There’s a trend in the tech industry these days, especially in mobile, for tech accelerators. The general way these things work is that your company applies, and if accepted, is given a small sum of money up front to begin work on a product. For a period of anywhere between 3 and 6 months, companies in an accelerator work tremendously hard and are given support by mentors to get to a working product stage complete with demo. Ideally, startups leaving an accelerator will have enough traction to raise money to build an actual company. The most recent Canadian accelerator to launch is Extreme Startups, which is part of the same family as Xtreme Labs, whose BlackBerry apps we’ve written about many times.
For startups that are accepted into Extreme Startups, you get an initial $50K in funding and then $150K upon graduating. As is industry standard, startups will have to give up equity in exchange for this cash, but we’re not sure exactly how much. Every startup has to way the pros of access to cash, mentors and working space, versus the con of having to give up a chunk of your company. In the end, it’s usually a small amount and getting to product stage fast is almost certainly worth it.