What to expect at a tech startup accelerator

Savannah Burns
What to expect at a tech startup accelerator

Accurately named, accelerator programs help entrepreneurs accelerate their startup. Offering invaluable hands-on experience, expert mentorship and unrivaled networking opportunities, it’s not hard to figure out why tech startup accelerators are a critical opportunity for many early stage startups. 

Tech startup accelerator programs usually choose a handful of startups out of hundreds of applications for each cohort and help transform them into tech superstars. Besides having a competitive acceptance rate, the programs are usually pretty intense. In typically a few short months, your business will likely go from idea to seed funding.

Assuming you’ve already considered the benefits of joining an accelerator, undergone the competitive application process, and been accepted to the program that will help launch your brand, it’s time to gear up for your intensive. Based largely on an article written by Techstars (a tech startup accelerator), we break down exactly what founders and entrepreneurs can expect going into a tech startup accelerator program. 


One of the most widely known and valuable benefits of joining a tech startup accelerator is mentorship. Right off the bat, your small company will be introduced to hundreds of mentors from that accelerator’s network. Each of these mentors are not only experienced in their respective fields but are usually connected to other key players in the industry. 

When you are meeting the mentors, make sure to ask the right questions. This may be one of the only opportunities you have to get face-to-face time with startups experts, so use your time wisely. It’s also important that you really connect with mentors that not only understand your aspirations and goals but relate to you as a fellow entrepreneur. If the mentors understand you and what you are trying to accomplish, they will be better equipped to give you the valuable tools and advice you need to succeed. 

Some areas where mentors will help guide your startup include but are not limited to: product development, market-fit, marketing, technology, hiring and firing, fundraising, company culture, unit economics, business development, customer discovery, go-to market strategy, and legal. 

Developing and implementing strategy

During your time at the accelerator you will be working closely with mentors to both develop and implement a long lasting business strategy. This part of the accelerator is the bulk of the learning experience. You will be learning from experts how to run a business and how to maintain the best business practices even after the accelerator comes to an end. 

You will likely start by defining your goals. Goals could be developing a prototype, building out the next phase for a product line, or even gaining a customer. Whatever it is that you and your mentors agree is an important goal for you to achieve, you will develop a strategy and define your most important key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs will help you both keep track of your progress toward your goals as well as help your startup define success. 

Demo Day

At most accelerators, Demo Day is the day where you finally showcase your startup. It is not only a formal reveal of your unique idea and business plan but also a representation of all the work that you have put into this startup during your accelerator program. On Demo Day you will be able to finally make your compelling pitch you have been working hard on with your mentors, along with a meticulously designed pitch deck and investor collateral. 

During your presentation on Demo Day you will have the opportunity to share your founder story with the world. Not only is your founder’s story vital for raising funding, but it’s also for communicating your vision to both future team members and potential customers. It is important to note that opportunities to raise funding and gain customers will be present during Demo Day and will continue to be present as you take your brand out into the world post accelerator. 

Every week is different

Because the accelerator program will be quite literally accelerating your startup to the next phase, things can be expected to move along quickly. There will be no mundane days. Every day there will be a different event, workshop, masterclass, or intensive practice activity that will fill your calendar and keep things interesting. So if you were expecting a boring, hands-off learning experience, you have not come to the right place. 

When going into any accelerator program, it’s important to keep an open mind, have a positive attitude, and be ready for anything. This program is meant to expose you to new ideas, tools and resources needed to grow your startup. Take advantage of the environment every day because after your program is complete, you will not have as much access to these tools as you do now. 

About Savannah Burns: Savannah is a Business Development Associate for Swyft, which is a tech PR firm in Austin and Houston and a top digital marketing and PR agency in Denver since its founding in 2011. Swyft recently opened a satellite office where it offers tech PR in San Francisco. Swyft was also listed as one of the top tech PR agencies in Texas by the B2B services review site, Clutch.co.

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