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A Guide to Choosing the Best Accelerator for Your Tech Startup

August 2012

Table of Contents
Introduction I. Location, Location, Location II. Funding Convertible Debt Note Equity III. Mentorship and Advice IV. Networking: Investors, Press, and Other Startups Investors Press Demo Days Startup Alumni V. A Note on Incubators, Competitions, and Hybrid Models Incubators Competitions Hybrid Models Conclusion Appendix: List of Accelerators by State

In August 2012, the second edition of the U.S. Seed Accelerator Rankings named the 15 best startup accelerators in the United States. The list was topped by Y Combinator, TechStars Boulder, and Kicklabs. The ranking was developed by Professor Yael Hochberg and MBA student Kristen Kamath of the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, in conjunction with Tech Cocktail as a media partner. These rankings were based on three components: follow-on funding, success of graduating startups, and accelerator characteristics (i.e., money received, equity taken, alumni base, etc.). Additionally, rankings were supplemented by interviews with VCs to better understand the perception and reputation of the various accelerator programs in the industry. Here are the top 15: 1. Y Combinator 2. TechStars Boulder 3. Kicklabs 4. i/o Ventures 5. Excelerate Labs 6. AngelPad 7. TechStars NYC 8. TechStars Boston 9. Launchpad LA 10. 500 Startups 11. DreamIt Ventures 12. TechStars Seattle 13. NYC SeedStart 14. Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator 15. The Brandery As mentioned in the Accelerator Companion report, which explains the methodology in more detail, newer programs take a hit in the rankings due to their smaller alumni size. The report notes a few new programs that venture capitalists believe could be destined for success: The VCs interviewed in this study mentioned a number of notable new programs that they believe will ultimately become successful. These include TechStars Cloud in San Antonio, Launch Pad Ignition, and The Microsoft Accelerator for Kinect. These accelerators are among over 100 programs that have sprung up in the past few years as a launchpad for startups. They offer entrepreneurs a chance to spend several months intensely focused on their product and business - fueled by funding and mentorship, and often in shared office space - before pitching in front of investors at demo day. But choosing an accelerator is more than a question of rankings. At Tech Cocktail, weve used our years of experience interviewing entrepreneurs, connecting with startups, and covering accelerators to compile this report. Beyond the basics, we look into the murkier factors that go into choosing an accelerator: Does location matter? Which accelerators are more hands-on? Which networks are most supportive?

Before you read on, take a moment to consider why youre applying to an accelerator. According to Launch Pad Ignition cofounder Chris Schultz, the most important factor is how that program helps you achieve your goals. Are you in it for the mentorship, advice, and coaching? For the money and the follow-on investment? For the network of startups? Or for the big publicity? These are all fine reasons, but knowing what drives you will help you choose the right program, get the most out of your experience, and - finally - know where to direct scarce resources as the clock is ticking down to demo day.

I. Location, Location, Location

Most accelerator programs expect you - or at least part of your team - to relocate to their area. The idea is to encourage face-to-face interaction with mentors and other founders, so learning, collaboration, and advising happens more naturally. So the question arises: where do you want your startup to be accelerated? This isnt a trivial issue: you will spend 3 months not only building a product but also growing an intricate network of mentors, professional contacts, and peers. You will attend networking events and classes, and many of the speakers will be local. Going through one of the accelerators in Silicon Valley (see our list in the Appendix) can be an eye-opening experience. Youll make connections, have access to unparalleled resources, and get a taste for the fast pace, excitement, and buzz that every startup community around the world is trying to emulate. In our 2012 survey of entrepreneurs who had been through accelerator programs, those from outside Silicon Valley often complained of small startup communities and fewer, or more conservative, investors. But being in Silicon Valley isnt a requirement for success anymore. These days, strong startup communities are organizing nationwide and funding is available outside the Valley - and in any case, you dont need the monetary blessing of a VC firm to build a popular product anymore. If you absolutely need to connect with someone in the Valley, you can hop on a plane or on Skype or Twitter. Plus, for certain personalities, Silicon Valleys sheer density of startups (in other words: your competition) can be intimidating. Some entrepreneurs from our survey enjoyed the smaller, tight-knit communities outside the Valley, where they could stand out better, get meetings more easily, and generally be a big fish in a small pond. The myth that you have to be in Silicon Valley to be successful is idiotic, says David Cohen, the founder and CEO of TechStars. Other cities have their own strengths, too. Anecdotally, Los Angeles is great for entertainment; Boston for enterprise and biotechnology; Chicago for commerce; Washington, DC, for politics, media, and advocacy; New Orleans for music; Baltimore for education; and New York for advertising, hospitality, and media. Needless to say, any idea can succeed in any city if you find the right team, mentors, and partners. If you highly value those face-to-face interactions, consider accelerators in your own city (or plan on moving to a new city) so your new network will be there after the programs done. And as trivial as it may sound, smaller cities with less alluring nightlife can keep you focused; one entrepreneur said that her accelerator encouraged entrepreneurs to stay in Silicon Valley rather than downtown San Francisco to avoid distractions.

An important note is that VCs have to travel to attend demo day. As the Accelerator Companion points out, some of the VCs who participated in interviews for this study mentioned they primarily choose to attend demo days based on physical proximity and convenience. In other words, if there isnt a great venture capital scene in your accelerators location and youre banking on a large infusion of capital, you may be out of luck. Finally, dont forget that there are programs outside the United States. The Chilean governments Start-Up Chile program has welcomed over 100 startups to Chile since its inception. Also check out the Global Accelerator Network, organized in 2010 to support entrepreneurs around the world, which includes accelerators as far as China and Dubai and the Startupbootcamp network in Europe.

II. Funding
Although most accelerators provide a small amount of funding, the primary advantage of joining a program is the intangible benefit mentorship, network connections, and partnerships. In most cases, programs provide only enough capital to build a prototype or first version of the product or service, typically in the $15,000-$30,000 range. That said, its still important to understand the monetary options when applying for an accelerator. Y Combinator, ranked #1 this year, 1 provides $14,000 for companies with a single founder, $17,000 for two, and $20,000 for three or more founders; in return, they receive anywhere from 2-10% equity, most often in the 6-7% range. TechStars, whose Boulder program ranked #2 this year, provides $18,000 in exchange for a 6% equity stake, in addition to a $100,000 convertible debt note (the difference between equity and convertible debt is explained below). As with TechStars, Y Combinator graduates also have the option to accept a convertible note. The SV Angel/Yuri Milner-partnered Start Fund offers $150,000 to all graduating startups. It is worth noting that in 2011, all Y Combinator graduating startups except one accepted the offer, and the exception had previously taken money from SV Angel and Yuri Milner. Chicago-based Excelerate Labs, ranked #5 this year, provides $25,000 to accepted startups in exchange for 6% equity, in addition to a $50,000 convertible note offered to graduates courtesy of New World Ventures. Most programs do not provide guaranteed funding upon graduation; its one of the elements that separate the elite accelerators. This doesnt mean that other accelerators dont assist in follow-on funding, however. We touch upon this further in the Networking section of the report. The industry standard for funding is near the $20,000 mark. The Brandery, Capital Factory , NYC SeedStart, Betaspring, and BoomStartup all offer capital at this price point. Like Y Combinator, many accelerators provide capital based on the number of founders. Tech Wildcatters offers $15,000 to $25,000 for one to three or more founders, and DreamIt Ventures $10,000 to $25,000. There are some rare circumstances where an accelerator does not provide

Y Combinator declined to submit information to the researchers on alumni funding and exits. This was founder Paul Grahams reasoning: There's only one thing you need to measure to rank accelerators: how well the companies they fund end up doing. And the only number you need to measure that is their valuations. The information used for Y Combinator in the rankings was reconstructed by the researchers using a combination of publicly available data and proprietary databases, as was the information for AngelPad, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, Capital Factory, and LaunchPad LA.

any stipend, as is the case at the NewME Accelerator. Some even charge startups money; Springboard (based in Washington, DC) costs around $2,000 for their expertise, training, and introductions to help you get funded. As previously mentioned, some accelerators offer a combination of funding, both directly through their program as well as via partnerships with other angel groups, individual investors, and venture capital firms. While the former is an equity exchange, the latter is typically a convertible note. Whats the difference? Convertible Debt Note A convertible debt note is a type of investment whereby a company borrows money from an investor or group of investors and exchanges the debt to equity at a future date or later round of financing. This is done because early valuations are typically far more uncertain; waiting until a further round of financing helps ensure a more accurate valuation. Additionally, convertible notes involve fewer legal fees and less paperwork. Example A group of angels invests $100,000 in a company with a 20% discount rate and an automatic conversion after the first $2 million investment. When this startup receives their $2 million round of financing, the angel investment takes hold. If shares are priced at $1.00, the angels purchase price is $0.80 per share with the 20% discount, thus granting them 125,000 shares. A provision that is often included with convertible notes is a cap, which limits the valuation at which the note converts to equity. Caps are put in place to protect investors from outlandishly large valuations at future rounds of financing. They help ensure that investors are not watered down by these large valuations to own a much smaller percentage of the company after the next round. Example If a group of angels invests a $250,000 convertible note with a $4 million cap, then even if a Series A round of financing is valued at $8 million, the note converts into equity as if the valuation were $4 million. In this scenario, the noteholder would get 6.25% of the company ($250,000/$4 million). Equity Equity is much more straightforward. First, figure out the price per share; the valuation divided by the number of shares. In this instance, lets say a given startup is valued at $4.5 million and there are 4.5 million shares outstanding, making the price $1.00 per share. The angels invest $500,000 and receive 500,000 shares. The post-money valuation is now $5 million, and the angels own 10% (500,000/5 million shares) of the company.

III. Mentorship and Advice

There is no lack of startup advice out there on the web: all entrepreneurs have their own tips and tricks, mostly based on their personal experience. Whats harder to find is a mentor who truly knows your space. Thats why accelerators are increasingly specializing and focusing on particular sectors: Education: Imagine K12 (Palo Alto) Energy/clean tech: SURGE Accelerator (Houston), Greenstart (San Francisco) Enterprise/B2B: Acceleprise (Washington, DC), Tech Wildcatters (Dallas), TechStars Cloud (San Antonio) Financial services: FinTech Innovation Lab (New York City) Government/civics: Code for America (San Francisco) Health: Blueprint Health (New York City), Healthbox (Chicago and Boston), Rock Health (San Francisco and Cambridge) Social good: Impact Engine (Chicago) When you have accelerators with one primary focus, you can help concentrate resources to that accelerator and ultimately better serve the startups, says Aziz Gilani, director at DFJ Mercury. SURGE Accelerator pulled in the top mentors in the energy space. As a result, there are a bunch of startups all pushing each other to be better and better. This vertical trend is one that Im really excited about. Some accelerators dont focus on an industry, but rather a skill: The Brandery focuses on branding, and Kicklabs helps later-stage startups - who may have already gone through another accelerator - get contracts with brands, agencies, and partners. Meanwhile, Women Innovate Mobile and Springboard look for startups with female founders, and the NewME Accelerator wants to help minority founders. And Y Combinator even accepts applications from entrepreneurs without ideas. What makes older accelerators like Y Combinator attractive, at least in terms of mentorship, is the sheer amount of experience they have. [Founder Paul Graham] has 300 or 400 companies that hes mentored and just like pattern recognition - telling you you should not do this, you should do this, says Akshay Dodeja, the cofounder of PicPlum (from Y Combinators summer 2011 class). Y Combinator also features Tuesday night dinners with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, angel investor Ron Conway, and Airbnbs Brian Chesky. Beyond that, consider whether youre looking for hands-on mentorship - with scheduled programs, mentor sessions, and group activities - or a more self-directed experience. In our 2012 survey of over 75 startups, TechStars was rated highly hands-on (9.5 on a scale of 10), while 500 Startups and Y Combinator were rated less hands-on.

Robert Leshner, the cofounder and CEO of Safe Shepherd, enjoyed 500 Startups because it wasnt very hands-on; the value came from the strong network of advisers and investors that startups could tap into: I think if I were to draw a continuum of the accelerators ... in terms of hands-off to hands-on, hands-off is [Y Combinator] - they basically have dinners once a week and mentor meetings when you need them. On the opposite extreme, you have things like TechStars and AngelPad where its much more hands-on and intensive. And 500 Startups is really in the middle and probably closer to [Y Combinator] in that they give you an amazing network and they have sessions a couple times a week where they bring in an expert to speak to you, but at the end of the day theyre not telling you what or how you should be building your business. They leave that decision to the entrepreneur, says Leshner, who completed the program in January 2012. Meanwhile, over at Excelerate Labs in Chicago, cofounder and CEO Troy Henikoff sits in the middle of their shared office space so he can have the most interaction possible with all the startups. How can you tell if other accelerators are hands-on? If an accelerator has office space, its more likely to be hands-on. Plus, smaller programs guarantee more mentor time, even with the most in-demand advisers. For example, TechStars caps at 12 startups per batch and typically has a 10to-1 mentor-to-startup ratio. AngelPad, ranked #6 this year, comes in at 15 per batch. And dont forget that advice and mentorship can come from other entrepreneurs, which is partly why you want to get into the best accelerators. For example, Firebase went through Y Combinator in summer 2011 along with a whopping 60+ companies. Theres a lot of really, really, really talented people, and oftentimes their feedback and advice was as good as the partners advice, says cofounder and CEO James Tamplin. Reading about and connecting with mentors before applying can also give you a leg up during the selection process - although spamming mentors is never a good idea. And cultivating a strong relationship with a mentor can be helpful after the program ends. From talking to the VCs interviewed for the rankings, it is clear that having an endorsement from key mentors goes a long way towards building credibility with VCs, says Professor Yael Hochberg. In other words, mentorship can be the most vital aspect of an accelerator program, as long as you do it right.


IV. Networking: Investors, Press, and Other Startups

Investors As previously mentioned in the Funding section of this report, some accelerators guarantee funding with partnering angel groups, individual investors, and venture capitalists. TechStars, Y Combinator, and Excelerate Labs are all such examples. But just because an accelerator doesnt offer a guaranteed partnership, it doesnt imply that startups will be left fending for themselves after graduation. Also, this seed investment simply serves as a stopgap prior to a startups Series A round of financing. For a startup to scale, an investment of $2-5 million is typically required; this is around the price point where venture capital firms get involved. The top three accelerators from 2011, TechStars, Y Combinator, and Excelerate Labs, all boast an average follow-on funding amount exceeding $1 million, and many of these investments come from the venture firms the programs have partnered with. According to partner Paul Singh, 500 Startups takes a slightly different approach: We don't have formal agreements with any specific downstream investors - instead, we try to keep a relationship with as many folks as we can and then route the appropriate startups to them via warm intros, etc. Wherever possible, we aim to connect the right startups to the right investors. It probably doesn't scale as easily but, in my opinion, is the best way to ensure that the relationship starts on the right foot for everyone involved. The accelerator gap, as described by Aziz Gilani, is a term used to explain the substantial decrease in likelihood of follow-on funding from one tier of accelerators to the next. The quickest and easiest way to determine if the accelerator is a good investment is to look at who's running the program. The accelerators at the top of the list are all run by successful entrepreneurs. These are the guys who will have ties to downstream funding sources. The further down the list you go, the more this trait goes away, says Gilani.

Press Because of the successful track record of startups that come out of the top accelerators, the media tend to give more attention to startups that graduate from these programs. Whether the media gives added attention to these companies because of their likelihood of success, or a companys likelihood of success is because of the added media attention, is up for debate (likely its a combination of the two). What cannot be denied is the value of getting into one of these top programs. In its latest NYC class, for example, TechStars had an automated form for media that 11

could send an introductory email connecting the interested journalist to any number of the graduating startups - probably due to such high demand from press in the past. Demo Days Much of this media attention culminates near an accelerators demo day: the post-graduation demonstration event. TechStars holds one annual demo day for each of its five locations and can draw more than 500 spectators, including investors, journalists, and fellow entrepreneurs. Y Combinator hosts two annual events, with each event growing in size. In spring 2012, Y Combinator moved its demo day out of its Mountain View headquarters and into the Computer History Museum to accommodate the larger crowd. 500 Startups, which was founded in 2010, already draws in a considerable crowd to its events. According to partner Paul Singh, 500 Startupss three demo days (in Mountain View, San Francisco, and New York City) attract around 200 people each. Another consideration when selecting a program is the relative size of your graduating class. Excelerate Labs selects 10 startups per class, TechStars anywhere from 10 to 15, 500 Startups around 20-30, and Y Combinator around 65. Because much of the demo day coverage happens on or near the day of the event, startups must share the spotlight with each other. Standing out in a field of 65 high-caliber startups is no easy task. That being said, a startup graduating from Y Combinator will receive far greater exposure than a startup demoing at a less prominent accelerator, regardless of that programs class size. But media buzz can have a downside, too. Says Kristen Kamath, who produced the accelerator ranking, Some of the VCs we interviewed also expressed concern that this same strong reputation of the accelerator program can build a hype around demo day that can sometimes create artificial demand and overly high valuations, which can be hard for the entrepreneurs to live up to when it is time for the next round of financing. Startup Alumni Although a larger class size can be seen as a drawback in terms of grabbing media attention, a larger pool of startup alumni can be of major benefit. Fellow startups often provide feedback, help find customers, or, in certain cases, become customers of your service directly: A majority of Y Combinator alums are in our target market. This means we've been able to get high-quality feedback quickly and get early customers easily, says Tamplin of Firebase. Another startup used their accelerators huge email list to solicit feedback and ultimately shift their product. As of the writing of this report, Y Combinator boasts an alumni of 380 startups, TechStars at 126, 500 Startups at 94, and Excelerate Labs at 20. There are also brand-new accelerators, such as DCs The Fort, Acceleprise, and Endeavor DC, which need time to build up any sort of significant startup alumni. Again, the caliber of startups must be weighed against the overall alumni size. The goal is quality feedback and avenues for partnership and customers. One thousand failing startups likely wont provide the value of a dozen superstars. For example, Y Combinator startup PicPlum grew using


the resources of Picwing, a previous Y Combinator startup. Take time to investigate which accelerator has proven the most successful with startups in your specific industry, which entrepreneurs have the best track record, and how willing alumni startups are to offer a helping hand.


V. A Note on Incubators, Competitions, and Hybrid Models

Incubators Accelerators are slightly more formal than incubators, which operate as coworking spaces with some mentorship and classes. Incubators dont have regular cohorts of startups, and are more flexible about how long the startups stay. In the past few months, weve seen incubators launch with some fanfare in Chicago and Seattle, with the grand openings of 1871, Catapult Chicago, and Surf Incubator. Even though startups dont receive funding, the collaborative, driven, dynamic environment can be a huge boost. If you bring all the pieces of an ecosystem together into one physical location, you actually create incredible amounts of energy that just is impossible any other way, says 1871 CEO Kevin Willer. As a few organizers have told us, incubators can help fill in the gaps between launch and going through an accelerator, between an accelerator and getting VC funding, or between VC funding and opening your own office. Competitions Business plan and pitch competitions are longstanding, but full-fledged startup competitions with an incubation component - are just recently becoming popular. You usually have to submit an application (often with an application fee), and then compete for prize money. That means you could get in but still end up earning no money. But on the plus side, that money is generally equity-free. For example, the Chicago Lean Startup Challenges 14-week program features lean startup classes and mentorship, including a dedicated health track. After 10 weeks, judges select four finalists to pitch their startup ideas in the final competition, with pitch coaching from Excelerate Labs CEO Troy Henikoff. Finalists share $75,000 in cash and prizes. In exchange for a shot at the prize, startups have to write weekly blog posts and create a video about their experiences up to week 9. Applications cost $100 (which is refunded if youre not selected). Boston-based MassChallenge is a three-month program offering mentorship and office space. The top competitors win awards of $50,000 or $100,000 based on judging, 10% of which comes from public voting. The entry fee is $199 (which can be decreased with refund codes). These programs are almost like longer versions of Startup Weekend. Startup Weekend is an intense, 54-hour startup competition where teams build products and pitch them on Sunday night, sometimes for cash prizes.


Keep in mind that competitions are bound to have a different dynamic than traditional accelerators because its more of a win-lose situation: if my startup outshines yours at demo day, I win money and you dont. At accelerators, startups are just looking to pique the interest of the VCs in attendance. With TechStars Boston, for example, all 12 of the 2011 startups raised followon investment. But according to Chicago Lean Startup Challenge co-organizer Bernhard Kappe, things dont get as cutthroat as you might expect. The competition aspect - there was surprisingly little impact, he says. In fact, there was a whole lot more cooperation than competition. For example, they set up a private blog for organizers to share information with startups, but a lot of startups ended up collaborating on it and answering each others questions. Hybrid Models Beyond competitions, a few organizations are adopting a hybrid model that has some similarities to an accelerator: funding and mentorship, without the demo day. Bloomington, Indiana-based SproutBox, for example, provides some minimal funding to startups in exchange for equity, and mentors them over 10 months. Its open to three companies per year, who start the program at different times. So SproutBox doesnt offer the full, collaborative accelerator experience, though it does offer the funding, mentors, and office space. Los Angeless Science Inc. is a technology studio run by former MySpace CEO Michael Jones. In addition to kickstarting companies with advice and investment, Science Inc. is creating its own businesses like EventUp, which recently raised $1.8 million. The Vegas Tech Fund is a seed-stage investment fund with a huge community component. Part of Tony Hsiehs Downtown Project that is revitalizing downtown Las Vegas, the approach looks at the city as the incubator. Prospective startups are evaluated by the community and expected to engage in community events, collaborate with other community members, and help promote Las Vegas tech. In turn, they get the support and advice of the community. They may not be accelerators as defined in the rankings, but incubators, competitions, and hybrid models can be a viable option - especially if youre in it for the mentorship and advice.

With the current unemployment rate in the United States hovering around 8%, a focus has been put on job creation through entrepreneurship. That focus, coupled with the allure of the billiondollar startup IPO or acquisition, has resulted in an explosion of new startup accelerators over the past few years. We are contacted regularly about new accelerators being created and expect that trend to continue, also spreading to the creation of additional incubators, coworking spaces, hybrid programs, and ongoing education. All the top-ranked accelerators would be advantageous to entrepreneurs looking to become part of a program, but we hope that this report has made sorting through the options easier. Like deciding on a college or university, there are programs that fit a number of interests and needs, and ultimately the decision rests with you and your startup.


In the end, there is no better way to learn than by diving in and getting hands-on experience, and that is exactly what accelerator programs help facilitate - now its up to you to start something.


Appendix: List of US Accelerators by State

Arizona Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative (Phoenix) California 500 Startups (Mountain View) Alchemist Accelerator (Menlo Park) Amplify (Los Angeles) AngelPad (San Francisco) Berkeley Ventures (Berkeley) Code for America (San Francisco) Greenstart (San Francisco) Hub Ventures (San Francisco) i/o Ventures (San Francisco) Imagine K12 (Palo Alto) K5 Launch (Los Angeles) Kicklabs (San Francisco) Launchpad LA (Los Angeles) MuckerLab (Los Angeles) NantWorks Accelerator (Los Angeles) NewME Accelerator (Mountain View) Rock Health (San Francisco) StartEngine (Los Angeles) StartX (Stanford) Y Combinator (Mountain View) Colorado TechStars Boulder (Boulder) Connecticut Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Summer Fellowship (New Haven) Florida Incubate Miami (Miami) Georgia Flashpoint (Atlanta) Illinois Excelerate Labs (Chicago) Healthbox (Chicago) Impact Engine (Chicago) Louisiana Launch Pad Ignition (New Orleans) Massachusetts Healthbox (Boston) Rock Health (Cambridge) Summer@HIGHLAND (Cambridge) TechStars Boston (Boston) Michigan


Bizdom (Detroit) Momentum (Grand Rapids) Missouri Think Big Accelerator (Kansas City) New Jersey Tigerlabs (Princeton) New York Blueprint Health (New York City) CPX Incubator (New York City) DreamIt Ventures (New York City) Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (New York City) FinTech Innovation Lab (New York City) NYC SeedStart (New York City) TechStars NYC (New York City) Women Innovate Mobile (New York City) North Carolina Joystick Labs (Durham) Ohio 10-xelerator (Columbus) Bizdom (Cleveland) LaunchHouse (Shaker Heights) The Brandery (Cincinnati) Oregon Portland Ten (Portland) Pennsylvania AlphaLab (Pittsburgh) DreamIt Ventures (Philadelphia) Lion Launch Pad (University Park) Rhode Island Betaspring (Providence) Tennessee Jumpstart Foundry (Nashville) Seed Hatchery (Memphis) Texas 1 Semester Startup (Austin) Capital Factory (Austin) SURGE Accelerator (Houston) Tech Wildcatters (Dallas) TechStars Cloud (San Antonio) Utah BoomStartup (Salt Lake City) Virginia Darden Business Incubator (Charlottesville) VT KnowledgeWorks (Blacksburg) Washington Microsoft Kinect Accelerator (Seattle)


TechStars Seattle (Seattle) Washington, DC Acceleprise Endeavor DC Springboard The Fort


About Tech Cocktail Tech Cocktail is a media company and events organization for startups, entrepreneurs, and technology enthusiasts. Since 2006, its goal has been to amplify local tech communities and give entrepreneurs a place to get informed, get connected, and get inspired. Tech Cocktail dedicates itself to covering news, how-tos, up-and-coming startups, and industry trends online, and hosting events in over 20 cities in the US and abroad. About .CO .CO Internet SAS is the company behind the fast growing .CO domain. From start-ups and small businesses to big brands and multinational corporations, .CO is increasingly becoming the web address of choice for innovators and entrepreneurs the world over. You can learn more at, or follow us @dotCO. This report was created by: Frank Gruber, Jen Consalvo, Zach Davis, and Kira M. Newman. Special thanks to: MBA candidate Kristen Kamath of Northwestern University for compiling the rankings; Professor Yael Hochberg of Northwestern and Aziz Gilani of DFJ Mercury for overseeing the research; David Cohen, Chris Schultz, and Troy Henikoff for providing quotes; the entrepreneurs who responded to our accelerator survey; Tori Burroughs for creating the graphics; and Paul Graham for creating the startup accelerator model with the creation of Y Combinator. Thank you to our report sponsor .CO for their support of our analysis of startup accelerators and the startup community.