Be bold! Apply! It’s the only way we can let you in!
Animate, Excelerate! We want to see the passion, knowledge and intuition you have for your idea. How are you communicating this in your application? And can we see that you are truly committed to doing this?
Remember, keep it simple. Can you articulate what your company does in a single sentence? Does your pitch communicate your killer idea in a clear and relatable way? Have others read your application to make sure that someone who’s not immersed in your business understands it.
Champion the team. Why are you the best team to deliver on this vision? Where is your technical co-founder? Show us what is it about you – your background and experiences – that demonstrates your ability to execute and collectively go the distance.
Demonstrate product value. Tell us how your business works. Don’t just show us a bunch of features. It’s great that your site’s free, accessible on iPhones, iPads and in all browsers, but those are just bells and whistles. We need to hear the how. If you’re offering a website that helps squirrels learn to fly, do your flying experts post videos for others to watch? Is it based on pictures? Text? Show us, even if it’s just a mock up on a whiteboard.
Define your business model. Where is the value created? How do you capture it and when? What is the size of the potential market for this product or service? Are there similar products out there, if so, how is yours special or proprietary? What can you do better/faster/cheaper than the competition? Two great books to help you think about the process: “The Lean Startup” and “Do More Faster”
Know your customer! Who is your target customer? How do you reach those customers and get into their pocketbooks? Can you demonstrate intimate knowledge of this segment, even if you haven’t yet logged orders or shipped the device?
Know how to attract your customer… So many plans fail to have a real customer acquisition plan. You have to have a hypothesis on how you are going to attract all these folks and what it is going to cost – BOTTOM UP – none of the “If we just get 5% of this really huge market, we will all be rich…” talk!!!
Weave a MAT! To quote Guy Kawasaki, what are the MILESTONES you must meet, what are the ASSUMPTIONS you are making about your business, what are the TASKS that you must perform to get your product or service into customers hands.
What is the competitive landscape? What are the barriers to entry and exit? How do you stack up against the competition in terms of market share, price, and substitutes? Most importantly, how do you expect to beat them all?
And lastly….know your audience. Do your homework about Excelerate – the program, mentors and past portfolio companies. Think about how you fit might into the Excelerate ecosystem and the value you would derive from the experience.
We definitely prefer teams of more than one person, there is just WAY too much to get done over the summer for a single founder.
Having a developer as part of the team (as opposed to outsourcing) will increase your chances of getting in at least 10x
Don’t forget – Applications close on March 16th (and to get special consideration, submit before the early deadline of March 1st!)