The first few months at an accelerator can be likened to the first few months in university in the sense that expectations are entirely different from reality. Each day is full of surprises and experiences. However, unlike school, striving to turn an early-stage project into a sustainable long-term business is a bit more real, because progress must be achieved within very rigid constraints. As such, the surprises encountered are that much more amplified.
Surprises can either be pleasant or unpleasant. Hypejar has been fortunate to have encountered surprises more on the pleasant-side; those less pleasant have been remedied through navigating and implementing solutions.
Looking back at our encounters with various experts in the startup field, the most surprising thing for us is obvious. Meetings with various experts ranging from lean analytics to design to go-to-market strategies have had a profound affect on our project and us as individuals. As we look to implement the learning into our platform, it is apparent that their affect has surpassed our expectations.
The need for guidance was a major reason why we chose to apply to an accelerator program. While a first-level validation of concept was sought (and obtained) by applying to JOLT, it was our desire to learn as much as possible from those with broader experiences that most attracted us to such opportunity.
That, coupled with a family-like environment and an awesome workspace was simply a no-brainer.
Also, with what seems to be an accelerator/incubator boom around the world, it was extremely important for us to partner with one that is as delusional about disrupting the world as we are. Critical to us was JOLT’s belief that dreaming and executing big while believing “great entrepreneurs will always find success,” as executive director Sue McGill says.
Getting through the application process and being accepted by seasoned veterans was a major concept validator at such an early stage. Gaining a third party’s confidence in what you are building is something every entrepreneur needs throughout the life of the company whether one ultimately sees success or failure.
Hypejar’s advice to future applicants would be to do your homework: Study the people involved in the accelerator from mentors to those in the network. Figure out who the decision makers are, observe and if possible reach out to the companies from earlier cohorts, visit the infrastructure, cover and discuss any questions that may be asked about you and the business, and finally, practice your pitch until you get beyond sick of it. (Feel free contact the team at Hypejar at firstname.lastname@example.org.)