10 of the Best Startup Accelerators

Global accelerators provide support for entrepreneurs and startups by providing a supportive environment and lots of funding. These programs offer mentorship and capital in exchange for equity. These programs are designed to assist start-ups in their growth over a three- to four-month period.

Accelerators offer startups, in addition to the investment, free office space, management, and business consulting, feedback on their product, and access to investors through a demo day.

Best Accelerators for Startups Based on Number of Exits

1 Y- combinator United States 2005 Early Stage Funding, Accelerator, Private Equity
2 Tech stars United States 2006 Startup Communities, Accelerators, Mentorship
3 500 Start-ups Silicon Valley 2010 Startup Communities, Technology Startups, VC
4 Plug & Play Sunnyvale, CA 2006 Private Equity, VC, Networking
5 MassChallenge Boston, Mass 2009 Accelerator focused on Fintech and Biotech
6 SOSV Princeton, NJ 1995 Accelerator, VC, Biotech, Food
7 Startup Bootcamp London, UK 2010 Agri-Tech, Food-Tech, Private Equity, Global
8 IIDF Moscow, Russia 2013 Accelerator, Cybersecurity, Retail
9 Wayra Slough, UK 2011 Accelerator Financed by Telefonica
10 Startup-Chile Santiago, Chile 2010 Seed Accelerator Created by the Chilean Govt

Demo days were when founders presented their pitch deck to a group of Angel Investors and representatives from Venture Capital firms. Check out the Peter Thiel pitch deck template for a winning deck.

When reviewing accelerator program applications, staff consider many common themes, including addressing a large customer base, having a bold idea, showing traction, or signs that the company can reach a milestone during the program. But the most important and most talked about theme is the team behind it.

It is difficult to get into these programs because the acceptance rate may be as low at 1.5%. For every 7,000 applicants, there will only be 106 places available. Harvard’s acceptance rate is 5.1%, while Stanford’s is 5.1%.

Success is determined by the number of exits

 


1) Y Combinator

Number of investments: 18344

Number of exits: 192

Mountain View, California, USA

About:

Y Combinator is a leader in the startup accelerator market. The accelerator invests $120k each year in new startups. This number was reduced to decrease friction among founders. The companies it has worked with have a total valuation of more than $100B. The most prominent include Stripe, Stripe and Reddit. Twitch, Twitch and Coinbase are just a few.

2) Techstars

Number of investments: 1,557

Number of exits: 134

Location: Boulder Colorado USA

About:

Techstars mentors, funds and accelerates startups. The accelerator program has helped to create over 1,000 companies worth more than $8B. Techstars is behind Startup Week, Startup Weekend and Startup Week. These programs encourage entrepreneurs to get rid of procrastination and launch new ventures within hours.

 

3) 500 Startups

1,694 investments

Number of exits: 162

Mountain View, California, USA

About:

500 Startups is a seed- and early-stage venture capital fund. It consists of 13 micro funds and 4 major funds that have invested in startups in at most 60 countries. Credit Karma and Udemy are two examples of funded startups. Exits include sales to Rakuten and Google. 500 Startups recently received equity from Abu Dhabi Financial Group, giving them one of the two seats on its board.

 

4) Plug-and-Play

Investments: 731

Number of exits: 61

Location: Sunnyvale, California, USA

About:

Plug and Play Ventures invested 51% in pre-seed ventures. It has achieved 8 exits in 2017, invested 262 startups last year, and holds daily networking events. According to reports, the accelerator’s in-house Venture Capitalist is willing to write checks ranging from $25,000 to $500,000. The portfolio companies it manages have raised $7B.

5) MassChallenge

Investments: 1,387

Number of exits: 39

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

About:

MassChallenge is headquartered in Boston but has programs in Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, and the UK. The accelerator claims that its startups have created over 80,000 jobs in the last 8 years. It appears that the program is heavily focused on Fintech and Biotech.

6) SOSV

Number of investments: 1,152

Number of exits: 23

Location: Princeton (New Jersey), USA

About:

SOSV closed its third round of funding in January 2017 for $150M. Sean O’Sullivan founded the ‘acceleratorVC’. He believes in creating real products and not digital ones. It is popular among biotech and food startups because it has access to real labs, maker spaces, and other resources.

7) Startupbootcamp

Investments: 424

Number of exits: 21

London, UK

About:

Startupbootcamp offers IOT, Fintech and Foodtech programs all over the globe, from Singapore to London, Mexico City to Dubai, Dublin, Dubai, and Amsterdam. Startupbootcamp has helped to accelerate startups with an average funding amount 1.168M euros.

8) Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF)

Investments: 335

Number of exits: 21

Moscow, Russia

About:

The accelerator specializes on startups in Cybersecurity and Retail, Adtech Adtech, Edutech and Big Data. The basic online program has over 4,500 participants each year. There are also 20,000 attendees at hackathons and events.

9) Wayra

Number of investments: 960

Number of exits: 18

Slough, Buckinghamshire (UK)

About:

Wayra was founded in Latin America and expanded to Spain after which it launched in the UK. Telefonica, one of the largest telecommunications companies worldwide, finances the accelerator. Wayra invests up $50k in startups, boasting that 45% of its ventures are founded by women.

10) Chile

Investments: 837

Number of exits: 16xits

Santiago, Chile

About:

Startup-Chile is one of the fastest growing, most unique and active accelerator programs in the world. The Chilean government launched it to attract investment and entrepreneurs. Accepted entrepreneurs may receive equity-free funding up to $80k and other perks up to $100k. The S Factory is a pre-acceleration program that Start-Up Chile offers to female-led startups.

Success based on aggregate amount of dollars

Recently, I came across SeedDB data containing information about seed Accelerators and their portfolio of companies.

According to Seed-DB data, it is worth noting that the top ten accelerators worthy of mention in this category are:

  1. Y Combinator – $5B
  2. Techstars – $1B
  3. AngelPad – $493M
  4. DreamIT Ventures – $397M
  5. fbFund – $359M
  6. LaunchpadLA – $185M
  7. SeedCamp – $137M
  8. NYC SeedStart – $130M
  9. Amplify.LA – $57M
  10. Wayra – $44M

With all of this in mind, it’s important to mention that AngelPad was able to generate $493M using a fraction the portfolio companies than other top-tier accelerator programs.

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