Top 25 Startup Accelerator Programs in San Francisco

• 12 min read
Top 25 Startup Accelerator Programs in San Francisco

Program

When it comes to starting and managing a business, you’re going to need all the help that you can get. You can get this help in a variety of ways, such as reading business books, watching online classes about business, and asking advice from other entrepreneurs.

But lately, there is another perfect way to get assistance in your business. And this is to sign up for an accelerator program.

Startup Accelerators: What Are They? And Why Are They Perfect For You?

As the name suggests, a startup accelerator is a program that is designed to accelerate the growth of a startup. This program is usually fixed-term and cohort-based, and it includes mentorship, other educational components, and even funding. The final event of an accelerator program is typically a public pitch event or demo day.

Because accelerators provide such immersive education and intense coaching from industry experts, budding entrepreneurs will be able to learn from the very best. They can get a look at the industry and learn how best to scale their ventures given the circumstances.

In other words, with accelerator programs, entrepreneurs will undergo the “learning-by-doing” process, and they have experienced business people helping them succeed.

What Are the Top Startup Accelerators in San Francisco?

San Francisco is known for its high-tech industry, and so, there is an abundance of startup accelerators in this city. For that reason, if you reside in San Francisco, then you’re in great luck.

To help you find the best startup accelerator for you, here are 25 of the most well-known ones in the city.

Alchemist Accelerator

Alchemist Accelerator is a venture-backed initiative that focuses on accelerating the development of early-stage startups that monetize from enterprises.

The program is for six months, and it is limited to 25 teams only. Alchemist offers a structured path to mentorship, traction, fundraising, and community for founders with ambitious aspirations. Additionally, this program boasts over 3,000 faculty and mentors and over 5,500 venture investors.

Currently, they have invested in about 520 companies, including Farmwise, Doxel, BigOmics Analytics, Puloli, and Launch Darkly.

Acceleprise

Acceleprise is an accelerator that invests in early-stage B2B SaaS and enterprise technology companies.

This accelerator is a four-month program, and selected startups will receive a curated schedule of mentor sessions, office hours, funding, hands-on weekly sales coaching, subsidized office space, and critical introductions to potential customers and partners.

Acceleprise is backed by industry-leading operators from companies like Box, Salesforce, and Cisco with extensive experience in scaling SaaS companies.

IndieBio

IndieBio is a four-month accelerator program that specializes in accelerator biotech companies. With this program, selected startups receive seed funding, lab, and co-working space, dedicated mentorship, and networking opportunities with IndieBio alumni, investors, biotech entrepreneurs, investors, press, corporate partners, and more.

As of right now, IndieBio’s portfolio contains 116 companies. Some of these companies include Geltor, Memphis Meats, Jungla Inc., NotCo, Ember Medical Inc., and BioROSA Technologies Inc.

AngelPad

AngelPad is a seed-stage accelerator based in New York City and San Francisco. In this program, 15 startups — selected from a pool of 2000 applicants — receive mentorship, funding ($120,000 seed funding, $300,000 worth of cloud credits from AWS, Google, and Digital Ocean), community, and connections to investors.

AngelPad startups can be found in almost any tech vertical: SaaS, marketplaces, core technology, advertising, API, healthcare, and many more.

Moreover, AngelPad is consistently ranked #1 U.S. Accelerator by MIT/Rice University’s Accelerator Rankings Project.

Village Global

Village Global is an early-stage venture capital firm for founders who use software and IT to transform or create global industries. This program is 12 weeks of intensive, personalized support to grow the founders’ businesses. Additionally, startups will receive weekly mentorship, introductions to investors, connections to potential customers and/or hires, and a community of peer founders and startup veterans.

This accelerator is backed by the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sara Blakely, Diane Greene, and many more.

Desafía

Desafía is an accelerator program that aims to help Spanish technology companies scale faster all over the world.

The company’s flagship program, the Immersion Program, is a two-week program where C-Level officers and founders participate in workshops, meetings, and activities that assess the current strategic position of the company, plot improvements to ramp up growth and start working on it.

The second program is the Validation Program. This is for Spanish technology companies that have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) but not necessarily traction and are interested in validating their company with Silicon Valley experts.

Desafía’s portfolio of companies has raised more than $150 million in total and created more than 3000 jobs.

Highway1

Highway1 is a division of PCH, a custom product solutions company that works with some of the world’s best brands. This is an accelerator program that specializes in hardware startups. For four months, selected startups will receive funding and mentorship on product development, manufacturing lessons, introductions to world-class industrial designers, business development, and community and connections.

Over the years, Highway 1 has mentored 83 startups in 13 countries and raised over $125 million in funding.

Nex Cubed

Nex Cubed is an investor and innovation partner that invests in, accelerates, and scales frontier tech companies. The company accepts startups engaged in various industries, including fintech, digital health, and technology.

In addition to their startup programs for entrepreneurs in the U.S., Nex Cubed also offers programs for entrepreneurs abroad. These programs are Startup Academy — a program, which can last between one week and two months, that mentors entrepreneurs on how to expand in the U.S. market — and Startup Acceleration — a 3–6 month program for companies that have decided to do business in the U.S.

Expa

Expa is a startup accelerator that is designed for entrepreneurs to create and launch new companies. This company is founded by Garrett Camp, who also co-founded Uber.

Expa is comprised of a team of experienced founders and entrepreneurs who are dedicated to identifying the next big idea and partnering with the future generation of leaders to build great companies. Their partners have led some of the most successful companies, such as Uber, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and AddThis.

The Refiners

The Refiners is a startup accelerator that aims to help entrepreneurs thrive in Silicon Valley. To achieve this goal, the company runs a 12-week business acceleration program that provides funding, networking, and mentorship opportunities to selected startups. They accept startups that are from a wide range of industries and sectors.

The Refiners offers up to $50,000 seed funding to startups that have raised less than $500,000 in return for 5–7% equity with a $15,000 program fee. They also offer $100,000 to startups that have raised between $500,000 and $1 million in return for 3–5% equity with a $25,000 program fee.

Venture University

Venture University is a startup accelerator that is designed for entrepreneurs who are looking to gain high-quality investment experience to break into the VC/PE industry, launch their funds, or advance their careers.

The company’s Investor Accelerator is a program that can be taken full-time or part-time. It provides crucial education in deal sourcing, conducting due diligence, investment evaluation, presenting opportunities at weekly Partners Meetings and Investment Committees, raising LP capital, and helping portfolio companies succeed.

HAX

  • Website: https://hax.co/
  • Twitter: @hax_co
  • Take Equity: 14%
  • Invest Amount: $250,000 ($150,000 in cash and $100,000 in in-kind support)

HAX is a venture capital program that is specifically for hardware-enabled startups. The company has locations in Shenzhen and San Francisco, so they can help startups from all over the world to grow from early prototypes to scaled businesses.

HAX is part of SOSV, a global venture capital firm that provides multi-stage investment to develop and scale. They offer hands-on help to their chosen startups, and they also continue supporting them with follow-on financing of up to $4 million over their companies’ lifetimes.

SAP.iO

SAP.iO is an accelerator program that invests in the next generation of enterprise software startups. This program is open to startups in several industries, especially in energy and natural resources, discrete industries (aerospace and defense, industrial machinery and components, high tech, etc.), financial services, consumer industries, public services, and service industries.

For startups, they offer programs that will help them to accelerate their businesses. Aside from that, SAP.iO also offers custom programs and employee programs.

Tumml

Tumml is an accelerator that aims to empower entrepreneurs to solve urban problems. The organization provides funding and mentorship to entrepreneurs who are developing high-growth businesses that address major urban challenges.

Over the years, Tumml has accelerated 38 companies, including Chariot, Hitch, and Valor Water Analytics. Additionally, over 100 urban areas have also been positively impacted by their companies.

Matter

Matter is an early-stage media startup accelerator that is based in New York City and San Francisco. Their program lasts for five months, and during this period, chosen startups are provided with investment and resources to prototype their products and build traction with their audience.

The program begins with an intensive design thinking and entrepreneurship boot camp, followed by a regular rhythm of venture design reviews, mentoring sessions, and guest speaker workshops. The final event is a demo day.

Heavybit

Heavybit is an accelerator and venture fund that helps pre-seed and mid-series A developer and enterprise companies achieve success. This accelerator is perfect for founders who have created category-defining developer and enterprise products.

With Heavybit, founders will undergo mentorship for nine months, with 1–2 activities per week. The company only accepts eight founders at a time, thus making the application process competitive and intense. They are also willing to accept founders from countries outside of the U.S.

LAUNCH

LAUNCH is an accelerator that aims to support founders and inspire innovation. They do this by hosting free events, producing podcasts, books, and research products, and investing millions of dollars a year into promising, early-stage startups.

All the startups that the accelerator program accepts have a product in the market, with traction and revenue. LAUNCH does not invest in business plans, decks, or ideas.

The LAUNCH Accelerator chooses seven startups per cohort, and for over 15 weeks, the startups will meet over 700 investors and master growth strategies. Additionally, each startup receives $100,000 in funding in exchange for 6% equity. When the founder’s graduate, LAUNCH may consider investing $250,000 or more into the companies.

i/o Ventures

  • Website: http://ventures.io/
  • Twitter: Not available
  • Take Equity: Not available
  • Invest Amount: Not available

i/o Ventures is an early-stage seed fund that focuses heavily on mentorship. The company works closely with the founders from product launch through the next stage of company development.

Their partners and mentors have started and run some of the top internet companies. As a result, chosen startups can take advantage of the mentors’ experience in leading teams, building great products, raising money, negotiating mergers and acquisitions, and scaling infrastructure.

Illumina Accelerator

Illumina’s primary mission is to unlock the power of the genome and to help achieve this mission, they launch the Illumina Accelerator. The Illumina Accelerator partners with startups to accelerate innovation and breakthrough applications in genomics, including therapeutics, diagnostics, agriculture, synthetic biology, forensics, and direct-to-consumer applications.

This accelerator is a six-month program that provides selected startups with extensive mentorship, financial support, and access to sequencing systems, reagents, and lab space. As the program comes to an end, startups will get to meet with venture capitalists and leading investors.

COLABORATIVOx

COLABORATIVOx is an accelerator that invests in seed and early-stage impact tech startups that solve complex problems, leading to sustainable development in emerging markets, economies, and underserved communities.

The company’s SCALE program is a 24-week online program that offers weekly mentorship and training to chosen startups. Startups also receive global media exposure and promotion, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with their COLABORATIVO’s international community.

StartLabs

StartLabs is a San Francisco-based accelerator that invests in IT startups from Southeast Europe, particularly in the Western Balkans region. The program lasts for six months, and it offers funding, mentorship, office space, technical infrastructure, business services, and networking channels to the selected startups.

Moreover, startups will have access to leading mentors from various fields, including marketing, technology, accounting, sales, etc.

Some of the well-known companies that StartLabs have accelerated are WorkPuls, Kidster, Fragrance By Me, MobiCon, Swapp, CarLock, and Legal Trek.

Starttech Ventures

Starttech Ventures is a venture builder with headquarters in San Francisco, California, and an R&D center in Athens, Greece. This accelerator focuses on early-stage B2B SaaS with a high-velocity business model and commercial focus on North America.

Starttech Ventures provides startups with all the necessary infrastructure to help them gain momentum and grow their businesses. Some of their well-known alumni include Epignosis, Yodeck, and AbZorba Games.

Growth Circuit

Growth Circuit is an accelerator that aims to enable and foster the growth of technology startups from Turkey through their programs in San Francisco, global network, valuable partners, and funding at all stages from pre-seed to series A.

Growth Circuit offers two primary programs. The first is an accelerator that lasts for two months, and in this program, selected founders will be guided to the post-validation and post-revenue stage with Growth Circuit’s partnership with UC Berkeley Innovation Acceleration Group and mentors from institutions like Babson Global.

The second program is Ventures, and in this program, Growth Circuit backs game-changing entrepreneurs through smart money and networking effect.

To date, Growth Circuit has accelerated at least 145 startups, and some of the well-known companies in their portfolio are Mixoper, GatePay, Peerket, and Block-z.

Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator

The Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator is an accelerator that is designed to guide early-stage, growth-driven companies to achieve success. This accelerator is suited for startups that have ideas that improve Wells Fargo’s business processes, customer relationships, and infrastructure. In other words, the startups that Wells Fargo is looking for are companies involved in analytics, big data, artificial intelligence,  the internet of things, and many more.

This accelerator is a six-month program, and chosen startups will receive coaching and access to Wells Fargo business and technology leaders, support from a dedicated working team, experience working with a large enterprise like Wells Fargo, and exposure through program public relations.

Additionally, Wells Fargo also provides potential investments of up to $1,000,000 for selected companies, but they aren’t focused on the financial return. After six months, selected companies can maintain a lasting affiliation with Wells Fargo through investment and the relationships formed during the program.

VIVE X

VIVE X is HTC’s global program that invests in startups at the intersection of VR, AR, AI, and 5G. The VIVE X team is based in San Francisco, London, Beijing, Taipei, and Tel Aviv, and each hub covers its region.

This program is suited for startups in the virtual reality sector. However, VIVE X does not invest in service-based businesses, such as agencies or content studios.

After joining VIVE X, startups will receive strategic guidance, networked experience, access to VIVE X’s network of over 100 founders, go-to-market support, product support, fundraising support, and distribution.

VIVE X is not a location-based accelerator program. As a result, startups are not required to move to an office or be in one of the VIVE X city locations. However, chosen startups are expected to have their own offices and be in regular contact with the VIVE X team.

Conclusion

It’s easy to dream about starting a business and achieving great success, but sadly, the road to successful business life is a treacherous one. Fortunately, the 21st century has seen the rise of accelerators, which are programs that are designed to help early-stage companies through all the stages of managing a business.

Being a hub for high-tech businesses, San Francisco is teeming with accelerators that specialize in a variety of fields and industries. If you reside in San Francisco, then you’re in luck because you’re most likely going to find several accelerators that fit your vision and mission.

The 25 programs mentioned above are only some of the most notable ones in the city. Browse through the list, find one that you like, and send an application. Before you know it, you’ll be part of an accelerator program that will help you launch your company and inspire you to continue growing.

Top 25 Startup Accelerators Programs in Los Angeles →
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