- “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” –- paraphrase of the Bhagavad Gita
An accelerator offers professional advice and guidance to early-stage companies. The key function of an accelerator is to better position a company for growth and to make it more attractive to potential investors.
Agora’s Accelerator is one of the first “impact accelerators” in Latin America, meaning that we work to scale early-stage companies in the region that are solving social problems in their communities. We provide the same services as other business accelerators such as TechStars or Y Combinator, but work exclusively with early-stage companies that aspire to make the world a better place.
You should apply if you are an early-stage entrepreneur in Latin America who needs human, social and financial capital to grow their business, and who are committed to creating social and economic impact through their business.
Early-stage companies have demonstrated initial results (have established revenue streams & customer base) and have a strategic plan for the near future. They are poised for significant growth (around 20%) over the next three years.
They are different kinds of capital that early-stage business need to grow. Click here to learn more about each type of capital.
We are working to develop a comprehensive system to monitor and evaluate financial, social and environmental impact across all Accelerator companies. Our monitoring process begins from the moment the companies enter the program. By giving enterprises the tools to manage and measure impact, we are creating more shared value, and ultimately contribute to long-term system change.
We assess our impact based on outputs and outcomes at Agora, enterprise and community levels. Our output metrics include capital we facilitated and number of entrepreneurs who received technical assistance. At the enterprise level, we measure several core metrics across all our companies, such as revenue growth and job creation as well as other company-specific indicators. At a community level, we use various indicators to estimate the number of people positively affected by the activities of Agora companies and changes in people’s livelihoods.
Our portfolio managers work closely with entrepreneurs to track the impact metrics. We ask for baseline data at the start of the Accelerator program and collect these metrics after the end of the program for three consecutive years. Some companies are already tracking the data we ask for. If not, we work with the entrepreneurs to develop a framework for measuring impact and agree on key indicators, which is also of value to them as an internal tool for performance monitoring.
Agora is committed to creating global standards that can help drive capital to impact entrepreneurs. We use Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS) metrics and are proud to be an official pilot user of the Pulse portfolio management system, the software used to collect and manage IRIS data. Thus, we are using Pulse as the tool to track data on the impact of Agora companies and are working to try to get all Agora entrepreneurs to provide data consistent with IRIS so that we can report it to broader funder and investor community.
Agora Entrepreneurs are among the first in the world to be GIIRS-rated and we are committed to providing timely and useful feedback to the GIIRS team.
GIIRS (Global Impact Investing Rating System) is the official impact ratings partner of Agora Partnerships. GIIRS, an initiative of B Lab, provides the impact standards and rating system to facilitate a scaled-up marketplace for institutional investors, financial services intermediaries, and companies seeking mission-aligned growth capital and liquidity. All companies that attend the Entrepreneur Retreat are required to complete a GIIRS Assessment prior to the retreat and receive a GIIRS preliminary rating rating soon afterward. Accelerator companies attending the retreat will receive training on the GIIRS Assessment and a personal consult with GIIRS staff to review their results. All companies that present at the Agora Investor Conference will be required to share their rating results with investors attending the conference.
IRIS (Impact Reporting & Investment Standards) is set of standardized metrics that can be used to describe an organization’s social, environmental, and financial performance.
Yes, you may. Please contact Inga (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions specific to your case before you start filling out the application.
Companies that enter the Accelerator typically have identified investment needs of more than US$50,000. The average size of deals closed upon exiting the Accelerator Program is around US$250,000.
Successful Accelerator companies tend to have a minimum of $50,000 in annual revenue. In the past two classes of the Accelerator, the average annual revenue of companies that entered the program was US$325,000.
Your success in the program is highly dependent upon your level of commitment. The more time you invest, the more benefit you derive from the program. Entrepreneurs who have been most successful in the past tended to be engaged through weekly calls as well as regular email exchanges totaling about 3-5 hours a week.
Entrepreneurs supply documentation and information to Agora as requested, respond to requests promptly, attend required meetings and events, and provide annual updates on financial and impact data to Agora on a regular basis.
No, you do not need to be a fluent English speaker, but you do have to be fluent in either English or Spanish. It is helpful if at least one person on your management team speaks English, but it is not a requirement for the program.
The program is divided into four distinct phases. Altogether it lasts about 6-8 months, depending on investor interest and duration of due diligence processes among other variables.
Yes, but please make sure you understand the time commitments for each program and be sure you will be able to spend enough time on the Accelerator to get full value from it.