Accelerators and 34 Elements

Pierre Gaubil
3 min readOct 20, 2021

Positioning exercise

People often describe 34 elements as a sort of accelerator online. Having run an accelerator/pre-seed fund in the US, I am well positioned to debunk this statement.

Selection Criteria

Accelerators are looking for VC fundable startups. Their program is geared toward a demo day where startups pitch to an audience of potential investors.

34 Elements does not consider the startup but the individual. It’s the founders’ grit and willingness to learn that are taken into account. This filter gives ambitious individuals, who may not fit the VC profile, a chance to improve their entrepreneurial skills by gaining access to Silicon Valley recipes.


Accelerators want to accelerate startups quickly to get them on the fundraising path. It’s all about building a perfect deck, a perfect story, to mold the startup into a VC-acceptable image. It’s about fundraising.

34 elements is a deep dive into the startup fundamentals, to become lucid and aware of the current state of the startup, and with this new awareness, work to find the best path forward. In doing so, it helps founders align on all the fundamentals. Having your CTO work on market segmentation might seem like a waste of time, but think again.


Accelerators focus on fundraising. That’s how they are being measured. They need to create a compelling story in 3 months that could trigger investment.

34 elements focus on strategy. It’s a holistic approach to help entrepreneurs think of the startup as interconnected pieces. The product is not at the center of the startup, it is seen as a consequence, strategy dictates what product to build.


Accelerators are programs, mostly on-site, although COVID has changed that a bit. It’s a real commitment for the co-founding team because you have to attend a lot of events and be physically on-site. It is often 3 to 6 months but could be more.

34 elements is online by design. 3 hours a week of live sessions. It easily fits into busy agendas and the regular life of startups. It’s an 8 weeks process.

Mindset and culture

Pierre Gaubil

CEO @ 34 Elements and General Partner @ The Refiners