FIP 105: The view from inside an accelerator, with Fhiwa Ndou, formerly with MassChallenge
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This week on the Finding Impact Podcast, we will be looking at the insider’s view of accelerators with Fhiwa Ndou, formerly of MassChallenge, well known venture accelerator in Boston, US. Fhiwa previously also helped setup the MassChallenge (MC) accelerator in London and is currently Growth Manager at Lambda School. This is episode #3 in the 4-part series about accelerators for early stage social enterprises. In this episode, we look at various aspects of choosing accelerators such as: the role of accelerator alumni network in attracting social enterprises, and non-profit versus the for-profit (equity-based) models.
On this podcast, you will learn:
- About the MC accelerator and its ethos and non-profit business model. MC does not take any equity from its start-ups and rather focuses on community as one of the best levers for helping start-ups grow and succeed. MC accepts around 100-120 start-ups in every cohort across various industries that makes it very different from most start-up accelerators.
- How MC selects and operates start-ups as franchise model in different regions and leverages the local business community while starting and operating a start-up accelerator at scale, through funding and other resources.
- Examples of successful MC alum such as Flywire in Boston and Handy in UK, that went on to raise lots of funding for scaling and built successful businesses.
- How the no-equity, non-profit model and wide alumni network of MC presents a very powerful proposition and is a big consideration for very early stage start-ups while choosing accelerators. MC also helps entrepreneurs unlock opportunities by helping them “ask for stuff” they need and providing support to access resources such credits for Amazon Web Services, other free tools, office space, introductions to experts such as patent lawyers, investors, etc.
- Finally, Fhiwa shares his views on future models of accelerators, such as corporate style accelerators and other accelerator models that support entrepreneurs through their journey – from teaching entrepreneurs to code early on (coding schools) to teaching entrepreneurship and what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, through summer internships.
Links to Resources:
- Lambda School
- Examples of successful MC alum – Flywire, Handy
- TED Talk by Amanda Palmer
- Books – Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, How Google Works by Eric Schmidt
Connect with Fhiwa:
Quite a candid and elaborate episode.
I have learned so much and I agree with Fhiwa on the feeling one gets when they are accepted into an Accelerator. It’s like it’s the ultimate goal for achievement.
In Kenya many Startups use it as a marketing tool for their achievement. And I don’t blame them, personally before this episode, I was of that mindset lol.
The ‘build your own desk’ part was quite hilarious, but then again, it’s a very great way to help an entrepreneur have a concrete and visual story to tell about how they started. Quite a powerful experience.
This was great.