The start-ups in an accelerator/incubator program always get all the attention, but what about the alumni. This is the bunch of companies, that are further along and will soon be showing results. These will be the future unicorns. Here are 5 ways to support your alumni even after the program.
1. Conference tickets
In the old days conferences used to be the place to network and hang out with industry friends. These days conferences are weird. It is easier to get there since they are online. At the same time it is harder since you cannot find specific people easily. Any case it is useful for founders to talk to real people from the sector and practice their pitch. Our experience has been that since people are deprived of social contact, they are more prone to answer to cold approaches at conferences. Give it a shot!
2. Intros to investors
As mentioned in our previous blog post about added value, fundraising is what founders want help with. As an accelerator/incubator it is easier to approach investors. Instead of listening to 10 separate pitches, they can talk to you and get an overview of the whole portfolio. So it makes sense to build a network of investors to act as co-investors or follow on. This is something the companies will need throughout their lifecycle. So offer that to the alumni.
3. Access to partnership deals
Partnership deals are a world of their own and we will write about this separately. So for the purpose of this post, give your alumni access to any new partnership deals you get after they have graduated. This can mean anything from an office space rent decrease to Google Cloud services. Startup founders are always looking to cut costs and also to find new partners.
4. Access to new mentors
Same with mentors. Startups have access to the mentors in the program when they are there, but what about afterwards. Perhaps there is a mentor that would be perfectly matched to help them. Allow your alumni to see who is mentoring and link them to appropriate mentors. This will definitely be good for both the mentor and the team. Mentors are always happy to look at teams that are hand-picked for them, thus inspiring.
5. Access to talent pool
Tech startups are always hungry for talent. There is an overall scarcity of solid programmers and easing that pain would mean a lot. Figure out a way to get into university programs or internship opportunities and create a community. All of the high quality young people an incubator can gather around itself are potential hires for the portfolio startups.
These are 5 ways to support your alumni that we have witnessed or used. There are always individual intros and ways to support them further. But we will keep it at five. Alumni is the place where success will most likely hit faster. So better take care of them!