Many entrepreneurs refer to an accelerator as a startup MBA. One main difference is you get paid to go, while an MBA pays to go.... a $100K convertible note into your business vs. a $100K loan you pay to Sallie Mae. I digress. Both processes require an extensive application and interview process. One of the major differences in the process is how serious MBA candidates take the application process vs. how lax entrepreneurs take the application process. Some people put more detail into their high school job application at the ice cream shop than they did for their accelerator application. Honestly, it baffles me. Some entrepreneurs think that an accelerator or an investor would give them funding based on a napkin drawing style explanation. That's only in the movies.
Let's jump into the meat and potatoes! Take time and fill out the founder/employee pages in great detail. If you went to a great school put it on there. If you won an award related to tech or you company, state this. Reviewers look for things to latch on to. I would rather have a community college computer science student who has a github account and has won several awards for design than a Ivy League business student with grand ideas. But if you don't state any of your awards, THEN I will consciously and subconsciously latch on to the merits of the Ivy League student. Give the reviewer a positive trait to latch on to and be able to promote to the other application reviewers. Also note that you need your cofounders to put the same thoroughness into their applications. When I see a founder with a detailed profile but one-liners for the cofounder, I automatically assume that this "cofounder" is someone that was just added to the application to make the team "seem" more complete. You wouldn't believe how many skimpy founder profiles that I have read. This is the first impression and can add instant credibility or kill your application. Remember, people hire people they like AND people that can execute. People from certain backgrounds have shown that they can execute. Please, please, please update your LinkedIn, blog, Twitter, GitHub, medium, and business website. I learn about a founder BEFORE I even read their application. I can google you and find inconsistencies, if you are not cognizant of your online presence. Investors support great teams. If you don't display your team in a great light, then your application ends up on the "Do not call" list.
Pro tip: Always make the "optional" video. Many accelerators require a video, but several make it optional. Always make the effort to create the video. Applications are reviewed by a ton of people. MDs at your accelerator, MDs from other cities, accelerator alumni, mentors, and associates. Some people are diligent about reading each application in detail while some people skim applications and spend a lot of time on the founder and demo videos. These small extras add a tremendous amount of value to your application. If not simply by the fact that most people choose not to make them. People hire and invest in people they like. Videos show your personality and make reviewers like you. Make it on your iPhone if necessary and edit it with free Mac software. Small things speak volumes about your team and business.
Part 2 will talk to explaining your business