Top 10 Startup Accelerator Programs to Watch in 2023

Joining a startup accelerator program is an opportunity that many entrepreneurs vie for. With only 1,300 programs around the world, startup accelerators exclusively invest their time and resources into the most promising companies. 

A startup accelerator is an intensive, typically mentor-based, program that aims to expedite a young company’s growth. Accelerators bring a plethora of knowledge and experience, which can be crucial for first-time founders and the success of their companies. Beyond the mentorship opportunities, startup accelerators can also connect founders to investors and help them with fundraising. 

In this article, we have compiled some of the top accelerator programs. We will discuss each program’s specific benefits and what services they offer to founders. 

For more similar content, check out these articles: Top Investment Management Companies To Watch and Top Startup Companies to Watch.

Y Combinator

Y Combinator is one of the most well-established startup accelerator programs. Since its founding in 2005, it has helped grow over 3,500 companies. Its notable alumni include startups such as Stripe, the online payment processing software giant, Instacart, an industry-leading grocery delivery app, and Reddit

YCombinator offers a three-month high-intensity program twice a year. Throughout the three months, founders work daily on their business and complete a series of mentorship meetings. Their hard work culminates on Demo Day, where founders pitch their ideas to hand-picked investors. 

YCombinator also provides early-stage funding in exchange for equity in each firm. The company invests $500,000, split into two Simple Agreements for Future Equity (SAFE)’s as follows:

  • $125,000 on a Post-Money SAFE for 7% Equity in the firm
  • $375,000 on an uncapped SAFE with a Most Favored Nation (MFN) provision

500 Startups

500 Startups is the accelerator extension of 500 Global, a venture capital firm with over $2.7 billion in assets. 500 Startups host nine startup accelerators around the globe, with programs in Japan, Saudi Arabia, Canada, America, and more. 

500 Startups offers tailored accelerator programs and adjusts their mentorship based on each startup’s needs. Unlike others on this list, 500 Startups accepts companies on a rolling basis, allowing startups to apply to the program on their schedule. 500 Startups accelerator programs also provide founders access to 500 Global’s network of CEOs, established angel investors, and venture capital professionals. 

In addition, 500 Startups invests $150,000 in participating companies in exchange for a 6% equity stake. One drawback is that companies must pay a $37,500 entry fee. However, this can be deducted from 500 Startup’s investment. 


SOSV is a venture capital firm that provides pre-seed, seed, venture, and growth funding to startup companies in the technology sector. The company is committed to helping founders create disruptive products and aims to make funding opportunities more accessible to its portfolio companies. 

Listed below are the various accelerator programs, each specializing in specific types of companies:

  • HAX: This program accepts 20 hard tech startups a year and offers a 6-month collaborative residency program, access to over 250 alumni connections, and an initial investment of $250,000 to $500,000. 
  • Indie Bio: This program works with 10 – 15 human and planetary health startups at a time and offers IndieBio a 4-month program, access to an alumni network of 195 startups, and an initial investment package of $250,000 to $500,000.
  • Orbit Startups: This program is dedicated to 40 breakthrough startups in healthcare, education, finance, and logistics startups. It offers in-person and remote mentorship opportunities and an initial capital investment of $150,000.
  • dLab: This is SOSV’s newest program which focuses on web3 and crypto projects and provides up to $250,000 of initial investment to companies working to create a more open system. 


TechStars works with over 500 early-stage companies annually in their 3-month, mentorship-focused accelerator programs. TechStars opens up applications six times a year and offers entrepreneurs a plethora of programs around the globe. 

To get a better look at what TechStars offers entrepreneurs, we can look at the program month by month. The first month, known as Mentor Madness, allows entrepreneurs to connect with over 100 well-connected mentors in their respective fields. The second month focuses purely on execution and is a period dedicated to helping founders build prototypes, gain traction, and hit milestones. In the third month, the founders begin preparing for fundraising and demo day. At the end of this program, entrepreneurs can expect to have grown their network tremendously and be well prepared to start the fundraising process. 

Plug and Play

From  Agtech to Health, Plug and Play offer industry-specific accelerator programs for startups in a variety of industries. They work with companies in all stages, helping them to raise capital and connect with major clients. 

Plug and Play have built a network of over 450 corporate partners and 300 VCs, a key resource for Plug and Play’s entrepreneurs. Additionally, their in-house venture capital team invests $25,000 to $500,000 in over 260 companies annually. This is particularly intriguing as Plug and Play does not take any equity to participate in their programs. Instead, they would rather invest fairly in the company’s next round of funding. 


Ranked as the #1 U.S. Accelerator by MIT/Brown/University of Richmond’s Seed Accelerator Rankings Project, AngelPad only works with the most promising startups. Out of over 2000 applicants, AngelPad ends up working with only 15 companies every 6 months, making their acceptance rate less than 1%. 

Over the company’s lifetime, AngelPad has helped to launch 150 companies, with notable alumni being Postmates and AllTrails. Their primary focus is on providing their entrepreneurs with one on one mentorship and a network that founders can utilize. AngelPad also invests $120,000 into each of its portfolio companies. 

Google for Startups

Google for Startups is on a mission to “level the playing field” and make mentorship and funding more accessible to underrepresented founders. Similar to Plug and Play, Google for Startups offers equity-free support for any technical problem that founders may have. 

Google for Startups typically chooses 10 to 15 deeply technical companies to work with over three months. These companies often leverage technologies such as AI and ML and have demonstrated traction or interest amongst potential consumers. These companies have access to all of Google’s products and experts, which helps entrepreneurs with research and development. 

Google for Startups has a wide range of accelerators, for various groups, as seen below:

  • Latino Founders Accelerator Program
  • Women Founders Accelerator Program
  • Climate Change Accelerator Progam
  • Voice AI Accelerator Program


MassChallenge is a non-profit organization that aims to be a resource for companies solving “massive challenges”. It has accelerator programs around the globe, from the U.S. to Switzerland. MassChallenge has nearly 3,000 alumni and has collectively generated over $8.5 billion in funding

MassChallenge has built an ecosystem for all stakeholders in innovation. This includes Governments, Corporations, Academia, Entrepreneurs, and Venture Capitalists. It aims to connect all that gain to benefit from the innovative ideas of participating entrepreneurs. MassChallenge strategically focuses on companies within high-impact industries such as FinTech, Space Commercialization, Enterprise Technology, and more.

Innovation Works

Innovation Works focuses on software, hardware, and life science startups and helps them to reach their next stage of growth. Based in Pennsylvania, Innovation Works invests in startups in all stages and provides a strong network, education, and help securing future funding. 

To date, Innovation Works has invested $117 million in over 530 startups. They have had 77 exits (opportunities to receive a return on their initial investment through acquisition or going public) and raised $3.3 billion in successive funding rounds. Innovation Works creates an entrepreneur community and provides its portfolio companies with access to mentors and perks and discounts through the Global Accelerator Network (GAN).

Alchemist Accelerator

Alchemist Accelerator is a venture-backed initiative that accelerates the development of seed-stage ventures. They offer an exclusive 6-month structured program that takes entrepreneurs in their early stages to traction and fundraising. 

Entrepreneurs have access to over 3,000 faculty and mentors and 5,500 venture investors. They are also eligible for Alchemist Perks such as exclusive credits and discounts from Alchemist Accelerators partners. To participate in the program, companies often provide 5% equity that covers the tuition cost and initial investment.

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