10 Accelerators Helping Startups Grow to the Next Level

Admission to an accelerator program offers help every startup founder can use.

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By Serenity Gibbons


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The increasing number of startups is related to more than the economy growing again. It's a chicken-and-egg scenario. It's unclear which came first, the rise in startup accelerators or the number of startup founders looking for help. What we do know is that there are new accelerators and incubators popping up around the world to help these startup founders develop their ideas into viable businesses.

Startup accelerators provide advice, resources, events, connections and mentoring beginning in the early stages of a startup. While some startup accelerators specialize in certain industries or technology, others are willing to assist all types of startups. Admission to an accelerator program doesn't guarantee success but it is offers help every startup founder can use. Consider one of these top accelerators when you are ready to take your startup to the next level:

1. 500 Startups

500 Startups is located in Mountain View and San Francisco, California as well as Mexico City. Its accelerator seed program lasts approximately four months. Focused primarily on tech startups, 500 Startups has actually invested in over 1,600 companies since 2010. They will invest money in your startup for a certain percentage stake in it in addition to the other help they provide, including access to a significant list of mentors. Intercom is one of their alumni.

2. Y Combinator

Y Combinator is in Mountain View, California and runs a class of 100 startups that runs over a period of three months. They are one of the most recognized startup accelerators with alumni that include Dropbox, Airbnb and Reddit. The program includes an investment for a percentage of the company, office hours with Y Combinator partners, and weekly dinners with speakers from powerful Silicon Valley organizations.

3. Ameren Accelerator

Ameren Accelerator is powered by a partnership with the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators. The program focuses on impact-driven companies solving the toughest energy challenges we are currently facing. It is the first of its kind to enhance the corporate accelerator model. Capital Innovators acts as a liaison between the energy utility corporation and the startup community while UMSL Accelerate provides access to the mentorship and expertise of university faculty and student engagement.

Related: Why the Number of Accelerators Is Accelerating

4. Angel Pad

Angel Pad serves both coasts with locations in New York City and San Francisco. It only takes 12 startups at a time for its three-month accelerator program. The program is run by a husband-and-wife team. They work with each startup founder and provide access to mentors with expertise in their industries. This accelerator has helped companies including Buffer and Postmates.

5. MuckerLab

MuckerLab, located in Los Angeles, runs programs as short as three months and as long as two years, depending on the need of each of the 10 companies it helps each year. Handpicking just a few participants to its accelerator program enables individual attention focused on growth and development. There are varying equity terms and stakes available, offering greater flexibility than other accelerator programs. Companies that have graduated from this accelerator include TaskRabbit and LoanHero.

6. Techstars

Techstars is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado but now has accelerator programs in cities around the country and internationally with specific accelerators for startups in the areas of IoT, retail technology, and mobility. Of the companies they have helped, they have nearly an 80 percent active rate with 12 percent of the startups acquired by larger companies. The comprehensive program offers funding and access to resources with a 90-day hands-on mentoring program.

Related: New Report Shines Light on the U.S. Accelerator Industry

7. Alchemist Accelerator

Alchemist Accelerator is a six-month program headquartered in San Francisco. Their focus is on enterprise startups with much less hands-on approach offered. All events included in the program are optional except the demo day. There is a network of mentors offered with investment funds coming from large companies including Cisco. Mobilespan and MightyHive are prominent amount the startups the accelerator has helped.

8. Amplify

Amplify is located in the heart of Silicon Beach with offices in Venice Beach. Catering to Los Angeles tech startups, the accelerator offers programs between four and eight months with flexible terms, investment and resources. They host frequent small investor showcases rather than a demo day. This provides an opportunity for investors to meet directly with startup founders and discuss their ventures.

9. Dreamit

Dreamit is an accelerator that is focused on technology for healthcare and education with locations in New York City and Philadelphia. This accelerator offers unique programs, including investor road shows to showcase startups, coaching and communication. Mentoring includes direct connections with corporate partners for feedback and even paid pilot programs to launch a startup's product or service.

Related: Within 10 Years, the Number of Accelerator Programs in the U.S. Has Increased Tenfold

10. StartX

StartX is located in the San Francisco Bay area and is partially funded by Stanford University. There are no fees and the accelerator takes no equity in the startups it helps. There are significant resources available as well as education, mentorship with over 200 serial entrepreneurs and VCs from major companies, and assistance and expertise for a range of industries. They have helped hundreds of startups build out into some of today's most innovative companies.

Serenity Gibbons

Equal Rights Advocate, Promoting Amazing Companies Across the Globe

Serenity Gibbons is a former assistant editor at the Wall Street Journal and a New York University alumna living in California. She is the local unit lead for NAACP in Northern California with a mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. She enjoys writing and interviewing people who are making a difference in the world. 

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