How startup accelerators increase your chance of funding

How startup accelerators increase your chances of funding

While I’ve written before about the benefits of joining startup Accelerators (find out more here), now seems like the perfect time to revisit the conversation. Why? Well, new data from Beauhurst’s report on Top Accelerator Programmes for UK Businesses & Entrepreneurs shows that 40% of UK companies who have attended an accelerator have raised equity investment. So, the big question is, if you’re not thinking about joining an accelerator, why not?

FFB Linkedin Blog Post 5

The British Business Bank recommends Accelerators because, primarily, the programmes provide vital access to potential investment, possible exposure to investors and often the use of co-working spaces which can improve networking. But they’re keen to stress there are lots of other benefits to startup accelerators too – including support from mentors, other programme participants and the Accelerator’s wider network. 

Startup accelerators also offer participants the opportunity to develop their skills over an intense, short, period of time working alongside businesses at a similar stage of development, under the guidance of experienced business professionals. This crams a lot of learning into a relatively short space of time and gives access to ideas and opportunities that could otherwise take years to acquire.

At Focused for Business we’ve seen even better results with startup accelerators than the Beauhurst statistics, with 50% of the 67 participants in our Funding Accelerator programme (as of July 2022) having raised equity investment. 

I could tell you all the reasons why you should take part, but I know that it’s more helpful to hear it from people who have seen the success it can bring. So, recent participants of our Funding Accelerator have shared their thoughts about the benefits it had for them…

Kim Page, founder of Isos Connect, says: “Funding Accelerator was fast-paced and there was just so much to be gained. I liked the sense of accountability it created, as there is no wiggle room – you’ve got to make a commitment and get it done and if you do the results unfold in front of you.”

Jeroo Doodhmal, founder of Pip and Henry, found the input of expert mentors very helpful: “The mentors were really generous with their time, expertise and knowledge. I’m still in touch with a lot of them now. I spent a lot of time with the mentor who helped with my financial forecast and wholesale strategy, helping me identify which retailers I should reach out to, and which documents I needed so there’s been a lot of support both during and after the programme. Hearing other people’s stories was also really helpful and as an entrepreneur you realise, you’re not out there alone.”

Amber Probyn, who co-founder Pequal with Hazel McShane, also loved having the support of a peer group: “Working within a small group and learning from each other was so helpful. As a start-up founder you don’t really have many people you can relate to, so being part of a community was useful.”

Of course, what all founders really want to do is raise money, and having access to early funding is key. Pip and Henry is a great example of this in action. After Sprint One of Funding Accelerator, Jeroo had everything she needed to approach investors including a detailed pitch deck, financial forecast and valuation. She used the knowledge gained from Funding Accelerator to apply to Capital Pilot, the Startup Investability Rating Agency, and was eligible for a £50,000 investment from the Boost Fund. (Side note: 70% of founders who have been through Funding Accelerator have successfully applied for the Boost Fund!). 

The initial funding will make a big difference to the company’s future. As Jeroo says: “It means we have capital that can be deployed quickly. We have to pay in advance for stock and it’s quite a heavy cash flow dependent business, so this has been really useful in putting our plans into action.” 

Beyond investment, there are additional benefits to startup accelerators that the British Business Bank and Beauhurst don’t mention, but which founders really value. I’ve summarised this as three key points, below: 

1) Templates that speed up the ‘doing’

Amber Probyn, co-founder of Pequal with Hazel McShane, explained how they found the templates provided on Funding Accelerator really helpful:

“Neither of us had created a financial spreadsheet before and that was becoming quite stressful and a barrier to progression. Funding Accelerator guided us through this process, and it really unlocked some of the conversations we were already having with investors. The forecast section of the programme was pivotal in helping us attract investment. One investor told us the forecast we developed whilst on Funding Accelerator was the most detailed and thought-through forecast they had ever seen. They became our biggest investor because the forecast impressed them so much. And because we compiled the forecast, rather than getting someone to do it for us, we could handle the questions and due diligence.”

2) Access to data and tools which provide much needed data

Kim Page, founder of Isos Connect, says of the access to tools that make everything much easier: “Funding Accelerator equips you with access to databases and tools to find the individuals that have invested in your sector, how much, when and where. That is so useful for a founder looking for investment as you can start to analyse that data, figure out who to target and start networking with investors.”

3) Startup accelerators build your overall confidence

Perhaps the best outcome is the boost in confidence. As Amber Probyn, co-founder of Pequal, puts it: “Completing Funding Accelerator has given me the confidence to bet on myself more, we’re now in a position where we can start investing in the business, building a team and making a profit.” 

You’ve heard about the success that can be had from startup accelerators – direct from the horse’s mouth – so what are you waiting for? 

If you are thinking of joining one of the 180 accelerator programmes currently operating in the UK, both Beauhurst and the British Business Bank encourage you to pick an Accelerator carefully. We recommend you ask yourself the following questions first:

  • What do I want to focus on? Some startup accelerators focus on getting your business off the ground whilst others are focused on specific activities like raising investment or scaling for growth. Think about what your primary need is and make sure the accelerator is geared to help you meet that goal.
  • Is the accelerator community a good fit for me? Align yourself with startup accelerators that attract founders who are at a similar stage to you, think about the age and experience of the founders on the programme. Are you likely to be able to learn from and empathise with each other?
  • What is the programme’s success history? Ask about the track record of the startup accelerators programme – you want to make sure you pick a programme that delivers results for its cohort!

Finally – good luck!!!

If you’re considering joining an accelerator of looking to secure financial investment for your startup, a good place to start is by taking the Startup Investment Scorecard to discover if an investor would back your business.

Latest Blog & News

Adviser of the Year 2022 Finance and Funding cropped

Start-up funding adviser, Hatty Fawcett, wins Enterprise Nation Adviser of the Year 2022

Over the last few months, start-up founders and small business owners across the UK have been voting for the best and brightest business advisers.
unit metrics that attract startup investors

3 unit metrics that attract startup investors and build a compelling story of growth

Did the conversation with potential investors fizzle out at the financial stage? It’s not just the vision, but the focus on detail that secures
Panel members at How to find and impress investors June 2022

How to find investors, and impress them

Have you ever wondered what it takes to find and impress investors? Well, who better to ask than leading VCs and angels themselves! Earlier
financial-forecast-charting-growth-1200-1

Investing your time where it counts – the numbers

How the right financial forecast is crucial to unlocking startup investment If you’re looking to secure startup investment, it’s inevitable that at some point
Barry Klipp founder of Interlnkd who has raised over £250,000

The travel industry tech startup that went from being grounded to accelerating for take-off having secured over £250K investment

Barry Klipp had spent 17 years working in the airline industry so you might imagine how he felt when the covid pandemic grounded planes
New fund improves access to funding

Every startup deserves equal access to funding

Our Partner, Capital Pilot, has launched a new fund to improve access to funding Let’s face it, raising equity investment is hard. All the
PEEQUAL founders raise £250,000 for their startup

Funding Accelerator graduate PEEQUAL secures £250,000 equity investment

British Design Fund became PEEQUAL’s largest investor but the reason they provided equity investment might surprise you… Amber Probyn and Hazel McShane, the two
Find-investors-by-Herbi-B-from-pixabay

How to find investors for a startup…quickly!

A recent report from Beauhurst and SFC Capital* reveals that it takes, on average, 15 months to find investors for a startup and close
Should you raise startup funding from family and friends no words

Should you raise startup funding from friends and family?

So you think you need to raise funding for your startup? You may be right, but before you being to raise startup funding from
7-Essentials-that-unlock-startup-equity-investment-600

7 Essentials that unlock Start-up equity investment

Start-up equity investment: Investors look for 7 Essential ingrediants when deciding whether to back a start-up – or not! Be succinct to get attention
Financial savings mechanism. Piggy bank formed by gears and cogs

Traction makes it quicker to raise funding for a startup

So you want to raise funding for a startup? To succeed, you’ll need to speak the language of investors. Investors will ask “how much
7 mistakes that stop you raising investment for your startup no words

7 Mistakes that stop you raising investment for your startup

Startup founders are resourceful and move quickly but sometimes that haste can work against them. They make mistakes. When it comes to raising investment
10 founders no copy

“What’s the best way to fund my business?”: Ten founders give the lowdown on the best way to fund your business

One of the fundamental questions at the front of most founders’ minds – and the most frequently asked question – is “What’s the best
Doors within doors kilarov-zaneit-KjqNGd0sCTQ-unsplash

Why your executive summary is your most important investment document

When seeking investment for your business it pays to think like an investor, giving an investor the information they want rather than telling them

Funding Mastermind Membership Benefits

Keeping you focused on unlocking investment Funding Mastermind brings together founders who are actively negotiating and closing a funding round, providing you with tools,