A Pre-Accelerator? What The Heck Is That?!

We’ve been talking a lot about our own pre-accelerator, the HACKcelerator, lately and a question that often comes up is “what exactly is a pre-accelerator?” With all the startup terminology rapidly entering the mainstream vocabulary, it can be freaking hard to keep up.

We got you.

What is a pre-accelerator?

A pre-accelerator is a program focused on early stage startups, taking them from concept to MVP (minimum viable product).

Source: https://vertalab.com/blog/minimum-viable-products-of-famous-companies

A big part of the program, which generally run about 8 weeks, is mentorship. Experienced mentors will come in and give the team guidance with product and customer validation, marketing, product development, pitch and anything else needed to build the product to a place in which it can attract investment and attention.

@João Oliveira highlighted 5 Reasons To Join A Startup Pre-Accelerator

  1. Get into a lean startup mindset
  2. Meet potential co-founders and other like-minded individuals
  3. Get easy access to the startup ecosystem
  4. Get exposure to other accelerators and investors
  5. Access to equity-free knowledge

The HACKcelerator

While still a pre-accelerator, the HACKcelerator is different than all the rest. The 12-week program is invite-only, which narrows the focus towards hackathon projects (from AngelHack’s Global Hackathon Series) and turning them into viable startups that can afterwards choose to either enter into an accelerator like Techstars, or to bootstrap their way, hopefully to startup success. Check out some past teams that have done it.

In terms of program length, the HACKcelerator runs about double the length of most pre-accelerators (five or six weeks on average), at 12 weeks. That’s double the amount of mentorship, helpful curriculum and more 😉

Usually a fledgling company trying to access resources like this would have to have a certain amount of traction already to get accepted into a program like this, the HACKcelerator is a way around that roadblock. We spot the potential at a hackathon, somewhere the team may have not had any idea would lead to an actual startup.

“50% of our active companies raise funding and more than 25% are accepted into a later stage accelerator such as Y-Combinator, Techstars and 500 Startups,” says Milan Koch, AngelHack Managing Director, HACKcelerator. “Our portfolio is currently valued at $40 million, which is a lot for a pre-accelerator that focuses on founders with a concept, as opposed to startups that have a live product with notable traction.”

Global Reach

Another differentiator for the HACKcelerator is the diversity of the teams. Because the only way to enter into the program is to receive an invite once you win at an AngelHack Series event, of which there were 61 hackathons all over the globe this year, the teams coming in come from everywhere.

Most other programs are more catered to their country.

Why Would An Accelerator Partner With A Pre-Accelerator?

This year, the AngelHack has partnered with Techstars, Google Launchpad,Startup Chile, and Right Side Capital Management (so far).

It’s not uncommon to have teams that go through the program enter into an accelerator program afterwards. Last year’s batch saw SocialCapital enter into Techstars and Atumsoft into Brandery.

By partnering with the HACKcelerator, these accelerators get first dibs on the teams they see that have the most potential.

Global Demo Day

Just like a full-fledged accelerator, a pre-accelerator usually has a Demo Day. The HACKcelerator sure does, and it’s one of the hottest tickets in town during the Fall in San Francisco. And Startup Bash after the show? Always memorable, and a great way to have a blast networking with the teams.

Katarina Manalac, Partner at Y Combinator, Don Loeb, Vice President of Corporate Development of Techstars, Bedy Yang, Managing Partner with 500 Startups, Ryan Hoover, Founder of Product Hunt, are some of GDD’s past judges.

It’s a night in which the local tech and AngelHack communities come together to celebrate the companies who’ve endured and thrived during the program, and get an early glimpse at hot new companies that may be just about to hit their big break.

Startup Bash 2014

Hint: keep your eyes peeled for GDD + Startup Bash ’16 news. Early bird tickets go on sale soon 😉