At UpWest Labs, session #5 is well underway. The teams are spending three months here in Silicon Valley, taking part in a rigorous program, working hard to get their product into the hands of target customers, early adopters and partners. It is an intense process with a set of goals and milestones teams work to achieve each week.
Having had the privilege of working with over 20 startups who went through this journey in the past year, we have become accustomed to the phrase: “This is only Phase One”. New UpWest Labs startups are so used to us echoing this over and over, but what does it really mean?
Building meaningful relationships with your ecosystem of customers and investors is hard. It takes time and demands ongoing contact, trust and maintenance – which you simply cannot maintain properly over Skype, therefore, most of UpWest Labs startups come back for an extended period (even after the official three months ended) to continue building and maintaining such relationships. We are already witnessing that certain startups’ “success” is correlated to the depth of their relationships with their market and its key players.
At UpWest Labs, we don’t end our program after three months. Seriously!! If you talk to our startups from batch #1, you will learn that we are very much involved in their journey and provide an essential “base” in Silicon Valley where they can continue to leverage our ecosystem and facilities.
Most Accelerators end their program with a Demo or Pitch Day. For us, this is just the beginning of “Phase Two”. Impressing early stage investors who want to know “who you are” aside from “what you do” will demand multiple meetings. The five minute pitch will not be enough. Entrepreneurs who took “Phase Two” seriously and took advantage of the momentum from Demo Day were more successful in building their business, finding more customers, and raising funding.
Good luck to our 5th batch in successfully transitioning into “Phase Two”.