With a global pandemic impacting everyone in these unprecedented times, we believe support for startups and scaleups is even more important to help navigate the added complexities towards growth and fundraising in the ‘new normal’. As an organisation which has helped accelerate 1200+ companies and raised £350+ million in 8 years, The Accelerator Network has adapted all of its support programmes to virtual delivery promptly from 16 March. In that week alone, we supported 40+ startups across 3 programmes currently in progress towards virtual investor events, via live interactive video expert keynotes and mentoring sessions. We are here to continue supporting UK tech companies virtually, just as we have in person in the past, and to embrace a new chapter of #WinningFromHome together!
1. Keep Progressing
With so much uncertainty, it is difficult to say what will happen. However, Luigi Meschini, Head of Seed Investment for Accelerator Funding Network at The Accelerator Network, shares with startups the importance to keep working and progressing in this time, rather than to take a ‘wait and see’ approach. For startups with the opportunity to help businesses in the current situation, such as those offering platforms and services that enable remote working, it is the chance to test your business and check that it’s working well. A perfect example is The Accelerator Network’s alumni Sceenic video platform, who reached out to offer their feature-rich all-in-one white label solution, such as Zoom plus Whereby functions combined, for our virtual programme delivery. For startups who may be adversely impacted, it is important to show and prepare a new route for your business such as plan B and plan C of different roadmaps based on how the situation may evolve, to show investors that you are on top
of it with scenario planning.
2. Resilience and Remote Working
Ducan Knight, Head of The ScaleUp Accelerator at The Accelerator Network, shares that investors still want to carry on working, despite transitioning to online. As we establish new ways of working, it is making sure to have etiquette for video calls and clear meeting agendas in place to enable smooth remote engagement. Founders’ resilience as leaders will play a crucial part in this time, along with cutting back on overheads where possible. As we live through the next weeks of uncertainty, general confidence and positivity will be impacted, but we are prepared to push through it together remotely.
Check out “Alison Partridge: 5 Habits of A Seasoned Homeworker“.
3. Pros of Virtual Engagement
As the mastermind behind all the logistics of converting in-person content and interaction to virtual delivery, Clarelisa Camilleri, Programme Operations Manager at The Accelerator Network highlights pros of virtual participation she has witnessed in just the first week. Remote access enables increased attendance through time efficiency with more concentrated content delivery in shorter time frames suited to live video format, and saving travel time for founders. Virtual delivery can also help increase reach for companies, investors and experts alike to engage in our 3 programmes (FastForward Pre-Accelerator for early stage startups, Accelerator Academy for startups raising seed funding, and The ScaleUp Accelerator for scaleups raising Series A), who were previously unable to attend in person in London. Despite some connectivity hiccups on video platforms, current cohorts, experts and mentors are all happy to embrace the virtual adventure with us, as we figure out how best to continue supporting our startup community. As people adjust to the lockdown situation, we offer them the opportunity to connect to become investment ready and use this time positively.
4. Needing More Support
Ian Merricks, Chair of The Accelerator Network, shares the honest advice for founders that it is going to get even harder in the coming months, as scrutiny deepens and less investors are investing, and you will need more support. The reality is that startups and scaleups will need some extra help, more than ever, with navigating growth and fundraising. Hence we believe the importance of access to this investor readiness service, and in leading the way to adapt all support programmes and their investor events to continue ahead virtually.
5. Innovating in Times of Need
Did we envision just 2 weeks ago we might all be working and living remotely worldwide? Will there be new remote working tools born out of this time who will become ubiquitous? Will our startup support networks increase as everyone becomes readily connected virtually? As much as navigating challenges, Amy Chao, Marketing and Community Engagement Manager, believes now more than ever, the innovative startup minds and creative problem solvers in our community will continue to think outside the box, to collaborate and find new opportunities and alternatives to move forward, together.
Do you have other suggestions for us and our partners about how to better support you? Share them HERE.