Why Do We Host Accelerator

May 2024

Our Mission

The overall goal of MiraclePlus is to help start-ups get on the right track. Startups enter Accelerator at different stages, with some founders just having an idea and others having started a year or more. No matter what stage a startup joins in, our goal is to help them thrive 3 months later

For most startups, "better shape" means two things: having better products and more users, and more funding options. This ratio depends on what status startups are. Startups which are just kicking off want to put more effort into the product, while those that have launched a product usually focus more on funding

However, startups at all stages can benefit from the intensity of Accelerator. For three months, we will be in operation all the time, and everyone around you — MiraclePlus, other founders, alumni, and investors — want to help your business succeed. In that atmosphere, it's hard not to be motivated. This extraordinary drive is necessary for entrepreneurship

Many founders describe the 11 weeks prior to Demo Day as the most productive period in their lives. Although MiraclePlus will still run after the 3-month batch, and the alumni network will become an increasingly valuable resource, the 11 weeks are still the most important to us. You can't make one person another person, but the right environment can bring out the best in them. That's because most people discover that they have more potential than they realize, and they are often surprised by their abilities

Closed-door Sharing

We arrange closed-door sharing with guest entrepreneurs during the two-day group activities every two weeks in the program

We arrange closed-door sharing with guest entrepreneurs during the two-day group activities every two weeks in the program

In the batch, big names share the obstacles they encountered, the cultivation of their minds, their profound insight, and the direction of their efforts. Through interacting with them, founders can learn a lot from these relatively successful entrepreneurs. These sharings can also bring great inspiration and provide guidance to founders in the future

One founder who experienced a closed-door sharing/dinner wrote:

You can hear many pieces of unadorned advice repeatedly, however, even so, it is still valuable—because if you hear the same thing many times from different perspectives, especially from big names, usually, you will be able to understand these truths more deeply. The stories are uplifting, especially those about adversity. That's the beauty of sharing/dinner: You get a chance to learn about the trials and tribulations of these successful startups in their entrepreneurship

It may be a pity that only some founders and a few graduates can be invited to the dinner, and there are no audio and video materials to share. However, from another perspective, if we broadcast or record the content of the speech, the speakers may be silent about many things

After the sharing, there is usually a short question-and-answer session, after which everyone can leave their seats and chat as freely as they did before the dinner. From our experience, almost all guest speakers stay for a while to continue talking with founders. If some founders particularly want to communicate with guest speakers, we will also help introduce them. Sometimes, founders exchange contact information with guest speakers for further communication

Office Hour

Half of our activities are participated in by all start-up teams, and the other half are individual exchanges with us

We believe that starting a business is quite like getting a Ph.D, as both are to solve problems that have not been solved. In order to provide practical and valuable help to founders, it is not enough to rely on lectures alone. It requires mentors with rich practical experience to solve core problems hand in hand in order to provide guidance effectively. Therefore, the purpose of MiraclePlus Accelerator is not to give a course, instead, our core is to build high-value bonds through Office Hour

Every week, founders in the batch have the opportunity to make an appointment for Office Hour, where they can have one-on-one discussions on the specific problems they encountered with our partners (including Lu Qi). It feels like you and your co-founder discuss, strategize, execute, and debug together. In addition, there is a collective office hour, where founders follow up and execute fast iterations every two weeks around the Demo Day, interact efficiently with other excellent founders in the batch, exercise and communicate around the theme, and obtain feedback and inspiration

Founding teams can make online reservations for Office Hour unlimited number of times, as long as they need it. Office Hour booking software is not just a tool, it can also let us clearly see whether the founding team gets enough time for interaction, and how many founders are waiting for individual communication. If the waiting list is long, we will schedule more communication time

What we communicate during Office Hour depends on the founding team and the specific problems they are facing. Generally, we prioritize helping with the most urgent issues. Sometimes (especially in the early stages), the most urgent thing is to discover what is the most urgent problem to solve. This seemingly trivial problem is quite important and we spend a lot of time telling founders what problems are the least of their worries

Instead of trying to solve urgent problems, we spend about 10% of time discussing companies' long term vision, which is necessary. Some startup teams come here with a big blueprint, but most don't. It's important to think about how to grow from a small startup to a large enterprise, although it is not the most urgent at this stage. One of our strengths is to help founders picture a big blueprint, as we have explored and tried many start-up ideas, and we know what are the implications behind each of them

Before the founding team decides what to do, or when they want to change their idea, we will discuss what they should do. "What to do" must meet two conditions: (1) develop the product that users want, (2) do what the team is good at. Exchanges like this happen quite frequently here. Startups revise or even reverse their start-up ideas much more often than outsiders imagine

Once startups decide what they want to do, the most urgent thing is deciding what to do first. Usually we recommend that founding teams release products quickly and iterate. This may not work for all projects, but most of the time it works. We suggest this because before you release the product, your design is only developed based on assumptions or the feedback of the best seed users. Once you start reaching out to real users, they often respond to the product unexpectedly, and this can really teach you how to build your own products

Based on the same technology, startups can actually explore many different directions. One of the most important questions we discuss is what to build first. The general approach is to choose a product with a fast iteration speed and very high user expectations. (The degree of user expectations and how many users expect the product are different concepts). However, in practice, the answer to this question varies from project to project. Our goal is to give founders a clear direction by the end of Office Hour. This goal is almost always achievable, but in practice, about 10% of the time, a product turns out to be poorly designed, then we have to go back to the design board and revisit it

Deciding what product to make is not just a technical question, because a start-up is a company, not just a piece of software. Products in the prototype stage also need to have an initial business model. Like products (which can be iterated), business models can be changed as well, but it should base on a basic assumption, like whom to charge, how much to charge, and how to acquire these users

If a founding team is ready to launch a product, the Office Hour conversation becomes "how to launch it". This actually involves two issues: how to present it to users, and how to present it to the media and investors. If the startup already has a website, we try to make it as pragmatic as possible. The websites of many startups usually confuse users who visit for the first time, and users have no idea (even have no interest in understanding) what the startup is doing, so the website should concisely and clearly convey the most crucial information of the startup

Another part of launching a product is showing it to the press and investors. When startups are ready to present their products, they would stand in front of a whiteboard with our partners, draft the most basic information points, and write out an initial draft that we helped revise. On Demo Day, we will send this manuscript to the cooperative media. Founders can also contact the media themselves, but why we help do their initial introduction? Here are two reasons: (a) we want to help founders describe their companies in plain language instead of marketing terms, or other ways technology founders often use; (b) journalists usually trust us more

A Whiteboard presentation room can be used for more than launching a product. It is an essential way for a startup to introduce itself, especially to investors. In addition, it can also help founders sort out their vision

If a startup has released a product and had users, then its Office Hour conversations would focus on specific things about its operation. Most startups that plan to launch a new product often encounter some problems, and these difficulties are problems that a startup eventually needs to solve. In practice, these difficulties range from technical bottlenecks to legal proceedings, but the most common problem is that users do not like the released products enough

These questions are quite normal, and they lead you to discover what your initial misassumptions are, so now you have at least some data to analyze. So for startups at this stage (those already launched products), the Office Hour conversation focuses on figuring out what users' needs according to the data they've collected, how to get more data about users, and how to reach more targeted users. This is similar to the initial phase when we try to find a breakthrough on the periphery of existing technology, especially when it requires extensive trial and error exploration. Fortunately, in this field, we have very rich experience

In addition to this one-on-one Office Hour, we also have a Group Office Hour. This session mainly focuses on the follow-up execution of goals for Demo Day, and also has related topic exercises and exchanges. Here you can have lively exchanges and interactions with other outstanding founders in the same batch, obtain their feedback and inspiration, and of course, there is the excitement of competing with each other

As the accelerator proceeded, the topic of Office Hour began to revolve around funding. There are some questions that all startups face, such as how to fundraise, whom they should raise from, and when to start fundrasing. The answers to the questions depend on the circumstances of each startup. Some startups may get enough attention at the outset that they can easily get funds. And other startups are like the transformation process from "ugly duckling" to "white swan", they need to try to raise a small amount of angel funds at the beginning and use these funds to polish them better

For startups, it is very important to have an accurate assessment of their funding potential, because funding is like choosing a take-off angle for an airplane. If you climb too steep, the plane easily stalls. In other words, if you plan to raise far more money than you need at this stage, not only will you waste a lot of time and end up with nothing, but it will also affect your chances of raising a small amount of money. Fortunately, our experience can be helpful here. Based on the data of previous startups, we can help you predict the reaction of investors and what kind of funding strategy you should adopt

Once the funding starts, the topic of Office Hour discussions shifts from a strategic level to a tactical level. Funding is often a question of how to break the ice. Once you start getting a few investors to investigate, more investors will want to join. So the most important tactical question is who to talk to first and how to convince them. On this issue, our experience can also be helpful, because we have learned about a large number of investors' personality traits through previous interactions with them. Of course, in addition to giving funding advice, we also directly participate in communication with investors and help the startups convince investors. We are often better able to build trust in communication than founders because we have to state the facts; if we lie to investors, they will never trust us again

The goal of the Accelerator is not only to help start-ups get funding but more importantly, to find the most suitable investors for them. Our understanding of investors can help us find suitable investors and convince them

As Demo Day approaches, the topic of Office Hour conversation becomes mainly about talks and presentations about Demo Day. This is the busiest phase of our batch. As startups are at different stages, they will talk to us differently in the next stage. However, the week before Demo Day, every founder needs to talk to us about what to say on Demo Day. So during the week, the entire Office Hour is arranged into one long pre-demo rehearsal. We often work late into the night as founders need to rehearse full presentations in front of us

As in the pre-launch discussion, we figure out with the founders what is the most important message to be conveyed. Then the startup team gives a demo speech around the crucial information, and everyone (we and other founders present) watches the pitch together, and the speaking team will constantly revise mistakes and try again. This model makes the practice of demo speeches significantly better than other models

Office Hour keeps open for reservation during the 3-month batch, and only the closing dinner marks the end of the Office Hour activities. Office Hour is open all year round, and all startups that have participated in the program before can make an appointment at any time (except during the interview period, the first week of each batch, and the week before Demo Day, because these time are reserved for startups in the current program)

Demo Day

Our Demo Day is also the graduation of the batch. The graduation ceremony consists of presentations from startups. Founding teams present their start-up ideas and progress they made to some prominent investors and resource parties in China

On Demo Day, you can see top VC investment firms and angel investors in China. Thousands of investors were present on every Demo Day we held before. On Demo Day, you can present your project on stage like a star. You will be followed with interest by hundreds of investors until there’s no space for new contacts in your Wechat list. This would greatly improve the speed and efficiency of your funding

Demo Day is a major event of MiraclePlus. There are no specific requirements for the content presented by startups on Demo Day. Before the three-month program started, the startups we funded had been at different stages, and some completely changed their ideas afterward. Therefore, the goal of Demo Day is to get startups to present their products and services on stage as convincingly as possible

During and after Demo Day, founders are free to have more in-depth conversations with investors. The goal of startups is to introduce themselves to everyone. In most cases, a series of meetings would be arranged to persuade investors to close investment

Other Activities

During each Accelerator period, we also have many other activities

The first is Product Presentation Day, about two weeks after the opening of the batch. All startup teams can present themselves to other participants for the first time on this day. The goals of the event include: (a) getting to know each other's projects and seeing if you might be able to help, and (b) getting founders to start thinking about how to present their projects. Certainly, at this stage, founders still focus on developing products instead of presenting projects, so we would help to reduce their pressure. No one outside of the startup teams is able to watch the internal product presentations

We have also arranged some training courses, which are our bootcamp, but our course design is also targeted. We would invite partners or external professional guests to give lectures and share in different fields that fit current alumni's needs

The week before Demo Day, we also have an event called Rehearsal Day. The event format is similar to Product Presentation Day, the only difference is that the demo speech on the rehearsal day could be used as the first draft of the speech on Demo Day

At the end of the Accelerator, we usually invite 5 to 6 of the best funding experts from the alumni to share their experience and give advice to the founding teams. The only theme in this event is the straight-forward sharing of the useful and practical information by alumni

The day before Demo Day, we hold Alumni Demo Day. It's similar to the above event, except that participating audiences are all alumni. The purpose of this is to help everyone in a friendly environment, to perfect the last deficiencies in each one's speech, or to provide some small angel investment by alumni

Alumni Community

As more and more startups have been invested in by MiraclePlus, the value of the alumni community network is becoming increasingly important in the services we provide

At first it was zero because we didn't have alumni yet. However, as the batch of startups funded by MiraclePlus grows every six months, we will create an alumni network. The more start-ups we fund, the faster the alumni network develops

Our alumni network is powerful not only because of its size, but also because of the steadfast commitment made by its members to help each other. This commitment is originally derived from our attempt to encourage the spirit of cooperation in each batch of projects. Entrepreneurship can be very lonely, so one of the goals of our program is to solve this problem, that is, to provide the founders of companies with only 2 or 3 members with proper colleagues

When people get our funds, they find that the alumni network is structured. The innermost layer is the same group of founders, and they do many things to help each other, such as becoming internal beta users of each other's products or helping with professional knowledge. They may become good friends later. Many of the founders' closest friends are those who worked with them in the batch, just like developing friendships at school

We encourage the spirit of cooperation among us, which comes very naturally. Once we realize that this is happening, we start to encourage it so that connections are made between startups and alumni who can boost startups further

Alumni are not blindly loyal, though. What ultimately holds this network together is the quality of the people

Network and Connection

We have a good network of connections all over the world

There are many ways startups can benefit from these connections. One is that we can arrange introductions for almost anyone in our connection network of alumni

We have agreements with many companies with variant extent of formality in the tech world. They can either offer free services or special access to the startups we fund, such as Amazon's $100,000 cloud service offering

We also have connections with many so called "platform companies", which allows us to remove the difficulties startups face when building things on their platforms. We often host events where people can talk to startups in the MiraclePlu

We have good relationships not because we are particularly gregarious, but because we have a lot of great companies in our community. As a result, any company looking to connect with the startup community can go directly to our website and gain access to hundreds of high-quality startups at once. Journalists in the venture capital field know that they can call us, and we can walk them through multiple examples of what they're writing about, whether it is a startup building a mobile application, or a company working on co-working space

Investors or companies that try to mistreat startups funded by MiraclePlus are usually deterred because of the size and closeness of the alumni network. Since everyone understands the power of this network, much of its value lies in deterrence: in fact, few people try to mistreat the companies we fund because they know it's not worth it. The horror stories about investors screwing up startups rarely happen in MiraclePlus

Social Activities

Initially, there was only one social event per week. We gradually increased our events to a level of just right

We don't want too much socializing. While founders often become good friends through the program, that's not our main purpose. In addition, social events organized by sponsoring organizations are often poor; but in real communities, members tend to organize their events spontaneously

In the first or second week of each batch, we organize a meetup for the founders so that everyone can get to know each other. On the last day of Demo Day, after the audience has left, there is usually another party with less restrictions. We also occasionally organize events for other relaxing occasions

We organize reunions for each batch of MiraclePlus. As time spans so quickly in the startup field, we don't wait until the next year, and the reunion is usually about 6 weeks after the program ends. The reason is that startups usually hit stumbling block and start getting frustrated by then, so they can be encouraged by old alumni and keep their chins up

At the end of each batch, founders naturally tend to get together. That's because they have a lot in common and have many of the same experiences together. As one founder put it:

Since my last job, one of my aims is to stop being mediocre and to get along with people who are smarter than me. Accelerator of MiraclePlus helped me achieve that