26 February 2020 | GALI research on acceleration in Mexico (Sep. 2019) reveals that one-third of ventures based in Mexico that applied to accelerators had already participated in a similar program. The research also offers interesting discussion points.
Accelerators offer training and mentorship to startups to define business model then access to networks of business partners, angels, and venture capital firms.
Benefits that startups prioritize when joining acceleration program include networking, mentorship, direct funding, business skills, access to investors, awareness and credibility, and access to other entrepreneurs. Startups with prior acceleration experience were more likely to rank access to investors as their top desired benefit compared to those without prior acceleration.
When applying startups consider the profile of the founder or director of the program – preferring someone who has been an entrepreneur – as well as the profile and trajectory of the companies in the accelerator portfolio.
Mexican data shows that participation in multiple accelerators, in some cases, reflects a large and diverse marketplace of support offerings; but in others it may represent poor matching between entrepreneurs and accelerators. Interviews with entrepreneurs and accelerator representatives suggest that ventures may feel the need to participate in subsequent accelerators because of dissatisfaction with their first program and that if ventures were better matched to program offerings, they would experience more positive revenue and investment outcomes.
Better information and coordination in the ecosystem could lead to more efficient and effective acceleration services. Greater transparency about program models and intended benefits, as well as more direct collaboration among accelerators in screening and referring ventures, could ensure that ventures participating in multiple programs do so to satisfy distinct needs at different growth stages rather than because they struggle to find a good program match.