Ditch the startup. Intern at an accelerator.
Blog post by ELP Student Wyatt Dudgeon (Business Admin | Class of 2021)
Startup accelerators are spectacular, period.
My name is Wyatt Dudgeon, I’m a aspiring Detroit entrepreneur resolute on changing the landscape of the mobility industry. And I’m also a startup accelerator finatic!
To those of you who aren’t familiar, a startup accelerator is a institution that accelerates the growth of companies by providing education, mentorship, and financing opportunities. Startups enter accelerators for a fixed-period of time as part of a cohort of companies. Accelerators programs are intense, compressing years’ worth of learning-by-doing into a few months. If you want to learn more read Ian Hathaway’s Harvard Business Review article, “What Startup Accelerators Really Do”, that explains the concept of a startup accelerators in more detail. But, I don’t want to bore you about the nitty-gritty details of accelerators, this is not the point of my article. Instead, I want to convince you, why you should work for a startup accelerator.
Over the past three years, I have had the pleasure of working with several Techstars Mobility companies (Techstars Mobility is a premier, Detroit based startup accelerator focuses on the mobility industry). But, this year I have the lucky opportunity to work with the accelerator’s executive team, Ted Serbinski and Lisa Seymour. In only 3 years, Ted and Lisa Techstars Mobility is now recognized as one of the the best mobility focused startup accelerators today. Acknowledging this, startups from around the world apply to Techstars Mobility at a chance to change the fate of their startup forever.
Working with Techstars Mobility is more than a “job” to me, I’d say it’s more of a passion of mine. In the Detroit Techstars accelerator I have had the opportunity to experience all kinds of successes and failures. I have worked alongside startups from across the world with men and women founders. I have felt founder’s passionate echos rattle the walls during their vibrant and exciting pitches. Every cohort I have gained a family. Every time I leave, I’m leaving my workplace, a classroom, and a home. But, it’s not long until I find my way back to Techstars.
Okay, that was a bit dramatic, but everything I stated is true. You can build meaningful relationships with all sorts of companies. Something you could never do at a regular startup. These relationships could even one day lead to a new job, a new hire, or even get you a free dinner. Furthermore, the wealth of knowledge and advice afforded to you by your knowledgeable managing director, passionate cohort peers, the diligent program manager, and the helpful mentors can be invaluable to your professional career. You can also learn so much from the varying work environments and cultures from each individual startup.
The pros of working for a startup accelerator are overwhelmingly high. Working for accelerators can do exactly what it does for companies. It can speed up your career by exposing you to various cultures, ideas, and feedback. It can open you to a world of diverse connections of founders, mentors, and advisors. And when you start your own business, these connections and experiences will lead your business towards success.