The program is the backbone of any accelerator and incubator. The content is what sets them apart from investors. Next to providing the usual space, training and mentoring, we have listed 5 formats to use in your program that are a bit different.
1. Weekly pitching sessions
One of the most important things for any founder is being able to present your startup. The founder obviously knows everything there is to know about the company. Still, they might not be able to tell the story in a compelling way. This is where the weekly pitching sessions are handy. You can organise weekly sessions, where all teams present their 3-minute investor pitch. Simultaneously, the other teams can ask questions and propose amendments. You will be amazed to see the improvement in the presentation within mere months!
2. Weekly mock board meetings
Young companies are mostly focused on the product and less on the vision. This is where having board meetings every week comes in. It makes the founders accustomed to constantly thinking how to improve the business and how to strategise on the go. Having mentors or program managers sit in and give input at these meetings will allow the founders to learn from their comments and build a habit of it.
This is a place where founders can test their pitch, network and meet potential clients or partners. Taking a number of teams to a conference at the same time allows for a discount on the entrance. In addition it can also be a good place to organise a demo day or if the timing is correct, source for new applications while the current cycle teams practice their newly learned pitching skills.
4. Company visits
Role models are a vital part of any startup journey. Taking founders to see startups that have already had some success and learnings to share, is an inspirational moment for all. Startups from the same sector, with a similar product or from the same country all provide learning opportunities for the founders. A visit can be combined with a conference in a different country or organise a pitching session at the site to get new feedback.
5. User testing days
Depending on the product and target group, perhaps there is a way to organise user testing at the office. It is possible to test a product in terms of usability or a marketing message or even a signup process. At GameFounders we held regular play-test days for the studio. We invited students from universities and even school kids to come in and play the games. Seeing first-hand how your product is used versus looking at analytics online can provide a valuable insight into the user experience.
These 5 formats to use in your program were just examples how to complement the more common formats quite nicely. Give us feedback HERE, what are the non-traditional formats you have used in your program?