CHAPTER 5How to Handle the Accelerator Interview

Confronted with a tough question or interviewer, many people become visibly stressed, nervous, verbose, even angry or hostile — their postures change, their voices speed up, and they over-talk and under-listen.

Andrea Barrica, YC alumnus; co-founder, inDinero; past venture partner, 500 Startups

What Is an Accelerator Interview and Why Is It Important?

As we have discussed in previous chapters, out of the many applications they receive, accelerators want to select those with the best product/idea, the most compelling progress towards finding product/market fit with a great market, and those with the best teams. The challenge for accelerators is determining the extent to which each of these criteria is true for each startup. This challenge is more pronounced given the limited time accelerators have to get through applications—especially those accelerators receiving hundreds or thousands of applications. Given this, each stage of an accelerator application is essentially an opportunity to collect, validate, triangulate, and tease out information from a range of perspectives, so as to arrive at the most accurate assessment of each applicant. Thus, the purpose of an accelerator interview is to provide accelerators with an opportunity to dig deeper, and better understand startups and founders who made it through review of the written/electronic applications. An accelerator interview is not a job interview or an investor interview. ...

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