How to start a business accelerator — MBA disseration

As part of his MBA program at Cambridge University in England, Jed Christiansen wrote an interesting 34 page paper that analyzes see accelerators.

Here is the link for the paper

http://blog.jedchristiansen.com/2009/09/21/copying-y-combinator-why-and-how/

He also provided a google spreadsheet that provides data on every startup that received funding from a seed accelerator

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkkhSN3vaY4jdF90b1l1Vnl5NmZjaTBNQWlJYVozMEE&hl=en#gid=0

The paper is useful reading for anyone who wants to start an accelerator.

My main takeaways are:

1)  For a new accelerator, the founders of the accelerator and what they offer determines the quality of companies they can attract.  However, for an established accelerator, it is the success of the companies that graduated that matter.

2)  People starting a new accelerator must think about what they can offer that is different from existing accelerators.  New companies are highly mobile in terms of geographic location, so a new accelerator is usually competing with most of the existing accelerators within their country.

3)  By far the most important reason founders gave for wanting to be in an accelerator is access to capital.  This suggests that companies which want to bootstrap may be missed out.  eBay is an example of a company that was flush with revenues and profits early on, and did not need seed capital.

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