Top Startup Accelerators
Our friends at Forbes covered this interesting story March 11, 2016:
What are the best startup accelerators?
That’s a tricky question–and one answered every year at South by Southwest by a team of researchers from Rice University, MIT and the University of Richmond. They’ve crunched the latest numbers on everything from funding and valuations to survival rates and the satisfaction of program graduates, and announced the results on Friday (see below for full ranking).
Those numbers are coming from an ever-growing pool of accelerators all across the country, catering to young entrepreneurs who need money and guidance in the early stages of startup life. Y Combinator, based in Mountain View, on its own has birthed billion-dollar startups Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit, Zenefits, and Instacart . It has also spawned a cottage industry of copycat accelerators, many of which are unproven, without the track record needed to nurture these fragile companies.
“Go look at who’s running the program. If the mentors don’t look like top tier type of people, that should be a red flag,” says Yael Hochberg, leader of the Seed Accelerators Rankings Project and entrepreneurship professor at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business. “It’s not enough to bring in local businessmen, the mentors have to have real experience to give these startups.”
Hochberg, along with fellow researchers Susan Cohen and Dan Fehder, solicit data from 150 programs and survey more than 1,000 graduates on their experiences. To be included, the accelerators have to be fixed-term, cohort-based programs that include educational and mentorship components and culminate in public pitch or demo day–and they need to have graduated at least one cohort and have more than 10 startup graduates.
Many of the top performers have grown in size and locations. “We’re seeing a stable crop of good programs out there, some expanding quite a bit with new cohorts and locations and still managing to retain quality, which is quite an achievement at that scale,” says Hochberg.
Breaking with past tradition, her team removed the strict numerical ranking in favor of a tiered system. Hochberg says there’s a “clear drop” in composite scores between the tiers, but within, the scores were so close that it didn’t feel “comfortable” to elevate one program above another. Overall, though, all the accelerators listed in the Platinum, Gold, or Silver tiers are programs Hochberg recommends.
See the ranking below (listed within tiers by alphabetical order)…
Platinum tier: 500 Startups, Alchemist, Amplify LA, Angelpad, Chicago New Venture Challenge, MuckerLab, StartX, Techstars, Y Combinator
Gold tier: Brandery, Capital Innovators, Dreamit, gener8tor, Healthbox, Mass Challenge, Surge
Silver tier: Alphalab, Betaspring, Health Wildcatters, Iron Yard, Lighthouse Labs, Plug and Play, Zero to 510
Link to original Forbes article here.