We won Accelerator of the Year at the UKBAA Angel Investment Awards!

Winners of Accelerator of the year!

We’re delighted to have won the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) 2023 awards, for Accelerator of the Year!

The 2023 awards recognise the outstanding achievements of early stage investors and the businesses they back – and the Accelerator of the Year category recognises the accelerator with the most dynamic and innovative programme of support for early stage founders.

Read our entry here to learn why our programme has been called ‘best accelerator on the planet!’

About Allia’s Accelerator 

Allia’s Impact Accelerator is dedicated to the founder seeking to build off the intersection between purpose led and venture track solutions. Allia alum have raised over £105m in building tech for good solutions to tackle climate change, homelessness, social inclusion, fem-tech, and health tech to name a few. As an extraordinarily intensive and tailored  free programme, participants are challenged and supported to overcome the multiplied pressure of financial and impact returns. Core to Allia’s ethos is to support underserved communities however they identify, be it gender, ethnicity, ability, venture structure or geography.

What is the market need, challenge or gap that the Accelerator is addressing in the market?

Allia’s Impact Accelerator addresses the market need arising from the lack of investment capital allocated to female founders. It recognizes the systemic challenge that hinders talented women entrepreneurs from accessing funding to unleash their potential. 

Allia’s Impact Accelerator serves as a vital solution by levelling the playing field for women entrepreneurs by removing barriers such as fees (none) to participate, incorporating childcare considerations, and by redefining successful engagement on cohort. The programme emphasizes inclusivity by design in its content, speaker selection, and theme of “purpose led ventures”. 

Allia fills a critical void in the market enables female founders to gain the knowledge, skills, and connections necessary for navigating the start-up ecosystem, overcoming obstacles, and scaling their ventures. 

Are any specific actions being taken to support diversity in the Accelerators activities and focus?

  1. We have implemented a thematic focus in our accelerator programme. In the current cohort, it is a requirement that at least one co-founding member identifies as a female founder. Directly addressing the gender disparity in funding observed in female and mixed gender teams.
  2. Our lead programme manager is a female entrepreneur of minority ethnic background and programme design is rooted in lived experience. We strive for diverse representation in our marketing assets and leadership. We believe that diverse and inclusive role models can inspire individuals from various backgrounds to pursue entrepreneurial endeavours. 
  3. Our programmes are free to participate in. By eliminating financial barriers, we aim to provide equal opportunities for individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds. This approach ensures that talented individuals, regardless of their financial means, can access the resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities offered by our accelerator programme. 

What innovation or dynamic is the Accelerator programme bringing to the market and how does it differ from other Accelerator programmes?

Our approach combines the perspective as an investor, via the Allia Impact Fund, with that of board member actively shaping, supporting and investing their time into a mission – all for free. Each venture receives a full day’s worth of support (at a minimum) every month on the Allia programme. With coaching, workshops and financial modelling/pitch review as part of every participant’s experience – Allia’s programme emphasises a personal engagement and relationship with the founder. 

A USP of our programme is our inclusivity – from platforming underrepresented founders, openness to alternative funding and business models (vs other accelerators who look for return on equity investment) and our presence beyond the London tech scene.  

One of our assets is our alumni community of over 1000 ventures (across various stages of growth). Our founders are able to leverage the expertise in the community, creating a long lasting, self perpetuating, virtuous cycle of support and growth.  

What traction has the Accelerator achieved to date in terms of the number of entrepreneurs, service offering and commercial success?

Over the last 8 years, the Impact Accelerator has supported 150 ventures, who have gone on to raise £105m, positively impacting people around the world. This includes: 

  • Sprive helping thousands of people pay off their mortgages faster
  • Cambridge Cancer Genomics, using software to enable data-driven precision oncology treatment, acquired by Dante Labs
  • Origami Energy: the leading independent energy data platform enabling the green transition 

Feedback from our most recently finished programme showed: 100% of ventures would recommend the programme, and 100% left the programme with clear next steps for growth.  

Our current female founders cohort 62% identify as non-white (compared to 18% of the UK population), and 14% identify as having a disability.  

A large proportion of the founders are parents, and majority first time founders, bringing a wealth of experience from a wide range of professional backgrounds including banking, fashion and the STEM fields.  

How does the programme support market engagement and access to partners or customers for your entrepreneurs?

Our participants benefit from two primary approaches in market engagement, partnerships, and customer development.  

  1. Allia introduces mentors specific to the issues and with relevant industry insights that lend itself to natural collaboration points. Most recently a mentor facilitated a market engagement piece in the Wall Street Journal at no charge for Creast, a platform dedicated to decarbonising the entertainment industry. Alternatively we have seen mentors move on to become board members for ventures such as GoodFind, Little Miracles, and SwapShop.  
  2. The alumni network is composed of over 1000+ ventures from across industry and geography. These alumni are a fantastic opportunity point that are leveraged by our ventures in building a well-rounded ecosystem.  This has resulted in collaboration, co-design of products, introductions to investors and advisors. With an average of at least 35 new connections just from joining the programme.

What is the Accelerators approach to investment readiness and in enabling entrepreneurs to access investment, especially angel investment?

The investment readiness focus in the Allia Impact Accelerator is a comprehensive approach grounded in Allia’s investments at pre-seed. It features monthly pitch practices, providing participants with regular opportunities to refine their pitching skills and receive feedback from angels. All participants go through several pitch deck reviews 1×1, where experienced coaches assess and enhance entrepreneurs’ presentations. Additionally, investor fireside chats are hosted, facilitating direct interactions between entrepreneurs and seasoned investors, enabling knowledge sharing and networking opportunities. These sessions level-set expectations for founders in engaging with angels and their personal investment criteria.  

To round off, Allia invites industry experts to support in legal considerations across tax, share rights, investor relations, and ESOPs. Financial model review is conducted by the Allia team to focus use of funds and prioritize the most consequential proof points.  

Summarise why Allia should win the Accelerator of the Year Award.

Our Impact Accelerator provides the foundational spring board for the growth and impact of the ventures for years to come.  

In the words of our founders: 

“Cannot recommend the Allia Impact Accelerator enough! The delivery team are experienced pros with impressive contacts. They invest in you as a founder giving you tools to build your business, a great network and the moral support to keep going. Thank you Allia!” 

I can’t imagine my start-up without this experience” 

“I keep saying it, a HUGE thank you to the whole Allia team for this opportunity. I will shout your praises from the rooftops ad infinitum!” 

“Compared to other accelerators which are often very academic, this programme feels genuinely useful and practical.” Allia “anticipated the needs of my venture before I knew I needed that support!” 

“I cannot thank the Allia team enough. I have solidified my business model, found a founding team member through an introduction and the cohort have been an amazing support group – we’ll stay that way for a long time.  It’s been a game changing six months” 

“The programme is just the beginning of something special”