Why the Startup Accelerator Model Needs Disruption

It’s not a criticism, it’s just a ratio problem

Joe Procopio
3 min readJul 14, 2020


In over 20 years of being an entrepreneur, I’ve done a lot of work with incubators, accelerators, support organizations, and startup communities. But I’ve never been a big fan of the incubator or accelerator models.

I don’t hate them. An incubator or accelerator is the exact right thing for about five or six of the hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of startups that apply to those programs — a ratio which happens to match the acceptance rate for those programs.

So as long as they’re choosing the right startups for their cohorts, no harm done. I guess.

My problem is this: What about the rest of those hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of startups that don’t get in?

That’s the problem I’m solving with Teaching Startup. It’s been called a micro-incubator, a digital accelerator, an interactive masterclass, an online advisor, and several other incumbent-clone descriptions.

It’s all of those and none of those. And that’s by design. It’s its own thing.

The main issue I want solve with incubators and accelerators is the same issue I have with the VC-to-unicorn model. That model works for a very small percentage of startups, and the success rate on it is awful.

But success in startup isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. It’s not like a startup either has to be WeWork or it has to be a mom-and-pop bookshop in the suburbs.

Think about the top 10% of the applicants who didn’t get in to the incubator or accelerator they applied for.

Maybe the reason they didn’t get in wasn’t that they weren’t good enough to get in.

Maybe the reason they didn’t “look good enough” to get in was that they don’t actually need $150K for 6 percent (or whatever, those numbers keep changing too, and not in favor of the startup) and introductions to a couple dozen VC associates.

Maybe they just need insight into building a unique solution or finding their unique product-market fit or discovering their unique market approach or defining their unique growth plan. Maybe they just need to hear answers to the questions that they and entrepreneurs like them ask people who have been there.

That’s what Teaching Startup is. Nothing more, nothing less. And I’m using those same answers to figure out a way to build a scalable solution to address this growing market of folks who have been ignored and underserved for way too long.

Did you learn something here? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m pretty sure that if you keep hearing the truth, and if that truth is served with insights and is actionable, you’ll be better prepared to tackle the unique challenges that are going to be surfaced building your own unique business.

That’s what Teaching Startup is. That’s the problem, that’s the solution.

If you think that solution is for you, try it. For free. For 15 days. You don’t need a credit card, but if you put one in, you can use the promo code STARTNOW to get the free trial plus your first month for $5. Then it’s only $10 a month after that. If it’s not for you, no harm done. But at least YOU get to decide that. Not me.



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com