Q: How are accelerators managing remote cohorts?

I can’t literally answer for an accelerator, but as an investor here’s what I’ve observed:

  • It’s a huge, huge boon for start-ups not based in SF / NYC / etc. No one cares anymore. This is a big, big change.
  • Investing has accelerated even faster. All the stakeholders can get together even faster now. So decisions can be made even more quickly, especially for slightly larger checks that require consensus.
  • The 1 slide summary is even more important. There’s too much to process digitally, so if the summary doesn’t hook an investor, it’s tougher than ever. You click and move on, rather than stay in your seat and quietly check your phone.
  • Ballooning class sizes. Many accelerators seem to be taking advantage of the move to digital to materially increase the number of start-ups in their accelerators. This may further reduce the value of many accelerators to a relatively limited amount of … acceleration.
  • Many more investors participating in demo days.  Many, many more. Venue size and travel are no longer issues.
  • Even more focus on fundraising as primary goal. For the past years running up to Covid, many accelerators seemed to de-emphasize a seed round as the end point of a program. But with seed investment sped up since Covid, and not geographically limited … with 10x-50x more investors participating … “getting funded” seems to be the primary goal again.

Net net, it’s somewhat surprising, but going virtual seems to have helped the top accelerators, and their portfolio companies.  Digital has truly not just flattened the world, but dramatically expanded the pie of investors they can attract.  I thought going virtual would be a net negative for accelerators.  I was wrong.

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