MIT’s student venture accelerator program has kicked off for 2017!
delta v is a unique program that provides a capstone educational opportunity for MIT student entrepreneurs, and prepares them to hit escape velocity and launch into the real world.
“delta v” literally means a change in velocity, and we believe this truly captures what happens to these students when they join us for MIT’s accelerator program. (Our program was previously called the Global Founders’ Skill Accelerator – we changed the name last year.)
Our 2017 cohort of students has been selected, and they will begin go through “entrepreneur boot camp” this summer. Sorry, but we can’t yet release the startup names and ideas, but we have created an infographic to give you the big picture of our incoming group.
Mark your calendars for September 9. That’s our Demo Day in Boston, when each of the companies will present to the public. (Here’s a recap of Demo Day 2016.)
We also went back to our 2016 cohort and asked for advice they could share. Here are some of the highlights:
Create the Right Team and Team Culture
Get to know the rest of the cohort early! I can’t tell you how much I wished I had gotten to know the other teams in the cohort earlier, and how sad it felt to begin bonding so late in the summer only to leave a few weeks earlier. Take initiative and invite other teams out! They won’t bite.
Invest in getting to know Trust Center staff and the other teams; they are as much of a resource as the funding.
I recommend taking free personality tests and working as a team to identify work styles and potential weaknesses that both individuals and the team as a whole may face so that when these hard times hit, and they will hit, you know what to expect and can band together to push through.
As we have moved forward and made some progress it has become even more evident that VCs and investors, especially in the seed round, are investing as much, if not more, in the team than in the business idea.
— Kumwe Logistics
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
For international team, communication is your best friend. Have a WhatsApp group, have a daily Skype call, do whatever it takes. It’s impossible to be talking too much to your fellow team members while you’re geographically separated.
Show up, Be Present & Network
Be present as much as possible, even if the attendance requirement says only 2 people have to be there.
Go to every event possible. Even if you think you already know the topic, go to it anyways. Delta V brings in people at the top of their field to share their insights with the teams, take advantage of that! Other people would kill for that opportunity.
Everyone has this big fetish for cool-sounding technology, especially at MIT. Talking tech helps wins competitions, but at the end of the day the only people you really need to impress are your customers (with a good product, not with the underlying tech!)
Promote Increased Value over Cost Savings
If I were to start over, I’d promote the time [our services] save their staff, the benefit of dealing with one company for all their needs that’s responsive, proper billing, and other similar points that our clients tell us they appreciate and are worth value [rather than just cost savings].
Perfect Your Pitch
One of the best things we got out of the whole exercise was the final pitch document and presentation we had. The same pitch and document has helped us get $100,000 from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and DFID UK, along with the money we have raised from investors.
Anticipate Change & Challenges
Company culture is created predominately through the personalities and work styles of the founders and early employees. Make sure to spend time understanding what sort of culture you’re looking to build and understand that the good comes with the bad.
There WILL be challenges and failures that lie ahead and it’s helpful to understand how your team will work to overcome these hurdles.
Prepare for After MIT
Treat Board members as valuable mentors even after the program is over.
Take advantage of the support Network at MIT while you can, and if you’re leaving Boston, try to build a support network (friends/entrepreneurs/etc..) wherever you go. The struggle is real, and the real world can be cold and lonely.
Great advice from our last group of entrepreneurs! I’m looking forward to spending the summer with our incoming class.