Start-up accelerators set to specialise and differentiate as market grows

Start-up accelerators will need to specialise and differentiate themselves in order to succeed in the future, an expert says, but local players say some accelerators are already doing this.


Ben Yoskovitz is a founding partner at Year One Labs, an early stage accelerator in Montreal.


In a blog post titled the “The Future of Startup Accelerators”, Yoskovitz shares his views on accelerators in general, and how they need to change in order to survive in the future.


Among his many ideas, Yoskovitz highlights the importance of accelerator specialisation.


“We’re already seeing more specialisation of accelerator programs, and I expect this will continue. It makes sense,” he wrote.


“To succeed, accelerators need all aspects of the local ecosystem to be in place: quality applicants, angel and seed investors, venture investors, partners, customers and acquirers.”


“If all of those things don’t exist in a geographic area, it makes it that much harder to build a successful accelerator.”


According to Yoskovitz, some cities “have more of the ecosystem in place for specific things”, using his own city as an example.


“Montreal has a very big game industry. It makes sense to specialise there. On the other hand, building a B2C start-up in Montreal is that much harder because the entire ‘food chain’ is much weaker,” he said.


Beyond specialisation, Yoskovitz said there also needs to be more differentiation among accelerators, arguing they are too similar to one another.


“There should be programs of varying lengths, more clearly defined goals, unique opportunities, key partnerships that are put in place, etc,” he said.


“Accelerators need to think about their unique value proposition, so they can differentiate and stand out.”


“Entrepreneurs need to look for the unique value of each accelerator and in turn decide which one is best for them.”


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