Ad Jet # 6 Pre accelerator or how else to waste team time

Hi, my name is Polina and here I am talking about our startup in the field of marketing automation. How we subscribed to all this can be read in the first post.

There is such a pre-accelerator beast, this is when you are not yet in the accelerator, they do not give you money, but there can be a lot of tasks. And the reward will be the vague prospect of getting a pass to the accelerator. We got the experience, learned it, and share it with you.

Attempt number times
It was like this, we are from Russia, but we have no traction in Russia and there was no idea from the beginning to make money from Russia. But then one big bank announced recruitment together with XXX Startups and we could not pass by. And in vain!

How the pre-accelerator went — for two weeks we were busy with daily tasks that had to be completed before the next morning. The tasks are relatively small and simple enough, many do not reveal the main point. On the definition of customer, value, and economy.

Along the way, the organizers said that they didn’t even read their homework and that all this was needed to get to the final interview. As a result, we spent about a day on all tasks (now we multiply by three people in the team, who did it — and we are sad).

We did get to the interview and … With the same success it was possible to tell about the project to a brick wall. By the way, the interview was in English, although before that everything was in Russian. But in any case, you could see how people on the other side of the screen were tired of hearing about projects and just waiting for them to end.

We heard from XXX Startups the same as before, we need more revenue. And obviously, we did not fit the bank’s ecosystem.

Attempt number two
It was especially fun here, we got into the Baltic accelerator. The program was for 8 weeks, there was a lot of information. About 10 videos for 5–8 minutes and 4 practical tasks, plus 2–3 general calls per week. And so for 8 weeks. Such a good basic course in economics.

During the program, I was in the USA, so all the calls came for me in the middle of the night, which was pretty inconvenient. We tried to share the calls in the team as best we could, but quickly realized that in general there was not much sense from them, except perhaps English training.

For example, we had a call on legal issues. I had a question about whether it is legal to cook food at home and sell it to the masses on the Estonian market. To which a response was received from a specialist that she does not know for sure and advises to take advice and a specialist in this industry. (Hmm, why is she here then?)

We realized that we were out near the end. We had a pitch run in the penultimate week and the girl from the jury did not listen to us from the word at all. That is, she asked questions about the presentation (of competitors), which were discussed a minute ago. Also, she managed to scold us for the Russian accent (although she is also Russian), which, in my opinion, was incorrect. Then her “favorites” began to perform and she was no longer so scared that their performance took not three minutes, but ten.

It all ended very enchantingly, they sent us a diploma by email and said that, unfortunately, our team did not have enough time on the demo day. Although initially it was said that all teams have the opportunity to present the project to investors. How could there not be enough space, if there are 16 teams in total — it is not clear. Or maybe we did not praise the organizers enough?

I would like to summarize that if instead of the time spent on pre-accelerators if we messaging the investors on Linkedin, it would be more sensitive. By the way, if we all stood with an outstretched hand at the station, there would catch more money.

In general, my advice is this, you can go to the pre-accelerator only if you do not understand anything at all about the basic business processes. In all other cases, get involved in the project.

CEO Ad Jet - automatic services for creating and analyze online advertising.