Measuring Accelerators







I read this great post by Mukund Mohan titled How do you measure the success of an accelerator and was surprised that none of the comments lead to thinking about accelerator success being tied in any way to startup success. Isn’t the goal of accelerators to move the needle for the startups that they are accelerating? How can accelerators be measured on financial goals/metrics, number of startups, number of mentors, etc.? None of those things have anything to do with how successful they have made the startups that they are “accelerating”.

Looking at YC, 500 startups, techstars, etc. Most of them boast metrics around the accelerator but very few boast metrics around the results of the startups they are accelerating. This isn’t all that different than universities boasting how great their facilities are or how big their endowment is, but forget to mention the results of their students. The purpose for accelerators is to accelerate startups – the measurements should be tied to that purpose.

For example if the goal of an accelerator is to move a startup team from whatever they are working on to a viable idea with a working MVP – shouldn’t the success metric be how many startups they are able to do this successfully with? For example 5 out of 10 startups that enter the accelerator exit the accelerator with a viable product/market fit.

On the other hand if the goal of the accelerator is to grow the revenue to a break-even point, the metric would be the number of startups that exit the accelerator with break-even books.

This could easily be translated to any of the things that an accelerator claims to do for a startup and if an accelerator can’t move the needle for most of the startups that enter -> you probably shouldn’t join the accelerator if you are a startup.

Thinking about money – the metric should be how close was the funds raised to the LEAST amount of money required. The more money raised for any endeavor the less leverage exists and the returns for everyone are reduced. If 10k is all it takes to get to profitability and a growth trajectory than raising 25k is a negative thing for investors, accelerators, and the startup.

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