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Before we get to answering the question about multiple accelerators, I’d like to clarify my use of the term accelerator. I use the Seed Accelerator Ranking Project definition of accelerator:

a fixed term, cohort-based program with a mentorship and education component that culminates in a public pitch event, or demo day.

Additionally, and this is important in my advice, I include the following element to the accelerator definition:

they make a small investment in the startup or provide a small stipend in return for a small equity stake.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way.

My opinion is yes. I believe it is okay for your startup to go through multiple accelerators, but do it for the right reasons.

What are some of the right reasons?

  • The subsequent program offers a lot of industry-specific connections for mentorship and customers.
  • The subsequent program is focused on growth and you’re ready to grow. You’re past struggling with finding your first customers and building your MVP.
  • The first program didn’t deliver on investment, education, mentorship, etc. > not all programs are created equal so do your due diligence on a program and ask past participants what was good and what was bad.
  • You had to make a significant pivot late in the first program, or after it was over. You found a path to success, but you don’t have enough traction to secure a bridge round or seed funding.

What are the wrong reasons?

  • You just need the money. You’ll likely have to give up more equity (~4-6% on average). Accelerator programming typically requires a lot of your time. You may need to move to the city in which the accelerator is located. Finally, it would likely end up being a lot of duplicate information.

Things to be aware of:

  • Investors may ask why you needed to go through more than one program. They want to see progress/traction and that’s really all that matters. Have a great answer and show plenty of successes.
  • This is one opinion and there are plenty of variables that break this advice. Do what’s right for your business.
  • I repeat, do it for the right reasons.

What are your opinions and experiences with multiple accelerators? Please leave a comment below or contact us.

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