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How to Jump-Start Your Business With an Accelerator Program Two entrepreneurs fast-tracked their startup with help form Launchpad LA.

By Michelle Goodman

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Mentors With Money

Making connections was priority No. 1 for Aigerim Shorman and Shana Zheng. As founders of Triptrotting, an online community that connects travelers with locals, the pair quickly recognized that startup accelerators could be their ticket to mentorship and funding.

After raising $300,000 in seed money from Pasadena, Calif., incubator Idealab and launching their company last May, Shorman and Zheng applied to Launchpad LA, the Los Angeles accelerator program founded by venture capitalist Mark Suster. Launchpad invests $50,000 in each company accepted into its four-month program and provides business advice, free shared office space and networking opportunities.

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