Top startup accelerators have grown in recent years not only in number but also in relevance. Analysts define accelerators as “a fixed-term, cohort-based program including mentorship and educational components, that culminates in a public pitch event or demo day.” In short, an accelerator is a program that brings in multiple companies, puts them through basically a semester of training and guidance then connects those companies with potential investors at the end. More and more of these accelerators have been popping up recently and some of them are producing successful companies making them very attractive to entrepreneurs looking to grow a venture-backed company.
Heading into 2017, there are a few top startup accelerators that stand out above the rest — I’ll highlight them here in no particular order.
Location: Mountain View, CA; San Francisco; Mexico City
Program Length: 4 months
Class Size: 40-50 companies
With a focus on tech, 500 Startups has been able to invest in over 1,600 companies since 2010. Acceptance into the 500 seed program comes with a net $112,500 investment for 6% stake in your company. It also comes with access to 500’s long list of mentors with broad and diverse ranges of experience. The mentors will work closely with each company during the 4-month program at the chosen headquarters.
Apply here: http://500.co/seed-program/
PS – feel free to get in touch with us for an intro
Location: New York City; San Francisco
Program Length: 3 months
Class Size: 12 companies
AngelPad is a product of husband and wife Thomas Konte and Carine Magescas. Their approach is to work closely with each company in their program. They stick to this approach by keeping it simple and preferring high-quality individual mentorship over a long roster of mentors. While other programs will bring in many other mentors, Thomas and Carine will personally dig in and grind with each company at their New York City office during an intense 3-month session with occasional trips to San Francisco.
Apply here: https://angelpad.org/more/
Location: Mountain View, CA
Program Length: 3 months (2 classes a year)
Class Size: Approximately 100 startups per class
When it comes to startup accelerators, Y Combinator, or YC for short, has lead the way for years (as you can see from their Notable Alumni). They offer a standard deal to all applicants – a $120k investment in return for 7% of the company. The program includes office hours that allow team members to meet individually and in groups with YC partners for advice. Participants are also exposed to weekly dinners where guests from the powerful Silicon Valley ecosystem (like Zuck) speak to the founders.
Apply here: https://www.ycombinator.com/apply/
Location: San Francisco
Program Length: 6 months
Class Size: 17 companies
Alchemist Accelerator is focused solely on startups that get their revenue from enterprises, or enterprise startups. Participants will receive an average net investment of $36k in the form of a convertible note. This program operates out of San Francisco but is not as hands on as the others because all events (except for demo day) are optional. Teams will have access to but will not be forced into taking advantage of a network of mentors with specific enterprise experience. Alchemist has received investments from funds like Cisco and Andreessen Horowitz, among others.
Apply here: http://alchemistaccelerator.com/learn-more/
Location: Los Angeles
Program Length: 4-8 months
Class Size: Approximately 14 companies
Amplify focuses on tech companies in Los Angeles — participants will have access to workspace at their office in Venice Beach. They take a much more flexible approach by providing varying terms based on the needs of individual participants. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis, the amount of investment varies between $50-250k and participants can stay for 4-8 months depending on how much time they need. Amplify hosts smaller, more frequent “investor showcases” (instead of one demo day at the end of the program) where a few investors come by and have one-on-one meetings with participants.
Apply here: http://amplify.la/apply
Location: Los Angeles
Program Length: 3-24 months
Class Size: 10 companies per year
MuckerLab is a boutique style accelerator that works very closely with a small number of hand-picked participants. This program also offers flexible equity terms to participants — $21-150K for a 7-12% stake. MuckerLab has had success with its companies because its philosophy values high quality over quantity.
Apply here: https://angel.co/mucker-lab-2017/apply
Now more than ever, entrepreneurs are fighting to get their companies into top startup accelerators because of the valuable mentorship and training structure that comes with the various programs. More and more top startup accelerators are popping up and offering slightly different terms and perks, but the goal is generally the same: creating an environment where top talent can come together to collaborate and tackle problems together in the early stages of their company before connecting participants with potential investors. As we head into 2017, there is no reason to think that accelerators will slow down.
Written By: Stephen Schlett