My personal experience of being a part of the SGx’s 4th cohort while working as a product marketer, a part of the growth team at Hivel.ai
Were you ever in a labor room either pushing the baby or encouraging a mother in labor to push? Labor accelerates, contractions accelerate, and then you are in that moment where you see the mother (or yourself as a mother) make a strong exhalation, biting your teeth, yelling at the top of the voice, and in your head you probably think that you are not capable of doing it, but there comes a beautiful creature, a little human in blood and placental fluid that you hold in your hands. It is not in it’s cleanliest form, but a marvel of human evolution – a baby.
In a hospital room, while pushing, their is an unharmonic chorus hummed by the nurses, the doctors, and the caretaker, calling out “You can do it, keep pushing.” That’s exactly what an accelerator can do for you.
What exactly does an accelerator do?
Young startups on their 0 to 1 journeys subscribe to “accelerators” and flaunt their success of admission. It’s not just a milestone but also the beginning of an unmarried family that brings emotional support and an ecosystem. This is what an accelerator can bring to an entrepreneur, just like the medical paraphernalia in a labor room.
All said and done, behind the flamboyance of entrepreneurship is an extremely lonely, tough, and arduous journey that can bring existentialism to question without any answers. This is exactly when entrepreneurs need a worthy Accelerator (Not any) that can provide mentors and coaches who have been there and done that, who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty at a ground zero level, and most of all who show up every day for the entrepreneur to make that 1% incremental change happen.
Those few hours of labor of a mother are equivalent to those few weeks with an accelerator. The baby is your startup.
The next part is called SGx.
(If you are a tech co-founder, you will love the business side of it!)
Very few founders choose to tag along one of their team members to programs of this nature. But, I have been the lucky one to work alongside Sudheer, the committed mentor Mrigank Tripathi and wingmate Aastha Sharma at SGx who onboarded Hivel into the 4th cohort that was a 16-week program.
For those of you who have never heard of SGx…
SGx is an accelerator program with a coaching element added to it. It lasts for 16 weeks for each cohort. But, I experienced more. I personally experienced that it focuses on shifting levers that catapult the startup on a high growth trajectory. If you are part of a growth team, you will be marching ‘chugg, chugg’ on a path of consistent execution that helps you repeat success. This is something that many startups struggle to figure out during their early days.
What does that mean?
Apart from figuring out what works best for your startup, an entrepreneur is also subject to decision-making in the middle of a lot of unknowns. And for the startup, it may mean losing time due to many reasons. It could be because of a lack of strongly opinionated people or those early few teammates who cannot lobby the good and great ideas and processes or can’t debate as an outsider.
When an entrepreneur goes out to validate his/her decisions, time is lost. Just like how Christopher Nolan depicts in the movie Interstellar, a few minutes on one planet counts like a few hours on the spaceship; entrepreneurs live on a very different planet. It looks like…
- Entrepreneurs have to work with less data or most of the time with no historic data to validate their thought processes.
- Fast experimentation also feels slow in those early days because ‘reality’ challenges one’s perspectives.
- Startups need access to fool-proof and tested ideas from other startups.
- They need relatable and personal experiences of how specific growth problems have been solved.
In the lack of this, growth teams slow down. Execution slows down.
An accelerator fills these gaps. It accelerators. It helps entrepreneurs and growth teams figure out what it takes to expedite this process, eliminating the guessing. It allows them to turn the Unknowns into Knowns.
Acceleration is a known but invisible virtue for entrepreneurs and their growth teams during the 0 to 1 journey.
SGx set us on a path of such acceleration.
Growth teams are hungry for acceleration
Just in case you thought I am going to write an entrepreneur’s story, then you may choose not to read further. Because I am going to write about ‘How an accelerator such as SGx helps growth and GTM teams?’
(While I can empathize with the pain of the entrepreneur, I am not an entrepreneur at the moment. So, I would rather restrict this piece to the thrill of growth teams.)
Being a part of this cohort helped me learn the operating system of growth for the 0 to 1 startup journey. It means the full cycle of discovering the value proposition up to delivering that derived value proposition into the messaging, to the final identified ideal customer profile.
How does this lead to acceleration?
Though not articulated on paper, I saw that the SGx program had a flywheel in place. It included gyaan sessions, inspirational talks, tear-downs, show and tell sessions. While these are common to all startups who are a part of the program, there were certain aspects customized to every selected startup in the cohort.
- Personalized OKRs to achieve by the end of the program
- 1-1 check-ins with mentors and coaches on a weekly basis to solve problems specific to your startup.
- Coaching sessions across the board with other mentors and wingmates to gain specific insights about challenges unique to me.
- Support on making a call around critical hires, publishing the right content, and a scientific method on how to crack messaging and attract the right ICP.
If they had it on paper, it may look something like this
Building a product is not enough. You need to be able to tell what exactly you are solving, who are you solving it for, what are you offering, and to whom. There is an entire flywheel that needs to be in place to execute it on a repeated cycle without any errors.
What does the growth team need? What does SGx have to offer?
“If you’re not changing your speed and you’re not changing your direction, then you simply cannot be accelerating—no matter how fast you’re going.” – Khan academy
So, it’s either about your speed or your direction. Acceleration is not the same for everyone, and so it is for startups too. To all those who are choosing a startup accelerator program, you have some things to check-off, and if you are part of a growth team of a young startup, here is where you can start with your expectations.
Happy to always chat 1:1 and share more about my experience.