With our recruiting period wrapping up, interviews coming to an end and selections being made for our next cohort, we thought the Inc.com piece written on what “Five tech start-up accelerators [...] look for in candidates–and what they try to avoid” was just the thing to share with y’all.
Programs like our own are becoming the “ultimate launch pad for many big ideas and promising entrepreneurs.” With a list of accelerators worldwide that is growing upwards of three hundred, it’s no wonder that how to get into an accelerator program is the talk of the town. A couple weeks ago, as Inc.com reports, Jason Calacanis, founder of the Launch Festival in San Francisco, got to ask a panel of five accelerator program partners about how personality plays into their selection. Here’s a breakdown of what they had to say:
1. Being an entrepreneur: you can’t fake it and it’s not something you can just walk away from. “Curiosity and openness,” combined with being “product-obsessed,” according to two accelerator program pros, mean you’re a “real” entrepreneur. Also, “If you can be talked out of being an entrepreneur, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.” Think about that one twice before applying to an accelerator.
2. You’re married to your founder. Starting a business with someone you’ve just met is like marrying someone you just met in a bar. It might work out, but chances are you’ll fall into the pool of “founder break-ups and dysfunctional teams” that lead to failed companies.
3. “Play well with others.” Accelerators are investing not only in the companies, but also [and mainly] in the entrepreneurs behind them. That means they’re “looking for people who are going to give back” and create a sustainable community. So make friends. It’ll pay off.
4. “…But jerks [might] have value too.” This is where the accelerators disagree. Some say you have to take the risk and invest in the jerks. “Those outlier personalities are often the most powerful visionaries.” BUT, “talent doesn’t mean you can get away with anything.” On the other side of the coin, some think “that the start-up world will thrive without the presence of talented jerk personalities.” Whether to be a nice guy? It’s a flip of a coin.
We agree with the above, but they’re missing one important point. We at FounderFuel are looking for people with the right mindset. As an entrepreneur you need to believe in your idea and stand by it at all cost, but joining an accelerator requires the humility and maturity to hear the things you don’t want to hear as well as those you do want to hear. This means being completely open-minded and ready to have your ideas deeply challenged and sometimes even destroyed. If we sense that you’re not ready for that, we won’t take you in.