12 Feb 2015

Can we build a startup accelerator that revolves around you?

By Jessica

Adrienne from TreePress has proven that any space can be a workspace, even an East Coast Train! She’s pictured here working away after visiting their development team in Edinburgh. Adrienne and Laura moved to London to join our programme, but not every team is able to make this leap. So can we build an accelerator for teams based elsewhere?

This summer we’ll be running the 6th cohort of the Bethnal Green Ventures accelerator and we’re thinking – as always – of doing something new. We want to develop a version of the programme for startups based outside of London, and we’d like to hear from you – especially if this type of support would work (or would have worked) for you.

The truth is, our accelerator programme has always been an evolving model. Each time we’ve been tweaking and fine tuning the format, taking lessons from the previous programmes and making changes depending on what has worked best – and this time we want to focus on how we can make the accelerator more accessible to teams based outside of London.

Why are we doing this?

We think the beautiful co-working space we have at Somerset House is a real draw for our startups, offering a place to share and learn together with other teams in central London. We’ve even helped lots of teams to take the plunge and move here, from as far afield as Amsterdam and Australia.

However, the requirement to relocate here full time might be limiting our ability to work with some great teams. Working in a startup can be stressful enough without having to upend and move. In offering a more flexible programme we hope we can open up our networks and support more teams based in other regions of the UK and beyond.

What does this mean for the programme?

We’re still working this out. We’re going to continue running our usual accelerator programme at Somerset House because it works pretty nicely. But this time we might structure some elements of the programme – like workshops, events and office hours – to fit around teams based in other areas.

We won’t be the first to try this, in fact, a lot of the research into accelerators that we’ve seen suggests that the provision of co-working space is not one of the core components of an accelerator programme (see Startup Factories, Seed-DB.com, The Seed Accelerator Rankings Project).

What happens next? Well, we’d really like to hear from you.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be speaking with lots of startups in lots of different areas to get their feedback on how best to design a programme that works for them. If this is something that interests you we’d love to hear from you. You can simply comment below, get in touch on twitter @bg_ventures or email us at hello@bethnalgreenventures.com.


Photo credit: Thanks to TreePress for letting us use their facebook picture.