Startup founders looking to jump-start their journey often turn to a startup incubator for help.
What is an incubator?
Basically, an incubator helps startups face common early stage questions and challenges. They provide a variety of resources and services. Recently, we find that incubators are becoming more popular and growing in number, reach and effectiveness throughout the Middle East. So here are a few steps you should take before applying!
1. Do your Research
Not all business incubators are the same. Each one offers different resources and services. They ask for different requirements from startups in order to get accepted, and they also present different programs.
TIP: Make sure that all the above mentioned details match the needs of your startup.
2. Prepare your Pitch
Your pitch is how you differentiate your startup from other applicants. The deck must be well prepared and well rehearsed. Incubators want active and enthusiastic founders and members who demonstrate the mind-set and the ability to execute. Be sure to focus on your mission and how your business will succeed, not just what it needs.
TIP: Check out this website here. It has awesome pitch deck examples from Airbnb, Youtube, and LinkedIn.
3. Team Power
Business incubators look for strong founders with strong teams first, and for business ideas second. The reason behind this, is that an incubation program is likely to completely alter and refine the idea and the business. They might even consider pivoting toward a more feasible or economic business model. This is why you have to make sure that you have the right people in place, to adapt and grow through all those phases.
TIP: Attend networking events to find co-founders and post about it too.
4. Consult Alumni
Incubators usually show a list of the startups that have graduated their program. Contact them, ask them to rate their experience according to a criteria related to your startup and what you expect to learn. Prepare your questions ahead and be detail oriented.
TIP: Approach graduates from previous cycles through Facebook groups or ask the incubator for their contact details.
5. Determine the Cost
The price you will have to pay in return of all these resources and services is typically an exchange of equity. Ask yourself how much you are willing to give to be in this incubator and make sure it’s a reasonable price to pay!
TIP: Read the contract well and always keep a copy. Know your eligibility criteria and ask if you have any questions.
Being accepted in a business incubator is an incredible opportunity but could turn into a huge waste of time and equity. You must make sure you are properly prepared and do get accepted into the right incubator for you at your stage.
Follow these tips and do your homework to make sure you get the best experience!