Mike Jackson and WebStart Bristol, based at Bristol’s Engine Shed, have been included on a list of the 100 leaders of the top tech accelerators in the world. Created by Hot Topics, an online community of tech leaders sharing their stories and opinions, the list features tech accelerators that have a proven track record of helping startups to success – and was created to show off those tech accelerators which were genuinely here to help.
“[These accelerators are] building a model which is sustainable for startups, entrepreneurs and investors alike”
Joining the likes of Techstars, 500 Startups and Accelerator Academy, Webstart Bristol is proving that the mentoring and access to tech networks being offered in the West of England to make great tech startup ideas an investable reality, can stand and be counted with the top tech accelerators across the globe.
As more accelerators are popping up due to the success they can create, the list was designed to highlight those accelerators which have the most influence and have been created for the right reasons. As Hot Topics explains: “The successes [of tech accelerators] have acted as the catalyst for an influx of new accelerators, either stand-alone programs or an attempt by a larger corporation to form an innovation lab. As more accelerators are created, the debate is to whether some are just trying to earn a quick buck, versus building a model which is sustainable for startups, entrepreneurs and investors alike.
“Whilst that provides entrepreneurs with a plethora of top tech accelerators to choose from, the challenge is to determine which ones are genuinely capable of adding significant value in the early days of a business’ lifecycle.
“To aid with the selection process, we have put together a list of the 100 top tech accelerators and more importantly, the leaders behind those programs around the world.”
The inclusion came as a bit of a surprise to Mike and WebStart, but it is very much deserved when you consider Webstart has helped the likes of Idea Squares, Wriggle, Habu, Senta, Healthapps and many more.
We spoke to Mike (pictured right) about his inclusion in the list and what it meant for him. He tells us “For me the most important thing is the recognition for the whole Bristol and Bath tech cluster and the recognition of all the hard work that SETsquared, the Engine Shed and Invest Bristol + Bath have put into raising the regions profile.”
So if you want to follow in his footsteps, what does Mike think is the secret to running a top tech accelerator? Mike explains: “It’s all about the local ecosystem; an inspiring building to act as host, great mentors and advisors, strong professional services companies, access to a deep pool of technical resources and finally local capital support.”
Criteria for inclusion
The criteria for inclusion on the list included:
1) Graduate valuation: The equity valuation and venture funding of alumni companies is an important factor when judging accelerators as it allows the entrepreneur to get an accurate picture of a program’s success rate.
2) Learning environment: For first-time entrepreneurs, knowledge is the single biggest currency. The top accelerators should be able to provide startups with the right contacts, knowledge pool and mentorship scheme.
3) Exits: How have accelerators’ companies exited? Acquisitions, mergers, IPOs, shut-downs; an accelerator must be transparent about its track record in order to prove its legitimacy in this space.
4) Startup satisfaction: Qualitative reviews are just as important as the figures. A startup must be able to feel at ease with its mentors and overall experience in order to facilitate trust and implement success.
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