It is becoming increasingly evident that leading your life by covering companies is becoming easier than telling companies how they can get coverage from a different place.

As is the conclusion by this volunteer when he began working as a mentor at a specialized unit at Barclays New York Accelerator.

This unit from Barclays selects 10 Fintech startups every year as a place to work and to understand how to move on to the next stage. The unit is a part of TechStars and in the current year the startups have meetings with 150 mentors, which include founders of Fintech companies at large, venture capitalists and experts in subject matters.

The job of the volunteer was to advise entrepreneurs on how to deal with media, which he assumed would be an easy task given he worked as a journalist for many years. After being provided with some snacks and set up in a conference room in the old Castro building on 23rd St, he began witnessing entrepreneurs walking in and out of the room frequently in a time span not exceeding 20 minutes.

The entrepreneurs just wanted to be considered in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. The volunteer offered whatever suggestions he could without guaranteeing any coverage on the publications mentioned.

Thereafter he was confronted by Jan Zanoff – managing director, top coach and program recruiter who had begun his career as a mentor for new companies going through TechStars And Empire Startups and who hosts the conferences for Fintech startups. Zanoff had also held technology and product strategy positions at Blackrock, E-trade and Goldman Sachs before beginning his present position.

The discussion he held with the volunteer was about the Barclays accelerator theatre of innovation and how he could tell what startups that would succeed and which won’t.

The discussion between Zanoff and the volunteer was diverse and spanned a number of topics including questions about whether the job was challenging, reasons for the challenges and eventually progressing to subjects like entrepreneurial diversity and helping companies who struggle to be as happy as possible.

Questions about the volunteer personally responsible for the success of the companies and the uniqueness of the year’s groups were also raised by Zanoff, who also wanted to understand what the volunteer was looking for when choosing the companies.

The volunteer realized that it was a challenge to work in a program of innovation because they are expensive to maintain and engage meaningfully. The companies being dealt with are either at the seed stage or at the growth stage and the actual return on investment is estimated to be only after 10 years.

However, the volunteer also realized that the success criteria for business development and fundraising can be achieved by the companies that graduate from the accelerator innovation program despite not being the perfect measure of success.

Startup companies which leave the accelerator program go out with a comprehensive understanding of the product and market fit and can either take off or and divest, which sounded like a great outcome for a program which just lasted 13 weeks.

Article written by Anabel Cooper, freelance blogger and writer. Follow her on Twtter here.


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