2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Time to Put the Brakes on Accelerators?

#sxsw #accelerate

Accelerator programs are here to stay. Or are they?
As the startup ecosystem evolves and as mainstream industries incorporate technology in everyday systems and products, what is the best way to support early-stage businesses?
There are now hundreds of accelerator programs around the world, and the quality of the content and their mentor pools varies massively. Can the model be improved to better de-risk development and find market fit sooner? Or is the studio model pioneered by the likes of Betaworks and Makeshift the future of early-stage startups?
Join in the debate as we explore the past, present and future of startup programs.



Paul Smith



I'm director and programme manager at ignite100, an early-stage digital accelerator programme based in the UK.

In the past 18 months I've managed over 40 startup founders and delivered two 13 week mentor-intensive programmes while working alongside VC and angel investors. I also mentor and advise several startups, providing marketing and product insight.


Tristan Watson

Education Mgr


Tristan was the founder and CEO of award winning startup LoveYourLarder.com – a company disrupting the food industry by connecting consumers directly to artisans and growers. He was one of three founders shortlisted for The Guardian’s digital entrepreneur of the year; an accelerator alumni and now part of ignite100, Tristan is incredibly proud to be part of the North East’s startup scene.

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