Working on a start-up can take a ton of effort, but it is well worth that effort if your startup grows into a profitable company later on. Often it requires a lot of time and commitment to turn a start-up into a profitable business, but luckily there are many accelerator programs that can help make this A LOT easier.
The usage of start-up accelerator programs has slowly but steadily escalated to being one of the most sought out programs for new businesses as of late. Tons of start-up accelerator programs are popping up across the globe and apparently participating in one of these programs has become a rite of passage for many young entrepreneurs.
While there are many excellent accelerator programs available, there’s also no shortage of not-so-good ones that fail to deliver any positive results. Unfortunately it’s not so easy to distinguish a good accelerator program from a bad one.
The industry of accelerator programs is relatively new, and more and more companies are popping up each day. The fact that little to no data is publicly available about the performance of these companies only complicates matters further.
It can take quite a lot of work to find the programs that are both effective and suited to your goals, especially if you aren’t looking for them in the right place. Fortunately, you don’t have to toss a coin or play a game of Russian Roulette to choose what program is best for your start-up, we’re here to help!
Here are 21 startup accelerator programs we recommend, and we hope you will find effective at helping your startup reach success earlier…
Surge is a company that is packed with decades of experience. Its advisory board is comprised of leading energy companies from all over the world. Surge can be both your mentor and your investor, and if you’ve truly got what it takes then they can potentially be your best customers as well. Don’t miss out on this one!
AngelPad is an accelerator based right here in the USA! So if you’re looking for help locally, this might do the trick. Lead by Thomas Korte, who is accompanied by 6 other partners who were formerly working for Google, there’s little to no doubt they know what they’re doing when it comes to helping start-ups.
AngelPad provides mentorship and seed money to help your start-up, and they’re even generous enough to give their students/clients an option for $100,000 in capital from two venture capital firms at the start of their class.
AngelPad also helps with brainstorming, fundraising, and finally a “Demo Day” in which start ups get the chance to show off in front of hundreds of investors.
AlphaLab is a well-known accelerator program that helps innovative startups to launch quickly and successfully. An average of 6-8 companies are selected to take part in their program twice each year. The selected companies receive funding, mentorship, AND office space in one of their establishments.
With 20 weeks worth of intensive training under AlphaLab, companies will undoubtedly reach their goals and achieve product-market fit through rapid iterations of product, feedback, and data analysis. And they also have a “Demo Day” … but what makes them even more powerful is that AlphaLab will carefully select investors inside the country to maximize your ROI.
MassChallenge is recommended for the high rollers, i.e. entrepreneurs with large capital or a product/service that has more potential than the average start-up. Still, if you have a good repertoire under your belt, you’re still encouraged to join the program. Your investment here will never be wasted, every penny you put into MassChallenge is worth it because of its astounding network of known investors throughout the world.
If the previous accelerator programs tilt on the aggressive side of scaling product innovation, MuckerLab is a completely new innovation unto itself. They have an option called “Mucker Capital” wherein they put their trust in their selected entrepreneurs by funding their seeds. They also have a “Pre-seed” system which allows new startups to slowly build a stable economic presence through scalable tools and services like web apps.
With a focus on technological based start-ups, this accelerator program aims to assist entrepreneurs engaging in scalable-technology such as Mobile, Gaming, Software, and E-commerce on a global scale.
The Brandery is one of the top ranking accelerator programs in the US (specifically, based in Ohio). It prioritizes in start-up branding, marketing, and design. To them, building company image and branding is just as important as the product or service itself. This way, start-up resources are used more efficiently and there’s a higher chance of success.
With a star-studded list of mentors, your start-up team will also be under the mentorship of world-class investors and agencies hand picked by The Brandery. You will also have access to some of the world’s most famous companies on “Demo Day”.
Their program lasts 4 months, and every year 10-12 start-ups participate in it. They give the companies a 50k capital (optional of course) in exchange for a 6% equity stake in the companies, a year’s worth of office space in their establishments, and other benefits amounting to around $200k. That’s certainly an impressive offer!
Popularly known as the New Venture Challenge, this start-up accelerator program from the University of Chicago is tailored to suit both the needs of aspiring students and entrepreneurs. Its aim is to help students knead potential ideas into a growing, viable business while also helping clients that sign up for the accelerator program. Team building, leadership training, networking, and brainstorming; all these are implemented throughout the course.
If you’re looking for a more casual but still effective environment, then the ER Accelerator is the place for you. During their 4-month program, the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (based out of NYC) will constantly be working hand-in-hand with you to provide a hakuna matata kind of lifestyle, along with financial seeding and expert level leadership teams to skyrocket your start-up.
The ERA will assist you and your company to remove roadblocks along the road to success, as well as suggesting primary focuses so that your start-up has a unique identity.
Plus they let you play with anything. I think that alone is enough to motivate any social entrepreneur. Their “Chill Workspace” has an Xbox, a ping pong table, stocked kitchen, and a lot of space during happy hours. They even have poker nights, karaoke competitions, gyms, and a plethora of other neat stuff just lying around waiting for you. Did I mention it was free?
Similar to Blue Startups, gener8tor focuses its investments in scalable, technological-enabled businesses. This includes software creation/innovation, IT, web, e-commerce, and hardware distribution. gener8tor seeds capital of up to $140,000 and 12 weeks worth of mentorship under its community of experts. It is currently ranked in the top 15 of the US-based Seed Accelerator Rankings Project.
Quite a unique program The Alchemist Accelerator is with its selection of start-ups that solely rely on the ROI not coming from consumerism but rather from capitalism and seeding from other companies. An exclusive club if you will, for enterprises with an interest in seed ventures.
Alchemist Accelerator wants their clients to feel that they’re special. Their program heavily focuses on customer development, sales, and fundraising with a large collective of well-known staff to guide their start-ups. This guidance consists of guest lecturers from big companies and start-up experts, eager capitalists … and even Fortune 100 customers primed to be resources for you.
Betaspring is one of the original accelerators to launch, way back in 2009. Since then, they’ve accelerated a whopping 90 companies which have raised over $50MM in follow-on. They just launched their fourth fund and in doing so became the first accelerator in the world specifically for revenue-first companies.
ZeroTo510 (based out of Memphis, TN) is all about helping start-ups with investments in medical devices cleared for commercial distribution. This is by far one of the fastest and most economically efficient methods to market a new medical product.
Using a unique accelerator system, ZeroTo510 equips its clients and entrepreneurs alike with innovative ideas for new medical devices/products to take full advantage of their fast path to market.
With a leverage on key regional strengths in biomedical research and medical device manufacturing, this accelerator program sure holds some promise if your start-up leans towards medical technology.
A “Community for Founders” as StartX claims to be, this accelerator program (like ZeroTo510) also invests in medical products such as cleantech and biotech. But StartX doesn’t stop there, they also cover web and enterprise software. Their program helps entrepreneurs from undergraduates to graduate students; the mentors comprise of professors, staff, and alumni to represent some of Stanford University’s best entrepreneurs.
“Work hard, play hard” is The Iron Yard’s way of business. They invest in Engineering and Architectural based software; and much like ERA they believe that having fun is part of getting rich. Though their standards to achieving quality results are extremely high, their capabilities to enjoy life along the way is just as high.
The approach they use towards building their start-ups is quite simple. People first – 100% pure customer satisfaction – you’re the reason they live and breathe every day.
Iron Yard Ventures has straightforward goals and it gives great emphasis on developing skills and ideas. They have an open mindset – everything is accepted. The Iron Yard doesn’t discriminate, if it makes money then it must be a great idea!
Amplify (based out of Los Angeles) takes a more smooth and flexible approach to accelerating start-ups, as they really give each entrepreneur or company a more hands-on, special treatment. To them, not all companies are created equal and so they don’t take the same path towards success. By this notion every startup to finish Amplify’s accelerator program has a unique experience. Their system provides no real pressure so to speak as there are no deadlines or mandatory schedules to follow. The experience itself is tailored uniquely to each company. Interesting approach!
It’s not just a name, they really have accelerated 500 startups that are now either well-known or fast-growing companies. They’ve invested in them, seeded them, trained them … they basically gave them all the tools these companies needed in order to succeed. To 500startups, diversity is not just a strategy or a tactic, it’s who they are to the core. They invest in all types of companies, but here’s a few categories in which they really lean towards:
- Consumer service
- Family tech
- Mobile software
- and so much more
If you think you’re crazy enough to dare to attempt a start-up, then 500startups has your back, and they’ll stick with you to the end.
An IT-based accelerator program, Capital Innovators believe that technological based companies excel better compared to other start-up categories. They believe these types of businesses require better access to funding and mentorship during the early stages of their start-up. Through this system, companies are able to rapidly flourish with a pool of high-quality talent, innovative ideas and products. Capital Innovators caters to its clients needs by giving them resources and connections that can help you get to the next level.
Dreamit Ventures’ synergistic system provides a less-risky and more cost-efficient option to its clients without sacrificing results and quality. You can grow your start-up into a multinational corporation with the help of Dreamit Ventures. Their program last 3-4 months with a seed of $300,000, solid access to customers, partners, investors, and Dreamit Ventures’ own network of investors (including their alumni). Dreamit Ventures get an 8% equity.
Techstars is a global accelerator program that empowers startups to bring new and innovative ideas into market from wherever they are in the world. They have the power to choose, and in doing so Techstars has their back all the way. This accelerator program seeds $118,000 worth of funding, intensive mentorship from their roster of world-class entrepreneurs, and an amazing network for tips and advice on what it takes to build a great company. Techstars get 7% equity.
Ranking in at number 12 in the recent Accelerator Rankings held by MIT, BoomStartup has helped over 40 companies achieve their start-up goals. With an astonishing overall capital of $15 million raised by these companies over the years, it’s no wonder that BoomStartup is one of the top accelerators. They believe a heavy focus on mentorship is the best way to start companies. This system improves brainstorming capabilities of both the mentor and the student hence increasing cohesiveness in teams and the chance of raising start-up funds. Plus it’s a better way to lessen risks and increase the company longevity.
Well, whichever startup accelerator program suits your fancy it’s always best to keep in your mind AND in your heart that hard work comes from your desire to succeed! Mentorship, seeding, team adjustments and other important factors are merely tools to help you. Good luck!