15 Best Business Accelerators

Benjamin Debonneville
Founder & CEO
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Startup accelerators help companies grow in their initial stages through mentorship, funding, and resources. There are over 8,000 startup accelerators around the globe and guess what? Companies that join these programs have a 23% higher chance of sticking around compared to those that don't.

Big names like Airbnb, Dropbox, and Stripe? They all got a boost from accelerators in their early days. These programs aren't just about money; they offer guidance, mentorship, and access to the networks of industry leaders.

If you're a budding entrepreneur hungry for growth, you're in the right spot. In this guide, we'll explore some of the best startup accelerators around the world.

15 Best Business Accelerators for Startups

With so many startup accelerators out there, picking the best can be tricky for founders. Don't worry, we've sorted it for you.

Here are the top 15 accelerators for various sectors and business stages.

1. AngelPad

AngelPad, with bases in NYC and San Francisco, stands tall as the #1 U.S. Accelerator, a title it's held since 2015 according to MIT's Seed Accelerator Benchmark.

Since its inception in 2010, AngelPad has launched over 150 companies, with an impressive total funding of $2.2 billion. On average, each AngelPad company secures over $14 million in funding.

Their approach is unique: instead of expanding rapidly, they focus on a select 15 teams every six months, dedicating three intense months to each. The goal? To work closely on product-market fit, target markets, and investor meetings.

AngelPad’s track record speaks volumes for itself, with almost 10% of its companies valued over $100 million.

Best Suited for Startups:

  • High-growth Startups: AngelPad targets startups with the potential for rapid expansion and significant market impact.
  • Tech Startups: From AI to drones, AngelPad is the go-to for startups in diverse tech sectors, aiming for large-scale solutions.
  • Startups Seeking Mentorship: With hands-on guidance, AngelPad offers tailored advice, ensuring startups get the specific help they need.

2. Techstars

Techstars, founded in 2006, stands as a global powerhouse for early-stage startups. With a presence in over 15 countries, it's renowned for its mentorship-driven programs.

Boasting a portfolio market cap of $98.4B, Techstars has invested in over 3,700 startups since its inception.

Each year, 500 chosen startups benefit from a 3-month intensive accelerator, receiving $120K investment and invaluable mentorship. The results? Startups under Techstars' wing, on average, raise a staggering $1.0M post-program.

Notable alumni include giants like SendGrid, Outreach, and ClassPass. With its vast network and resources, Techstars remains a top choice for startups aiming for the stars.

Best Suited for Startups:

  • Tech-Oriented Ventures: Techstars specializes in nurturing tech startups, from AI to Web3, ensuring they thrive in the digital age.
  • High-Growth Aspirants: Startups with visions of rapid expansion find a perfect ally in Techstars, given its history of scaling ventures.
  • First-Time Entrepreneurs: New to the startup world? Techstars provides the mentorship, network, and resources to turn visions into reality.

3. Microsoft Accelerator

Emerging from the tech giant's umbrella, Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub has been a beacon for startups since 2013. With a presence in 14 countries, they've championed over 1,000 startups, offering up to $150,000 in Azure credits and unparalleled AI tools.

But it's not just about technology. Microsoft ensures startups get 1:1 expert guidance, from technical road mapping to go-to-market strategies. Their global reach means startups tap into a vast network of mentors, investors, and industry leaders.

With a whopping $98.4B portfolio market cap, their commitment to fostering innovation is evident.

Whether you're a budding entrepreneur or an established startup, Microsoft's accelerator offers the resources, mentorship, and technology to supercharge your journey.

Best Suited for Startups:

  • Cloud-Based Ventures: Microsoft specializes in nurturing startups focused on cloud technologies, ensuring they soar in the digital realm.
  • Lean Startups: Those operating with minimal waste and maximum efficiency find a perfect ally in Microsoft's accelerator.
  • Innovative Tech Pioneers: Startups pushing the boundaries of technology, especially in AI, benefit from Microsoft's vast resources and expertise.

4. Y Combinator

Y Combinator (YC) is known for catapulting companies like Airbnb and Dropbox to success. With a staggering $600 billion combined valuation of its funded startups, YC offers a significant $500,000 investment to each accepted company.

It's a place where age or revenue doesn't limit potential; over half of YC's billion-dollar companies had no revenue or were founded by under-28s when they applied. YC's approach is all about intense focus and support, helping startups refine their products and secure further funding.

With a 39% success rate in securing Series A funding and 4% of its companies reaching billion-dollar status, YC's influence is undeniable. They don't just invest; they guide, connect, and provide invaluable resources worth over $500,000.

YC is a beacon for startups, offering a clear path to growth and success without demanding board seats or hefty equity.

Best Suited for Startups

  • High-Growth Potential: Startups with big dreams and the drive to scale rapidly will find YC's resources and network invaluable.
  • Tech-Focused Ventures: Technology startups, especially those at the cutting edge, will benefit from YC's expertise and industry connections.
  • Early-Stage Companies: Seed-stage startups looking for guidance, funding, and a launchpad will thrive in YC's nurturing environment.

5. Launchpad LA

Launchpad LA is a leading startup accelerator located in sunny Santa Monica, California. Recognized as the top accelerator in Southern California, Launchpad LA has been instrumental in fostering the growth of numerous startups.

Since its inception in 2009, they've invested between $25k to $100k in startups, providing them with a prime office space just a block away from the beach.

The stats speak for themselves: they've funded 54 startups, with 14 successful exits, amassing a total funding of $140 million. Beyond the financial support, startups benefit from an extensive network of mentors, investors, and advisors.

Launchpad’s commitment to nurturing startups is evident in the 446 jobs they've created and the impressive $106 million raised by their mentored companies.

Best Suited for Startups

  • Tech-Driven Ventures: Startups focusing on innovative technology solutions will thrive with Launchpad LA's expertise and resources.
  • Early to Mid-Stage Companies: If you're beyond just an idea but haven't hit Series A, Launchpad LA can propel your growth.
  • Startups Open to Relocation: Being in Santa Monica is key. If you're willing to move to LA, you'll benefit from the local network and resources.

6. Orbit Startups

Orbit Startups is one of Asia's top startup accelerators based in Shanghai, China, dedicated to propelling startups in emerging and frontier markets.

With a strong foundation in high-growth regions like China and India, Orbit emphasizes rapid iteration and market feedback. They've impressively invested $70 million, with their portfolio raising a whopping $728 million post-investment.

Orbit's vast network includes over 500 mentors globally and 180 corporate partners. Their commitment is unwavering; even if a startup faces challenges, Orbit remains a steadfast supporter, often being the first to invest in the founders' subsequent ventures.

With a track record of funding startups from 40 countries, they've become a beacon for global entrepreneurial talent.

Best Suited for Startups:

  • Emerging Market Focus: Startups targeting growth in emerging and frontier markets will benefit from Orbit's expertise and network.
  • Tech-Driven Ventures: Companies leveraging technology for scalable solutions find a nurturing environment at Orbit.
  • Global Ambitions: Whether you're from China or any of the 40 countries they've funded, Orbit welcomes startups with a global vision.

7. Alchemist Accelerator

Alchemist Accelerator is one of the top programs in Silicon Valley, California, dedicated to boosting startups that earn from other businesses.

Since its inception in 2012, Alchemist has propelled over 500 startups, with 52% securing funding after graduation. They've amassed a staggering $2.1 billion in total funding. The accelerator offers a unique six-month program, welcoming startups from anywhere but holding events in hubs like San Francisco, Memphis, and Munich.

With a vast network of over 3,000 mentors and 5,000 investors, Alchemist stands out as a beacon for startups aiming to collaborate with large enterprises.

Their impressive track record includes startups like Wise.io, Assemblage, and Mobilespan, which have achieved significant success post-acceleration.

Best Suited for Startups

  • Enterprise-Focused: Startups aiming to earn revenue from other businesses thrive in Alchemist's tailored environment.
  • Early-Stage Ventures: Young startups seeking guidance, mentorship, and a boost in their journey find Alchemist's program invaluable.
  • Global Ambitions: Startups from anywhere in the world, looking to tap into the Silicon Valley ecosystem, benefit from Alchemist's vast network.

8. 500 Global

500 Global is not just a venture capital firm but also a beacon for early-stage startups through its globally recognized accelerator programs. With $2.4 billion in assets, they've been pivotal in shaping the future of over 2,800 startups across the globe.

Their accelerator programs, known for their excellence, have been the stepping stone for many startups, guiding them from nascent stages to significant valuations.

In fact, 35+ of these startups now boast a valuation of over $1 billion. These programs offer startups a blend of mentorship, funding, and a vast network of resources.

With a presence in over 30 countries and specialized programs tailored to various regions, 500 Global ensures that startups, no matter where they are, have the tools to soar.

Best Suited for Startups:

  • Tech-Driven Ventures: Startups leveraging technology for innovative solutions find a nurturing environment at 500 Global.
  • Global Ambitions: With a presence in 30+ countries, it's ideal for startups aiming for a global footprint.
  • Early-Stage Startups: Those in their initial phases benefit from 500 Global's vast resources and mentorship.

9. Seedcamp

Seedcamp, based in London, is Europe's leading startup accelerator, dedicated to transforming early-stage startups into global powerhouses. Since its inception in 2007, Seedcamp has been a beacon for innovation, investing in over 470 startups, including 10 European unicorns such as Hopin, Wise, and Revolut.

Unlike traditional accelerators that offer short-term programs, Seedcamp provides long-term support, guiding startups throughout their entire journey. They pride themselves on being a startup's hyperconnected co-founders, offering invaluable insights, mentorship, and access to a vast network.

With a focus on tech-driven solutions, Seedcamp has successfully backed businesses that have disrupted industries and raised over $7 billion in follow-on funding.

Their commitment to fostering talent and innovation has solidified their reputation as Europe's go-to accelerator for ambitious tech startups.

Best Suited for Startups:

Global Ambition: Ideal for startups aiming to make a global impact, especially those using technology to solve widespread problems.

Early-Stage Ventures: Perfect for early-stage companies seeking guidance and support to navigate the initial challenges of business growth.

Tech-Driven Solutions: Suited for startups offering innovative tech solutions to large-scale issues, appealing to a broad audience.

10. MassChallenge

MassChallenge, founded in 2009 in Boston, is a global non-profit accelerator on a mission to solve massive challenges through innovation.

With a unique equity-free model, they support startups from diverse backgrounds, aiming to create meaningful change. They've accelerated nearly 3,000 startups, raising a whopping $8.6 billion in funding.

MassChallenge offers a four-month mentorship program across various locations, including Boston, Jerusalem, Mexico City, and Switzerland. Startups benefit from expert mentorship, resources, and the chance to compete for cash prizes.

With a focus on high-impact sectors, MassChallenge has been instrumental in the success of top companies like Kickstarter and Bitso. Their global reach and commitment to fostering innovation make them a top choice for startups aiming for transformative impact.

Best Suited for Startups:

  • High-Impact Innovators: Startups aiming to create significant change in industries and society.
  • Emerging Sectors: Especially those in fintech, health tech, and sports tech, looking for expert guidance.
  • Global Visionaries: Startups seeking a worldwide network and opportunities across multiple continents.

11. Google for Startups Accelerator

Google for Startups Accelerator is a global initiative designed to support growth-stage startups. With a unique equity-free model, startups receive tailored technical, product, and leadership training from Google's top experts.

Each accelerator program consists of 10-15 startups, collaborating to overcome specific technical challenges through a blend of remote and in-person sessions. Startups outline their top challenges and are matched with Google and industry experts to find solutions.

In 2022, startups in the Google for Startups community raised an impressive $7.8 billion. With a commitment to diversity, 39% of their alumni startups have a female founder.

Google's aim? To foster a global startup community that thrives, benefiting communities, economies, and Google itself.

Best Suited for Startups:

  • Technical Innovators: Startups leveraging advanced technologies, especially Machine Learning and AI.
  • Growth-Driven Ventures: Startups between Seed and Series A stage, aiming for rapid expansion.
  • Scalable Solutions: Businesses with a scalable product or service targeting a vast market.

12. AlphaLab

Founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, AlphaLab offers the best accelerator program for tech startups. Investing $100,000 in early-stage software companies, they offer a six-month program tailored to each founder's goals.

The first three months focus on setting goals, reviewing products, and planning customer acquisition. The next three months are about leveraging tools, preparing for fundraising, and showcasing the portfolio.

But the support doesn't end there! After the program, startups can get up to $800,000 from the Innovation Works seed fund and continue accessing AlphaLab's office space and events.

With 156 investments, over $700M in follow-on funding, and 15 successful exits, AlphaLab has proven its mettle in the startup world.

Best Suited for Startups:

  • Tech Enthusiasts: Startups diving deep into the world of technology, aiming for innovation and growth.
  • Game Changers: Ventures focusing on gaming, merging creativity with cutting-edge tech.
  • Software Pioneers: Companies developing unique software solutions, ready to disrupt the market.

13. Plug and Play Tech Center

Plug and Play Tech Center is a dynamic accelerator that connects innovative startups with leading corporations. With over 100 industry-focused accelerator programs in more than 50 locations globally, they invest in over 250 companies a year.

Their network includes 50,000 startups, 500+ corporations, and numerous venture capital firms, universities, and government agencies.

Plug and Play focuses on driving innovation in over 20 industries, including Advanced Manufacturing, Agtech, Animal Health, Brand & Retail, Crypto & Digital Assets, and Energy.

Their approach includes defining focus areas, calling for startups, selecting the top 10%, and choosing startups for Selection Day. With a global reach and numerous success stories, Plug and Play is building the world's leading innovation platform.

Best Suited for Startups:

  • Tech Innovators: Startups creating groundbreaking technology, eager to connect with industry giants.
  • Growth-Driven Ventures: Companies focused on rapid expansion and scaling their innovative solutions.
  • Stage-Agnostic Startups: Ventures at any stage, from seed to Series C and beyond, looking for investment and growth.

14. Highline Beta

Highline Beta, founded in 2014, is more than just an accelerator. It's a unique blend of Venture Capital, Venture Studio, and Enterprise Innovation Services.

With its roots in Toronto and branches in Vancouver and New York City, Highline Beta has been a game-changer in the startup world.

They've funded 64 startups and witnessed 10 successful exits, and the collective worth of all their invested companies surpasses a whopping $765 million! Not just that, they've raised over $40.8 million in total funding.

Some of their shining stars include Meta, acquired by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and FameBit, which Google snapped up. If you're a startup aiming for the stars, Highline Beta might just be the rocket you need.

Best Suited for Startups:

  • Tech-Driven Ventures: Startups focusing on technology, aiming to disrupt the industry with innovative solutions.
  • Growth-Oriented Startups: Those ready to scale, seeking both investment and expert mentorship to achieve market leadership.
  • Collaborative Innovators: Startups open to co-creation, eager to partner with enterprises for mutual growth and success.

15. Founders Factory

Founders Factory, established in 2015, is the brainchild of visionary entrepreneurs Brent Hoberman, Henry Lane Fox, and George Northcott.

Located in the heart of London, it has expanded its reach to cities like New York, Berlin, and Singapore. With a whopping 300+ startups under its belt, Founders Factory has become a beacon for budding entrepreneurs.

They've made 125 investments and celebrated 13 exits, and their portfolio companies have raised an impressive $800 million in follow-on capital.

Whether you're in the ideation phase or ready to scale, Founders Factory offers capital, expert guidance, and a global network. Their unique blend of venture studios, accelerator programs, and a vast community makes them a standout choice for startups aiming for the stars.

Best Suited for Startups:

  • Innovative Beauty Ventures: Startups revolutionizing the beauty industry with fresh concepts and tech-driven solutions.
  • Fintech Pioneers: Those reshaping the financial sector with cutting-edge technologies and services.
  • Retail Revolutionaries: Startups aiming to redefine the retail landscape with novel approaches and digital innovations.

Why do Startups need Accelerator Programs?

Startups join accelerator programs to get help and grow faster. These programs

Key Benefits of Accelerator Programs for Startups:

  • Networking Opportunities: Accelerators introduce startups to industry professionals. This helps in forming valuable connections, potentially leading to partnerships and collaborations in the future.
  • Personalized Guidance: Accelerators understand that every startup is unique. They provide advice tailored to specific needs, ensuring the best growth path for each business.
  • Founders Collaboration: Within accelerators, startups work together. This environment encourages sharing ideas, leading to innovative solutions and strategies that can benefit all involved.
  • Funding Option: Beyond just advice, many accelerators offer financial support. This initial capital can be crucial for a startup's early operations and product development.
  • Learning Opportunities: Accelerators often host events, seminars, and workshops. These provide startups with knowledge of various aspects of business, from marketing to product development.
  • Investor Access: Accelerators are a gateway to potential investors. They offer startups the chance to pitch their ideas, increasing opportunities for further funding.
  • Skill Development: With mentors often being industry experts, startups can learn and enhance their skills, ensuring they're equipped for the challenges ahead.
  • Exposure to Market: Being part of an accelerator boosts a startup's visibility. This increased attention can attract both potential customers and investors.

Final Thoughts

In the early days of a startup, getting the right support can make a big difference. Accelerators offer this support, helping startups learn, grow, and find their place in the market. It's like a fast track to success!

By joining an accelerator that matches your startup's goals, you get the chance to learn a lot in a short time.

So, if you dream of quickly boosting your startup with expert advice and funding, an accelerator could be your next big step. It's like gaining years of knowledge in just a few months!

Benjamin gave great tips to my start-up Blend for polishing and optimising my pitch deck, refreshing perspective. Recommend!