Top 6 accelerator programs for startups
YC, Techstars, 500 Startups, and more
We think startup founders should focus more on building and less on finding information for funding and accelerator programs. Legitimate resources also help you cut the clutter and noise from social media in turn helping you focus on the right things. In totality, we’ve added information about 6 of the top accelerator programs which can definitely make your startup big.
We’ve divided the information into 5 sections: Accelerator’s info, application deadline, investment deal, any guiding resource (links) and notable alumni.
YC has a 3 month program where they work intensively with the companies for three months, to get them into the best possible shape and refine their pitch to investors. Each cycle culminates in Demo Day, when the startups present their companies to a carefully selected, invite-only audience. “I doubt that Stripe would have worked without YC. It's that simple. Acquiring early customers, figuring out whom to hire, closing deals with banks, raising money -- YC's partners were closely involved and crucially helpful.” - Patrick Collison, Founder of Stripe.
Deadline: YC has 2 cohorts a year. They have summer and winter deadlines which are further broken down into an early, regular and a late deadline. It is recommended to try to submit your applications as early as possible but the fact that they have provided so many deadlines means that they are always on the hunt for great companies and founders.
Summer: Early - January end; Regular - March end
Winter: Early - mid July; Regular - early September
Investment deal: The standard investment deal is $125,000 for 7% followed by $3,75,000 on an uncapped safe with a Most Favoured Nation (“MFN”) provision (the “MFN safe”) The MFN safe will take on the terms of the lowest cap safe (or other most favourable terms) issued between the start of the batch and the company’s next equity round. Simply put, we’re giving the company money now but at the terms you will negotiate with other investors later. Both investments happen at the same time; they are not contingent on any milestones.
Guiding resources: We’ve shared multiple resources straight from YC from ‘how to apply’ to YC interview tips:
Notable Alumni: YC has supported some of the best companies when they weren’t even known. Today, they’re some of the most notable alumni of YCombinator: Airbnb, Coinbase, Stripe, Instacart, Doordash, Opensea, Reddit, Gitlab, Dropbox, Razorpay, Zepto, and more.
Techstars has a 3-month accelerator to gain funding, mentorship, and access to the Techstars network for life. Be it other founders, investors, alumni, etc. But the network helps you grow in unimaginable ways! Some even say that it’s the most productive period of their lives.
Deadline: Applications are open 6 times a year and stay open typically for 12 weeks. Techstars has about 45-50 accelerators under its umbrella which has different deadlines, locations and eligibility criteria which you can check via this link.
Investment Deal: Techstars offers $20,000 for 6% of the company’s Fully Diluted Capital Stock. They invest $100,000 USD in exchange for a Convertible Promissory Note (“Note”), payable in or around the first week of the accelerator program and subject to the Company’s satisfactory completion of their due diligence and a fully executed investment agreement.
Notable alumni: Alloy, Chainalysis, Datarobot, Degreed, Digital ocean, Ginger, Latch newsela, Outreach, and more.
Accel Atoms funds early-stage startups in India. They have a 100 day program which includes 1:1 mentorship with operators curated by Atoms, 1:1 with Accel investment manager, master workshops, community led sessions and speaker series.
Deadline: The website states that their deadline was March 15, 2022.
Investment Deal: They invest $250,000 in early-stage startups without taking any stake in the company (uncapped convertible).
Guiding resources: These resources were provided by Accel Atoms itself. Since it’s relatively new, there are limited resources available for the application and interview process. Here is what we found:
Notable Alumni: Spendflo, Rigi, Onesto Labs, Nymble, Material Depot, Kluster, and more.
The 500 brand draws an impressive group of people, ranging from investors, strategic corporates, platform partners, press, and even the occasional celebrity. In addition, they run events and conferences throughout the year that are consistently sold out. All of this means great exposure and visibility for your startup. During the Seed Program you’ll work in the 500 Startups office along with your batch mates. Everyone offers advice, encouragement, and support to help others succeed. Previous batches have likened it to the most awesome summer camp they’ve ever attended. In fact, many founders say the most important relationships they develop while in the 500 Seed Program are with their batch mates.
Deadline: There is no deadline as such. They have rolling admissions so you can apply when you want to.
Investment deal: They invest $150k in exchange for 6% and charge a $37,500 fee for participation in the 500 Seed Program. This fee can be deducted from the investment amount so you don’t have to pay out of pocket.
Notable alumni: Udemy, Gitlab, Canva, Grab, Intercom, and more.
Surge, which takes place twice a year, is open to companies who are based in, or building for, the India and Southeast Asian markets. Each Surge wave includes 10 to 20 companies and runs for sixteen weeks. The program covers every facet that goes into building an enduring company – everything from mission and monetisation to pricing and product-market fit. And you’ll be mentored by legendary founders and practitioners from the frontlines of innovation in Silicon Valley, China, Southeast Asia and India.
Deadline: October 15, 2022; Program commencement: January – April, 2023.
Investment deal: Companies selected to join will get a ‘Surge’ round of $1M to $2M at the start of the program; this way, you can make hiring decisions and work on your product right away. You’ll then have the opportunity to raise more capital from a curated panel of investors at the close of the program.
Notable Alumni: Topline, Scanpay, Peakperformer, Manatal, Infina, and more.
At Antler, you can get funding and cohort support through their program. They also have fellowship programs that help you find co-founders. The most valuable support will be their network of advisors, venture partners and industry experts as well as the Antler team and the community of founders.
Deadline: There’s no deadline for Antler, you can apply whenever you want! Just go to their website and find the application form there.
Investment deal: $250,000 for 9%.
Notable alumni: Clare&Me, HeyLama, Insightful, Peccala, Rise, Tapline, Whoosh, and more.