Why entrepreneurs should go through accelerators with their startups

Being the ‘Lean Startup Guy’ at Startupbootcamp

In 2014, Startupboocamp Berlin accelerates a new class of startups and focuses on ‘Smart Transportation & Energy’. Its sponsors are Cisco, HERE, Castrol innoVentures, Siemens, Bosch, EnBW and Mercedes-Benz.

I am super excited that I am part of it on a daily basis. Thanks Alex Farcet for this great opportunity! I coach each team in running lean, lean startup, customer development, startup sales and marketing (AARRR). I also bring in my own experiences as I went through Startupbootcamp in 2012 accelerating Spotistic.

What is Startupbootcamp?

Startupbootcamp is a 3-month acceleration program that ends with a demo day. A chance for each team to pitch their business to 500 selected top angel investors and venture capitalists for funding.

 Rainmaking Loft Berlin
Rainmaking Loft Berlin

The program’s main strength is its family character in which entrepreneurs feel save to screw up, learn and move on. It’s like a circle of trust. Entrepreneurs can stop spending their energy to hide flaws and failures as they normally do when they talk to investors and clients. For entrepreneurs, it’s very important in their early startup steps to have mentors and advisors who they can fully trust.

  Aaron @  Le Labo  .
Aaron @ Le Labo .

Startupbootcamp Berlin is based at Rainmaking Loft Berlin, Charlottenstr. 2, a lovely coworking space. Visit the Rainmaking Loft and get a tasty coffee from Aaron @Le Labo

The Deal

In return for 8% equity, all startups get the same deal which includes:

  • € 15,000 living expenses
  • free incubator space for 6 months
  • € 450,000 in free services from partners (eg free server space and software)
  • tons of mentoring
  • access to investors

Why Entrepreneurs should join

The single most important reason to join an accelerator is that you get 5 years of business studies in a 3 month acceleration period. Accelerators are the business school of the 21st century. I found that I grow my personality exponentially by starting my own startup and becoming part of an accelerator. It’s huge in value. (Disclaimer: Not necessarily for your first startup, but definitely for your whole career).

Application, Selection Days & Kick off

Successfully passing selection days, 11 startups started their Startupbootcamp journey on August 13th. You can find a list of all startups here. I don’t know the official number, however successfully passing probably means beating odds by 1 to 10.

Fact: On average over 70% of our program graduates have gone on to receive funding for their projects.

The program: Shape, Build and Sell.

The program consists of 3 stages: Shape, Build and Sell.

  1. Shape: Startupboocamp makes sure that you are working on the right idea. Up to 50% of the startups pivot during the program. In that stage, startups are extensively exposed to partners, potential clients and mentors.
  2. Build: Most startups obviously come into Startupbootcamp with an alpha or beta product. If not, they need to get their idea into a product. Early customer feedback is crucial. Some have already launched their product publicly and directly work on customer development.
  3. Sell: Startupbootcamp encourages each team to be in constant contact with their customers. Startupbootcamp strongly believes in building businesses solving real problems that customers want to pay for now.

How is it like?

When I was part of Startupbootcamp in 2012, Alex, Wilken and Sophie (now starting Rawesome – delicious smoothies) run the real show. A lot of things changed since then. It’s incredible how many more resources are now available for each team:

  • Entrepreneur in residence help each team in coding and designing websites, customer acquisition, fundraising, sales and marketing.
  • There are more mentors and experts from energy & transport.
  • Daily delicious lunches are cooked.
  • and many more things …

It’s not easy to enter the loop of the EIR`s scene, but once you are there the excitement of possibilities takes over. Every week, every day and every hour.. there are new components activating, inspiring and stimulating our imaginations.

— Martin Holzmeister, Brazilian designer in Berlin

PS: Link to Martin Holzmeister portfolio website.

Take Aways

  • Accelerators are the business school of the 21st century
  • Get mentors and advisors early on whom you can trust fully.
  • Accelerators help startups to get off the ground
  • First time entrepreneurs grow their network to clients, partners and investors
  • Hiring and fundraising becomes easier for startups
  • Don’t find the brain drain. Accelerator programs are designed to make entrepreneurs exhausted. But your learning is 100x higher than not being accelerating.

Über den Autor: Danny möchte Studenten & Absolventen durch StartupGeist – Blog & Podcast – helfen, ihre unternehmerischen Träume zu entdecken und diese fokussiert und produktiv zu realisieren. Entdecke auch du deinen StartupGeist und hole dir eines von Danny’s 5 eBooks.