Running a startup company is hard, especially in the early stage when resources are limited. You’ve got a big dream, and if you are lucky, a co-founder, but with little experience. This is where programs can be very useful especially if you can make it into a good startup accelerator.
With a program, you will access resources and professionals that can make your enhance your business growth.
However, it’s important to understand the differences between an accelerator and incubator and why venture capital firms prefer the accelerator model.
For developing a startup, acceptance into an accelerator can be extremely positive. Accelerator programs give early-stage startups funding opportunities and mentorships.
They plant new teams into thriving technology startups, surrounded by learning opportunities and other innovators.
What is a Startup Accelerator
Startup accelerators are involved early in new companies, even though there are many other ways of funding new startups. There are many things to look for in a startup accelerator.
Still, it’s important to understand that most accelerators are fixed-term (often as short as a three-month program), that includes education, training or mentorship, and are often affordable but come with a competitive application process.
Thus, these major characteristics set the startup business model apart from open-ended seed funds such as equity investing. At a high level, accelerators are companies that help tech startups attain success.
The accelerator focuses on providing technology startups with advice, mentorships, as well as resources to assist the startup companies in succeeding…
The accelerator focuses on providing technology startups with advice, mentorships, as well as resources to assist the startup companies in succeeding. This includes a Demo day – a day to focus the attention of the startup venture capitalist community on the startups through delivering an investment pitch to venture capitalists.
However, accelerators can get involved at all stages of a startup’s business development, from early to seed funding up to the last stage. However, most accelerators tend to focus only on early-stage startups.
Accelerators do three things:
- Accelerators bring talented individuals with great ideas together with each other and with investors
- Accelerators provide small initial investment to tech startups to persue their ideas
- They also offer a crash course in online business and marketing for small business owners who have all the ideas and the skills but lack an MBA or business experience
Main Reasons For Attending a Startup Accelerator
The benefits of gaining access to an accelerator program cannot be understated especially since big corporations often take part and get involved.
Still, the application process can be off-putting for many reasons. Below is the breakdown of the most fundamental ways in which an accelerator can help your business develop:
Easy access to investors
Investor support to startup businesses is essential. New startups are normally short of funds and can seek an external investor to support them financially.
However, it may be hard to find the right venture capitalist and even trickier to convince them of your potential. Thus, an accelerator program with a network of investors can be a huge plus for your company.
They are frequented by global or local venture capitalists looking for new creative startups to invest in. Entrepreneurs are trained to prepare an attractive pitch for venture capitalists and are given tips on making a convincing pitch to seal an investment deal.
There are two main types of startup accelerator programs: private and corporate accelerator programs. Private accelerators offer startups between $20,000 and $120,000 in fund support in return for 5% – 10% of the startup’s equity.
However, private accelerator programs are great for an early-stage venture that cannot gain traction for its products or services. In contrast, corporate accelerators offer greater capital support to the technology startup businesses, having the higher financial muscle to back them up.
In general, a corporate sponsor is essential for many startup businesses. Corporate accelerator programs facilitate business development with extended networking and powerful business ideas.
Who Are Startups Accelerators Looking For?
Accelerator programs have their focus. Typically, they look for small businesses and recently established startups with few investors that have the potential for rapid development.
Some of the essential requirements are:
- A functioning business plan
- A minimum viable product (MVP)
- Strong teamwork abilities
- Entrepreneurial spirit and drive
Is a Startup Accelerator Program The Best For Your Business?
Some entrepreneurs prefer to develop slowly and don’t need venture capital. In that case, accelerator programs aren’t necessary but could still help with your business development.
For entrepreneurs in need of a professional guide, financial support, and rapid development, accelerators are fantastic options…
For entrepreneurs in need of a professional guide, financial support, and rapid development, accelerators are fantastic options. Any of the following programs could be a great fit for your business if you intend to grow your business quickly, concede some control, impress investors, relocate, and focus on your business goals and objectives.
20 Of The Best Startup Accelerators
There is no shortage of good startup accelerator programs in the market with different niches and focus areas. To get the best startup accelerator program that is good for your company or business idea, we’ve put together the top 20 startup accelerator programs.
1. Y Combinator
Y Combinator is one of the most prestigious programs across all accelerators and is the pioneer in the accelerator program of startup funding that has funded and trained more than 460 startups.
Some of these companies have grown into huge online businesses, including Airbnb, Dropbox, Weebly, Posterous, and more.
Established in 2015 at Mountain View, California, and founded by Paul Graham, Jessica Livingston, Robert Morris, and Trevor Blackwell.
Y Combinator is a world-class accelerator recognized globally. It is a 3-month accelerator program that is focused on seed money and seed-stage startups.
2. AltsCapital Lab
AltsCapital Lab is the leading Boston-based Accelerator for Global Startups with over then 75 startups incubated and raised $12 Million in equity for their startups.
Founded by Derek Van Vliet & Geoffrey Marcus, Alts Capital Labs provides a comprehensive & integrative program designed to prepare businesses to be capital ready.
AngelPad was founded in 2012 by Thomas Korte. The company has funded and mentored close to 50 startups to date. AngelPad’s headquarters is located in San Francisco, California, and it is one of the best programs frequently compared to Y Combinator.
AngelPad typically focuses on seed SaaS, Core Tech, Digital Health, Marketplaces, B2B, B2C, Advertising, API, and Mobile.
Seedcamp is London-based and a leading company in Europe providing seed funding and coaching programs for startup companies. It was founded in 2007, and it has supported more than 70 of Europe’s most promising startup companies.
However, its single-day coaching events have been held all over Europe, including in Barcelona, London, Berlin, Ljubljana, Stockholm, and Prague.
5. Blackbox Ventures
Blackbox ventures is a Silicon Valley-based accelerator founded in 2011 by Fadi Bishara. The company brings together 12 founders of new companies worldwide for a 2-week intensive workshop known as “Blackbox Connect.”
This intensive workshop is an event that was held in Blackbox Mansion in Atherton, California. The accelerator offers year-round free office space for entrepreneurs visiting the Silicon Valley area. There, participants mingle with some of Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists, thought leaders, and industry professionals.
6. 500 Startups
500 startups was founded in 2010 by Dace McClure and Christine Tsai, located in San Francisco, California.
With its 4-month seed program, 500 startups provide your business with coaching and mentorship where you can also have a session with their professionals, as well as an office space where you can work with other talented business owners from around the world.
It invests $150,000 in exchange for 6% in equity. 500 startups charge $37 for participants to participate in the program, and it takes place in San Francisco and Mexico City. 500 startups offer diverse programs such as the 500 MENA accelerator, 500 Seoul Pre Series-A Program, and more.
7. Dreamit Ventures
Dreamit Ventures is an early-stage capital fund that targets startups that are for the next step to scale. It was founded in 2008 by David Bookspan and a group of angel investors.
Headquartered in the Greater New York area, it is quite different from other startup accelerators. It focuses on one-on-one coaching and mentoring, connecting entrepreneurs with a support network of mentors and potential venture capitalists.
8. Dogpatch Labs
Dogpatch Labs was founded in 2008 by Polaris Venture Partners. Currently, Dogpatch labs has locations in New York, Cambridge, Dublin, London, Pablo Alto, and MA.
Dogpatch Labs share free office space, coffee, snacks, and wifi with other like-minded business owners, typically for about six months.
9. Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator
ERA (Entrepreneur Roundtable Accelerator) is a New York-based company founded in 2011 by Murat Aktihanoglu and two other co-founders. Era is a global nonprofit company active in the United States, Japan, India, and Turkey, to help small business owners succeed.
The entrepreneur program offers 10 companies with $25,000 in seed money, including a 3-month program of free collaborative office space in the heart of Times Square.
10. Plug and play
Plug and Play is a seed, and early-stage venture capital firm located in the heart of Silicon Valley. It is focused on leading teams from emerging companies. In 2019, plug and play accelerated a remarkable 1,450 startup companies. Plug and play portfolio companies have raised more than $9B. Its investments vary between the range of $25,000 and $500,000 and it has over 732 unique investments and 60 successful exits to its credit to date.
The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and was founded in 2012 by Ravi Belani. The alchemist accelerator is a 24-week program and offers $36,000 as a seed fund, especially in SAFE graduation. It targets early-stage ventures that monetize from enterprises and not from the users.
12. Startup BootCamp
Startup Bootcamp is headquartered in London and was established in 2010 by Aldo DeJong and others in Copenhagen, Demark. They run specialised accelerator programs at key locations such as San Francisco, Miami, London, New York, Dubai, Dublin, Singapore, and others.
Above all, Bootcamp has 21 unique accelerator programs across different industries and geographical locations that support seed and venture stage startup companies to achieve their purpose.
13. Boost VC
Boost VC was founded in 2012 by Brayton Williams and Adam Draper in San Mateo as a sci-fi tech-focused startup accelerator. Boost VC particularly target Etherum, Bitcoin, Blockchain, focused companies in their pre-seed rounds.
Boost VC accepts applications for a 12-week accelerator program twice a year and invests $500,000 in 20 startups each year. Their alumni network includes Coinbase, Wave, Yac, Sidequest, Etherscan, and more.
14. Blueprint Health
Blueprint Health was founded in 2011 by Brad Weinberg and Mathew Farkash in New York City. It focuses on nurturing tech-based healthcare companies, and most of the companies they choose are normally in their early development stage while others are close to generating revenue.
Its program doesn’t end after the duration period since they continue to assist their alumni founders in developing their companies and offering them additional resources that the community can provide.
15. Imagine K12
Imagine K12 headquarters are in Silicon Valley, and it is an accelerator program specifically developed to help startups in the Education Technology Sector.
Imagine K12 was established in 2011 by Alan Louie, Geoff Ralston, Tim Brady, and Nolan Amy to change the vision for the education sector.
In recent times, imagine K12 collaborated with Y Combinator by exploring a special education vertical. K12 has over 50 unique investments and 9 successful exits to its credit to date.
16. NXTP LABS
Established in 2011 by Ariel Arrieta, Gonzalo Costa, Francisco Coronel, Martin Hazan, and Marta Cruz, NXTP Labs is based in Buenos, Argentina, and they are a venture capital firm that focuses on helping early-stage and seed companies in Latin America.
Normally, NXTP labs engage in pre-seed and Series A funding and provide the first stage of institutional funds that range between $500,000 and $2,000,000.
It focuses on cloud computing & SaaS, Fintech, Logistics Tech, B2B Marketplaces, and internet security. NXTP lab’s portfolio of companies include Kinedu, Pomelo, Fligoo, Cobli, and more. The accelerator has made 247 investments and 22 successful exits so far.
17. Beta Spring
Beta spring was developed for tech-driven seed-stage companies. Beta spring was established in 2009 by Owen Johnson, Allan Tear, and Jack Templin.
Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, its flagship program is a 12-week accelerator program, providing mentorship and seed capital to participant companies twice a year.
A top brand that is supported by Beta spring: Recur Outdoors, APE Systems, Pennant, Astroprint, Quitbit, and many more. Beta spring has a tally of more than 70 investments and 5 successful exits.
18. Founder Fuel
Founder fuel was established as a Real venture by Alan Macintosh. It focuses on seed-stage companies by using tech and a robust business model to foster innovation and create value in expanding marketplaces.
Founder fuel demo days happen to be one of the largest in Canada. Founder fuel pioneer alumni companies include Sonder, Mejuri, Transit, XpertSea, BenchSci, Ready Education, and Login Radius. To date, they’ve made 94 investments, and 13 successful exist.
19. Alpha Lab
Alpha lab is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was established in 2008 as one of the top startup accelerator programs around the globe.
Innovation works originally established Alpha Lab, an early-stage capital fund, focused on technology-driven and hardware startups.
It focuses on B2B, advertising, augmented reality, B2C, enterprise, e-commerce, FinTech, Mobile, and more. To date, Alpha has made more than 103 investments and 7 successful exits.
NFX was established in 2015 by James Currier, Pete Flint, Stan Chudnovsky, and Gigi Levy-Weiss as a seed-stage with their headquarters in San Francisco, California.
NFX is a founder-centric accelerator program focused on providing software backup to small business owners. NFX invests in seed and early stage-A startups with capital funding ranging between $500,000 and $5,000,000. Over the years, NFX has made over 245 investments and 26 successful exits.