Daniel Saunders, chief executive of L Marks, corporate innovation specialists, highlights five key tips to young companies applying to an accelerator programme.

1) Commitment is key – an accelerator takes time, especially one that’s geared to foster collaboration with a corporate sponsor. The programme should be treated like any other business project. In order to get the most from the programme it is necessary to dedicate the appropriate amount of resource to it.

2) Make use of the resources on offer – it can sometimes feel like the programme resources are not relevant to the start-up. The start-up may already have a mentor and all the legal advice needed; however, each programme’s resources would have been carefully curated to make sure they add value. Be prepared to engage with these opportunities and make time for them.

3) The programme is there to help – accelerator programmes are designed to help take the start-up to the next level. The methodologies, ways of working, events and other resources are worth engaging with. The programme is there to help, so don’t be afraid to ask for things that aren’t offered up-front.

4) The programme will help grow your business – it’s likely that the start-up will receive exposure to media, new customers and investors as a result of joining an accelerator. Hopefully, this will mean business is busier than ever once the programme finishes. Don’t view the programme as an isolated period of time and make sure the start-up is prepared for an increased workload once the programme has finished.

5) Content is always king – applying for an accelerator programme requires well-articulated content around the business that clearly explains what the start-up is trying to do and how to do it. Almost all programmes will ask for a demo video about the product or team. Take some time to put together a short video that clearly explains what the startup does – it doesn’t have to be flashy, can just be a voice recording over slides. It will really make the start-up stand out during the screening process for the programme.


L Marks is an early-stage investor and works with some of the world’s best-known brands, including BMW Group UK, Arsenal FC and EDF Energy to create bespoke partnerships for innovation.

For more information visit https://lmarks.com/


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