Starting a business can be difficult, especially if you don’t have the right resources. That’s why startup accelerators are so important – they provide entrepreneurs with the tools, mentorship, and funding that they need to succeed at the right point in their growth journey.
In this blog post, we will discuss 7 of the best startup accelerators in the world.
If you’re in the thick of starting a new venture, these are the programs you need to check out!
What are the Best Startup Accelerators?
Many entrepreneurs look to startup accelerators for guidance and support in launching their businesses. But with so many programs to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is the best fit.
There are a few key factors to consider when choosing a startup accelerator. Firstly, makes sure that the program’s mission, values, and goals are a good fit with your own. Not all accelerators offer the same thing!
Secondly, you should look at the level and area of expertise of the program’s staff and mentors. These individuals can provide valuable insights and advice that can help you take your business to the next level.
Finally, you should consider the program’s resources and networking opportunities. Funding is important, but often times its expert guidance and connections that will shave months or years off your business’ growth curve.
Picking the right accelerator can be essential for getting your business off the ground. By taking the time to research all of these factors, you can ensure that you choose the startup accelerator that is right for you and your business.
1. Tech Stars
The Tech Stars startup accelerator program offers new entrepreneurs an opportunity to grow with their 3-month program. This program gives you $120K in funding, access to top mentors and experts in your field, and participate in activities that will help you learn and scale your business.
- 3-month programs
- provides a $120K investment
- invested in more than 3,300 early-stage startups
- diverse portfolio of startups including HealthTech, FinTech, Web3, CleanTech, and more
- support with access to capital, mentoring, customer acquisition, talent, infrastructure, and more
- In-program activities such as workshops, masterclasses, pitch practices, founder stories and more
- New intake every 3 months
- application takes 2 – 5 hours
- 1 month response time after initial application
- 2nd stage team interview
- 3rd stage screening committee
Tech Stars is a big startup accelerator company that has been operating since 2006. They have an all-time graduate market cap of $79B which indicates a successful track record. Tech Stars’ accelerators are structured in 3-month increments and include a wealth of information and resources to get your feet off the ground. If you can make it through the rigorous 3-step application process, this accelerator would be a massive asset to your new company.
2. 500 Global
500 Global is a venture capital firm that runs a number of accelerators on a rolling basis year-round. This San Francisco based company invests in tech startups with its 4-month accelerator programs. With a network of over 5,000 founders, this tech accelerator has a robust support system that can help your startup take off at warp speed.
- invests in a variety of company types in the tech, Saas, media, and AI industries
- 4-month programs
- Global reach with 30-40% of startups outside the US
- standard accelerator deal: $150K in funding in return for 6% stake (minus $37,500 participation fee)
- curriculum based on marketing, culture, startup accounting, product design, sales, finance, and more
- network of 5,000+ founders, 200+mentors, distribution experts,
- learn how to fundraise
- branding and PR events run throughout the year
- Accepts applications on a rolling basis
- response to applications within a few weeks
- $37,500 participation fee that can be deducted from the accelerator investment
- can reapply more than once
500 Global is one of the largest and most well-connected venture capital firms in the world. Their program doesn’t just help startups on the financial front, they also provide a standard learning curriculum, access to over 200 mentors, and a massive network of founders, experts, and external resources. Like many startup accelerators, their network is the main benefit to new companies. Since they take applications year-round, and you can apply multiple times, there is no downside to putting your hat in the ring!
Muckerlab is a Los Angeles based venture capital firm that runs annual accelerator programs for tech companies all over the world. They pride themselves on limiting their cohort size, extending the length of their programs, and investing my resources into the success of their member companies. Typical accelerators run for 1 year and offer $100,000 to $175,000 of funding in exchange for 8% to 15% equity.
- 1-year programs
- cohort of 20 – 25 startups per year
- $100,000 to $175,000 in investment for 8% to 15% equity
- Helps companies at several stages in the startup journey – pre-seed, strategy reboot, spin-off ventures
- 300+ mentors
- programs focused on taking products to market, finding customer segments, implementing business models, generating revenue, scaling distribution channels, and raising venture capital
- over $8B raised in funding by Mucklab companies
- applications reviewed on a quarterly basis
- preference for fully formed teams with “building” experience
- can apply even if some funding is already secured
- can apply multiple times
This tech venture capital firm has a clear process and a track record of some very successful startups. They are very transparent about not every company getting into the program but are clear about their reasoning – selective investment.
While it is true that most startups fail, Muckerlab claims that many accelerators accept massive cohorts, screen for favorites, and let the rest fend for themselves. Instead, the Muckerlab approach is to support all of their startups equally.
For an involved 1-year accelerator, you can rest assured that Muckerlab will help your startup get where it needs to go.
Angelpad is a coast-to-coast seed stage accelerator operating out of both New York and San Francisco. Started in 2010, Angelpad has funded over 150 companies that have raised a total of $1.8B in funding. This tech accelerator firm runs programs every 6 months and has less than a 1% acceptance rate (15 out of 2000+ applicants).
- program focused on finding product market fit, defining target market, preparing for fundraising, and preparing for investor meetings
- 15 team cohorts selected every 6 months
- 3-month program
- $120,000 investment
- program offers mentorship, community, and access to investors
- tech business focused
- submit a written application and a video
Angelpad is another highly regarded tech startup accelerator that only lets in a few companies per year. However, you can’t argue with their notoriety – being ranked #1 accelerator in the US by MIT/Brown University.
Since AngelPad only lets in 15 teams per intake, you can rest assured that you will be getting the full attention of their mentorship and support team.
The accelerator program runs for 3 months twice per year so if you want any chance to get in, apply right away!
Dreamit is a tech-focused venture fund that runs 2-week startup sprints for customer and investor exposure. These 2-week sprints give your startup access to Dreamit’s network of prospective customers and investors as well as guidance and mentorship from former founders and experts.
- focused on healthtech, securetech, and urbantech startups
- portfolio of 300+ startups since 2008
- 2-week customer sprints 4 times per year – pitch 15 – 25 executive-level decision-makers
- one-on-one meetings with interested investors – pitch 20 – 30 investors
- mentorship from a team of former founders and domain experts
- online application form
- looking for companies with revenue or pilots and are ready to scale
The main benefit of the Dreamit 2-week sprint is to make introductions between promising startups and customers and investors. When you go through the sprint program, your tech company will inevitably get exposure to some big names in your market as well as get some practice dialing in your presentation.
The application process is simple and straightforward – as long as you have proof of market fit, you have a shot at using Dreamit’s fast-paced accelerator program to skyrocket customer acquisition and secure next-round funding.
6. Fintech Innovation Lab
The 12-week Fintech Innovation Lab startup accelerator is a highly competitive but highly valuable program. Fintech startups are exposed to a wealth of prospective customers, investors and mentors over the course of the program.
- 3 program locations – New York, London, Asia Pacific
- 12-week program
- focused on early to growth-stage fintech startups
- 270 alumni companies with a total of $2.7B in capital raised
- offers guidance from international mentors, industry experts, and a network of fintech founders
- present your product on demo day to top executives and investors within the financial services and technology industries
- no application fee
- highly competitive
- senior executives from partner financial institutions actively involved in cohort selection
- proof of customer integration required
Fintech Innovation Lab makes it hard to get into their accelerator program, but they make it worth your while. Because partner institutions are involved in the selection process, you can be sure that there is buy-in on your startup’s success from the beginning.
Your startup gets guidance and exposure to a massive international network of investors, prospects, and mentors that are already interested in your product. It’s free to apply, so might as well get on it!
7. Alchemist Accelerator
The Alchemist Accelerator program is a structured path for early stage startups to acquire fundraising and customer interest. This 6-month intensive program has a preset curriculum of info sessions and mentorship, as well as high flexibility for founders to grow with their unique needs.
- Over 300 alumni companies raising $1.2B in total capital
- San Francisco and Munich program hubs
- 6-month program with cohort of 25 teams
- $25,000 in funding for 5% of the company
- Structured program and curriculum including weekly check-ins, expert workshops, daylong gatherings, mentoring sessions,
- access to network of partner organizations
- demo day pitch to global investors
- Looking for early stage companies with fully functional teams
- apply any time and applications will be reviewed at time of each intake
- interviews conducted 2-weeks ahead of intake deadline
Alchemist Accelerator gives you a little less in funding, and takes a little more in equity, but gives you a robust 6-month program to fast-track your startup’s growth. The main benefit of this accelerator is its structured learning and goal-oriented programming. They only let in 25 teams twice a year, but this means you know they’re giving you their undivided attention. For early-stage startups that need a game plan to get some funds and some customers, Alchemist accelerator can help get you there.
What is a Startup Accelerator?
A startup accelerator is a program that provides resources and mentorship to early-stage startups. These programs typically last for a set period of time, during which startups receive intensive support from experienced entrepreneurs and investors. In exchange for this support, startups typically give up a small amount of equity in their company.
Startups that participate in an accelerator program often have access to office space, mentorship, and connections to potential customers and investors. Additionally, some of these programs provide funding for startups to help them get off the ground.
While accelerator programs can be extremely helpful for early-stage startups, not all startups are a good fit for these programs. Startups that are further along in their development may not need the intense level of support that accelerators provide.
Additionally, some accelerators may only work with startups in specific industries or with a particular business model. As a result, it’s important to research different programs to find one that’s a good match for your startup’s needs.
A startup accelerator is a great way to get your business off the ground. By providing resources, mentorship, and access to a network of investors, accelerators can give you the boost you need to succeed.
The best startup accelerators have a good mix of a strong track record of success, generous funding, and access to valuable resources.
Some accelerators spread their resources thin, accept large cohorts of participants, and treat their program like a competition where only the favorites rise to the top. Others hone in on promising companies from the beginning and provide equal support to all that are accepted.
Do your research, and make your pick, because it’s ultimately up to you to apply for the type of accelerator that will be the right fit.