Accelerators are Speeding up


Yatan Blumenthal Vargos, Alexander Hafner and Jörg Reinboldt talking about acceleration at #rp17

Nowadays, those with an idea for a new product or innovative app don't have to wait long. In the last few years, Germany has truly developed into an established founder scene. Start-ups looking to realise their new and ideally leading edge business ideas, are positively flourishing.

But the path to actual business success is not always easy. For this reason, so-called accelerators were created together with the start-ups: companies that specialise in helping young entrepreneurs make the long journey from idea to success by supporting their ideas through mentoring, sparring and financing.

Start-up accelerators exist in many different forms and each have their own programmes. At re:publica, three accelerator bosses debate about the future of the accelerator model: Jörg Reinboldt, CEO of Axel Springer Plug and Play, Alexander Hafner, Managing Director of TechStars Metro Retail Accelerator, and Yatan Blumenthal Vargos, Co-Founder & Chief Accelerator betahaus, Betahaus/

All three accelerator bosses agree on one thing: whilst accelerators mainly used to connect start-ups with potential investors, the mentoring of young entrepreneurs has become increasingly important. Additionally, networking is now one of the most central roles: start-up ideas are best positioned, if with the help of accelerators, they can connect to experienced entrepreneurs and investors from different business areas. But even in networking there are different approaches: whilst Rheinboldt makes the case for an early investment, Hafner warns against a “hug into death” by investors: the teams and their ideas should first be allowed to develop, as otherwise they run the risk of getting lost in big companies.

In spite of changes, the fundamental concept of accelerators will stay the same: the focus is on investment into young, not yet fully developed companies – in whichever shape or form. The trend however is leaning towards networking and sustainable mentoring relationships.

We then asked Alexander Hafner some more detailed questions. What ideas excite him, how will the future of accelerators develop and what is the global context? Find out more in our interview.

By Miriam Seyd and Annika Zimmermann (FF)