Best Startup Accelerators and Incubators [2024 USA Edition]

50 Best Startup Accelerators and Incubators [2024 USA Edition]

What are startup accelerators and business incubators?

Startup incubators and accelerators both provide support to early-stage startups and entrepreneurs, but they serve different purposes.

Incubators are designed to assist startups that are still developing their products and have not yet established a business model. They provide a nurturing environment where these early-stage companies can develop.

On the other hand, accelerators are geared towards rapidly advancing the growth of startups that have already created and launched a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). These startups have a product in use by early adopters and have begun to gain some traction.

Learn more: How to find free grants for your small business in 2024?

Top startup accelerators and business incubators in the USA

Here is the complete list of the 50+ best startup incubators/accelerators in the USA:

CompanyFounding Date and StatePortfolioSectorFunding Structure
Y Combinator2005 - California4366Software, IT, E-Commerce$500,000
TechStars2006 - Colorado3570Software, AI, ITUp to $120,000
500 Startups2010 - California2770Software, E-Commerce, Internet$150,000
MassChallenge2010 - Massachusetts3050Software, IT, HealthcareOpportunity for cash awards
SOSV1994 - New Jersey2302Biotech, Healthcare, Software$150,000 – $200,000
Plug and Play Tech Center2006 - California1366Software, AI, IT$50,000 – $250,000
Innovation Works1999 - Pennsylvania539Software, IT, Healthcare$100,000 – $150,000
Alchemist Accelerator2012 - California565Software, AI, IT$25,000
StartX (Stanford)2009 - California332Software, AI, HealthcareFree Resources worth over $1M
AngelPad2010 - California, NYC180Software, Mobile, SaaS$120,000
Google for Startups2011 - California95Software, Mobile AppsEquity-free support only
Village Capital2009 - District of Columbia302Fintech, EducationUndisclosed
Forum Ventures2012 - New York312Software, SaaS, IT$100,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology1861 - Massachusetts18AgTech, Healthcare, Renewable EnergySupport only
Maine Technology Institute1999 - Maine217Software, Manufacturing, HealthcareUndisclosed
Capital Factory2009 - Texas177Enterprise Software, SaaSAccess to Investor Network
Boomtown Accelerators2013 - Colorado174Software, IT, Healthcare$35,000 – $50,000
HAX2011 - California474Software, Hardware, Robotics$250,000
LAUNCH2011 - California382Software, Internet, SaaS$100,000
IndieBio2014 - California357BioTech, Healthcare, Medical$275,000
Quake Capital Partners2016 - Texas166Software, Healthcare, SaaS$50,000 – $250,000
TechNexus Venture Collaborative2007 - Illinois153Software, Audio, Machine LearningUndisclosed
Starta VC2011 - New York154Software, IT, AI$200,000
Obvious Ventures2014 - California122Healthcare, AI, SoftwareUndisclosed
Capital Innovators2011 - Missouri124Software, Healthcare, SaaS$50,000
MetaProp2015 - New York135Fintech, Real Estate, SoftwareUp to $250,000
JumpStart2003 - Ohio149Software, HealthcareUndisclosed
Fledge2012 - Washington88Consumer Goods, Energy$15,000 – $20,000
Canopy Boulder2014 - Colorado80Software, E-commerce$100,000+
BioGenerator2003 - Missouri73Biotech, Healthcare$10,000
Elemental Excelerator2012 - Hawaii67Software, Renewable Energy$350,000+
AlleyCorp2007 - New York64Software, Healthcare, FintechUndisclosed
NMotion2013 - Nebraska63Sports, Food & Beverage Software$100,000
Bienville Capital2008 - New York62FintechUndisclosed
The FIS Fintech Accelerator2015 - Arkansas59FintechUndisclosed
Lighthouse Labs RVA2012 - Virginia54Healthcare, SaaS$20,000
South Carolina Research Authority1983 - South Carolina48Biotech, HealthcareUp to $50,000
Interplay2012 - New York47E-commerceAccess to Venture Fund
Slater Technology Fund1997 - Rhode Island47Biotech, Healthcare$25,000+
25Madison2017 - New York41Food & Beverage Software, Healthcare, E-commerceUndisclosed
RSE Ventures2012 - New York38Sports, Food & Beverage SoftwareUndisclosed
Z80 Labs Technology Incubator2012 - New York36Biotech, HealthcareUndisclosed
Kairos2017 - New York35Fintech, Real EstateUndisclosed
Launchpeer2014 - South Carolina31Social Media AppsUndisclosed
RGAx2015 - Missouri23Fintech, InsuranceUndisclosed
CREATE-X2014 - Georgia20Healthcare, IT$5,000
Fusion2017 - California13AI, E-Commerce$150,000
Future Labs2009 - New York12Healthcare, AIUndisclosed
Capria Ventures2015 - Washington13EdTech, E-CommerceUndisclosed
LAB Ventures2016 - Florida18Real Estate, Property Management Tech$100,000 – $250,000
Hfo2022 - CaliforniaNAHF0 is a twelve-week residency for top engineer foundersTerms: 2.5% equity take plus a $500k uncapped MFN SAFE
Founders Inc2019 - California69Emerging tech companiesTerms: up to $150k for between 5-10%
LAUNCH Accelerator2011 - CaliforniaNAEnterprise/marketplace startups, Consumer products, Deep-tech startupsTerms: $100k for 6%
AI2 Incubator (AI)2012 - California400Seed stage venturesTerms: $50k-$150k investment up front, up to $500k later, equity unclear
Neo Accelerator2017 - CaliforniaNATech, InternetTerms: 1.5% equity take plus $600k uncapped MFN SAFE
The Batchery2015 - CaliforniaNASeed stage startupsNA
Race Capital2019 - CaliforniaNABlockchain, enterprise, web3, cloud$250K uncapped note

This table provides a comprehensive snapshot of each institution, including their founding dates, number of investments, industry focus, and the typical investment or support structure they offer.

Also read: How can R&D tax credits fund your startup in 2024?

Y Combinator

Y Combinator is arguably the most renowned startup accelerator featured on this list, having launched over 4,000 startups. Its portfolio includes high-profile companies like Stripe, Airbnb, Coinbase, and Twitch.

Upon acceptance into their program, Y Combinator invests $500,000 through two separate Simple Agreements for Future Equity (SAFEs):

  • $125,000 in exchange for 7% of the company, based on a post-money valuation.
  • $375,000 through an uncapped SAFE that includes a Most Favored Nation clause.

Applications to Y Combinator are submitted online and are only considered if the founder holds at least 10% equity in the startup.

Following the application, selected teams are invited for an interview. If successful, they join the YC cohort. As of the latest update, Y Combinator conducts its operations remotely due to COVID-19.

Despite the remote setup, participants in the 3-month program still benefit from all the usual perks, including mentorship, guest speakers, group office hours with peers, and the culminating Demo Day.

While the formal program lasts three months, Y Combinator's support, including mentorship and introductions, continues indefinitely. Participants also gain ongoing access to the expansive YC alum network.


Techstars invests up to $120,000 in each participating startup. This investment includes purchasing a 6% share of the company’s fully diluted capital stock upon qualified financing and an upfront payment of $20,000. The 6% common shares are issued just prior to the company securing subsequent equity financing of $250,000 or more. Detailed investment terms can be found on Techstars’ website.

Applications to Techstars can be submitted via their online form, which typically takes two to five hours to complete. Prospective applicants can consult with Techstars' mentors and advisors for guidance to ensure their startup is accurately represented.

Once the application is screened, successful candidates are invited to interview with Techstars, a process that generally spans four weeks. The interview involves two rounds and may include questions like:

  • If I gave you $200,000 to spend on hiring, who would you hire?
  • Who are your likely customers?
  • What is your ideal outcome from working with Techstars?
  • What are the key leading indicators for your business/product or your most important KPI this week?
  • How did you validate this market, and what is the market’s scope?

Passing the interviews leads to a meeting with the Techstars screening committee, which includes the managing director, program manager, and other mentors and corporate partners.

Successful candidates join a three-month cohort where the first month focuses on networking with 100 mentors from the Techstars network, experts in various fields who provide extensive support in product development, market fit, marketing, technology, hiring, fundraising, and company culture.

In the second month, participants apply what they learned to execute their startup vision—developing products, achieving KPIs, and onboarding early adopters.

The final month is dedicated to perfecting their story for fundraising and Demo Day, including developing pitch decks, preparing investor materials, and learning how to communicate their vision to potential customers, team members, and other stakeholders.

Post-program, TechStars continues to offer support through its extensive alumni network.

500 Startups

500 Startups, having funded over 2,700 startups, stands as a prominent player in the incubation and acceleration landscape. Notable companies in their portfolio include Udemy, Talkdesk, and Canva.

500 Startups provides each company that joins their program with a $150k investment for a 6% stake. They operate several accelerator programs throughout the United States, and potential candidates can apply through their website or via AngelList.

The application process may lead to an invitation for an interview day, which typically involves three consecutive interviews with members of the investment team. The process is designed to last about three hours, although it may vary.

During these interviews, topics covered will include:

  • The functionality of your startup.
  • Evidence that your startup is successful.
  • Your team’s motivation to join 500 Startups.

If accepted, you will embark on a fast-paced, four-month program at the location you applied to. The program's mentors are seasoned professionals with experience at major companies like PayPal, Google, YouTube, Apple, and Twitter.

In addition to mentorship, the program includes discussions and office hours covering various topics, from customer acquisition and distribution to design, UX, and fundraising.

A typical week at 500 Startups might look like this:

  • Weekly roundup all-hand meeting.
  • Direct interactions with mentors and advisors.
  • Weekly fireside breakouts and brainstorming sessions.
  • Weekly talks with founders of successful tech startups.

The culmination of the program is a Demo Day, where participants present their projects to investors and industry leaders.


Since its inception in 2009, MassChallenge has supported over 3,000 startups, with notable portfolio companies including Ginkgo Bioworks, Ginger, and Thinx. Unique to MassChallenge is their zero-equity model, which operates through competition-based programs where founders and alumni can vie for cash prizes rather than receiving direct equity investments.

Interested founders can apply by creating a profile on the MassChallenge website and submitting their application. Each submission undergoes a rigorous review by an international panel of judges from MassChallenge's network. Applicants will have their proposals evaluated by at least three judges, receiving personalised feedback from each.

Those who advance past the initial review stage will be invited to pitch to a diverse panel of judges from various industries during an interview. This pitch session provides extensive feedback and is beneficial regardless of the outcome.

The program itself runs virtually over three months and includes curriculum sessions three days a week. These sessions feature live speakers, workshops, themed roundtables, and other events, all designed to enhance three fundamental aspects of startup success:

  • Goal setting
  • Access to curated mentors
  • Support from a peer network

Additionally, participants can look forward to virtual networking and social events, office hours, and an extra fourth month filled with further opportunities.

The accelerator experience culminates in a Demo Day, where participants showcase their startups to a gathering of investors and industry experts.


Based in New Jersey, SOSV has successfully launched over 2,300 startups, including notable companies like Roadie, Perfect Day, and Motiv. SOSV specialises in various industry-specific programs, covering areas such as Hard Tech, Enterprise Solutions, Life Sciences, Mobile Apps, Decentralization, and Blockchain Technology.

The SOSV accelerator programs are rigorous, lasting 3-6 months, and highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of less than 5%. The expansive network features over 2,000 alum founders and more than 1,000 mentors globally.

SOSV typically offers funding ranging from $150,000 to $250,000 in exchange for equity, depending on the investment amount. Beyond the initial program, SOSV remains actively involved, offering continued support and the potential for additional investment. They commit to investing up to 20% in subsequent seed and series funding rounds, with a notable $46 million invested in post-program rounds in 2021 alone.

Prospective participants can apply to the SOSV program that best fits their startup via the SOSV website. The setup includes filling out an application form followed by an interview, after which successful founders are onboarded.

Plug and Play

Plug and Play Tech Center, is an accelerator established in 2006. Since then, it has assisted over 1,360 startups in reaching the market, with notable portfolio companies including Dropbox, CourseHero, and LendingClub. Plug and Play typically invests between $50,000 and $250,000 in startups at stages from Pre-Seed to Series A, with opportunities for up to $1 million in follow-up investments directly from Plug and Play. The equity percentage is flexible, generally from 1% to 5%, based on the investment amount.

Applications for their startup accelerator can be submitted online and are reviewed by the Plug and Play Ventures Team.

The accelerator offers expertise across a diverse range of industries, including Agtech, IoT, Fintech, and Enterprise Software. Participants in the accelerator benefit from the following:

  • Venture Capital Funding
  • Guidance from world-class mentors
  • Access to over 500 corporate partners for pitching and advice
  • Participation in daily networking events, with over 1,300 events held globally in 2021
  • Connections to a network of over 300 venture capitalists with expertise in various verticals
  • Office space in the heart of Silicon Valley

Innovation Works

Innovation Works, a Pennsylvania-based startup accelerator, has successfully launched over 530 startups. Notable portfolio companies include RE2 Robotics, Cognition Therapeutics, and Nowait (acquired by Yelp).

Innovation Works provides funding of $100,000 to $150,000 in the form of a convertible note tailored to meet startups' specific commercialisation plans, funding requirements, and runway needs.

The accelerator focuses on equipping entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to rapidly develop and expand early-stage tech startups, emphasising crucial areas such as product development and early customer acquisition. Their guiding principle for building a company is to "Engage with your customers early and often to achieve true product-market fit through quick iterations."

Participants in the program gain access to a wealth of resources, including mentorship from experts and alumni, weekly sessions led by industry leaders, office space, and the aforementioned investment opportunities.

Alchemist Accelerator

Alchemist Accelerator, based in California, has helped more than 560 startups achieve their goals. Their portfolio features successful companies like Eloquent Labs (acquired by Square), Prodigy, and Utrust. They usually invest $25,000 for a 5% equity stake, but they’re flexible and open to negotiating this percentage based on your startup’s stage. Joining Alchemist comes with perks – startups get exclusive credits, discounts, and deals with strategic partners valued at over $400,000.

The application setup is simple: fill out an online form, and if you make the cut, you’ll be interviewed by a committee to discuss your startup in more detail. Alchemist is all about boosting seed-stage ventures that sell to enterprise companies and have a solid technical team. Their impressive network includes over 3,000 mentors, faculty members, and more than 5,500 venture investors.

The program lasts six months and is customised to fit your industry. Here’s what you can expect:

  • One-on-one mentor sessions
  • Weekly check-ins with other startups in your cohort to share experiences and challenges
  • Feedback summits focused on market traction and fundraising
  • Expert talks and workshops
  • A Demo Day attended by a global group of investors
  • Lifelong access to a network of mentors, investors, customers, and alumni


StartX has helped bring 332 startups to life, large thanks to their strong partnership with Stanford University. Their portfolio features standout companies like EdCast, Nearpod, and Eero (which was acquired by Amazon). While StartX doesn't invest directly in your startup, it offers something just as valuable: equity-free one-on-one mentorship, educational seminars, and access to a thriving entrepreneurial community.

They provide over $1.2 million worth of free resources, including office space, legal advice, and more. Beyond the mentors and investors you'll meet, you'll also have access to top Stanford talent to help build your team.

StartX's network includes over 700 customers from their community of companies and founders.


AngelPad, located in California and New York, has been a launchpad for over 180 startups since 2010, including big names like Postmates, Buffer, and AllTrails. They’ve intentionally kept things small to stay true to their mission: working exclusively with companies they genuinely believe in.

They pick around 15 teams every six months for an intense three-month program. Each selected startup receives a $120,000 investment and up to $300,000 in cloud credits from AWS, Google, and Digital Ocean. The program covers everything an early-stage startup needs to succeed, from finding product-market fit and defining a target market to getting that crucial first validation. Their approach includes one-on-one mentorship, support from the cohort community, and warm introductions to industry experts and investors.

To apply, just go to their homepage and fill out the online application, followed by an interview. AngelPad is very selective, accepting less than 1% of applicants.

Check out the Inkle Stack.

Startup incubators and accelerators: How can they help a founder?

Startup incubators and accelerators can be invaluable resources for founders, offering a range of benefits to help launch and grow their businesses:

1. Access to Capital

Both incubators and accelerators often provide startups with some funding in exchange for equity. More importantly, they connect entrepreneurs with potential investors, including angels and venture capitalists, during demo days or through their networks.

2. Mentorship and Expertise

Founders gain access to experienced mentors and industry experts who guide various aspects of business development, from refining business models to navigating market challenges. This mentorship can also include specific advice on technical development, marketing strategies, and operational management.

3. Networking Opportunities

Being part of an incubator or accelerator opens up numerous networking opportunities. Founders can connect with other entrepreneurs, potential partners, and industry professionals. These relationships can be crucial for collaboration, finding early customers, and scaling the business.

4. Educational Workshops and Resources

Participants can attend workshops and seminars that cover crucial business skills such as pitch training, financial forecasting, intellectual property law, and more. Access to legal, tax, and regulatory advice can also be part of the package, saving costs and avoiding common pitfalls.

5. Structured Program

Accelerators typically offer a structured program with a clear timeline, which helps founders achieve rapid progress over a few months. This intense, focused effort can significantly accelerate business development and growth.

6. Market Validation and Traction

Accelerators mainly help startups gain market validation quickly. By connecting startups with early adopters and beta testers, they can fine-tune their products and business models based on honest user feedback.

7. Infrastructure Support

Many incubators and accelerators provide physical resources such as office space, labs, and tech infrastructure. This can reduce the overhead costs for a startup and allow the founder to focus more on the product and business development.

8. Brand Credibility

Being selected by a reputable incubator or accelerator can enhance a startup's credibility. It signals to investors, customers, and partners that the startup has been vetted and is considered promising by knowledgeable and experienced professionals in the industry.

These programs are tailored to support founders from the inception of their business ideas through to the scaling stages, providing a comprehensive ecosystem conducive to growth and success.

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