How to nail your accelerator application

We look through many applications to join the ProVeg Incubator and it got us thinking about ‘what does good looks like’. What makes one accelerator application shine like a star, while another disappears in the dust? In this blog post, we share tips to help you pitch your company to our programme.

“Make sure you stand out” is probably the first piece of advice that you’ll hear when you’re filling out an application for a new job, a university place, or pretty much anything these days. It’s good advice, but it’s vague and very easy to say. The question is how exactly can you stand out?

We can’t tell you how to secure a slot at Harvard or make it onto the X-Factor stage (sorry). However, we can tell you how to give yourself the best chance when applying to join our accelerator programme.

Our team has worked with over 70 startups at the ProVeg Incubator, and we’ll soon be hosting our 9th cohort. Over the last few years, we’ve reviewed thousands of applications and, while no two are identical, we can definitely pin-point the things that we love to see from founders, and the things that we would rather you left out. Here is our advice to you.

Find out who you’re speaking to

Before you begin filling in the accelerator application form, make sure that this is the right programme for you. In other words, do you align with our mission? Do you have the kind of set-up, product, aspirations, and team that we’re looking for?

Just as importantly, does our programme offer you the kind of support and resources that your company needs? It’s important to be honest with yourself about all of this from the get-go.

Formo precision fermentation cheese product
Cheese from alt-dairy company Formo

Be upfront about your USP

We want to know, right off the bat, what makes your company truly special. What is your solution for producing alternative proteins on a large scale and how will you use this to carve out a space in the market? If you can answer these questions clearly, concisely, and convincingly, you’ll be off to a great start.

Put us in the picture

You have skeletons in your closet, and that’s OK. But we’ll find them, so don’t try to hide them from us. In short, we’re asking you to be honest with your answers. That includes being transparent about any challenges. We want to understand the realities of the company that you’re building: where have you been, where are you going, and how can we help you to get there? Put us in the picture and we’ll have a real conversation.

The devil is in the detail

Check your application for typos, repetition, and mistakes before you submit it to us – sloppy writing is an instant turn-off. Our potential collaboration should be important to both of us, and that means that your submission deserves careful attention. If you’ve already read it many times, ask a colleague or friend to proofread it for you. A fresh set of eyes is always a big help!

Vegan deli meats presented at ProVeg Incubator Demo Day
Plantcraft founders Kati Ohens and Csaba Hetenyi pitching at the ProVeg Incubator Startup Demo Day

Face up to the nitty gritty

We know the alt-dairy and alt-protein industries are big. If they weren’t, we probably wouldn’t have jobs. What’s important here, however, is your role within those industries. We want details: tell us about the gap in the market that you will fill, and exactly why you’re the startup to do it. Don’t be superficial here – we  want to work with companies that have done their research or already have traction and can back up what they’re saying with facts and figures.

Cut the waffle

Structure your answers clearly and keep them succinct and laser-focused. We’d be hypocrites if we wrote any more than that here, so that’s all you’re getting from us on this point!

Be yourself

Let your personality shine through. We’re all just people at the end of the day and much of what makes a startup sing is the team! We love hearing from passionate entrepreneurs who are committed to building something great. Add a bit of your own style to your accelerator application and hopefully we’ll get to see it come to life in an interview.

We are currently accepting applications to join our upcoming cohort of startups at the ProVeg Incubator. We look forward to hearing from you. Now, go and make sure that you stand out! Apply here

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