Tonight I had the opportunity to attend the Flashpoint graduation ceremony over at Georgia Tech. Flashpoint is an accelerator program in a similar vein to Y Combinator and TechStars, except with some distinct differences. One of the questions Merrick Furst asked for the mentors to answer was “What advice do you have for these startups now that they’ve completed the program?” There weren’t too many responses on the fly but with time more have come to mind.
Here’s advice for recent tech accelerator graduates:
- Stay connected with a tribe of entrepreneurs in your cohort or otherwise as the roller coaster of emotions only slightly flattens over time
- Sales solves everything so remember that when the business is breakeven or profitable the amount of stress drops significantly
- Finding investors is a sales process and should be treated as such
- Most products die from a lack of oxygen (get users using it)
- Err on the side of customer discovery and never build the product in a vacuum
- Move on when you’ve realized the startup isn’t going to be successful (entrepreneurs, on average, hang on too long to an idea)
- Mentors are invaluable — use them to increase the chance of success and minimize common mistakes
Completing an accelerator program is a nice early step in the process of building a business. Take advantage of the peer group in the cohort and lean on each other for the challenges that lie ahead. Getting a startup off the ground and developing it into a profitable company is one of the most difficult, and most rewarding, journeys available to an entrepreneur.
What else? What other advice do you have for tech accelerator graduates?