This is a guest post by Caitlin Reimers Brumme, Managing Director of MassChallenge Boston. Prior to MassChallenge, Caitlin led the Impact Collaboratory at the Harvard Business School, a multi-faceted effort to develop world class academic leadership on the topic of “Investing in the 21st Century” including sustainable, ESG and impact investing. Caitlin holds an MBA with high distinction from Harvard Business School, where she was a Baker Scholar, and a B.A. with honors from The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Accelerating a startup is like pouring rocket fuel into the tank of some crazy, untested contraption. If the engine is strong and built for speed, there’s potential for an explosive reaction.
It’s the job of accelerators to make sure the company they’re funding and mentoring will create the right kind of explosion. Because funding can hurt a company, and mentoring can go to waste if the foundations of a startup aren’t solid.
That’s why some select accelerator success stories like Stripe, Mopub, and SendGrid have graduated and gone on to raise record amounts, go public in record time, or be acquired for vast sums of money.
It’s also the reason why some never make it.
Accelerators are hyper-competitive because they’re looking for startups that have a lot of the scaling infrastructure or potential already in place. With the funding, mentoring, and connections they provide, a startup with a great idea and MVP can break through from obscurity and see headline-grabbing success in a matter of months.
But exactly how likely is it that your startup will get accepted into an accelerator? What are the processes that underpin accelerator programs, and the resources these organizations offer startups that makes it possible to scale so rapidly?
In this article, we take a look at startup acceleration by the numbers, starting with a brief note on what an accelerator actually is.