I work closely with tech startups and am often asked to help market a seemingly very minimal MVP. More often than not, these startups have no funding and limited resources to market their product. They turn to us for help. I question whether they are even ready to go to market and what they can do on their own dime to make it worthwhile.
I've gotten accepted into two different accelerator programs in the US. Both were ranked in the top tiers (Gold and Platinum Plus).
For startups in an accelerator with limited resources, there are a handful of ways to get cheap traffic. Depending on the product, they may find that certain growth hacks like SEO, LinkedIn, Craigslist or Reddit can all be great channels. Its important that the product being marketed is relevant otherwise it will feel like spam. Another method for cheap traffic is to pitch a PR story and try to get coverage from a media outlet.
There are many different avenues to get traction and customers without immediately using paid ad channels.
If you have more questions on finding good cheap marketing channels feel free to call me.