Starting a business has always been such a daunting mountain to climb. There are just so many things you need to take care of to ensure that your business will be a success.
But right now, with a pandemic going on that has negatively affected economies all over the world, it seems like starting a business is a mountain that you can’t climb at all. In some ways, it just doesn’t seem possible.
But luckily for you, not all hope is lost because there is something you can do to help boost your business. And that is to seek the help of a startup accelerator.
What Does a Startup Accelerator Do?
Essentially, startup accelerators are programs that take startups and help put them in a trajectory that officially transforms them into full-fledged companies. These programs will support an early-stage business through education, mentorship, and financing. By the end, startups will be ready to pitch their ideas to a handful of potential investors.
The way a startup accelerator works is that startups will enter the program for a fixed period to be mentored and educated. The whole experience is generally intense, immersive, and fast-paced because the program compresses years’ worth of important information into just a few months.
What Are the Top Startup Accelerators in Phoenix?
Now that you know what a startup accelerator is, you probably think that your early-stage business can benefit from it. You’re also probably wondering if there are any startup accelerators in your city of Phoenix, Arizona.
You should be delighted to hear that luck is on your side because there are several startup accelerators in Phoenix. Some of them are even well-known and critically acclaimed.
To help you get started on your search for the right startup accelerator for you, here is a list of 25 accelerator programs in Phoenix that you can choose from.
Founded in 2011, Seed Spot is an accelerator in Phoenix that specializes in supporting impact-driven entrepreneurs in the city and all over the country. The company has ample and flexible space for co-working, extensive workshops, private office work, one-on-one office work, and many more.
The company offers several programs. Two of their most popular ones are:
- 2-Day Launch Camp (April 22–23, 2021). This program is comprised of a customized curriculum, content experts, and mentorship that is industry-specific and associated with the United Nations Suitable Development Goals. It provides entrepreneurs with a chance to build and launch ventures focused on equality and inclusion, sustainability and smart cities, health and wellness, education, and civic engagement and policy.
- Impact Accelerator (May 24–June 30, 2021). This program features twice-weekly live sessions that virtually connect participants with expert-led workshops and provide collaboration between founders.
In addition to these, Seed Spot also offers webinars, pitch events, founder scrums, and many more programs to help aspiring entrepreneurs.
Over 650 entrepreneurs have participated in their classes, and the company has a total funding amount of $399,400.
Stealthmode Partners is an accelerator that consists of a network of people and companies that help new entrepreneurs launch their businesses. The company has been helping entrepreneurs since 1999.
Stealth Mode focuses on the industries of automotive, consulting, and incubators. The accepted startups receive coaching, consulting, and connections to the people and the resources they need to succeed.
Coplex is a startup accelerator that was founded in 2000. The company aims to turn the art of building businesses into a repeatable science, and they primarily specialize in the healthcare industry.
Coplex has a studio that provides the human and financial capital needed at the earliest stages of building a business. They will work side-by-side with the new entrepreneurs to address all kinds of challenges — whether they are big or small.
As of right now, the company has a total funding amount of $3.8 million and has 31 investments. Some of their well-known investments include Insurmi, Nurseio, Qwick, Smile Virtual, Steady Install, and Yellow Bird.
Aside from helping entrepreneurs turn their idea into reality, Coplex also partners with leading healthcare organizations that want to co-create new ventures with the best entrepreneurial talent.
The Armory is a nonprofit organization that is committed to helping military veterans launch and scale startups. The company was founded in 2016.
With this startup accelerator, the selected entrepreneurs are provided with a co-working space, knowledge resources, practical lean startup skills, and mentorship that they need to turn their concepts into a reality. Additionally, the company also helps the entrepreneurs compress the time it takes to generate revenue or make their ventures worthy of capital investment.
The Armory has garnered several sponsors and supporters throughout the years. Some of their most well-known sponsors are Wells Fargo, Parallel Capital Partners, and CenturyLink.
Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation
A division of the Maricopa Corporate College, the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI) is a comprehensive business accelerator located in Phoenix that provides the services, space, and support that are crucial to the development of early-stage startup companies.
In particular, they support startup commercialization of medical devices, biotech, and renewable energy innovations. The chosen startups receive counseling and mentoring from this accelerator, as well as a state-of-the-art facility to commercialize their businesses.
Moreover, CEI also offers a community that allows the entrepreneurs to collaborate with other innovative entrepreneurs to champion their successes and provide additional guidance.
CEI is funded by the Maricopa Community Colleges, the City of Phoenix, and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. And they also have several respected supporters, such as the Maricopa Small Business Development Center Network, Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, and Arizona Collaboratory.
Founded in 2013, Game CoLab is a startup accelerator that offers a collaborative workspace to unite and empower the game development community in Arizona.
The company focuses primarily on education: they educate people about games, game developers about the gaming industry, and the local government and institutional partners about the potential of games as an economic driver.
For game developers and entrepreneurs, Game CoLab offers mentorship and funding. They also offer services in PR and marketing, community building, and game development.
Additionally, the company also partners with other businesses in the industry, such as CineForge Media and PreviewLabs, to accomplish their clients’ goals.
Community Entrepreneurship Center
The Community Entrepreneurship Center is located on the South Mountain Community College campus. This center is a startup accelerator that offers education, services, tools, and resources for startup businesses.
With this accelerator program, startup entrepreneurs can benefit from mentoring and counseling from Maricopa Small Business Development Center, collaborative workspaces that they can use to engage and network with other entrepreneurs, access to a MyCareer Advisor for advisement and registration, and many more.
Furthermore, the Community Entrepreneurship Center offers a microfinance partnership program where entrepreneurs may be eligible for a business loan that can range between $500 and $2,500.
ASU ScaleU is a functional higher education technology accelerator wherein new technologies are integrated, tested, and validated at Arizona State University (ASU). This program aims to provide early-stage EdTech startups with the opportunity to test their digital learning product in a complex and dynamic university environment.
As a functional accelerator, ASU ScaleU provides opportunities to develop educational technologies through product application at ASU. Additionally, selected entrepreneurs will get the opportunity to have their product paired with one of the hundreds of academic, research, or service units within ASU. This then leads to the next phase of funding, product development, and customer acquisition.
This accelerator program is funded by Draper Associates, GSV AcceleraTE, and LearnLaunch Accelerator. As of right now, ASU ScaleU has been attended by more than 100,000 students, and they have also spawned several successful investments, including CampusLogic, GradeScope, and Affinaquest.
Venture Devils is another accelerator program by ASU, and this one specifically supports entrepreneurs from ASU’s community of students, faculty, and staff.
This program aims to help accelerate an entrepreneur to success by connecting them with Venture Mentors who provide regular and ongoing support. The mentorship, which lasts around three months, is meant to challenge, monitor, and advance the business development process.
Moreover, aspiring entrepreneurs under this program have the opportunity to receive direct access to ASU funding, which can range from $1,000 to $100,000, and venture development spaces.
Avnet Innovation Lab
Avnet, a leading global technology solutions provider, has partnered with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU to create the Avnet Innovation Lab. The Avnet Innovation Lab is a tech startup accelerator that provides participants with funding, critical business consultation, and access to dedicated working space in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
Selected entrepreneurs will also gain one-on-one access to the brightest minds in technology distribution, supply chain management, and next-generation technologies during a 12–18-month program.
LaunchPoint, also known as the Mesa Technology Accelerator, provides startup technology companies and other compatible enterprises with an environment to cultivate growth. This program specializes in cultivating the latest innovations and technologies — from consumer web and mobile applications to biotech and green energy.
With this program, entrepreneurs will have access to a flexible workspace, business development assistance, and networking and training opportunities.
Additionally, LaunchPoint also offers connectivity and access to the Greater Phoenix entrepreneurial community and proximity to higher education resources. This provides a supportive environment to help fuel the success of the entrepreneurs’ businesses.
The Resource Innovation and Solutions Network (RISN) Incubator is a program that is founded by the Arizona State University and the City of Phoenix. This program is a niche business accelerator that focuses on helping entrepreneurs in the early stages of waste-to-product innovation.
The RISN Incubator provides startups with a chance to rapidly scale and transform their businesses into vehicles that solve one of the world’s most significant challenges: waste management.
With this program, startups will have access to technical experts in the field of material reuse, technology, and circular economy. They will get business training on topics, such as building a cost and revenue model, operations, and value proposition. They will have the opportunity to be introduced to industry stakeholders.
As of 2020, the RISN Incubator has helped 19 companies, raised $3.72 million for capital, generated $4.14 million for revenue, created 68 jobs, and launched 25 products.
BioAccel is a nonprofit organization that aims to provide funding and business expertise to develop early-stage life science technologies that boost local economic growth. This organization focuses on helping startups in the biomedical technology industry.
BioAccel offers four programs to interested startups. These four programs are as follows:
- The Technology Advancement Program (TAP). This program offers proof-of-concept funding and mentoring services to aspiring entrepreneurs and founders so that they can make their biomedical discoveries to reality.
- Solutions Challenge. This is an annual, market-driven, industry-sponsored competition that sets aspiring entrepreneurs and their technologies against the most compelling healthcare needs nowadays.
- New Venture Development Program. This program offers seed funding to entrepreneurs who have graduated from Solutions Challenge and TAP. The funding can cover up startup expenses like regulatory compliance, engineering, intellectual property, interns, facilities, lab space, clinical trials, and many more.
- Student Entrepreneur Training and Mentoring at Universities. BioAccel’s student training and mentoring programs at partnering universities are meant to accelerate the translation of novel scientific advances and discoveries into commercially viable products and devices that can advance patient care and public health.
Since the organization’s inception in 2009, they have helped launch 17 companies, and they have also provided education and mentorship for more than 100 Arizona entrepreneurs.
BioInspire is a subsidiary of BioAccel. This program is created in partnership with the City of Peoria, and it aims to support qualifying bioscience entrepreneur companies. In other words, this is an accelerator program for those entrepreneurs with medical devices as their primary products.
As of right now, seven companies are actively engaged in startup business operations at BioInspire. These startups are Nasseo, Arizona Medical Systems, OmniBioceutical Innovations, RightBio, Hildeez Recovery Garments, Yolia, and BioVenture Services.
Founded in 1987, the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) Accelerator aims to enable young entrepreneurs to learn and grow, thus leading to greater success in business and beyond.
Their accelerator program is high in energy and rich in content, and it focuses on four key areas: people, strategy, execution (sales and marketing), and cash. Additionally, the program also offers other benefits, such as mentorships, connections to experts, and peer-to-peer learning.
Aside from Arizona, the EO has also helped entrepreneurs from all over the world. As of right now, they have helped over 14,000 businesses.
Growth Nation aims to work with new entrepreneurs to plan and execute growth. In other words, the company is a one-stop-shop for marketing, sales, and business development, and they help startups grow locally, regionally, and globally.
To boost the business, Growth Nation focuses on three steps that will help entrepreneurs deal with the challenges that they face regularly. These steps are: 1) use a holistic view, 2) execute growth, and 3) lead a prioritized plan.
As of right now, the company has garnered over $1 billion of revenue in technology, manufacturing, healthcare, professional services, and many more.
Founded in 1992, Invest Southwest is a nonprofit organization that supports the growing startup ecosystem in Arizona and its neighboring states. They achieve this by providing startups with advice and information on pitching to investors, fundraising, legal regulations, hiring practices, marketing, and other key topics.
The organization’s premier accelerator event is Venture Madness, and this event pits the most promising startups against one another in a love pitch, head-to-head competition. Chosen startups immediately become part of the exciting entrepreneurial ecosystem in Arizona and the Southwest. This 2021, the event will occur on October 6–7.
As of right now, Invest Southwest has helped startups raise more than $300 million in the capital.
MAC6 is an early-stage business incubator that aims to accelerate conscious capitalism through collaboration, creativity, community, and change.
For aspiring entrepreneurs, MAC6 offers a service called MAC6 Leadership Academy. The MAC6 Leadership Academy is composed of programs, workshops, and small-bite learning opportunities that range from emotional intelligence and individualized health and wellness to high-performing teams, recruiting and hiring, and implementing a complete operating system for a growing business. Additionally, this service offers tools for executive leadership teams and other teams throughout the organization.
Since the company’s inception in 2012, MAC6 has helped over 100 businesses in launching and dealing with other issues they face.
Mission Create is a nonprofit incubator that helps entrepreneurs start and successfully scale their ventures. This program specializes in helping other nonprofit ventures as well.
When startups become a member of Mission Create, they can expect the organization to help them with the tedious tasks of starting a business. In particular, Mission Create will take care of administrative tasks and keep the new nonprofit venture in IRS compliance. This allows the entrepreneurs to have more time and energy to focus on their cause and passion.
Moreover, Mission Create will also connect the entrepreneurs with a community of mentors and other successful nonprofit leaders.
AZTechCelerator is an accelerator company with a 66,000 square foot campus. The company aims to accommodate the needs of startups by providing them mentorship and other resources.
AZTechCelerator offers several perks to startups, such as:
- Startup Space: an app that connects startups with resources in their local communities
- Small Business Assistance: offers a local network of resources, free business education, assistance with navigating city regulatory processes, location support, and even market research
- Business Incubator: designed to accommodate the needs of startups by providing them with mentors, training, affordable space, and a multitude of resources that are custom-tailored for their business venture
The company offers more benefits, and throughout the years, they have served several clients, such as the Arizona Cyber Warfare Range, CarePatrol, and CPR Solutions.
Founded in 2016, Chandler Innovations is a business incubation and entrepreneurial development program that specializes in helping engineers, inventors, and entrepreneurs who have big ideas.
For entrepreneurs, the company offers a four-track development approach that provides the resources and structure that entrepreneurs need to be successful. All in all, this approach will educate entrepreneurs for about three years.
Chandler Innovations is sponsored by the City of Chandler, and they also partner with Moonshot at NACET and ASU Innovation Center.
Gangplank’s primary goal is to be the perfect place for creators. As a result, they provide entrepreneurs with the infrastructure, complete with high-speed internet and desk spaces, and a community of other entrepreneurs.
Additionally, the company also offers one-on-one meetings with mentors who specialize in marketing, financial management, and business planning. They also offer educational programs for younger people who have a passion for entrepreneurship.
Gangplank believes that collaboration helps foster growth. And their co-working space provides daily opportunities to meet with contractors, investors, and future staff.
Founded in 2010, CO+HOOTS is a program that offers co-working spaces, educational programs, outreach, and more. In particular, this foundation provides entrepreneurial, business, and technology education to young companies so that they will be able to flourish their businesses even further.
Moreover, the company also helps pair founders who are ready to scale their business with top tech leaders in Phoenix, thus positioning them for even greater success.
Throughout the years, Co+Hoots has helped and nurtured over 280 entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses.
J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute
The J. Odin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs — who have an idea for a product or service that could solve a problem and enhance people’s lives — turn their ideas into a commercial and profitable business.
This institute is one of the first 12 organizations to win the Kauffman Inclusion Challenge, which is a challenge that aims to engage diverse entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds.
Fuerza Local Business Accelerator
*Note: this program is 100% delivered in Spanish.
The Fuerza Local Business Accelerator is a program that was founded by the Local First Arizona Foundation as a direct response to the influx of predatory lenders that target low-income Latinos who often lack financial literacy and access to resources about business management.
This acceleration program is a six-month program that is designed to teach underserved micro-entrepreneurs crucial basics for financial literacy and business development. If chosen, participants will attend weekly classes on a variety of topics, such as marketing, business planning, and many more.
It is the dream of entrepreneurs to have their businesses succeed, but achieving that dream can be really challenging. Luckily, there are accelerator programs that can help you with managing your business.
The 25 accelerator programs are some of the most well-known programs in Phoenix, Arizona. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur in Phoenix, you should take advantage of at least one of these programs. You’ll be glad that you did.