Accelerators - any tips?

Accelerators should exist in every country where a startup ecosystem has been initiated whether they raised private capital to operate or are government supported, here are a few tips for operators of accelerators (especially in emerging markets):

1. Go sector focused if you can as they are more dependent on being able to localize and where the power of local networks are more important.

2. Work on both inbound and outbound recruiting of founders. Leverage on PR, both on and off line marketing activations to improve your funnel. After knowing the profile of founders you would like to fund and assist, you can use Linkedin to do an outreach campaign to have them apply direct or engage with your team in a call to find out more. Work on improving your funnel.

3. If you are an agnostic accelerator, be as close to market standard as possible with your investment amount and terms. Best teams will either raise money on their own or apply to YC or nothing, so you need to be able to stand toe to toe when compared.

4. Set up an advisory panel of honest and committed founders and investors to help you select your final cohort. Diversify this panel of advisors to get the most honest set of feedback as possible. This will improve your selection of founder types, and ideas. In emerging countries, almost all ideas are copy-cats, the more data you have in your hands the easier to select the final cohort that will result in success.

5. Run a rigorous feedback loop during the program, focusing on company building exercises, and making sure they are venture back-able. Work with more people in the investment sector from angel, seed to Series B/C to help select, critique and refine models as they move along the program. This will help increase the funding rate post graduation. Also cut founders that do not fit your own criteria as an accelerator early on, ideally within the first 2 weeks.

6. Work on a sustainable model financially so you can build a brand to carry the product forward. Sometimes you rely on the investment model (e.g. x% of investment will be paid as a program fee or a put option to sell your stake at Series A), others may resort to doing consulting gigs with corporates and/or raising private capital or sponsorships to self sustain. There are various models, make sure it suits you and your team. 

Hope this helps any new or existing programs.