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Accelerators and 34 Elements
People often describe 34 elements as a sort of accelerator online. Having run an accelerator/pre-seed fund in the US, I am well positioned to debunk this statement.
Accelerators are looking for VC fundable startups. Their program is geared toward a demo day where startups pitch to an audience of potential investors.
34 Elements does not consider the startup but the individual. It’s the founders’ grit and willingness to learn that are taken into account. This filter gives ambitious individuals, who may not fit the VC profile, a chance to improve their entrepreneurial skills by gaining access to Silicon Valley recipes.
Accelerators want to accelerate startups quickly to get them on the fundraising path. It’s all about building a perfect deck, a perfect story, to mold the startup into a VC-acceptable image. It’s about fundraising.
34 elements is a deep dive into the startup fundamentals, to become lucid and aware of the current state of the startup, and with this new awareness, work to find the best path forward. In doing so, it helps founders align on all the fundamentals. Having your CTO work on market segmentation might seem like a waste of time, but think again.
Accelerators focus on fundraising. That’s how they are being measured. They need to create a compelling story in 3 months that could trigger investment.
34 elements focus on strategy. It’s a holistic approach to help entrepreneurs think of the startup as interconnected pieces. The product is not at the center of the startup, it is seen as a consequence, strategy dictates what product to build.
Accelerators are programs, mostly on-site, although COVID has changed that a bit. It’s a real commitment for the co-founding team because you have to attend a lot of events and be physically on-site. It is often 3 to 6 months but could be more.
34 elements is online by design. 3 hours a week of live sessions. It easily fits into busy agendas and the regular life of startups. It’s an 8 weeks process.
Mindset and culture
Accelerators are local entities. They try to help local startups and are very much in sync with local culture.
34 elements is the result of my 17 years in Silicon Valley. It’s very much a Silicon Valley recipe, and it often goes against local behaviors. I often find that the content of 34 elements is at odds with local beliefs.
Accelerators use knowledgeable people to transfer knowledge. The format is masterclasses and conferences to share experiences and inspire participants. Having multiple people present is often a complex mix as you need substance and coherence. When mentors start contradicting each other it creates significant confusion. You learn by listening.
34 elements is a reverse pedagogy methodology. No masterclasses. We ask participants to work on a certain outcome. We give a methodology, a reasoning framework, and access to documents within the 34 elements software to empower participants. It’s done alone, then reviewed in the cohort (peer-to-peer learning) and one-on-one with the coach. The result is then presented to the group and the group evaluates the performance. You learn by doing.
Accelerators ask for equity
34 elements is $2,500 per startup, all co-founders are encouraged to participate.