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What they mean
An accelerator is typically a 3 month programme where you enter a structured programme with the aim of kicking your ass to figure out product/market fit, grow, and then try raise at what is called a demo day. A demo day is where a load of investors are seated in a room, you pitch them all for three minutes and then they look to have a chat with you after. It’s for really early stage companies, though there are starting to be a few at series-a stage where they help you with growth.
If you are asked this question, it’s not great. This may be a naïve question, or it could also be implying that you are not ready to fundraise. If it is the latter, you will find out quite soon that the investor is going to take a pass, but they are still interested in what you’re doing; you just don’t have the traction that they need to be comfortable yet.
If you are early stage, then the best answer is to say that the good accelerators reached out to you to join them, but you don’t see the value in joining a program. You are clear on what you need to execute on, and you need the money to do that. You could also be bad ass and say you mentor at the accelerators they were recommending.
What you need to say
“I have friends who went through Y-Com and 500s, and they have very positive things to say about them. Firstly, we are out of cycle, they started in June, and our team is a little bit more seasoned than the typical founder who goes into these programs. Rather than support, we need the money to execute on the plans we have set out in detail.”
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