We’ve already covered startup accelerators Y Combinator, Techstarts, and 500 Startups in part 1 of this series, and AngelPad, Alchemist Accelerator and Dreamit Ventures in part 2. This week we’re going to round out the top 10 accelerators that you should be looking to if you want to give your startup a boost.
MassChallenge, created in 2009, is a not-for-profit accelerator. It has taken a global approach with locations in Israel, Mexico, Rhode Island, Switzerland, and Texas in addition to their Boston headquarters. MassChallenge offers nine accelerator programs. Since 2009, MassChallenge has worked with 2344 companies, which have raised a total of over $5B. 31% of graduates have raised more than $1M, and 45% have raised more than $500K. Notable alumni include Ginkgo Bioworks, Freight Farms, and LaunchPad Medical.
MassChallenge has a unique formula; it does not take any equity nor does it give any upfront funding to its portfolio companies. For four months, founders receive hands-on guidance from industry experts, a co-working space, workshops, trainings, and office hours. At the end of the program, startups compete for up to $3M in zero-equity cash prizes.
Since its founding in 2012, gener8tor has invested in 86 companies. gener8tor has offices in Madison, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis, and offers 16 programs. Its portfolio companies have raised a total of more than $250M in follow-on financing. 60% of its graduates have raised over $1M in follow-on rounds, and 90% have raised over $250K in follow-on fundraising. Some of their big wins include Docalytics and EatStreet.
Three times a year, gener8tor invests in five startups. They received 1,053 applications for their most recent program (Madison 2019) and accepted less than 1% of applicants. The founding teams that made the cut receive $100K in exchange for 6-7% equity. Working with small batches enables the gener8tor team to take a personalized, hands-on approach with each of its companies, and that is why gener8tor defines itself as a “concierge accelerator.”
This fall, gener8tor will be modifying its traditional accelerator model just for its Milwaukee program. Instead of admitting early-stage startups, gener8tor will be accepting entrepreneurs to create startups from scratch. Founding teams will still receive $100K, but will give up around 20% equity. This new program will last 16 weeks instead of the traditional 12 weeks.
9. Plug and Play
Plug and Play was established in 2006 in the heart of Silicon Valley. Since inception, Plug and Play has invested in over 2000 startups and has grown to 26 locations and 50+ programs. Its graduates have raised a total of $7B. Among them include PayPal, CourseHero, and Dropbox.
Plug and Play’s approach is to align with big corporations in private deal sessions in order to streamline pilots, corporate venture, and ultimately, acquisitions. Each year, Plug and Play invests in more than 160 startups. The Spring 2017 program had a 2% acceptance rate.
Plug and Play has modified the traditional accelerator model. Firstly, it accepts startups of all sizes across all verticals. Secondly, it does not offer funding to all of its startups. Plug and Play only invests in about 30% of the companies in each of its programs. Lastly, there is no equity required.
For three months, the startups work intensely with mentors and investors, engage with corporate clients, and launch pilots.
Acceleprise was originally founded in Washington DC, but since has relocated to San Francisco with offices in NYC and Melbourne. As of December 2017, Acceleprise’s portfolio had raised a total of $60M+ in follow-on funding. Graduates include Allbound, People Data Labs, Adhusky, and Bonsai AI.
Acceleprise is a B2B Saas focused accelerator. Their approach is to keep cohort-sizes small (about 6-10 companies). Startups receive $50K for 8%. For four months, founding teams work on their go-to-market strategy, sales, hiring, product, and fundraising. Acceleprise facilitates introductions to potential investors and customers in addition to leading workshops, office hours, and fireside chats with industry experts.