Can Steve Blank’s new startup accelerator achieve 10,000 startups?


We’ve got used to the idea of startup accelerator helping new businesses accelerate growth and raise funding – 10 at a time.

Then, 00s of new startups were promised by Dave McClure’s 500 startups project – which took in 33 startup companies for its latest accelerator.

So, what are we to make of Steve Blank’s – a guru of lean startups- new project to launch 10,000 startups?

Are we enjoying startup inflation or is there substance behind Steve Blank’s vision?

There are two key – and original – elements of Steve Blank’s vision.

1. Firstly, he has significantly democratised startup methods simply by publishing a (cheap) book – most serious startups can find US$15 to buy Steve’s knowledge and insight.

2. Next, Steve has release his entire course on lean startups via Udacity – for free! This now means that anyone – anywhere in the world – can follow the startup methodology – without the cost of travel or the need to share equity. And, it means that neither crowdfunding or business angels are not needed, at least, not at this stage.

So what special?

Well, the third ingredient is now a series of four starup weekends – effectively eight ‘training’ days delivered with Startup Weekend Next – across the world – in return for a fee – yes, that’s cash paid by the entrepreneurs. You can find your local startup here.

This means four things…

1. Firstly, Steve Blank is taking aim at the startups who he describes as ‘pre-accelerator‘ and before it makes sense for equity share – ie. 8% of nothing is nothing, right?

2. Secondly, I would imagine that the outcome of many of these courses will be smarter startup entrepreneurs – but fewer immediate business successes, but over the long haul, this project could either transform existing startup hubs or seed new dynamic communities over the existing startup infrastructure.

3. Thirdly, despite the quality of Steve’s books, the related online tools – such as the business plan, we still learn best when we are with people. Curiously, this point demonstrates the limitations of the online world – as Steve Blank would say “you need to get out of the building and meet real people” just as we also need to “work with real people” too.

We can take this to mean that nothing, nothing, is ever going to replace the human need to work with of people and to relate to our customers – and this is based on the actions of a startup guru.

4. Finally, entrepreneurs need to pay for this course – it isn’t free and it isn’t provided by governments – this is a commercial course for commercial people – so paying makes sense. (Okay, this might not mean much to our USA and worldwide readers but this is huge for UK and European readers as our startup scene is constantly twisted by government hand outs).

So, 10,000 startups might be better understood as an army of entrepreneurs ‘who know how to innovate and grow companies’ – which will then, indirectly and over time, lead to many more startups.  Bring it on…. our startup ecosystem needs it!

You can find out more about the online Lean LaunchPad course or find a Startup Weekend near you swnext.org.

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  • Manuel

    As the facilitator of the Manchester SWNext programme, I can say this programme isnt for the faint hearted. Its hands on and hard work for everyone involved. But doing the work will ensure that you cover all bases from idea to validation and continuous learning.

  • neil_lewis

    Thanks Manuel – yes, no pain, no gain! Good luck to you guys in Manchester with the SWNext programme.

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