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Entries in Y-Combinator (1)

Wednesday
Jan262011

Accepting the LAUNCH Accelerator Challenge

Recently, serial entrepreneur and angel investor, Jason Calacanis, issued a challenge via his LAUNCH Conference blog:

A Modest Proposal for America: Build 500 Accelerators

Jason’s not talking about Large Hadron Colliders. Although a boost in particle accelerator production could potentially be helpful to the economy, he’s talking about business incubators. The kind that accelerate the process of bringing disruptive ideas to life.

Jason is spot on. If there is something America needs to get out of its financial funk, it’s a boost in creating innovation. Innovation is exciting. Startups are exciting. What better way to foster exciting and disruptive innovation than to build an ecosystem of accelerators?

The accelerator model provides early phase startups with the total package: mentoring, a great tech environment, minimal initial funding, and a clear path to additional funding...if justified.  Groups of entrepreneurs are funded simultaneously, and together they make up a “class.”

AZ Disruptors is doing its part, aiming to build Arizona’s best accelerator system for entrepreneurs. Construction is underway, and the first class will begin in May 2011.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

With Y-Combinator’s $250 million in Q4 exits, the accelerator model is hot.  It’s been heating up for some time, and now it’s to the point where there are at least 58 Y-Combinator-like incubators around the world.

And get this:

  • Over ⅓ of all accelerators were founded within the past year
  • At the current pace, 250 accelerators by 2016 is easily realistic
  • About ½ of all accelerators are located in the United States, and about 40% of US accelerators are located in California and New York
  • 70% of accelerators are privately owned
  • 75% of accelerators provide an initial investment of less than $25k
  • The average accelerator class spans from 3 to 5 months

More Meaningful

I’m going to shift to first-person here, so I can talk about how personally excited I am about AZ Disruptors. Not only is it bringing the accelerator model to my home state, but it’s right in my own backyard.

I’m an Axosoft employee. I’m also playing a small part in helping to design the AZ Disruptors flavor of business incubation.  But most of all, I’m someone who has been working for software startups for pretty much my entire adult life, and words can’t describe how much I look forward to giving back to the community in the form of mentoring the classes that make it through our doors.

I remember my first day on the job at an angel-funded startup over 15 years ago.  I HAD NO IDEA WHAT TO DO.  No idea! I can definitely elaborate on that in later guest posts. But the point here is that I can mind-dump my tech marketing experience and help good people with good ideas accelerate their growth and prepare them for what’s to come. 

That’s a wonderful prospect. The hands-on intimacy of this style of incubator is where I believe the magic lives.

I also look forward to the energy I suspect our first class will bring to our building.  We’re already pretty pumped up about growing our business on a daily basis.  I can only imagine what it will be like when we get 10 to 15 more smart people in this building to geek out with over amazing technology and products.

Knowing what I know about the people involved in AZ Disruptors...this is going to be one hell of a ride.  And AZ Disruptors is going to be the place to be for Arizona software startups.

 

This article was written by Angelo Coppola. He is a software industry veteran who currently serves as Vice President of Marketing for Axosoft. Angelo will provide AZ Disruptor classes with mentorship in the areas of marketing, design, and user experience.