Once you have a functional MVP and some traction, you may want to participate in an accelerator or incubator.
Accelerators and incubators are longer programs (compared to something like a shorter startup weekend, design sprint, or hackathon that generates ideas and earliest prototype) that can connect you to a startup community.
From large national accelerators like Y Combinator, Google for Startups Launchpad Accelerator, or TechStars, to community-based local options in your town or region, accelerators can help you:
- make connections (with other Founders, potential investors, mentors and advisory board members)
- access resources (such as investment, office space, support for travel, pitch coaching, or research assistance)
- gain media exposure (such as on social media, at Demo Day)
- iterate your product design or business strategies
Programs vary in length and requirements, and may come with grant funds or investment funds, require equity, or even have a cost to participate. They also support different stages of companies, so it is important to find one that is the right fit for you.
Different accelerators have different requirements and support companies in different stages.
However, accelerators and incubators can take time away from the tasks you might be doing to build your business; consider the value you expect to get from the program before spending time and resources to apply and participate.