This is a seemingly complex problem, but it all comes down to one simple question:
What is your startup’s biggest challenge?
- Don’t have the resources to build the product of your dreams? Incubators run by notable operators can help you with user testing, prototyping, manufacturing, pilot programs, etc.
- Consider Industry-Specific Programs: Rock Health, Lemnos Labs, Code for America
- Need help finding a co-founder? Missing a key hire? Many incubators can serve as a temporary solution to personnel gaps through design, development, or marketing support, or be a great way to connect with smart entrepreneurs that could become future business partners.
- Consider Mentor-Driven Programs: TechStars, AngelPad, Rock Health
- Most startups would greatly benefit from a bigger focus on Steve Blank-style customer development early in their life. I have a great deal of respect for Dave McClure’s methodology here – why not learn from the man himself?
- Consider Growth-Focused Programs: 500 Startups, Science, TechStars
- First of all, this is probably not true. Almost all fundraising challenges can be traced back to the team and/or product. But accelerators and incubators are excellent fundraising resources, providing startups with built-in social proof, seed funding, and networks.
- Consider Big-Name Programs: Y Combinator, 500 Startups, TechStars
- Whether you need help meeting a key sales contact, a valuable new technical hire, or a top angel investor, chances are that you can find the one-point connection from an advisor or classmate in your accelerator.
- Consider Programs With The Biggest Classes: Founder Institute, Y Combinator, 500 Startups