Are you ready for rapid growth? If so, a startup accelerator may be what your company or business idea needs.
While most accelerators offer an open application process, consulting, funding, mentorship, training and events in exchange for equity — not all startup accelerators are created equal. So we scouted the U.S. in search of accelerators that aim to drive significant value for entrepreneurs and contribute to the growth of their local small business ecosystems.
Who’s turning the art of starting a company into a value-based program that delivers funding and results? Here is a look at 10 of the nation’s best startup accelerators, in random order:
1. NYC SeedStart
New York City, NY – NYC SeedStart is an annual enterprise-focused startup accelerator comprised of city-based venture capital firms, mentors and partners. The 12-week program focuses on a new industry each year awarding up to 10 companies $20,000, office space, and time in exchange for 5% equity. At the end of the program, entrepreneurs present their “seeds” to investors to seek additional funding.
2. Launchpad LA
Los Angeles, CA – Launchpad LA, a Santa Monica-based startup accelerator, offers startups a $100,000 investment, free office space in Santa Monica for four months, various perks, and access to a network of mentors, advisors and investors. Initially founded in 2009 by Mark Suster, Launchpad LA has invested in 48 companies to-date and 36 Launchpad LA alum have raised outside funding.
3. Exelerate Labs (TechStars Chicago)
Chicago, IL – Excelerate Labs is a summer startup accelerator that offers a 13-week intensive program to connect startups to mentors around the country through direct one-on-one team meetings. Each year, ten companies are chosen and awarded $25,000 in funding for 6% common stock in the company. Since 2011, the accelerator has reportedly given participants an additional $50,000 in convertible debt. Earlier this year, Excelerate Labs joined forces with TechStars Chicago.
4. DreamIt Ventures
Philadelphia, PA – DreamIt Ventures is Philadelphia’s first health-tech accelerator to offer emerging health care startups resources to jumpstart their ideas from scratch, instead of seeking startups that already have prototypes or beta forms of their product or software. Accelerator participants are awarded seed funding up to $25,000 ($5,000 plus $5,000 for each founding member up to four) for a 6% passive equity stake. DreamIt provides one-on-one mentoring and access to legal, accounting and administrative help, free of charge.
San Francisco, CA – Founded by “ex-Googler” Thomas Korte, AngelPad is a bi-annual mentorship program developed to assist web-technology startups with funding. The 10-week program aims to provide a crash course on starting a business, idea to product, market fit, customer acquisition and fundraising, as well as incorporation, immigrant visas and fundraising documents. Small classes of around 12 companies are chosen for each round, allowing for personalized mentorship from professionals and AngelPad alumni.