Getting sorted: Before applying to an incubator

Feb. 20, 2020

Startups looking for a leg up on their journey may be attracted by the shine of incubators and accelerators, but how does one decide which to join, how to join or even whether or not to join such a program? Here are a few thoughts that may help you with that decision making.

The What

Incubator? Accelerator? What is the difference? 

From eggs to chicks:

Incubators focus and specialise in kick-starting early stage startups.  Typically offering a full suite of services from office space, workshops, mentorship, to technical expertise, incubators provide much needed general guidance. Incubation programs often conclude with demo days where startups present their minimum viable product (MVP).

From chicks to chickens:

Accelerators, on the other hand, help grow existing businesses that already have an MVP. The same resources - mentorships, workshops, branding - are tailored for businesses in their later stages of growth, and demo days now represent a more mature milestone. 

The Why 

Many programs offer seed funding upon acceptance or completion, which motivates startups to join. Access to a quality investor network is also a huge draw. Other programs may enjoy a good reputation that startups hope to ride on. However, before you decide on joining, first consider if it is necessary for your business. What is it that you want and can achieve only by being part of such a program? 

The Who

For the next few months, you will be working with the incubator or accelerator of your choice. As the program is ultimately a network of mentors, partners, and alumni that will offer support during and after the program, finding the right fit before committing your time might be wise. Many of these programs cater to a specific niche. LongHash Ventures for example focuses on early-stage blockchain startups and has crafted a team and network that possesses technical depth, knowledge, and relationships especially in Asia. Other programs may specialize in certain industries such as healthcare, or tailor their support towards minorities. 

The How

Many founders are eager to join a program, but few get accepted. Often, there are specific prerequisites in place. Before you put in that application, finding out what they are might be an indication of the likelihood of your acceptance 

Here is a list of our requirements:

1. Fully formed team - a committed team working full-time on the startup.

2. Clearly articulated idea - you know what problem you want to solve and how to solve it.

3. Traction is optional but validation is almost mandatory. The most distinctive founders would have already spoken to potential customers, partners, stakeholders to check if the problem is real and if the solution is needed.

Good luck on your entrepreneurial journey. If you have given it enough thought and are looking for a blockchain incubator to join, we hope to see you in our next round of applications!


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