How will Coronavirus change food tech accelerators as we know them?

Business operations across all sectors are sure to change, but even long after the virus is gone some might be altered forever. Startup accelerators allow new businesses to foster and grow their ideas. They support these new companies through investment and guidance. These programs usually last up to a few months, which include working together and constant communication, aided by face-to-face meetings, shared office spaces and demo days. But what happens when all this disappears? 

To get an idea of what’s coming next, The Spoon spoke with Food-X´s program director Peter Boddenheimer, on his thoughts regarding the changes to come once the dust settles. This is what he had to say:

Remote and weirder hours

Accelerator programs vary in terms of how long they need participants onsite. Food-X for example are all conducted in-person. So, what now?

Well, formats need to be changed. Although the program has started as normal, the meetings will be done virtually for the time being. This requires high quality tools with good sound and recording devices, to ensure they are really getting value out of it.

Demo days

Demo days are when young companies pitch to potentially interested investors. They are basically selling them their dream! So it’s an important day for any startup. However, in the current situation it’s impossible that so many people can be in the same room as each other. Many demo days meant to take place in the coming months will either be rescheduled or cancelled. Bodenheimer however, assures that this may not be such a bad thing.

He says that not being able to do in-person demo days and meetings with potential investors will force everyone with a startup to look outside the comfortable norms box and run better processes when it comes to fundraising. Its testing, but in a good way.

Uncertainty 

Everyone will have questions. Just like Food-X many accelerators will have to decide whether or not to go forward with their programs for the time being. And startups will have to decide whether or not to join them.

“Everybody’s had questions,” Boddenheimer said of the chosen participants for Food-X’s current cohort. So far, only one of those has expressed major doubt and, after much discussion with Food-X, has decided to attend despite their initial worry.

Despite the running of these programs, the future is still uncertain. They need to show up onsite one day. The situation with COVID-19 is changing hourly and every day there’s more restrictions and closures. One positive takeaway is that successful startups and their teams are usually more flexible and adaptable by nature than a larger more established company. Bodenheimer says they should take it in their stride. The world of startups is messy anyway, so they should really thrive in this environment.

Read the full interview @thespoon

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