Blog Post

6 Reasons Behind Excluding Your Application From Startup Programs

January 27, 2017

By Ahmad Sufian Bayram

3 min


With few chances to participate in accelerator and entrepreneurship programs, the competition has become rigorous. As working closely with many of Techstars Accelerator programs, here are 6 reasons that lead your application to rejection:

1) Not having a great team

Having a strong, comprehensive team is critical in the evaluation of early-stage startups, and that is why you have to show what makes your team unique and stand out in the field, in addition to the relationship that got you working together as well as the experience that inspired you to work together. Mentioning the experience you have in this field and showing how much you understand the problem you are trying to solve in addition to the market you are aiming at is also advisable.

2) You lack the numbers

It’s always good to tell the story behind your project, but mentioning numbers makes that story much stronger and makes your application stand out. This includes how much capital have you raised, years of experience, the numbers of clients and customers using your product, your revenues of the last month, in addition to new customers per month.

Using numbers shows how much you understand what building a project is all about, for it relies hugely on numbers because companies that rely on numbers and growth stand out during the selection and evaluation stages.

3) Not having a prototype for your product or service

I think it is easy for anyone to create a prototype for his or her product or service since it can be a screensnap of your website showcasing how it works as well as its technical advantages.

If your project is still in the early stages and you don’t have a prototype yet, and you do not have a designer or developer on your team, you would be surprised how easy and straightforward it can be to amaze the judges with a simple prototype of your project.

4) Lack of focus or not spending enough time on the application form

Take the application seriously, and prepare a file you can share with others to help you, and review your application to avoid grammatical errors as well as structural errors because this will be strong evidence that you can use an organized approach to other aspects of your project. You can make sure that your idea is clear by showing your application to people who know nothing about your product or service.

5) Not being clear

It is important to be precise while writing. Using short and direct sentences to deliver the idea is helpful because using long narrative sentences makes it harder for the reader (I use those).
Use brief and clear sentences, say exactly what you mean, and avoid long sentences.

6) Ignoring some questions

These questions were asked for a reason. Answering with “I don’t know” is far better than leaving it blank, and it will not make your application weak but rather great.


7) Not having communication with the organizing team

Build connections with the organizers and tell them what you are doing. Organizers like entrepreneurs who stay in touch with them and share their projects with them. You can also pose questions related to the program to find out what value it holds for your project.  You can simply start a conversation with the organizing team to get to know them better.


Image: Techstars Berlin

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