To run a successful acceleration program, you must run a very successful scouting process. This quote from Fabio Bonfigli at the AC75 accelerator sums up one of the most important and intriguing aspects of a Startup Program. Especially for a young program, it can be hard to know where you can start looking for the right programs for you. And equally as hard to know what criteria you should follow to find them (link to the other article). Following the principles of Founderhood, we want to make life easy for you as a Startup Program, therefore, today we bring you some ideas to know where to find the right startups for you and how to conduct a great scouting process.
Let us start with one of the most unmistakable pieces of advice, to find the right programs you might have to look long and hard for them. Even if on the surface it may look like the startup ecosystem you are looking at is crowded with great new startups, singling out the right ones for you is not that easy. For instance, what you are looking for, the kind of startup stages you may want to work with might not have an online presence. Or be hidden. Early-stage startups are often less prevalent online, or most certainly, quieter. Thus, once you know what you are looking for, take your time and dig as much as you can to find them. Maybe that entails door-to-door knocking or just going through as many applicants as possible, patience is key in this process.
Next, a good step to keep in mind is to make your search in terms of geography. On the one hand, if you are looking to run an in-person or hybrid person scouting startups from your area, in which commuting is possible and comfortable, is a requisite. Additionally, searching for startups closer to you can enable an in-person scouting process through roadshows. On the other hand, if you want startups in a specific stage of development or with access to distinctive resources looking only at more developed ecosystems can best accommodate these requirements. Nonetheless, if this is the case for you you may have to think of the fact you may be running an elitist program that is not offering equal opportunities. Finally, to venture into new possibilities and maybe move to an online program that offers more opportunities join Founderhood for an easy and customizable platform.
In the same realm, you may want to consider creating an industry-specific program. If this is the case for you, we are in a completely different conversation. Here, the search can be a lot more focused and specific. Having one very determined criterion allows you to explore a smaller pool of options more thoroughly. Nonetheless, the rest of the advice in this list still applies to you. While searching in terms of the industry gives you a direction it is not a final destination and you will still have to put in the work and be very careful with your decisions.
Order, process, and method can solve more problems than we can name. We recommend a first scouting round where you review each profile and separate any founders with an idea that sparks your interest. In the first call, you want to make sure you are both on the same page when talking about the development stage and the problem you are looking to solve. In the second call, you can focus on the team they bring to the table, their commitment, their abilities, and their business ethics. In the third call, you can start talking about a future together and create an outline as to what your program can offer them and what they can bring to your program. Lastly, if everything prior results positive you can commit to working together. To deliver the best program possible, and ensure you remain organized the Founderhood platform offers features such as the ability to accept and evaluate applications as well as to track their progress.
The covid-19 virus has flipped the world on its head. As we start to exit the pandemic you can, finally, consider in-person events. Congratulations! A new field of possibilities is open again. When it comes to early-stage startups this is especially helpful. By being able to see founders in person, the sparkle in their eyes when they talk about their idea, you can best evaluate how you will work together. Often, the success of a startup in your program comes down to the chemistry and fit between a founder and your program. If you find the right fit of people and can engage with them face-to-face, that is priceless. Many Programs we talked to in the Startup Programs Masters podcast pointed at the extraordinary success of some programs they met with in person first. For instance, through half an hour meetings with different founders at conventions, you can get a great idea of what the startup ecosystem in that area looks like. Yet, we must be cautious with this option, there is still a virus running around after all. Thanks to Founderhood you can host live sessions online that will feel like an in-person event with the safety and comfort of remaining in your own home.
Last but now least, if you possess years of experience in the business and have great contacts, use them! By connecting with different companies and programs through the ecosystem you can exchange startups. Maybe a founder is too aggressive for your program, or a startup is not yet developed enough, or too developed for your idea stage program. Maybe you know someone in another program that has the tools to deal with early-stage startups, or a character that may be able to tame a feisty founder. In return, other programs in the ecosystem may find a startup they know is a good fit for you and connect you to them. Remember the startup universe is a community and it is important to be solidary with this community. At the end of the day, a successful startup can have a positive spillover over whole communities, be it by creating job opportunities or developing new technologies.
These are just some ideas to make the
easier and as triumphant as possible. There is no perfect answer though, it is work, and that is the way it goes. To maximize that work you can visit the Founderhood website and find out how to design your next program in a way founders love. Book a Demo today at www.theFounderhood.com and find us in our Startup Programs Masters Podcast.
What should you ask when looking for Startups? How to evaluate the right fit and the Founderhood application page.
What does a week in a Program look like? How do VC Funds track their investments? Fitting it all in the Founderhood puzzle.