Startup accelerators are becoming more and more popular these days. They provide startups with funding, mentorship, and connections to investors that are looking to invest in them. There are many different types of accelerators, each with its own unique set of rules and requirements. This article is about some of the top accelerator programs in the US & India respectively. We have segregated the accelerators based on their regional focus.
What is a Startup Accelerator?
A startup accelerator is an organization that provides seed funding and mentorship for early-stage startups. The goal of these programs is to accelerate the growth of businesses by providing access to capital, expertise, and networks.
Startup accelerators usually offer funding and other perks like office space, free food, etc. There are many different types of accelerator programs available today. Each one is designed to address a specific type of problem or need. For example, Y Combinator provides startups with money, mentorship, and office space. Techstars offers startups access to mentors and office space. And 500 Startups focuses on providing seed capital to early-stage companies. This list includes all of these types of accelerators, along with others that may not fit into any particular category.
The Most Popular Startup Accelerators in the US
AngelPad was founded in 2010 as a way to help entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. AngelPad is a seed-stage accelerator program based in NYC and San Francisco. It’s one of the oldest accelerators out there, but it has managed to stay at the forefront of innovation. AngelPad invests $100,000 into each company they fund. Their mentors include successful serial entrepreneurs like Thomas Korte and Carine Magescas. AngelPad works predominantly with enterprise products with their two founders mentoring all the startups personally.
Notable portfolio companies include: Buffer, CoverHound, MoPub, Postmates, Astrid, Drone Deploy, Ribbon, Pipedrive, Rolepoint and Vungle
MuckerLab offers capital and support for startups from anywhere in the world. MuckerLab is based in Los Angeles, the next Silicon Valley. MuckerLab helps entrepreneurs achieve market acceptance. As part of MuckerLab, entrepreneurs develop a product, identify customers and users, develop a business model, generate revenue, develop scalable/profitable distribution channels, augment their teams with complementary skills, and raise venture capital from investors. MuckerLab’s average client works with them for about 12 months – although the length of the program can range from 3 to 24 months depending on the company’s needs and progress.
MuckerLab generally invests between $100,000 to $175,00 for an 8-15% equity stake. Capital requirements and the state of the business affect the amount of investment and equity stake.
Notable portfolio companies include: Blueprint Title, Butter make friends, Dropoff, honey (acquired by PayPal), Inspectiv, Involve.ai
The Techstars seed accelerator was founded in Boulder, Colorado, in 2006. With a combined market capitalization of $18.2bn USD, the company had accepted more than 1,600 companies into its programs as of 2019. Less than 1% of over 17,000 applications are accepted on this highly competitive platform.
The current offer from Techstars is $20,000 plus a $100,000 convertible note, lifetime access to the Techstars network, $25,000 to $100,000 in AWS credits, and a three-month accelerator program, which combines mentorship, growth, and investment phases. Techstars, in exchange, receive a 6% common stock.
Notable portfolio companies include: Digital Ocean, SendGrid, Graphic.ly, Murfie, FullContact, Mocavo, Socialthing, Zagster, Next Big Sound
University of Chicago NVC
The New Venture Challenge (NVC) was established in 1996 by Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, and is one of the United States’ top accelerator programs. Over 370 startups have graduated from the Polsky Center’s NVC and thousands of jobs have been created. Over $1.2 billion has been invested in NVC startups and more than $8 billion has been raised in mergers and exits.
There are three phases to the accelerator program. Phase I of the program includes attending events hosted by the Polsky Center to learn about entrepreneurship, meet teammates, and generate ideas. The Phase II class will consist of enrolled teams developing a full business plan, practising pitching, and receiving mentorship from experienced investors, coaches and faculty. The NVC Finals will be held in Phase III, when top finalists will compete for one million dollars in cash and prizes, as well as pitch to a panel of investors and judges.
Notable portfolio companies include: Grubhub, Braintree/Venmo, and Simple Mills
Venture-backed Alchemist Accelerator aims to accelerate the development of early-stage ventures that build enterprise solutions. Alchemist has many celebrities on its mentor panel, including Vinod Khosla (co-founder of Sun Microsystems), Mike Olson (CEO & Co-founder, Cloudera), Elaine Wherry (Co-Founder & CXO, Meebo), and Adam Pisoni (Co-Founder & CTO, Yammer (MSFT)).
With over 3,000 faculty and mentors, and over 5,500 venture investors, Alchemist through its six-month program provides entrepreneurs with opportunities to connect with leading experts and gain exposure to the best resources available. Startups can find their early adopters through Alchemist’s partnerships with large enterprises.
Alchemist generally offers $25k in funding to 25 teams per class. They take 5.0% of equity, which is negotiable for later-stage companies.
Notable portfolio companies include: Creatify, Copyright Delta, Fixtender, Navvisa, Botco.ai, Inanna Fertility
Startup Accelerators in India
Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub – Bengaluru
Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub helps remove barriers between founders and Microsoft resources. It provides access to expertise, tools, and support as well as opportunities to connect with peers and industry leaders. Startup founders currently at the inspiration, prototyping and scaling stage are welcome to apply to this program.
Benefits include credits for Azure, Microsoft 365, GitHub Enterprise, Visual Studio Enterprise, Power Platform, Dynamics 365 and access to a rich network of mentors.
Website: Apply here
Catalyzer – Hyderabad
Catalyzer Startup Accelerator Program (CSA) is an intensive 101-day startup acceleration program designed specifically for early-stage companies looking to accelerate their business development by leveraging their mentorship network. CSA provides startups with access to mentors from top tier VCs, accelerators, and incubators who are ready to invest their time and expertise in helping them grow. Twice each year, Catalyzer selects between 10 and 20 startups for its Demo Day event. Startup companies selected for incubation receive funding from private investors who provide seed capital, workspace, IT facilities and other services.
If you’re a startup with innovative ideas, you can benefit from access to seed funding, office space, and mentors.
Amity Innovation Incubator – Noida
Amity Innovation Incubator (AII) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2006 and headquartered in Bangalore, India. AII provides incubation facilities to startups across various sectors including e-commerce, healthcare IT, mobile apps, social networking etc. It assists them in building sustainable companies. Amity Innovation Incubator provides a wide variety of support services for entrepreneurs including business planning, company formation, legal & IPR assistance, managerial support, technology support, etc.. You’ll get access to an amazing network of mentors who are willing to help with anything from starting up your own business to improving your existing one! To date, 100+ companies have been incubated by the incubator. All show significant financial and operational growth.
AIM Smart City Accelerator – New Delhi
The AIM Smart City Accelerators are an initiative by the Government of India to develop smart cities across India. They aim to provide solutions and services that improve the quality of life for citizens. This is done through the use of technology and innovation.
The cohort focuses on three key areas within smart cities — health, education, and clean energy. The accelerator provides chosen startups with deep industry connections, strategic mentorship, media exposure, design support, investment support, business acceleration, legal and statutory support, and access to government schemes.
The cohort runs for 20 weeks and to apply to the program, you need to have at least a rough prototype or an early proof of concept. Expansion stage companies may be too large for our purposes.
TLabs is both an incubator and a seed fund for India’s Internet and Mobile Technology Startups. They are different from others because they don’t just provide funding; they help companies grow by providing mentorship through their network of successful founders and CEOs. The 16-week accelerator program takes the startup through the various stages of development: hypothesis development, deep validation, strategic directions + traction, and finally, business and financial planning.
How many startup accelerators are there?
There are over 200 startup accelerators just in the United States. They differ in terms of their size, location, and focus. Some may be focused on a particular industry or sector while others have multiple focuses.
Which one should I choose?
This depends entirely on what you want out of your program. Do you need money? Are you looking for mentors? What kind of connections do you want to make? Where are you located? These questions will help you determine which accelerator would work best for you.
What is the difference between an accelerator and an incubator?
An accelerator provides funding for startups and helps them grow faster by providing mentorship and access to networks. They are usually focused on specific verticals such as healthcare, fintech, etc.
An incubator offers similar services without offering any equity. Instead, they provide space, office amenities, and other resources to startups.
In conclusion, we hope the list & FAQ help you find the right accelerator for your startup. We encourage you to check out all the programs listed above based on your requirements. If you know of any more great programs, please let us know in the comments below.