Accelerators on Accelerators; A Panel From Everywhere Else
Patrick and I had the pleasure of heading south (and east) this week to attend the first Everywhere Else conference, held in historic Memphis, Tennessee. The conference, organized by startup news site Nibletz, was a gathering of startups in markets outside of US startup hotbeds.
We both really enjoyed the event: meeting entrepreneurs, accelerators, community organizers and a lot of very exciting founders.
Patrick also had the honor of participating, chairing a panel on accelerator leadership. There were a number of great questions (and answers!), so I picked out a few of my favorites to recap.
Mike Bott, General Manager of The Brandery
Charlie Brock, President & CEO of Launch Tennessee; CEO of CO.Lab
Eric Matthews, President, Launch Memphis; President, Seed Hatchery
Ravi Gupta, Founder, Accelerator Startup Successes
My top 3 favorite questions and answers:
When founders are looking for an accelerator, what should they be looking for?
CB- Does the accelerator match your industry? Do the mentors match your business and goals? Go to the industries (locations) that match that. Who are their investors? Are they local? Angels? Funds? Are they regional? Founders should be sure to talk to people who have graduated from the program. How many investors do they offer? How much support?
MB- What can this particular accelerator do to grow my business? How do their mentors engage? What happens after demo day? We (Brandery) work really hard to help our founders get traction. At the Brandery we offer P&G for partner opportunities.
Is there a startup community? What kind of support do they provide?
What is the funding success? We look at each company as a piece of swiss cheese. We try to fill in the holes for them.
What’s particularly unique about your accelerator, as opposed to others?
MB- We’re in Cincinnati, there is a higher designer per capita rate than anywhere else. We have P&G, they invented brand management. It’s in the DNA in the community to build a brand. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a marketer in this town.
EM- Startups want to move to Memphis. If you ask founders what makes our program different, the answer is cohort size. With only 6 teams at a time, it creates intimacy. We have a strong sense of community inside Seed Hatchery and working together with the larger Memphis community.
CB- In Chattanooga, you can come play in the future today. Chattanooga is a living lab of what a connected community will look like. A testbed of 40k consumers we can turn on you to turn on during the program to test what this connectivity looks like. Our teams get 15k seed funding & housing. The housing is a differentiator.
RG- Through corporate partners, we offer access to resources that normally would be out of budget. Out of reach for young companies.
What are you measurements for success?
MB- Number of companies that should be alive that are still alive. Failing is not necessarily a bad thing. Are they creating jobs?
CB- How much capital have they been able to see? Are there new jobs created? Are mentors engaged?
We also look at the health of the entire ecosystem. What does the event calendar look like? Are others in the system picking up the ball and running with it?
Photograph by brittreints, under Creative Common license.