A lot of people ask us how was our experience in the UpWest Labs startup accelerator. Well, to make a long story short -- it was very, very good. Here's why...
Being in an accelerator is a bit like using an agency to find an apartment.
You have to give away something (equity), but you are raising your chances for success
Paul Graham has a good essay about the equity price.
In startups, unlike apartments, things are a lot more fragile!
It's not enough to have a one time luck in which you seal a deal on apartment - you need consistency.
A startup need to seal many "small deals" (Wins if you prefer).
Gil Ben-Artzy, one of the founders of Upwest says: "Standing in luck's way" -
Do everything that you can and increase the chances that "luck" will hit you.
You can try to do it all by yourself, but you can use an accelerator the will help you avoid some of the risks and mistakes.
Because startups are such a difficult and risky business, giving away a small portion that reduce chances for failure, just make sense.
Being on Upwest puts you under a framework that iteratively bullet proof your business.
There are so many people that are involved:
Entrepreneurs, investors and different kind of experts are advising and give priceless feedbacks.
These "friends of the program" are coming to the office and are kin to help. That's right, you usually don't have to even leave the office.
The number of people that we've discussed in the last few weeks would not have been possible without the program.
Upwest is very special compared to other Israeli incubators - it resides in the Sillicon Valley.
Being there, we were able to meet many potential critical customers and partners. Upwest helped setting up meetings and introduced us to the right people. Being close to the market is, of course, super important and Upwest made it a lot easier.
There were 5 more companies in our batch. We felt very lucky to have such great startups with us.
For example, we were sitting neck to neck with a company called Drippler.
They are awesome guys and also have more mileage in the startup world, so we bugged them all the time...
All the teams have learned something from the others. It was very motivating and kept everyone on track.
There are some cons of course. You are part of a locomotive that rides at full speed for good and bad.
The program is intense and result oriented and people worked around the clock. Being away from home for 3 month is also hard. But who said it should be easy? :)