Study finds accelerators have positive impact on investment


A study has found startups that take part in accelerator programmes grow their investment by significantly more than those that do not.

Disrupt Africa reported last year the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and Emory University’s Social Enterprise @ Goizueta were to conduct a study into the impact of accelerator programmes across the world.

The first part of this research has now been released after the partners worked with seed-stage accelerator Village Capital to examine 15 programmes and the influence they had on the startups that participated.

The data examines the performance of entrepreneurs enrolled in the 15 Village Capital programmes in 2013 and 2014 against those that applied but were not accepted. It found several effective impacts on early-stage ventures, primarily that participating ventures increased investments by eight times more than rejected entrepreneurs.

Participating entrepreneurs on average grew investment by US$54,236, whereas rejected entrepreneurs saw an increase of US$6,274.

High-performing programmes tended to plan for more time for entrepreneurs to work on their own. In high-performing programmes, entrepreneurs spent only 53 per cent of their time working with other entrepreneurs or mentors, compared to 83 per cent for low-performing programs.

A panel of Village Capital programme was convened to brainstorm reasons for the differences between high-performing and low-performing programmes, and found performance was increased by partner quality and the quality of the application pool.

It also considered that time spent on programme-related activities lowers programme, with more advanced ventures benefitting more from acceleration. The Village Capital programme experts said networking among cohort members improves programme performance, as does emphasis on financial acumen and mentor quality.

“ANDE is excited to partner with the Social Enterprise @ Goizueta centre, to release this first annual report with findings from the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative,” said Saurabh Lall, research director at ANDE.

“What’s interesting about this particular report with our partner Village Capital is what we’ve learned about the ways differences across acceleration programmes may affect the performance of their ventures, as well as comparing the positive performance of accelerated ventures to those that applied to, but were not accepted into the programme.”

However, Lall said this report covered only one accelerator model, but added over the coming years ANDE would gather more data about other types of business acceleration in order to explore the subject in greater depth.


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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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