If you are considering applying to an accelerator in the near future, there is a program that can drastically increase your chances of success: Startup Next. The pre-accelerator program was created by UP Gobal, the group behind Startup Weekend, and is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs.1 The five week program is aimed getting startups pitch ready, and prepared for anything they might encounter during accelerator applications or fundraising.
The program is built heavily around mentorship. Startup Next programs take place in more than 20 cities throughout the year, with each program being tailored to the area. What’s more, Startup Next draws on the local community for its mentors. So for example, if you attended Startup Next in, say, Seattle, WA, it would be aimed at helping startups get into Techstars Seattle, and would utilize many of the same mentors as the accelerator program. Here is how Startup Next describes the approach:
Many people who run local accelerators or work at VC firms are involved in Startup Next programs as mentors, so this is an amazing opportunity to build a hands-on relationship with them during the program. Often times these relationships eventually evolve into an investment opportunity. Checks are not written over one conversation, so the relationship building opportunity is key and if accepted into Startup Next, you get a more intimate experience to connect with investors.
After the program, Startup Next teams that have demonstrated their readiness and progress during the program will have access to a number of value-added resources. The Startup Next team has a strong network of accelerators and investors interested in our ‘deal-flow’ that we are actively partnering with and providing introductions or referrals to those partners.2
The program is broken down into five weekly sessions, each with a different topic: customer development, pitching, market size, product/market fit, and funding. Each session is broken down into three hours:
The Startup Next program does not take any equity from participating companies, but it does charge a program fee from $150-300, depending on the market. There are programs coming up all over the U.S. In the next few months, there are programs in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco Bay Area, Durham, and St. Louis.
- UP Global was actually formed back in 2013 when Startup Weekend and Startup America joined together. ▲
- startupnext.co FAQs, “How can Startup Next help my startup get into an accelerator or get funded?” ▲