Acceleprise strongly believes that great companies can be built anywhere but the reality is that Silicon Valley is still the epicenter of technology companies and investors, so we think there is tremendous value in companies coming to San Francisco for a short period of time to get connected into the Acceleprise network and knowledge base.
Name of Accelerator: Acceleprise
Location: San Francisco, CA
Managing Director: Michael Cardamone
This article is part of our Startup Accelerator Spotlight Series featuring accelerators from around the world. We hope these spotlights will assist the entrepreneur should they consider attending an accelerator program.
In two sentences or less, tell us about your accelerator and its objectives.
Acceleprise is a SaaS focused accelerator based in San Francisco and backed by great operators like Nick Mehta (CEO of Gainsight), Karen Appleton (Early Exec at Box & current Exec at Apple), Rowan Trollope (Senior Exec at Cisco) and Tien Tzuo (Early Exec at Salesforce & currently CEO of Zuora). Our goal is to leverage our extensive network and combined operating experience to provide meaningful value to early stage SaaS companies.
Why is your accelerator program unique? Please describe the benefits of participation in your program.
We try to differentiate ourselves by being very focused on Saas, working with a small number of companies at a time (7-10) so we can be very hands on and having really good people involved who have been integral parts in building brand name Saas companies like Box, Salesforce, Yammer, Marketo, etc. We provide companies with funding ($50K for 5%), office space in San Francisco and mentorship across sales, marketing, product and fundraising. We bring industry leaders in the office once a week to speak on various topics and/or do office hours. We then help drive early traction and subsequent funding by leveraging our collective network to make key introductions to potential customers and investors.
What is the most difficult part of working with startups?
In the very early days, founders need to be scrappy to get their first customers and drive revenue from wherever they can. Once they start getting some early traction, the focus needs to shift to really honing in on who your ideal customer is, so you can start to build scalable and repeatable processes for customer acquisition. It can sometimes be difficult for startups to make that transition to a much more focused approach to building the business.
What do you enjoy the most; what do you find most appealing about working with entrepreneurial startups?
It’s amazing in so many ways! I get to spend every day with a really smart, ambitious and optimistic people, and feed off of their positive energy.
Tell us about your success stories. Which are the most interesting companies to have participated in your program?
Acceleprise only started investing out of the San Francisco program about a year and a half ago, so it’s early to tell which companies will truly break out. Of the 24 companies that have gone through the first 3 cohorts, we have had 3 small exits and 15 have raised subsequent funding, with close to $16M total raised to date across the portfolio. We have a lot of companies that have come out of the program and have had great early success, including companies like Nova, PocketSuite, Limelight Platform, BookStayGo and more. Below are a few that we think are super interesting.
TalentIQ , which is a People API for the Enterprise, came into the program doing less than $ 100K in ARR. Throughout the program we were able to make introductions for them that resulted in close to $ 200K in ARR and by the end of the 4 months, they were doing over $ 500K in ARR. They went on to raise a seed round within a month of leaving the program and now over $ 1M in ARR and growing.
Glassbreakers is an enterprise software platform that helps large companies more efficiently manage diversity and inclusion initiatives. They are solving a real and important problem in the workplace and we are incredibly proud of the passion at which they go about it. They closed a $ 2M seed round within a couple months of the program ending and are engaged with some of the largest companies in the world.
Allbound is a leading channel sales and marketing platform. They were able to raise a seed round and have mover $ 1M in ARR and are growing.
What are the three most important factors startup entrepreneurs should consider when contemplating attending an accelerator?
- Who is involved and do you think they can add meaningful value to your company. Have they had prior operating experience that is relevant to you and your business?
- Talk to the founders who have gone through the program and find out directly from them what they thought of the program and what they specifically got out of it.
- Find out how much access you actually get to investors.
What else would you like to share?
We strongly believe that great companies can be built anywhere but the reality is that Silicon Valley is still the epicenter of technology companies and investors, so we think there is tremendous value in companies coming to San Francisco for a short period of time to get connected into this network and knowledge base. About half of our portfolio is from outside the Bay Area originally and many of them go back to their home market after the program, but I would bet that all of them are glad they had an opportunity to build a network here.
In search of an accelerator that aligns with your startup’s needs? Try TurboFunder’s Find My Accelerator search tool!