I am getting deeper and deeper into the wondrous rabbit hole of thinking through the Heretic’s version of an incubation/acceleration program (yep — the fabled Mighty Integral). And the deeper I dig the more I feel the current models are seriously lacking.
Sadly a lot of incubators are merely dog and pony shows. The main aim seems to polish the portfolio companies to a level that they attract follow-on investments. Hours upon hours are spent on practicing and refining “the pitch” — instead of building the product, talking to customers or even (gasp!) selling.
Don’t get me wrong. Getting funded is important. And I understand why incubators do what they do — it’s in their best personal interest. And their offering is fueled by startups which see incubators as precisely that: A dress rehearsal to get funding.
But in my humble opinion it is so much more important to build something customers want, which delights them and they are happy to pay for. An incubator should help you precisely with this — by providing guidance & help, access to mentors who help you round up your skills pool and generally minimize your risk of failure.
And there you have the first rule of The Mighty Integral (and startup life in general):
Superior products matter. Without excellent experience and utility the rest is meaningless.