There is a lot of buzz about startups in the past few years, including the best startup accelerators. What are they? How do they actually work? What’s their purpose? Which one is the best for my startup? And how can you join one?
These and other questions, I’ll answer in today’s blog post.
Ready to accelerate?
What are startup accelerators?
A startup accelerator is a cohort-based program that includes seed investments, mentorship, sales, connections, etc.
The main goal of startup accelerators is to enable startups to participate in a public pitch event, attract investors, access valuable mentors and find funding.
Contrary to business incubators, the focus of startup accelerators is small teams, not individuals, and the application process is open to anyone. Still, keep in mind that it’s not always easy to get in, because the process can be quite competitive.
The first prominent startup accelerator is Y Combinator, founded in 2005 by Paul Graham. Since then, the number of accelerators have skyrocketed. According to some data, there are more than 7,000 startup accelerators and incubators today.
Why you should consider joining a startup accelerator?
Firstly, it’s the money and access to capital. For instance, startup accelerators often provide seed money in exchange for equity in the company.
Secondly, you’ll get to learn from the experts. Mentorship, workshops, seminars, and conferences will help you to stay focused and tap into knowledge you can’t find online. You’ll also have an opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs, brainstorm and share ideas. Pitch to attract potential investors. The sheer quality of connections you make are priceless.
Additionally, you’ll be surrounded with much-needed support. Law companies, CFO services. And even highly skilled individuals are interested in advising early-stage startups. Moreover, some accelerators even focus on a specific industry or niche.
Finally, most startup accelerators end their programs with a so-called, demo day. During this process, startups pitch or follow-on investments from local or global Venture Capitalist (VCs). For the team, this means building the first iteration of their startup and presenting it to the world.
Now that you know what are startup accelerators and why you should join one, let’s take a look at some of the best accelerators around.
5 best startup accelerators
Antler – Early-Stage VC and Tech Startup Generator
According to its website, Antler’s mission is to “identify and invest in exceptional people. We’re a global startup generator and early-stage VC firm that builds groundbreaking technology companies.”
Antler is looking for motivated founders with work experience, and with knowledge in their area of expertise. Their list of notable alumni includes companies such as Airalo, Bookself, Equality Check, xNomad.
They have locations all over the world, including Amsterdam, Singapore, Sydney, Nairobi, New York and more. I’m personally an advisor for the Amsterdam cohort. Whereas I consult founders on growth hacking and blockchain.
Startupbootcamp – Helping Ambitious Founders Scale
Ranked by Forbes as one of the top 10 startup accelerators based on the number of exits. Startupbootcamp (SBC) has helped more than 600 companies to find the necessary funding that is used to kickstart and scale their businesses.
Focusing on industries such as IOT, Fintech, Insurtech and Foodtech, the accelerator worked with some notable names including Schiphol, Cisco, Munich Re, and others.
Several founders I know went through the SBC program in Amsterdam with their startups. Located in the prestigious co-working space B. Amsterdam, this accelerator will help you reach the next level of entrepreneurship.
Y Combinator – one of the oldest startup accelerators
Founded in 2005, Y Combinator has funded over a whooping 2,000 startups, including household names such as Airbnb, Dropbox, and Reddit.
For early-stage startups, Y Combinator has a biannual 3-month program. During the program startup teams relocate to Silicon Valley to work closely with their team. Furthermore, Y Combinator gives $150,000 in funding in exchange for 7% equity.
AngelPad – proudly stating they’re different
Ranked as the Top U.S Accelerator by MIT’s Seed Accelerator Benchmark every year since 2015, AngelPad has an impressive track record. So far, the accelerator worked with more than 150 companies with an average funding of 11 million USD for each.
On their list of notable alumni, you can find companies like Postmates, Buffer, and AllTrails.
Chinaccelerator – leading startup accelerator in China
The mentorship-driven program Chinaccelerator has successfully funded startups from 25 countries. Not to mention that their program includes three months of training, guidance, and working with mentors to achieve goals.
One of their most prominent clients is Launchpilots, a platform that connects brands with university students.
Startup accelerators can be a huge push for your team and boost your startup. They can provide you with guidance, mentorship, trainings, and workshops that will help you reach your goals even faster.
The choice is wide, so I suggest you go through the above-mentioned accelerators and pick the one aligned with your needs.
If you are struggling to find out which one to apply for or need some support with the application process to increase your chances of getting accepted, let me know.
Always happy to help!