Should you join in?
New corporate accelerators are announced in growing numbers: Microsoft, IBM, GM, GE, Citi, Barclays, Samsung, Tyco and more. Is it s good place for you as a start-up? is it a good investment for you as a corporate?
Airbnb founders boosted their venture after joining the Y-Combinator accelerator. But what if a ‘Hilton Accelerator’ was available at that time? Would it have been a good idea for them to join it?
So assuming you have a great ‘disrupting’ venture, just as your investors expect it to be, should you join one of those corporate accelerators? Would Airbnb grow to be significant and disruptive as it is today if they had joined a corporate accelerator? I do not think they would.
Corporate accelerators vastly defer from each other, yet the vast majority of them fit only a particular type of venture, and only at a specific timing.
While the value for the corporate is clear, the value for the new venture should be carefully evaluated. For a ‘disruptive’ venture, an investor accelerator might be more applicable (500 startups, UpWest Labs and DreamIt are good examples). On the other hand, cross-industry ventures (e.g a Fintech venture operating in the travel industry) might benefit a corporate accelerator in its target industry (in this example a travel-based accelerator).
Early stage startups should pay extra care not to get carried away by this accelerator flood.
Corporate accelerators on the other hand, should pay extra thought on the type of engagement and commitment they seek with startups.