• February 13, 2017

Are Accelerators Like Techstars and MassChallenge Really Worth It?

Are Accelerators Like Techstars and MassChallenge Really Worth It?

Every day on VentureApp, people chat with their business network about various topics and we host Office Hours, giving our users a unique opportunity to connect one-on-one with influencers, experts, entrepreneurs, and investors. Here’s what we’re chatting about today…

Boston is home to Techstars, MassChallenge, and a handful of university accelerators that spit out hundreds of startups every year. Over the last 10 years or so (since I’ve been active in the tech community), I’ve consistently wondered if these programs are actually worth it for startups.

Does the time and the equity that’s given up produce an exponential return?

For example, Techstars takes 6% in exchange for $20k. They also offer a $100k note as well… But still, that’s a lot of cap table for $20k.

I’ve polled a handful of startups over the last few weeks and the results are mixed but definitely skew in the accelerators favor.

Simply put, the access to people, buzz and community seem to outweigh the price of equity and time (accelerators are known for filling your cal with a bunch of random classes, mentoring, and all that nonsense) that is given up.

But there has to be a better way. It would take A LOT for me to give up 6% for just mentorship and access to people.

That being said, there is no question in my mind that accelerators have a MASSIVE impact on the Boston tech community as a whole. They are easily one of the biggest drivers for innovation. I’m just not entirely convinced that the startups get the better deal…

Now I am open to a debate – in fact, I want one. Techstars just announced its new class and MassChallenge applications are open for next year, so it’s the perfect time to get into the nitty gritty.

Hit me up on VentureApp today/this week and convince me otherwise.


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