How Do Accelerators Select Startups? Shifting Decision Criteria across Stages

Forthcoming in IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management

37 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2016 Last revised: 8 Jan 2018

See all articles by Bangqi Yin

Bangqi Yin

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Jianxi Luo

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Date Written: December 1, 2017

Abstract

Competitive accelerators can help startups overcome resource constraints and the liability of newness, but they are also highly selective when choosing startups. However, little is known about how a top accelerator selects startups and what the decision criteria are in that process. Here, we analyze a unique dataset of the real profiles of the startups that applied to the first seed accelerator in Southeast Asia and the accelerator’s decisions to uncover the selection process and latent criteria. We used a scoreboard of 30 criteria based on the Real-Win-Worth (Is it real? Can it win? Is it worth doing?) framework to compare the profiles of the selected versus the rejected startups. Our analyses revealed that accelerator managers’ implicit decision criteria shifted from eight Real or Win criteria in the initial screening of many startups to another four Win or Worth criteria in the final selection of a small number of startups. These critical criteria were further used to build regression models that predict screening and selection results. Understanding the shifting decision criteria may inform accelerator managers of their own subconscious preferences to improve the decision process, and as a result also increase entrepreneurs’ empathy toward accelerator managers to sharpen their applications.

Keywords: Incubator, innovation, entrepreneurship, startup

Suggested Citation

Yin, Bangqi and Luo, Jianxi, How Do Accelerators Select Startups? Shifting Decision Criteria across Stages (December 1, 2017). Forthcoming in IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2735465 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2735465

Bangqi Yin

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) ( email )

20 Dover Drive
Singapore, 138682
Singapore

Jianxi Luo (Contact Author)

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) ( email )

8 Somapah Rd
Singapore, 487372
Singapore

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