When should I apply to an accelerator?

Apply to an accelerator in handwriting

When is the right time to apply?

Sonja Ebron, CEO of Courtroom5 — 2019 Duke Law Tech Lab Grand Prize winner — shared with us her wisdom:

Pictured left to right: Jeff Pfeifer of LexisNexis, Debra Sloan of Courtroom5, Sonja Ebron of Courtroom5, Ken Heaps of Latham & Watkins, & Callie Schnog of Travelers at 2019 Duke Law Tech Lab Demo Day.

You’ve hit a plateau and have unanswered questions about why you’re not gaining the traction you think is true of the market.

This requires self-awareness and willingness to receive feedback, both from experts and other founders.

Your company is in the appropriate stage for the accelerator/incubator.

Different programs may also be a better or worse match for you depending on the potential outcomes stated by the accelerator, how much risk and investment you are interested in taking, and your future desired exit.

You need a boost in connections, resources, and/or publicity that that accelerator can provide.

Talk with past founders from the program who can speak to the impact of the program — and build your network as well.

You’re willing to give the time required.

Time is a precious commodity for a startup, as Sonja mentions. Do you know how much time you’ll need to give? Are the expectations clear?

You’re willing to give the equity required.

Some programs don’t require equity (like the Duke Law Tech Lab and the LexisNexis Accelerator) while others do.

More words of wisdom

Jeff Pfeifer, Chief Product Officer, North America at LexisNexis and advisor to the Duke Law Tech Lab, suggested that companies think hard about selecting the right accelerator program.

Where should I participate?

Many programs are becoming remote, at least for 2020 or 2021, while we all navigate COVID-19 and its impact in our communities, so the question of “where” may not be as complex as it was even a few months ago.



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Duke Law Tech Lab

Duke Law Tech Lab


Accelerating legal tech startups with a mission to increase access to justice