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Greenstart Kills its Accelerator Program

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Greenstart-kills-accelerator…for something better. The premier cleantech accelerator is going for the kill and has transformed itself into a venture capital + design firm. Greenstart will now offer its startups a full range of design services aimed to create better value and impact.

“After two years, 15 investments, lots of tweaks, and 75% of our companies raising follow-on funding: we’ve decided to kill our accelerator program completely. We’re doing away with the three-month timeframe, the demo days, and mandatory sleepovers (mostly).”

Founder Mitch Lowe identifies two main flaws with the accelerator model-

“We’ve found that a three-month program simply isn’t enough. Our startups told us they wanted more – a lifetime partner who will roll up their sleeves and help push their business forward for years to come. So we listened.”

The other? Lack of top class design services available for startups.

The company recognizes that state-of-the-art user interface has helped propel the breakout success of companies like Nest, AirBnb, Uber, and Apple. This new direction reinforces that visual design is not skin-deep, but helps create a symbiotic relationship between the user and tool.

But the problem for startups is that this kind of design is expensive and hard to access. Greenstart is trying to solve that problem by investing both capital and design services.

We’ve created a “build-and-deliver” studio exclusively for our portfolio companies. Headed by David Merkoski, our studio has grown to a 10-person team focused on delivering the best UX, business model, and brand design to our startups. It’s the first of its kind in venture capital.

Greenstart has been inching towards this new avatar since a year, hiring David who was executive creative director at Frog.

Mitch adds that it is no longer business as usual for accelerators and venture capitalists, with the advent of crowdfunding.

“There’s never been a better time for this kind of innovation in early-stage investing. The rise of crowdfunding and decreased cost of starting a company means that entrepreneurs have more choices now than ever before. Investors often have to compete for the best companies. To truly offer the most value to entrepreneurs, a check and advice may no longer suffice. Value-added services may be the future of venture.”

Amen to that.

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