June 21st, 2011
Five reasons your startup won’t be getting into that incubator or accelerator
New models for accelerators and incubators are becoming the cornerstone of the early stage startup. And it’s not just juggernauts like Y Combinator, TechStars, and 500 Startups. There are any number of incubators popping up all over the place.
But what’s it take to get into one of these things? And even more importantly, what are the red flags that are going to prevent you from making it into these programs?
Well, the Portland Seed Fund—one of those new upstart accelerators—just sent out their first round of letters to prospective companies that didn’t make the cut.
And they shared some of the most common reasons why they chose to pass on those. So I’m sharing those reasons with you. In the interest of edification and with the hopes that they give you a better chance of getting into whatever incubator or program you’re chasing.
How not to get into an incubator or accelerator
1) Be a single founder.
We want to back teams of 2-3 founders with a stake in moving the company forward quickly in the next 90 days and beyond. They should possess relevant skills in doing so, and ideally some history together.
2) Have a fear of commitment.
Inability for founding team to commit fully to the venture for the 90 days and beyond. We understand start ups are risky and it’s good to see if there is traction before taking the leap. But as investors, we want to take the leap with teams who are ready to take the leap.
3) Over spend and under deliver.
Your company has to be capital efficient. The business, the way it is currently envisioned, will require more capital than Portland Seed Fund managers believe is readily available in this market at this time for that business.
4) Stunt your growth.
The business is not scalable. The idea may be compelling and some customers may be there, but in our estimate it will not scale to drive the extraordinary growth that fund managers are seeking in their investments.
5) Lose your way to the exit.
Portland Seed Fund dollars are investments, not grants. They are intended to drive high-performance rapid growth companies with ascertainable exit strategies more than exploratory efforts.
Thanks for the Portland Seed Fund folks for sharing their insights. For more information, visit the Portland Seed Fund.