The Best Startup Accelerators 2016

For a lot of startups, getting into an accelerator program can breathe new life and help a company grow from a tiny two man operation to a company with hundreds of employees. A startup accelerator takes a hands on approach with startups and helps them grow typically in an intense, focused, cohort based program.

Many startup accelerators sprinkle in a little seed funding a long with some partnership programs and services in exchange for a small amount of equity from the startup. Services can range from actual product development to branding, design, business development, customer discovery and anything in between.

Nowadays there are startup accelerator programs everywhere, being put on by a hodge podge of folks from economic development leaders, to business people and then of course true startup success stories.

The accelerator model has been popular since the turn of the decade. And now. 6 years later, some of the earliest startup accelerators are still the best.

The Kauffman foundation recently ranked the best startup accelerator programs in three tiers; Platinum, Gold and Silver.

Here’s how the best programs in the country stacked up:

  • 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, HealthWildcatters, Iron Yard, Lighthouse Labs, Plug and Play, Zero to 510

The Kauffman Foundation described their criteria to make this highly coveted list:

  • Meet the definition of an accelerator: Programs had to be fixed-term, cohort-based startup “boot camps” that include educational and mentorship components and culminate in public pitch or demo day.
  • Graduate at least one cohort and have more than 10 startup graduates.
  • Be U.S. based

If you’re startup has what it takes you can find these great programs along with a plethora of other programs across the country and across a wide range of disciplines at

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