WHAT WE DO
The Accelerator is a Canadian seed accelerator. The Accelerator provides curriculum, services, seed money, mentors, and connections at two five-month programs per year.
Some companies may need no more than this. Others will go through several rounds of funding. There is no right answer; how much support and funding you need depends on the kind of company you start.
Our goal is to get you through the first phase. This usually means: get you to the point where you’ve built something impressive enough to raise money on a larger scale. Then we can introduce you to later stage investors—or occasionally even acquirers.
We make investments in time, services, and sometimes cash, in return ranging from nothing, to small stakes in the companies we support depending on the startup. We're a non-profit trying to change the world, not rely on government funding for sustainability. If you don't have old fashioned cash, we believe in you and the value of your idea - let's make a trade.
The most important thing we do is work with startups on their ideas. We’re hackers and hustlers ourselves, and we’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to fund a startup and make things people want. So we can usually see fairly quickly the direction in which a small idea should be expanded, or the point at which to begin attacking a large but vague one.
The questions at this stage range from apparently minor (what to call the company) to frighteningly ambitious (the long-term plan for world domination). Over the course of the program we aim to help founders come up with initial answers to all of them.
Though we support all types of startups, we’re especially interested in web/mobile/software applications. Basically, if you leverage technology and are scalable - we're interested.
The second most important thing we do is help founders connect. Whether in our own back yard, Silicon Valley, or anywhere else in the world - we'll help build your network, fast.
We'll help get you incorporated properly with all the standard paperwork, avoiding legal time-bombs that could cause serious hassles and delays later. We regularly help startups find and hire their first employees. We can help with intellectual property questions and important technology questions that can often be the one decision that will make or break your startup.
We aren't reinventing the wheel. We're pulling the best aspects of proven accelerator programs like Y Combinator (like much of the content on this page), 500 Startups etc... and taking what will work for our philosophy, and our country. Canada is an inclusive melting pot of cultures, unique people, and perspectives from around the world, and The Accelerator take this ability to think outside the box, solve problems differently, and work together and gives you the environment to succeed. What Canada may (or may not) lack in funding, talent, ecosystem, we make up for with passion, collaboration, and opportunity. We accelerate startups in batches to multiply this effect. There are two each year.
We invite you to apply online, then we hold two interviews in person, or over video chat.
Most of the founders in each startup we fund (and always the CEO) are expected to move close enough to Calgary for the duration of the program to attend founder dinners every two weeks, and 2-5 "mentor days" where our world class mentors are on-site with the teams. At each dinner we invite an expert in some aspect of startups to speak. Typically speakers include startup founders, venture capitalists, journalists and executives from well-known technology companies. Speakers often end up advising or investing in startups they meet at the dinners.
We host Demo Day near the end of the program where all the startups can present their products and services to a specially selected audience.
Whatever your problem, whether you need beta testers, a place to stay in another city, advice about a browser bug, or a connection to a particular company, there’s a good chance someone in our network can help you.
We think entrepreneurs are most productive when they can spend most of their time building their startups. Our goal is to create an environment where you can focus exclusively on getting your startup to revenue or funding.
In any startup, the first couple months tend to be the most productive of all. Those first months define the company. So anything you can do to maximize their effects is probably a good idea.
We offer lots of advice, but we can’t force anyone to take it. We realize that independence is one of the reasons people want to start startups in the first place. And frankly, it’s also one of the reasons startups succeed. Investors who try to control the companies they fund often end up destroying them.