There are several MNC companies that are launching startup accelerators in India. While the startup ecosystem definitely needs more support, there are several realities of accelerators that they themselves need to address.
First, let’s define acceleration. It’s actually d2x/dt2 or better, dv/dt. That is, velocity. That is, speed and direction.
Speed and Direction : this is what startup acceleration is largely about. Most of the startups are anyways running, but providing them a certain direction, asking tough questions and actionable help, insights, connections helps.
Coming back to what newly formed accelerators need to do, here are some thoughts.
1. Stop Hunting. Start Farming.
If you are the one who is looking for one great startup who will use your technology, your framework, your stack – then the (accelerator) program is not about the startup.
It’s about your technology, your framework, your stack. Come out of your hunter mode. The farm hasn’t really grown that well.
If you have a development center in India and you believe that putting up an accelerator is the NextBigWhat for you, well – you have a problem (read : What Startup Accelerators in India Need : Brake and Clutch)
2. Learn to Code.
I mean, not coding as in actual coding – but getting hands dirty. When we did this survey on What Indian Entrepreneurs expect from Accelerators, the bigger picture that came out was operational mentorship is the missing piece.
How are you going to address that? By reaching out to same mentors who have been speaking the same stuff at several other events? Gyaan Re-cycled?
What’s the point? Why do you even exist?
3. Switch off the AC. Go out. Get some fresh air.
If you really want to meet some amazing early stage startups, stop inviting them to your (AC) office. Go out and meet them.
4. Stop attending those dinner networking events. You don’t meet startups there.
Real (early stage) startups do not attend those dinner networking events. They have very little time and respect for such “kitty parties”.
5. What’s your second year plan?
My guess is that very few of these accelerators will survive beyond the first year. Most of their hires are very traditional (read : suit clad India head of a US outfit) who do not relate to the “actual” startup space (and vice versa, i.e. tech entrepreneurs do not relate to them).
And importantly, finding (and convincing) great startups to work with you (for your tech, your stack, your framework) will take time. At least 5 years. There is very high probability that the company will lose interest in Indian startup space, if they don’t spot some great talent.
Maybe, being a farmer will help!
What are your thoughts?