Author: Joost Wijvekate
Accelerator programs are competitive and cannot accept every single startup. Needless to say, it is important to make your application stand out.
Over the last few months, I have seen hundreds of program applications come in, mostly from early stage startups. Hence I have put my thoughts together and made a list of X tips that will help you write a killer program application.
1. Do Your Homework
Firstly, it is worth educating yourself and seeing how the program can benefit you. Ask yourself questions such as what the program entails and who the partners involved are. It is good to familiarize yourself before making an application.
You should also check whether your company meets the program requirements. Accelerator programs have certain criteria such as company size, industry or geographical location that need to be met.
2. Show Your Alignment
Now that you know what the program entails, it is time to explain how your company fits the bill. In your application, you should show how you can benefit from the services offered.
To give an example, one particular topic that DMS covers is training in marketing. Does your team’s expertise lie in the field of data science, but do you lack the know-how to get your product exposed to the consumer? Explain that! It should be clear how the program can help you tackle the problem you are committed to solving.
3. Be Specific With Your Numbers
When it comes to numbers, the art is not in inflating them, but in giving the person that reads your application a clear understanding of where your numbers come from.
Try to be as clear as possible when it comes to anything finance related. It is not necessary to provide every line item in your financial statement, but giving a breakdown of your current and expected revenue streams, for example, is highly encouraged.
4. Bet on the Jockey, Not the Horse
Sure — your business model is important, but what about the people who actually operate the machine? At the end of the day, your team is what makes or breaks a company.
What information shows that your team is capable of running a business? In your application, you could provide relevant background education or work experience that proves that you are industry experts.
5. Show Vision and Commitment
Last but not least, it is worth taking some time to think about your company’s vision and future plans. Good applications can present a clear picture of where they aim to take their business over the next few years, taking variables such as upcoming investment rounds, possible challenges and market entry strategy into consideration. The very best applications can also draw upon how the accelerator program can assist them in the process.
No two program applications are identical, but they all share the same principles. Regardless of which accelerator program you are applying for, using these tips will help to make your application stand out from the rest.
Header picture by Ketut Subiyanto.