Is your tech start-up not quite ready for seed stage? Step this way

New pre-accelerator programme Startup Boost helps entrepreneurs hone skills and ideas

Getting started: “It isn’t as easy as having an idea, raising money and eventually floating.” Photograph: iStock

Getting started: “It isn’t as easy as having an idea, raising money and eventually floating.” Photograph: iStock


A new pre-accelerator programme known as Startup Boost is to take place in Dublin and six other cities around the world this autumn. The initiative, which will run for one evening a week over six weeks, offers one-to-one mentorship, pitch training and expert talks. It is aimed at entrepreneurs who are either too busy to commit to accelerator programmes or who haven’t progressed their ideas enough yet to take part.

Startup Boost, which will take place in Dublin, Austin, Detroit, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto, has a mission to lead companies that have not yet reached seed stage towards accelerators, investment and revenues.

The initiative is fronted in Ireland by Gene Murphy, formerly a cofounder of Startup Next Ireland and now entrepreneur-in-residence at Bank of Ireland.

Typically accelerator programmes run for 90 days and see a small sum invested into companies. They have become increasingly popular in recent years, but they don’t work for everyone, which is where pre-accelerator programmes such as Startup Boost come in.

Such initiatives are usually run on a voluntary basis over a shorter space of time and with no equity taken. Participants are, however, usually required to have a working prototype and/or a minimum viable product (MVP).

Startup Boost, which is to be run on a voluntary basis, is holding an information night for its autumn course in Dublin on July 20th.

“Attendees will get to talk to entrepreneurs who have already been on pre-accelerators who will give them a warts-and-all view of what it is like to participate in one,” said Mr Murphy.

He said pre-accelerators such as Startup Boost are meant to complement, rather than compete with other programmes.

“Startup Boost is not designed to replace but to add to what is already here in Dublin. This is meant to complement the city’s growth as a tech ecosystem,” said Mr Murphy.

“It is meant to be short and sharp and to take place in the evening as not everyone can attend other programmes. It is there to help entrepreneurs hone their skills and work on their ideas,” he added.

An important role

Pre-accelerator programmes may not be as commonplace in Ireland as other initiatives, but Mr Murphy said they could play an important role in helping companies.

He cited the example of SwiftComply, which last year won a place on the prestigious Techstars accelerator programme in London after taking part in a Startup Next pre-accelerator.

“SwiftComply had a great core business but had also found a way in which they could spin it out and make it a global business, so they attended the pre-accelerator once a week and worked on their idea and then progressed to Techstars.

SwiftComply, a Dublin-based firm that has developed a platform to help restaurants and food outlets comply more easily with regulations, has gone on to expand in the US. It also recently announced it had raised $900,000 in a funding round with backers that include the former chief operating officer of Facebook.

“There are lots of little steps that entrepreneurs need to take to success. It isn’t as easy as having an idea, raising money and eventually floating. Things aren’t as simple as that and so Startup Boost is aimed at helping companies on their journey,” said Mr Murphy.