In this chapter, the editors, Mike Wright and Israel Drori, describe the variety of structures, processes and outcomes characterizing accelerators, based on their field research in accelerators across Europe, Israel and the US, and follow with an overview of the book, concluding with a summary of how accelerators are the building blocks of the new economy’s innovative ecosystems.
Israel Drori and Mike Wright
Ronit Yitshaki and Israel Drori
In this chapter, Ronit Yitshaki and Israel Drori focus on the important aspect of the accelerators’ design structure and operation that concerns mentoring. By mentoring they refer to the process of learning and coaching provided by the accelerators to their participating start-ups by groups of experts with relevant knowledge and experience in founding and managing new ventures. Using detailed interview and observational data from Israel, they show that the mentoring process provides a bridge between the accelerator, the start-up and the ecosystem through the mentor’s internal (within the start-up) and external (within the ecosystem) position. They suggest that mentorship is a complex process composed of both altruistic and interest-based motivations and processes, represented along a continuum starting as part of the accelerator’s educational program, and either ending with the end of the program or leading to a transformation to a partnership. Accelerators play an important role in recognizing mentors who are relevant to the ecosystem while providing mentors with opportunities to invest and learn about the ecosystem, enabling them to conduct informal due diligence prior to investing as business angels. They identify four distinct aspects that characterize the mentoring process: (1) setting up strategy and priorities, (2) revealing marketing opportunities, (3) structuring organizational processes and (4) expanding ventures’ social capital.