Through a Venture Capitalist Lens: Building a World-Class Startup Accelerator

Tricks of the Trade: How Accelerators are Transforming Startup Communities Worldwide

"We live in a startup world where we constantly hear about people trying to raise money, and it can be a little warped at times, and I think entrepreneurs need to focus much more on selling their product or service to generate revenue organically because then fundraising is going to come more naturally... A lot of investment groups want to see revenue. Get out of fundraising mode and get into revenue creating mode and the fundraising will come a lot easier."  - Brian Dixon, COO, Capital Innovators

Startup accelerators provide seed funding to early-stage companies through fixed-term, cohort-based, mentorship driven programs, which culminate in a "graduation" or demo day.
These programs are "aimed at accelerating the life-cycle of young innovative companies, compressing years' worth of learning-by-doing into just a few months." The impact accelerators have on performance varies widely among programs - not all are created equally. Quality matters. Accelerators, and industry-specific accelerators, are playing an increasing role in startup communities throughout the world. In this week's podcast episode, we take a deep dive into Capital Innovators, a startup accelerator that provides seed funding to tech and consumer product startups. They are headquartered in St. Louis and have made the list of America's top 10 tech tech accelerators for the last 3 years. 

Here are some of the insights we gained from Brian Dixon, COO at Capital Innovators in this podcast episode:

  • How Brian leveraged his legal knowledge and went from being a J.D. to an
  • unpaid intern to COO at Capital Innovators (CI) in just a few short years.
  • How CI's mentorship network is the life-blood of their program. 
  • CI has made the list of top 10 startup accelerators in the country for the last 3 years. Brian elaborates on their key differentiating factors
  • What they look for in a founder when evaluating investment opportunities. 



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