If you’re running a startup, you’ll take help anywhere you can find it. But Fresh Startups’ Saul Colt cautions entrepreneurs to look critically at accelerator programs selling the “modern-day startup dream.” Current programs focus heavily on pitching, says Colt, which is only a small part of building a successful business. The result: startups that land funding still don’t know what to do with that money or how to run a business, argues Colt.
That’s why Colt and his partners at innovation and design firm Kinetic Café have started a new accelerator with a different approach. Fresh Startups is a partnership between Freshii restaurants and Kinetic Café. It’s looking for health and wellness startups to join its six-month program it claims will help build and scale a breakthrough business, not just create a deck for investors.
Colt says the typical accelerator measures success by how much money it, as an entity, can raise for its startups. “Demo days are these lavish events, almost like weddings, but the value isn’t really for the startups,” says Colt. “It’s a way for the accelerator to attract new companies.”
Most accelerators don’t give their startups the attention the actually need to grow and prosper, charges Colt, which is why entrepreneurs should be wary of any accelerator program claiming it will. Program directors mean well, says Colt, but they’re not equipped to give startups all the mentoring and hands-on advice they need.
“Don’t get me wrong,” he adds. “Accelerators are not a bad thing. The current accelerator model, however, is a little broken.”
For more on what Colt believes is a superior accelerator model, and how to protect your intellectual property when working with an accelerator, listen to the full BusinessCast by clicking the iTunes icon below.