FFWD’s Founding Story In The Tech Britannia Podcast Episode Driving All Stages Of Startup Development.
Curious how FastForward Pre-Accelerator (FFWD for short) was founded? Ian Merricks, Chair of The Accelerator Network, shares with Rose Ross, Co-Founder of TechBritannia, in the podcast episode Driving All Stages Of Startup Development about FFWD’s beginnings born out of a need from pre-revenue stage entrepreneurs he witnessed at Accelerator Academy, the organisation’s seed stage support programme which was the third accelerator in the UK.
FFWD was the UK’s first pre-accelerator created, and that was a new term at the time as it wasn’t a phrase that had existed. The main aim was to help entrepreneurs move from idea stage to business plan, and help them progress through their minimum viable product and find their minimal viable segments, those first customers, and access first funding whether through customer revenue or equity funding via angel investors, SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) funds or grants.
Accelerator Academy was getting hundreds of applicants that were at the pre-revenue stage with ideas but didn’t know how to commercialise them, or had a day job and the startup as a side hustle. In speaking to the UK’s top 20 accelerators at the time, they similarly witnessed this problem of companies who were just too early to fit the criteria for their programme’s support and having to turn down those founders. In answer to this need to support early stage entrepreneurs, FFWD was born!
With the many ways Ian has been helping UK startups for almost a decade, hear him discuss with Rose how accelerators can empower startups and help drive growth at all stages of their development, from pre-seed to Series A. Beyond the 2 programmes, Ian also founded The ScaleUp Accelerator to support scaleups raising Series A in navigating the VC ecosystem. While FFWD is the programme he and the team may enjoy the most, because that is one with the most impact, where ideas are shaped.