Sam Teller (Managing Director) and Kyle Taylor (Director of Operations) of Los Angeles based accelerator, Launchpad LA, harnessed the force of Google+ by hosting a live hangout. With more than 90+ individuals virtually present, the duo made a second run through of an informative presentation that was given earlier in the week on the topic of “How to get into an Accelerator.” Teller went through a step-by-step breakdown of Launchpad LA’s application process, the do’s and the don’ts and what it is that accelerators are generally looking for upon accepting new class arrivals. The evening was then topped off with an open Q&A. For you founders and CEO’s, here are some great takeaways from the evening that can help your chances when applying to accelerators like Launchpad LA. Overall, I think it's easy to say that we are all hoping for more future hangouts with Sam and Kyle.
1. Should you join an accelerator? If you do, make sure there is a track record, a great mentor network, and that the accelerator offers fair and equitable terms.
2. Actually build something before considering in applying. Going beyond just an idea will increase your chances of acceptance.
3. Having a working relationship and history with your co-founders and teammates are a plus. Siblings, spouses, and relatives are "iffy."
4. If you get an interview, make it a conversation. Ask questions, ask for feedback. Don't talk at us. Be energetic!
5. Express metrics! No hypotheticals- we want to see that you’ve thought through several revenue strategies from the top-bottom, bottom-up, etc.
6. Understand your competitors. Focus on their unfair advantages as well your own advantages. Try to understand and take lessons from them. What are your competitors doing that you like? Dislike? Know the people that have failed in your industry and why-- talk to them!
7. Always consider a meeting as an opportunity for feedback.
8. Be open about the challenges you face. Don’t feel like you have to ignore or deny the things that are hard. We know building a business is difficult.
9. How do you get an accelerator (or an invester) to act? Create a sense of urgency. Show consistent traction, growth, that you’re crunching it. Make us want to join your party. Be persistent and find creative ways to get in touch.
10. Investors respond to narratives. It's more engaging if you can frame your history and purpose into a story. Your thought process is important and valuable.