Skip to main content

Finding A Startup Accelerator

Startup accelerators are an increasingly common path for early stage entrepreneurs. Companies such as Dropbox, SendGrid, Airbnb, and MoPub are veterans of accelerators, which provide founders with mentorship, a network of fellow founders, and access to capital to help accelerate their growth.

The demands and benefits of accelerators can vary significantly, and should be considered before joining one. A few important (but not comprehensive) points to consider are:

  1. Do you fit into the program's mandate? Are you in the right phase of growth? Is there a particular industry focus?

  2. Is residency required? And, how much will participation cost (transportation, rent)?

  3. What are the terms of the investment (total investment, equity stake, follow on rights, program fees)?

  4. Does the program have a proven track record? Have many of the participants succeeded?

  5. How strong is the network of mentors and alumni?

For students at Yale, the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI) Summer Fellowship  provides one option. Students participate in an 8-week bootcamp over the summer, where they are paired with seasoned mentors, receive a $15k stipend, have access to a set of corporate partners, and have the opportunity to attend a weekly speaker series with a cohort of other entrepreneurs.

Of course, many student entrepreneurs also participate in accelerators off campus. The most notable of these include famous programs like

  • 500 Startups  (Mountain View, CA | application deadline: 9/30/2016);

  • Techstars  (Various locations | application deadline: 10/15/2016); and,

  • Y Combinator (Mountain View, CA | application deadline: 10/4/2016).

And, there are many other start-up accelerators .

If you’re in the market not just for capital, but also for mentorship, companionship, and the other tools of accelerators, they might just be a good fit for your start-up. If you are would enjoy speaking to somebody at Yale SOM about your particular needs, you can contact to Jennifer McFadden, Associate Director of the Program on Entrepreneurship and Professor in the Practice of Entrepreneurship at Yale SOM, at