Best Startup Accelerators for Women and Underrepresented Founders Based on Data — Updated for 2023

While more women and founders of color are starting startups, investment in startups led by women, Black and Latinx founders continues to stay persistently low.

Startup accelerators are often the first step on a founder’s investment journey, so it’s critical to see which startup accelerators are most likely to invest in underrepresented founders.

We rank those accelerators with the highest proportion of diversity investments at the top, using this measure as a proxy for their propensity to invest in women and multicultural founders.

Our dataset includes U.S.-based startup accelerators via Crunchbase. I do want to point out, however, that Crunchbase only recently started tracking diversity investment metrics, so this data set might be a bit off.

In case you’re curious to know what Crunchbase defines as “diversity investments,” it is my understanding that this number includes any investment in a startup that has been founded or is led by a founder that identifies with any of the following groups: Woman, Black or African American, Native America, Middle Eastern/North African, South Asia, East Asian, Southeast Asian, or Pacific Islander.

Here are the rankings for the best accelerators for underrepresented founders:

RankAcceleratorNumber of InvestmentsNumber of Diversity InvestmentsDiversity Investment RateExit Rate
2MIT delta v1295038.76%10.32%
3Stanford StartX33310030.03%24.74%
4Sputnik ATX1073028.04%2.90%
5Starve Ups1423927.46%18.57%
6Boomtown Accelerators1734727.17%5.10%
7Capital Innovators1353626.67%6.56%
8Blue Startups1203125.83%4.90%
9Elemental Excelerator1533925.49%17.78%
10Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA)3478825.36%11.41%
14EXPERT DOJO2686725.00%0.40%
18SkyDeck Berkeley4668919.10%3.97%
19Alchemist Accelerator57410818.82%10.42%
20MedTech Innovator2444317.62%6.67%
22500 Global3,01650916.88%15.46%
24Tech Wildcatters1041716.35%12.24%
25Village Capital3255316.31%5.38%
27Founder Friendly Labs1742715.52%17.34%
28Y Combinator5,44281514.98%11.15%
32Google for Startups1,43819513.56%3.57%
33Union Kitchen1201613.33%0.00%
35IDEA: Northeastern University’s Venture Accelerator1351712.59%8.33%
36Plug and Play1,59119112.01%11.88%
38Nashville Entrepreneur Center1011211.88%0.99%
39AcceliCITY powered by Leading Cities2272310.13%4.74%
41Microsoft Accelerator234208.55%20.83%
42Plug and Play Insurtech10276.86%17.82%
43Google Launchpad Accelerator11775.98%20.51%
Data via Crunchbase

Google Launchpad Accelerator (43rd out of 44) and Microsoft Accelerator (41st) had among the lowest diversity investment rates in our research.

The most popular accelerators like 500 Startups (22nd), SOSV (26th), Y Combinator (28th), MassChallenge (29th), and Plug and Play (36th) rank toward the bottom of this list as well. Out of the biggest accelerators, only Techstars ranked toward the top at 17th place.

Smaller programs definitely seem to invest in underrepresented founders at higher rates. Accelerators such as FoodX (1st) and Starve Ups (5th) as well as university-affiliated programs such as MIT delta v (2nd) and Stanford’s StartX (3rd) have the highest diversity investment rate, according to our research.

Those accelerators that seem most promising have both a high diversity investment rate and exit rate (rate at which portfolio companies are acquired or reach an IPO), such as StartX, Starve Ups, and Elemental Excelerator.

Best Small Accelerators for Women and Underrepresented Founders

Bigger isn’t better when it comes to startup accelerators, as we have indicated before. In the case of women and ethnic minority founders, the same is true.

For accelerators that have between 10 and 100 investments, top programs have diversity investment rates of fifty or more percent!

RankAcceleratorNumber of InvestmentsNumber of Diversity InvestmentsDiversity Investment RateExit RatePortfolio Companies
1Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab362363.89%0.00%36
4Visible Hands16850.00%0.00%16
5Start Co.261246.15%0.00%22
6Conscious Venture Lab261142.31%0.00%26
7Disney Accelerator582237.93%18.00%50
9Cedars-Sinai Accelerator682536.76%10.00%60
10Iowa Startup Accelerator17635.29%5.88%17
11Cleveland Avenue411434.15%5.88%34
13AlphaLab Health15533.33%0.00%15
14Lighthouse Labs RVA611829.51%4.92%61
15Lair East Labs31929.03%3.57%28
17Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator11327.27%30.00%10
18AlphaLab Gear16425.00%12.50%16
20Allston Venture Fund21523.81%0.00%20
21NGA Accelerator17423.53%0.00%17
22Illumina Accelerator40922.50%2.56%39
23Leap Venture Studio24520.83%4.35%23
25Global Insurance Accelerator611118.03%1.75%57
29Exponential Impact20315.00%0.00%19
30Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech21314.29%0.00%21
31Techstars Alabama Power EnergyTech Accelerator14214.29%0.00%14
32MARL 5G Accelerator45613.33%0.00%45
34Joules Accelerator19210.53%15.79%19
36Open World Accelerator1119.09%0.00%11
37Mana Up1218.33%0.00%12
38ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator 2.01317.69%8.33%12
40ConsenSys Mesh1516.67%0.00%13
41Draper Goren Holm1616.25%0.00%14
42Starburst Accelerator6845.88%5.97%67
44Hult Prize Foundation2015.00%0.00%16
45Upekkha Value SaaS Accelerator2314.35%0.00%23
Data via Crunchbase

What does this mean for female or underrepresented founders?

Key Take-away

It’s important to look beyond the usual suspects. The best accelerators for women and underrepresented founders are often smaller programs, such as co.lab, that have both a high exit rate and diversity investment rate.

About Beta Boom

Beta Boom is a pre-seed fund investing $150-350K in software startups building the future for women and multicultural consumers. Plus, we help our startups succeed with daily support from our growth team.

More Resources: Top Pre-Seed Funds | Top Funds Investing in Women | Top Black-Led Funds | Top Latinx-Led Funds | Top Angel Investors | Best Startup Accelerators | Top FinTech Seed Funds | Top Health Tech Seed Funds | Angel Investor Guide
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