Top 40 Startup Accelerators Based on Data — Updated for 2023

Looking for the best startup accelerators? Cool, we got you! And the rankings are sure to surprise you. (Hint: they are not Y Combinator or Techstars!)

Did you know there are over 3,000 accelerators worldwide and over 1,000 in the United States alone? No wonder it’s confusing to figure out which ones are worth applying to.

Unlike other lists that are totally subjective, our list focuses on the thing that matters most to founders: the accelerators’ ability to set your startup on the path to success.

To judge accelerators’ ability to “accelerate,” we took a look at how many of their portfolio startups actually had an exit, such as an acquisition or initial public offering (IPO) on a major stock exchange. We measure this as a simple ratio of total number of portfolio companies to exits, which we call “exit rate.”

Those accelerators with the highest proportion of startups that had an exit, or exit rate, are ranked at the top.

Alright, here we go. Below is our list for 2023:

The Best Startup Accelerator in the U.S. Is AngelPad

Top accelerators in the U.S. are AngelPad (34% exit rate), Stanford University’s StartX (25%), Microsoft Accelerator (21%), Google Launchpad Accelerator (21%), and StarveUps (19%).

Below is the full ranking:

RankAcceleratorPortfolio CompaniesExitsExit Rate
2StartX Stanford Accelerator 2877124.74%
3Microsoft Accelerator2164520.83%
4Google Launchpad Accelerator1172420.51%
5Starve Ups1402618.57%
6Plug and Play Insurtech1011817.82%
7Elemental Excelerator1352417.78%
9Founder Friendly Labs1733017.34%
11500 Global2,31535815.46%
13Plug and Play1,28815311.88%
15Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) 2983411.41%
16Y Combinator4,38748911.15%
18Alchemist Accelerator4995210.42%
19MIT delta v1261310.32%
20IDEA: Northeastern University’s Venture Accelerator10898.33%
22XRC Ventures11487.02%
24MedTech Innovator240166.67%
26Capital Innovators12286.56%
28Village Capital316175.38%
29Boomtown Accelerators15785.10%
31Blue Startups10254.90%
32AcceliCITY powered by Leading Cities211104.74%
34SkyDeck Berkeley453183.97%
35Google for Startups1,399503.57%
39Nashville Entrepreneur Center10110.99%
40EXPERT DOJO24710.40%
Data via Crunchbase

Y Combinator, Techstars or 500 Startups Are NOT the Best

If you’re looking for popular accelerators like Y Combinator, Techstars or 500 Startups to top the list, we’re sorry to disappoint you. According to exit rate, YC and Techstars are ranked 16th and 17th respectively. 500 Startups is ranked slightly higher in 11th place. (If you are a woman or underrepresented founder, check out our list of top accelerators for women and underrepresented founders.)

Y Combinator’s exit rate, by contrast, was 11.15%, or less than a third of AngelPad’s. That basically means that if you get into AngelPad, you have three times higher probability of getting your startup to an acquisition or IPO than if you went to YC.

If you care about getting to an exit, perhaps it’s worth looking beyond the usual suspects such as YC, 500 Startups, and Techstars.

Bigger Is Not Better

Another interesting point to note is that all top 10 accelerators have fewer than 300 investments, whereas those with more than 1,000 investments tend to cluster toward the bottom of the list. The four most active accelerators have an exit rate of about 10%, or half that of the top ones like AngelPad and Starve Ups.

Accelerators at the bottom of the list have exit rates of one or two percent or one-tenth that of the best-performing ones. That means that startups getting into the top ten accelerators on this list have a 10X higher chance of reaching an exit relative to participating in accelerators at the bottom of our list.

The Best Small Startup Accelerators with Fewer than 100 Portfolio Companies

Since it’s clear that bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to startup accelerators, we wanted to see which micro-accelerators, or those with fewer than 100 portfolio companies (but more than 10), come out on top.

Not surprisingly, smaller startup accelerators seem to be much better at getting their portfolio companies to an exit than the big, popular ones!

Here are the top micro-accelerators based on the exit rate of their portfolio companies:

RankAcceleratorPortfolio CompaniesExitsExit Rate
2Launchpad LA24937.50%
3ASU ScaleU11436.36%
4Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator10330.00%
5Nike Accelerator10330.00%
6Microsoft Accelerator Seattle411229.27%
8Imagine K12471225.53%
9Media Camp16425.00%
10Citrix Startup Accelerator31722.58%
11Kaplan EdTech Accelerator23521.74%
12R/GA Accelerator25520.00%
13Disney Accelerator50918.00%
16Blueprint Health781316.67%
17Envestnet Yodlee Incubator36616.67%
18Lamp Post Group12216.67%
19Grand Central Tech911516.48%
20The Startup Factory31516.13%
21Joules Accelerator19315.79%
23K5 Ventures53815.09%
24Telluride Venture Accelerator20315.00%
27The Brandery60813.33%
28Sprint Accelerator30413.33%
29LearnLaunch Fund + Accelerator71912.68%
31AlphaLab Gear16212.50%
32Tech Wildcatters981212.24%
34TMCx Accelerator19210.53%
35Cedars-Sinai Accelerator60610.00%
36OCEAN Accelerator20210.00%
37Startupbootcamp Fintech New York10110.00%
40eLab Accelerator4449.09%
41AgLaunch Accelerator1119.09%
42Facebook Accelerator: Commerce1119.09%
45UpTech Accelerator3638.33%
46ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator 2.01218.33%
47Canadian Technology Accelerator Silicon Valley1218.33%
48DCU FinTech Innovation Center9077.78%
49Health Wildcatters2627.69%
509Mile Labs5447.41%
51Nex Cubed Digital Health2727.41%
53Project Music2926.90%
54Iron Yard Ventures4436.82%
57Starburst Accelerator6745.97%
58Cleveland Avenue3425.88%
60Iowa Startup Accelerator1715.88%
61ICONYC labs5335.66%
62Queen City Fintech5435.56%
63SURGE Accelerator3625.56%
65Lighthouse Labs RVA6134.92%
66Seed Hatchery2114.76%
67Madworks Seed Accelerator8744.60%
68Leap Venture Studio2314.35%
73Nex Cubed7434.05%
75Lair East Labs2813.57%
76Starta Accelerator6523.08%
78Sputnik ATX6922.90%
79Illumina Accelerator3912.56%
80Conquer Accelerator4012.50%
81Global Insurance Accelerator5711.75%
Data via Crunchbase

The key takeaway is that it might be worth taking a closer look at smaller accelerators, which seem to be better able to help portfolio companies reach an exit.

In Summary

I recognize that this analysis, although based on data, is imperfect. It would have been nice to also look at satisfaction rate, mark-ups in valuation, and other factors not captured here. At the same time, it’s interesting to see that smaller accelerator programs tend to perform better, perhaps casting into scrutiny the value of bigger, more established programs.

Hopefully, this article helps you, the founder, identify those accelerator programs that are likely to be the best fit for your startup.

An Important Caveat About this List

We pulled data on accelerators from Crunchbase. I’m sure there are some gaps in the data, but it’s probably more than good enough to get a reliable ranking. However, there probably isn’t much of a difference between, say, number fifteen and sixteen on the list.

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