Do they pave the path for startup success?
Are business accelerators the key to success for early-stage businesses and startups? Many entrepreneurs think so. Since the first accelerator, Y Combinator, was founded in the United States in 2005, the number of accelerators has increased dramatically. More than 180 accelerator programs worldwide have helped some 6,000 companies attract in excess of $22 billion in funding from all sources. Yet, not everyone agrees that participating in an accelerator guarantees that a startup will succeed.
Among the key takeaways:
Not all accelerators are equal: Startups should research their options before committing to an accelerator and, once accepted, be clear about what they want to gain from their experience.
Accelerators involve trade-offs: Entrepreneurs give up equity in return for seed money and a chance to pitch potential investors.
Joining an accelerator isn’t the only way to grow a new business. There are a number of free resources available to entrepreneurs.
Resources for Further Study
Deering, Luke, Matt Cartagena and Chris Dowdeswell, “Accelerate: Founder Insights Into Accelerator Programs,” FG Press, 2014. This comprehensive guide features 230 accelerator programs spread across 46 different countries.
Stross, Randall, “The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator,” Portfolio, 2013. A journalist offers a unique inside tour of the world of software startups.
“Startup competition guide: A Giant List of The Best Business Contests,” Grasshopper Blog, http://tinyurl.com/
Fallon, Nicole, “Accelerator Programs 101: How to Apply and What to Expect,” Business News Daily, June 5, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Hathaway, Ian, “What Startup Accelerators Really Do,” Harvard Business Review, March 1, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/
Wasik, John F., “Help for a Business Idea Trying to Catch Fire,” The New York Times, Oct. 12, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/
Reports and Studies
“Creating Inclusive High-Tech Incubators and Accelerators: Strategies to Increase Participation Rates of Women and Minority Entrepreneurs,” JPMorgan Chase & Co and the Institute for a Competitive Inner City, http://tinyurl.com/
Dempwolf, C. Scott, Jennifer Auer and Michelle D’Ippolito, “Innovation Accelerators: Defining Characteristics Among Startup Assistance Organizations,” Small Business Administration, October 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Hathaway, Ian, “Accelerating growth: Startup accelerator programs in the United States,” Brookings Institution, Feb. 17, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/
The Next Step
MacBride, Elizabeth, “Dubai Has $300 Million To Entice The World’s Best Startups To Its Accelerator,” Forbes, Dec. 29, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/
Theis, Michael, “Accelerator raises millions to help immigrants start Austin businesses,” Austin Business Journal, Dec. 21, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/
Vanian, Jonathan, “Samsung Pumping Millions into Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality Startups,” Fortune, Jan. 4, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/
Ciecko, Brendan, “Museums, startups and accelerators… oh, my!” TechCrunch, Jan. 2, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/
Collins, Terry, “Startups now have a direct connect with NFL players,” CNET, Dec. 10, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/
Smith, Ryan K., “Bitcoin-Based Startup Aims to ‘Decolonize’ the Diaspora,” Ebony, Oct. 20, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/
In the past five years, AngelPad helped launch more than 130 companies.
Brand Entrepreneurs Bootcamps
The group offers free daylong sessions providing practical advice for startups in New York City, Boston, San Francisco and Washington.
3401 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; or 116 W. Houston St., 3rd floor, New York, NY 10012
This accelerator has made 210 investments in 194 companies.
444 Castro St., Suite 1200, Mountain View, CA 94041; or 814 Mission St., 6th floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
This accelerator manages $200 million in assets and invests in more than 1,300 technology startups.
International House – Rainmaking Loft, 1 St. Katharine’s Way, London, E1W 1UN
This was the first accelerator in Europe.
1050 Walnut St., Suite 202, Boulder, CO 80302
Located in multiple cities including Austin, Texas, New York City, London and Berlin.
320 Pioneer Way, Mountain View, CA 94041
The original accelerator, it has funded more than 1,200 startups since 2005 and typically invests $120,000 in each.