Top Startup Accelerators in the United States
The life of an entrepreneur can be a lonely one - it’s tough to seek out support when you also want to keep your idea close to the vest.
Most startup founders have mentors and friends they trust who provide casual support over espresso, but what if you need more?
Incubators tend to focus on innovation and disruption, but if you’re focused on growing your company, you may prefer the Accelerator model.
Startup accelerators are focused on scaling businesses by providing fixed-term, cohort-based programs that include seed investment, connections, mentorship, educational support, and even office space. Their network is designed to get the word out and drive sales.
Typically, these relationships are time-boxed for three to four months and culminate in “demo days” where companies can pitch to interested angel investors and venture capital firms.
Of course, choosing - and getting accepted by - the right accelerator can be overwhelming. Many have acceptance rates lower than Ivy League universities (yikes!).
But don’t despair, here are a few (amazing ones!) you might consider.
The pioneer in the startup accelerator space is Y Combinator. Located in Mountain View, Calif., the accelerator has more than 200 exits and more than 1,800 investments. Heard of Airbnb? Dropbox? Stripe? Reddit? Weebly. Yup, that was them. Each year they fund a group of startups with $120k each and entrepreneurs clamor for the coveted spots.
I did Y Combinator’s Startup School in 2017 for a social media / machine learning app I built with my cousin, Jerod. And let’s just say it was amazing! Highly recommend YC.
Also in Mountain View (a.k.a. the tech startup capital of the United States), is 500 Startups. Udemy and Credit Karma are alums of this seed and early-stage venture capital fund. They have four major funds and 13 minor ones which have invested more than 1,600 companies and have 162 exits and counting.
I have watched some of 500 Startups’ demo days and this accelerator really helps to produce some incredible tech teams and products.
Boulder, Colo., is home to Techstars whose accelerator program has produced more than 1,000 companies valued at more than $8B. Billion. With a “B.” If you are not ready to dive in yet, check out one of their events in 2020. They literally host mixers throughout the world (from Berlin, Paris and Montreal to SF, Austin and Boston).
If you have an “in real life” product, you might look to SOSV whose focus is broader than digital. They are located in Princeton, N.J., and promote their “real” labs in market spaces, which are popular with food-tech and biotech startups.
The Rest of the Best
(Note: This data is accurate as of 2019.)
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