Money isn’t the key advantage of any accelerator

Startups involved in an incubator or accelerator program frequently get asked questions about said program, particularly by members of other startups.

One of the great advantages of JOLT is the sheer level of hands-on support. Existing within the MaRS ecosystem, there is inevitably a wealth of knowledge and skill sets. What truly shocked us was just how community-rich the experience is. People across all walks of experience are only too happy to provide feedback, a critical introduction, an extra brain, anything; even if they’re involved in MaRS itself, and not specifically with JOLT.

There’s also a notion among young founders that the investment is the central advantage to accelerator programs. There’s no question the money is nice, whether founders choose to use it to pay themselves a salary (always a nice thing), or double-down and put the money toward product and staff.

That said, it’s not the most valuable aspect of a program such as JOLT. The connections, mentorship, lessons, etc. are far more valuable. Founders must still parse the various suggestions/comments/criticisms and go with what they think works best for their company, but it’s nice to have all that wisdom to work through.

Selection processes for accelerators are relatively standard, and can be thoroughly nerve-wracking. After submitting applications and introduction videos (for both the team and the product), a series of interviews are undertaken, often focusing on different aspects of your team and product.

Many founders get nervous at the prospect of interviews, and people will be only too happy to offer advice how best to approach them. In the end, all advice on this front is irrelevant. Be yourself, answer any and all questions about both yourselves and your business openly and honestly and let the chips fall where they may. Oh, and be prepared. Very very well prepared. Good luck.