Is Lightning Lab worth doing?

So you’ve got a great idea for a business, and some passionate people to work on it with you. You’ve done some research, read The Lean Startup, and think you’re making something people want.

What’s next? You’re probably thinking you need:

  • A little bit of money, so you can afford to shift your focus to the idea full-time
  • Somewhere to work out of, where you can take meetings and have everything you need to make progress
  • Mentorship – someone to point you in the right direction and help you take the rough edges off of your venture
  • A network and industry connections, so you can find and talk to the right people to help your idea fit into the market
  • An opportunity to raise some real money, so you can afford to hire a few good people and really get this thing off the ground

Female Founder AcceleratorLuckily for you – Lightning Lab XX can help you with all of that and more, compressed into an intense three months. We select up to 10 early stage, high-growth companies for each of our programmes, and invest $20,000NZ and a spot in one of our programmes in return for a 6% equity stake.

As an entrepreneur, you probably place high value on your company’s equity, and so you should. You may also be wondering if that “6% for $20K” is actually worth it while telling yourself that “surely my company is worth more than that”. So let us clear the air.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the cash you get from Lightning Lab does not set a valuation for your company. The real value from Lightning Lab XX lies in everything else the programme provides. Many of our alumni who have fundraised further after Demo Day find that the investors are usually excited by their participation in the programme, because they know what Lightning Lab does for the companies. More so, the investors will probably get to know your team during the programme, so closing an investment round will most likely take less time than usual.


If you’re worried about giving up a board seat or decision-making rights – don’t be. It’s your company and the stock you grant to Lightning Lab XX has no special powers (rights or control). This puts us squarely on your side of the table for the life of the company.

So remember to think about the value we can’t measure in $$ but will have an even greater benefit for you:

  • Feedback
    Getting an honest take on your business from experienced founders who have been-there-done-that is difficult to come across. Our mentors tend to cut through the crap fast. Essentially it’s like receiving three months of free consulting advice when you need it most. It’s not always easy to hear, but you can bet it challenges you to think and move faster.
  • Focus
    If you really want to make your business scale, you will need to focus on it full-time, and give it all of your energy. Lightning Lab demands this kind of focus and commitment, so it is a great launch pad to make this leap.
  • Connections
    There’s a quote that says “if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”. You can be sure you won’t be the smartest guy or gal in the room during Lightning Lab. And chances are, you’ll only ever be one degree away from that potential customer you really want to chat with when you’re part of the Lightning Lab network.
  • Fun
    Endless long hours and hard work create a special bond among the teams in the programme. There are wonderful memories and great friendships to be made. Ask any of our alumni what they think about the relationships they made with the other teams in the programme. They are our best proponents. This network of future founders and CEOs is invaluable and something that Lightning Lab continues to facilitate into the future.

So if you’re thinking of applying but have other arguments pop up in your head, see what some of our alumni have to say, and let’s chat.

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