Startups 101
How to Prepare For a Startup Accelerator Program

How to Prepare For a Startup Accelerator Program

Written by 
Darin Moriki
May 10, 2022
How to Prepare For a Startup Accelerator Program

Getting into a startup accelerator is a significant and praiseworthy accomplishment for any startup founder.

All those hours that you and your co-founders spent filming an application video, actually filling out the application, and preparing for interviews finally paid off. 

But before you celebrate and breathe a sigh of relief, remember that your journey has just begun. 

For the next few months, you will be given rare and exclusive access to high-profile VCs, founders of successful startups, and a network of fellow entrepreneurs whose big ideas may someday achieve unicorn status. 

So how do you and your co-founders make the most of your time in a startup accelerator or incubator and hit the ground running?

To give you a sneak peek of what lies ahead, Pilot is hosting a pre-accelerator prep webinar on May 17 with four startup founders who successfully went through accelerator programs at Y Combinator, Techstars, and ODX

Here’s a quick look at where these founders are today and the perspectives that each one brings to the table: 

  • Gillian O’Brien is the founder in residence at Pilot and was part of Y Combinator’s winter 2019 batch. She and her sister, Emily, founded Cherry, which enabled employers to offer a variety of workplace perks to employees, who could then choose what they wanted. They eventually wound down Cherry in 2020. 
  • Alex Hanthorn is the co-founder of Corq, a tool for customer-facing teams that makes it easy to effortlessly take notes, capture key moments on video calls, and share insights with the right teams. He and his co-founders were in the inaugural batch for ODX, which was launched by On Deck in 2021. 
  • Graham Hunter is the senior startup program manager at Segment. He went through the Techstars Boulder program in the summer of 2013 as the marketing director at GoodApril, a tax planning service that analyzed income tax returns and gave advice on the different deductions or credits that you could take. In a surprising turn of events, GoodApril was sold to Intuit before the Techstars Boulder program ended. It reportedly marked the first time that a startup was sold before a Techstars demo day, where founders typically pitch their businesses to investors. 
  • Rani Mavram is the co-founder of Complete, a human resources platform that’s designed to demystify compensation packages for employees and job candidates. She and her co-founders were part of Y Combinator’s winter 2022 batch. 

Apart from helping you understand what to expect before your program begins, these founders will also share unexpected lessons and wise advice that they received. Their discussion will cover everything from time management to remote collaboration, including:

  • The importance of being a self-directed learner and leaning on other founders in the program
  • The value of networking with other founders and how to leverage those relationships
  • How to deal with conflicting advice that you get from experts
  • Why understanding how you work best is paramount to success
  • What initiatives you can take to constantly learn throughout your program

Securing a coveted slot in a startup accelerator or incubator can change the trajectory of your career, but it’s only the first of many challenges that you’ll encounter over the next few months.

Set yourself up for success and be in the know by checking out our pre-accelerator prep webinar before your program begins or any time afterward.

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