It’s tech incubator application season: should you apply?

So TechStars is taking applications now for the next program, starting May 2009 in Boulder, CO.  Deadline, March 21st.

And ycombinator is also talking applications for their summer program, held this time in the Bay area, not Boston, with applications due March 18th.

If you’re someone with an idea, how do you decide if these programs are right for you, and if you should go for it?  Some suggestions as to how to evaluate:

  • Is this the right time to make a 150% commitment to your start up idea?
  • Are you ready to move to the program location and make this the focus of your time?
  • Do you have enough of a team in place to produce a core live product in a compressed period of time?
  • Is there at least one person who can write code? one with some product/business/marketing ideas?
  • Do you have a burning desire to raise money ASAP? These programs focus on building products and companies fast, then raising money to make them scale.
  • Does it sound like fun, like a great way to make something you are passionate about more real?

If you’ve got the interest, you can make amazing contacts and learn a tremendous amount, but the main reasons to go are to build your product and make contacts that lead to raising money.