At the beginning of summer we, the Investly team, joined the Startup Wise Guys accelerator program in Tallinn, Estonia. This experience has had a crucial impact in helping us set the foundations of our business, so we want to share with you 3 of the most important reasons to say yes if you are considering joining an accelerator.
1. Shaping the team
When we applied to join the program in June 2014 we had already been working in the idea for more than half a year. Although we were people in three different countries, three time zones, and two continents, the communication had been fairly smooth and productivity was there. It all came down to all of us believing in what we were doing. However, we knew that getting together into one room was going to make things even smoother and our productivity was going to rocket. Not to mention the fact that seeing each other's faces every day was going to be the real test to see if we were truly a good fit.
It has been three months and we are closer than before. We are now a stronger team and our ideas around Investly are more aligned than ever, and we have even exchanged some eating habits with lots of Estonian and Indian food on the menu.
2. Feedback. Meaningful feedback
There is no doubt that a good network is one of the most valuable assets that both an individual and a company can have. This is one of the benefits you get when you join an accelerator program: you get access to a vast network of people with experience in building a business of their own that can save you a lot of pain, time and money. There is the value of the collective intelligence that results from several teams full of energy all trying to resolve similar problems within the same period of time.
The people we have connected with throughout the program have been influential in us learning how to best listen to our customers and do the right thing to fulfill their needs. We have also been able to generate lots of interest in the company both from investors and potential customers.
3. Results, results, results
This is probably the strongest reason to join an accelerator program: you will get tangible results. The characteristics of this type of program mean that you submerge yourself in turning all of your ideas into a reality with non-stop dedication and focus.
As an example, while being at the program, we reached one of our most important goals: we helped fund the first loan for a small business that had been rejected a bank loan. Also, as you read this, investors have started earning interest in their first investments in our platform and two new loan offers are up in the site with investors already bidding on them.
The program is shortly coming to an end. We are now ready to continue the journey on our own, not without making a few strategic stops in Vienna, London and Helsinki.
In this exciting times, we are working on building a simpler and faster experience that we will roll out within the next few weeks. As well as new product on the way!
In short, if we turned back time and were to apply to the program, we would do it all over again.