “mentor whiplash”, when you get conflicting advice. It’s up to you to extract what you can and make your decision
- Mentors sometimes become investors, and sometimes the CEO!
- The 5 most important factors: Team, Team, Team, Market, Idea
- The best team have worked together for years
- Teams are either 2 or 3 co-founders. Solo entrepreneurs don’t get in (unless they can find a co-founder before all the fun starts)
- You can’t be the coder/tech and run the startup too. You can only wear one of those hats
- You must be coachable. Don’t be precious. Don’t be defensive
- It’s bloody hard work. You need support from your family
- The hottest categories at the moment: Mobile, Cloud, Fashion, Education, Middleware
Who Pays? Who Gets Paid?
- 50% funded by the Government for writing programmes, salaries for operations team, fixed costs and infrastructure
- 50% funded by an Angel Investor Fund. In return the Angels get:
- 6% stake in each accelerated company
- Due diligence
- The fast tracked, pressure cooker startup phase
- Each participant gets $6000 to help them survive the 90 day period financially
Before You Create An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem In Your City…
- It must be led by entrepreneurs
- Take a long term view (20 years)
- Be inclusive. Embrace weirdness. Attract creativeness
Want to come to seminars like this?
You can subscribe to my email list and I’ll let you know about the next one: http://eepurl.com/pCoPX