8 Startup Accelerators To Get You Through The First Phase
Are you starting a startup? And want it to be a winner? Then get into an accelerator.
Startup Accelerators help speed up the growth and success of startups by providing them with seed funding, mentoring, training and connections.
One of the biggest benefits of going through these accelerators is having access to knowledgeable mentors, most of them are seasoned entrepreneurs, experienced investors, or individuals with considerable expertise in their field to give feedback and offer guidance.
Startup Accelerators do not have a fixed curriculum and attract early stage startups through an open application process every few months, in exchange for a stake in each company.
Getting to these incubators isn’t very easy as they get thousands of applications every year. Fewer than 1% of the companies that applies to TechStars are accepted while Y Combinator’s acceptance rate is lower than Harvard’s. If you don’t get into a startup accelerator on your first attempt, don’t be disheartened. Try again.
While there are hundreds of accelerators to choose from, not all are created equal. Some are still yet to demonstrate what value they provide in return for the equity they take.
I have compiled a list of 8 well-reputed startup accelerators to get you through the first phase. They are listed in no specific order.
1. Y Combinator
Y Combinator is undoubtedly the most famous and successful incubator on the planet. It boasts companies like Airbnb, Stripe, Reddit and Dropbox as alumni who have been funded and supported by it. Since 2005, it has funded 700 startups and the combined valuation of all of these companies is now over $30 billion.
Y Combinator runs two three-month funding cycles a year, one from January through March and one from June through August. They ask the founders of each startup they fund to move to Bay Area for the duration. Each cycle ends in an event called Demo Day, at which the startups present to world’s top startup investors.
500 Startups was founded by Dave McClure in 2011 and run a four months accelerator programs in Mountain View, San Francisco, and Mexico City. They invest $100k in exchange for 7% equity and charge a $25K program fee for a net $75K investment. Startups who get accepted also gets an access to the 500 Startups network (often refer to as the “500 Family”) consists of over 1000 company founders and over 200 mentors.
500 Startups is ranked as one of the top 5 accelerator programs worldwide and one of the most active seed-stage investors in the universe.
Notable startups include Wildfire, The Muse, 9GAG, Chalkable, Perkhub, and Chewse.
TechStars is a mentorship-driven startup accelerator founded by David Cohen, Brad Feld, David Brown, and Jared Polis. TechStars offers three months programs for startups in Boulder, New York City, Boston, Seattle, San Antonio, Austin, Chicago and London. It provides $118,000 in seed investment upon acceptance for 7-10% equity.
Near the end of the three-month program, TechStars will organize an Investor Demo Day where startups will pitch to top angel investors and venture capitalists. The average Techstars companies raise more than $2M after demo day.
Companies that have gone through the program include SendGrid, Occipital, Orbotix, CrowdTwist, and OnSwipe.
DreamIt Ventures select up to 15 companies to participate in programs held in Austin, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. DreamIt Ventures invitation will include a $25,000 stipend and in return, they take a 6% equity stake. DreamIt Health program participants receive $50,000 in seed funding per company for an 8% equity stake.
Since 2008, they have launched 156 companies who have gone on to raise over $176M and have an enterprise value greater than a half a billion dollars.
Notable startups include Adaptly, ShowMe, Parsely, SeatGeek, and MindSnacks.
Seedcamp is a Europe based accelerator that was launched in 2007 by a group of 30 European investors. Their investments range from $0-250K and they don’t take more than 10% of a company. Seedcamp’s program consists of monthly events (mainly across Europe).
At each event shortlisted startups gain pitch training, mentoring and then compete for investment from Seedcamp by pitching in front of venture capitalists and angel investors.
Notable startups include MobClix, Crashpadder, and RentMineOnline.
AngelPad is a seed-stage startup incubator, launched in 2010 by Thomas Korte with six former Google employees.
Twice a year, AngelPad offers an extensive ten-week mentorship program to selected startups in San Francisco (during the spring) and New York City (during the fall). Since launching in 2010, AngelPad companies have raised over $200m in funding and generated over $400m in exit value.
Notable startups include Mopub, Adku, Vungle, Buffer, and Astrid.
Capital Factory is an early stage accelerator program for tech startups that provides seed capital and weekly mentoring sessions by entrepreneurs who have founded successful companies. The program is capped by a demo day with 250 investors in September. For the 10 weeks of the program, each team receives $20,000, office space, and brand and logo development as well as accounting, banking, help with PR, and legal aid. In exchange, Capital Factory asks a 2-5 % equity stake.
It is based in Austin, Texas and interested startups can apply to the Accelerator at any time. There is no such deadline.
Launchpad LA was founded as a mentorship organization in 2009 by Mark Suster and Adam Lilling. In late 2011, Launchpad went from a mentorship organization to a full-on accelerator offering funding and office space.
LaunchPad invests up to $100,000 in each accepted company. For the first $50,000, Launchpad receives 6% common stock. For the second $50,000, which is the company can opt to take or decline, is offered as a convertible note with a maximum valuation cap.
It is based in Santa Monica and notable startups include Chromatik, Pose, Sometrics, and Cramster.
[Photo: Fangible, Gratisography]