May 12, 2015
If you're curious about how to structure a successful accelerator program, read on to learn how the Brazil-based Aceleratech has tackled that task and penetrated the Brazilian startup tech market. Named Brazil's best accelerator in 2014, and Latin America's Best Accelerator in 2015, Aceleratech focuses on mature startups that are ready to become huge. "We always say that we want to create companies that impact the GDP," said founder Mike Ajnsztajn (pronounced Einstein). "We really believe we can help companies that can create more wealth and more jobs, improving people's lives."
The Aceleratech Method
The Aceleratech method is based on 3 core pillars: Education, mentoring and partnerships. Aceleratech offers advanced workshops and classes, as well as opportunities for interactions with successful CEOs, university professors, other entrepreneurs, business owners and investors. Using the lean methodology and after studying the market, they arrived at the right workload. While education is important, Ajnsztajn understands that participating executives don't have time to be full-time students.
Participants also receive one-on-one mentoring at both the strategic business (CEO) and marketing (CTO) level. "We need to have vision and strategy," Ajnsztajn said, adding that they also provide topic-specific mentoring. For instance, if a participating startup needs advice on how to conduct a successful Google campaign, Aceleratech will provide a specialized mentor on that topic. In addition to short-term mentors, participating startups also get assigned a "godfather" of sorts – someone who stands by them in the long haul, providing networking introductions and advice well beyond the accelerating process.
And third, participating startups receive very low-cost or free services from partner businesses that provide accounting, design and other professional services. It's important that the services and beyond.
How Aceleratech Achieves Success
Aceleratech builds community. Launched in 2014 as an important fourth pillar, Aceleratech bundles its 36 participating companies into communities that gather at least once a month to exchange ideas and experience. This is a time for CEOs and CMOs to talk about what works and what doesn't, to hear fresh outside perspectives, and to practice their pitches. This new pillar is working extremely well, the co-founders said. "During 'communities,' companies start working together," Ajnsztajn said. "The ecosystem keeps moving."
Aceleratech sets clear metrics for participants, and it has high expectations. From increasing user base, to increasing sales, to getting their legal and financial ducks in a row, each participating startup must meet monthly expectations, which are discussed in a formal meeting. "We are focused on sales and marketing, and we succeeded since 70% of our companies have sales, and validated business models that grow more than 15% per month” Ajnsztajn said. "We rush for revenue. Breakeven equals independence." Aceleratech believes in giving and receiving feedback. At the conclusion of each acceleration, participants sit down to evaluate lessons learned. Through a "holistic" scoring system during and after the acceleration, Aceleratech has adapted its model to best serve the participating startups.
Aceleratech is growing. It is launching partnerships with large corporations, and with Startup Brasil, the national government acceleration program, and has already taken on foreign companies as a participating startup. It is not planning to open offices abroad for the time being, but is eager to establish a presence in every major city in Brazil. Collaborating with the government remains an attractive avenue. "The Brazilian government at state level and city level are thinking about having [accelerator] programs," Ajnstajn said. "It is a good thing for the ecosystem. We are open to interacting with all of them."
Aceleratech has come up with a strong, effective business model. Watch our interview with Aceleratech's Sean Lindy after receiving this years Latam Founders Award for Best Accelerator in Latin America and learn more about what they have in store for 2015 and beyond.