Labs Members Share Their Top Advice for Getting the Most Out of an Accelerator

Joining an accelerator, whether it’s an actual accelerator program or an accelerator-type environment, presents you with a lot of opportunities. But you have to know how to make the most of your time there and the resources provided to you to come out a smarter, stronger company on the other side. WeWork Labs asked Labs members who’ve been through an accelerator program to share their advice for how to get everything you can out of the experience.

Understand that it’s work in, rewards out
“I think the biggest mistake that founders make in an accelerator is that they expect that this is going to be some kind of ride; that they’re getting onto a train, there’ll be a seat and by virtue of being on that train they'll be delivered to a destination. That's the expectation. In reality it is not a train ride; it is a tunnel and in that tunnel you are supposed to navigate your own way out of it. Along the way there are various resources available and you have to really use those resources. People expect that once you're part of the program you'll automatically start receiving stuff but there’s nothing automatic or guaranteed. It is you who has to make use of all of the resources that are provided. — Samant Sikka, CEO of Sqrrl, Labs member at Bristol Chowk Gurugram, India, JioGenNext Program

Don’t compare yourself to the startups around you
“We can get into this habit of constantly comparing ourselves to other founders. Work at a pace that works for you and be okay with that. Some people are going to move faster because they’re full time but others are still juggling other priorities. Be comfortable with whatever pace you're moving at. Something I read recently is that you can’t compare your efforts to other people's outcomes. You look at other people and wonder how do they do it—they work hard and you’re only seeing the result. Move at the speed that works well for you and be kind to yourself.” — Danielle DiMare, CEO of Kindra, Labs member at Dumbo Heights, Brooklyn, Tacklebox Accelerator

Trust your instincts
“As as founder, you have this very unique and specific context on your company and I think an accelerator will take the general wisdom from what they’ve seen and tell you how to apply that. But it’s always important to take every piece of advice with a grain of salt and trust your intuition. There may have been a few times that applying the advice we got went against our intuition and you need the healthy balance between your own intuitions and the advice of people who’ve been through this sort of thing because at the end of the day, you have a very specific context on the company and the more general advice doesn’t always apply.” — Devin Finzer, CEO of OpenSea, Labs member at 205 Hudson, New York, Y Combinator

Ask for what you need
“An accelerator is what you, the individual, the entrepreneur, make of it so if you’re going to push hard and always asks for connections and ask for more and be persistent then you’re going to get more relative to everyone around you. Find a person who is in charge, someone who can move stuff and does move stuff, has the power and uses it ,within the accelerator or organization. Find that person and make sure you express your needs to them all the time because otherwise they’re not going to know.” — Yaron Schwarcz, CEO of Skyline Robotics, Labs member at HaZerem, Tel Aviv, ICONYC

Befriend founders at a variety of stages
“Find founders at different stages. At Tacklebox (all pre-product startups), every week we had a small group meeting and that helped me not feel alone as a brand new founder. It was really helpful for me to have that camaraderie. Now at Labs I’m also meeting founders who are fundraising, have already fundraised, people will full blown businesses—it’s useful to get different stage founder as allies.” — Danielle DiMare

Be strategic about the resources you use
“Anybody who puts together a program in all genuineness and earnestness, they put together a buffet of resources—growth, marketing, digital, technology, business validation, etc. As a startup founder, you can't have everything on the buffet. You need to pick and choose what is relevant to you. You need all those competencies at various stages but don’t be greedy and try to do everything in that program. See the stage you’re at and pick and choose two or three most critical pieces that are delivered to you at the juncture that you are at.” — Samant Sikka

Network, network, network
“They always say the value of most of these accelerators is the network that you get through them. So treat the first few times that you're meeting with everyone similar to the beginning of a new year of college or high school where you're being very social and meeting people.” — Devin Finzer

Here's another helpful article to help you make the most of your time in WeWork Labs:

WeWork Labs Managers Share Their Advice on How to Succeed in Labs

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