A new startup accelerator is born.

Introducing the new 4thly Accelerator, underway now. Eleven amazing startups, operating in five countries around the world.

  • Global and diverse. I didn’t want a bunch of SaaS startups from Silicon Valley. That would be boring. There’s a big wide world of different kinds of interesting startups out there, and I passionately believe that cross-pollination between diverse participants is a key driver for success. In this cohort we have participants who grew-up in India, Russia, Mexico, Venezuela, Germany, Ukraine, as well as the US. The 11 startups in the program are currently operating in 5 different countries around the globe.
  • Intensity matters. Many accelerator programs last several months, and participants are expected to travel to the accelerator to live in the area and be on-site during the program. But I wanted to do something that was more intensive than that and I wanted people to not have to leave their families and companies behind. So the 4thly Accelerator is an intensive 60-days, all conducted via Zoom so that the entrepreneurs can immerse together virtually while still taking care of business at home.
  • Equity belongs to entrepreneurs. Most startup accelerators take equity in the startups as a price of admission. I’ve never liked that model much, because entrepreneurs work their asses off to build the equity in their startups and they deserve to keep every percentage point they can. So the 4thly accelerator is strictly fee-based — participants keep 100% of their startup equity.
  • More doing, less talking. When I teach at Stanford, it’s in a typical lecture format. Many accelerators also have lectures, class time, and curriculum they follow. But I wanted this accelerator to not be about reading and thinking; I wanted it to be about doing. Everybody in the cohort is focused on getting everyone else in the cohort to the next level. If someone’s bus gets stuck in the mud, then everyone in the accelerator jumps out and helps get them out of the mud and moving forward again. As Steve Blank says “Action beats inaction, every day of the week”.
  • Have a problem worth solving. I’m a believer that most great startups begin with an entrepreneur who notices a problem worth solving and then falls head-over-heels in love with solving that problem. Those are the kinds of entrepreneurs I want in a program like this.



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Bret Waters

Silicon Valley guy. I teach entrepreneurship at Stanford, run the 4thly Startup Accelerator, and coach startup CEO’s at Miller Center. Also, I love fish tacos.