Author Ludovic Pern Licence CC BY-SA 3,o
The very first accelerator programme was offered by Y Combinator which, despite the apparently Cambrian definite article, began life, not in Wales but California. The basic idea is set out in About YC:
"In 2005, Y Combinator developed a new model of startup funding. Twice a year they invest a small amount of money in a large number of startups. The startups move to Silicon Valley for 3 months, and the YC partners work closely with each company to get them into the best possible shape and refine their pitch to investors. Each batch culminates in Demo Day, when the startups present their companies to a carefully selected audience of investors. Y Combinator has invested in over 2,000 companies including Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, Reddit, Instacart, Docker and Gusto. The combined valuation of YC companies is over $100B."
I would urge everyone who is thinking of launching a new business no matter which part of the world in which he or she lives to browse the Y Accelerator website because it contains a wealth of free information. In particular, I recommend the Startup School which describes itself as "a free online program and global community of founders."
According to The Guardian journalist, Tina Nielsen, Y Combinator's idea spread across the world quickly (see Nielsen Business accelerators: a financial shot in the arm for startups 24 Oct 2013 The Guardian). The first British accelerator was Seedcamp just 2 years later, NESTA (the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts) produced an authoritative report on incubators and accelerators for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and a directory in 2017 which I discussed in Business Incubators and Accelerators Directory 20 April 2020 NIPC News. I also discussed some of the accelerators near my home in Accelerators and Incubators in the Leeds City Region 22 April 2017 NIPC Yorkshire and Accelerators and Incubators in the Sheffield City Region 24 Aoruk 2017 NIPC Yorkshire,
In 2018 I got the chance to observe a new healthcare accelerator in Bradford which is 15 miles from my home (see Northern Max - a new Healthcare Accelerator in Bradford 12 Jan 2018 NIPC Yorkshire). At the end of the course, I attended its demo day where I met the course mentors (one of whom was a very old friend) and the cohort (see Bradford Healthcare Accelerator Programme comes to an End 26 March 2020 NIPC News). You will see from NorthernMAX Demo Day 25 March 2028 NIPC Yorkshire that I was impressed. Accelerator programmes really do seem to work.
There are now a lot of accelerator programmes in the UK and some are likely to be better than others. I know very little about the Excelerator Consortium programme as I have only one contact in The Winning Pitch and it is a long time since I last heard from him. But the fact that the Consortium has connections with the Welsh government, Business Wales, some reputable Cardiff professional services firms, financial institutions and universities are good signs. The case histories on the Excelerator Consortium website look promising. The programme is well worth checking out.
Anyone wishing to discuss this article or accelerators and incubators generally is welcome to call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me message through my contact form. I wish anyone setting up a business pob lwc.