Startup Accelerator Alternatives

A startup accelerator is exactly as the term implies. A venture capital company or investor supports a startup’s growth and scaling efforts. Smart startups turn to an accelerator in order to gain guidance and funding. The startup accelerator business model focuses on supporting businesses that are growth driven in their early stage.

If you’re wondering, “How do startup accelerators make money?” you’re not alone. Many of the most successful key players in the startup accelerator industry have a team of investors dedicated to investing in other businesses. These include Y Combinator, Techstars, Angelpad, DreamIt Ventures, and many others. By turning to promising business ideas and funding them, these startup accelerators are able to reap the rewards as the business grows.

Those who are building a business can find it difficult and challenging to do it on their own. The benefit of the startup accelerator structure is that it provides entrepreneurs the ability to access mentorship and sponsorship for their business.

Operating a startup can be lonely and challenging. That’s where an accelerator company can help. When entrepreneurs work within an accelerator, they get support from mentors and those sponsoring them. Besides emotional support, they can provide direction, experience and knowledge.

There are startup accelerator alternatives that have proven to be successful. These include:

  • Startup and Fundraising Consultancies: Companies raise funds for a startup in order to help them cover R&D, payroll, advertising, or other costs. In return, the company expects some percentage of profits for their efforts.
  • Experienced Angel Investors: Those who have helped build companies now desire to invest in promising potential. In exchange for valuable capital, the investor expects the debt to be paid and/or some form of ownership in the startup.
  • Create a Board of Advisors: Rather than taking on the advice of accelerators, entrepreneurs can build their own team of trusted advisors from their community. The local chamber of commerce provides an excellent area to meet and exchange ideas with those who have successful business.
  • Bootstrapping: For those who are natural born leaders, bootstrapping is an effective method. Instead of relying on outside stimuli, entrepreneurs can use their savings and personal knowledge to grow and scale their business in order to achieve their goals.

It is up to each startup to determine if they wish to go down the traditional route of working with an accelerator or turning to startup accelerator alternatives. Each path has pros and cons that must be weighed in order to make the best decision for the entrepreneur and the business.

Accelerator vs. Incubator

The difference between an accelerator vs incubator is fairly easy to identify. An accelerator is a company or individual that is called upon to accelerator an existing company’s growth. Accelerators are focused on growing and scaling a company to new heights. On the other hand, an incubator is focused on incubating different ideas that can be used to create a new business model or company. Incubators are focused on innovation rather than growth. A majority of startups can see benefits from turning to an incubator. However, until they are at a point where they can scale, few startups will see a benefit from turning to an accelerator at the earliest stages.

Some examples of incubators include Founders Space and Uber Incubator. Founders Space is a community for leaders and founders to collaborate. The company provides startups with the necessary resources, knowledge, and capital to achieve their dreams. Uber Incubator is the newest position at Uber that is focused on envisioning and planning Uber’s next great idea.

Noteable accelerators include Y Combinator and Techstars. Y Combinator has helped launch over 2,000 companies since 2005, including Airbnb, DoorDash, and Instacart. Techstars accepts only one percent of applicants. Since 2006, Techstars has assisted over 1,600 companies and now has a combined market capitalization of $18.2 billion.

When it comes to accelerator best practices, it’s important to know that being hard and consistent is key. Cold calls must be made. Hard conversations must be had. There is no room for weakness or emotions because the stakes are too high. Only the strongest start ups will thrive and the weakest projects will cease to exist.

500 Startups

500 Startups is on a mission to identify and fund the most talented entrepreneurs from around the globe. Since launching the 500 Startups cohort, the company has invested in 2,400 companies in 75 countries. The company has employees across the world that manage 500 Startups India, 500 Startups Singapore, 500 Startups Vietnam, 500 Startups Southeast Asia, 500 Startups United States, and 500 Startups Canada.  

The 500 Startups application is a simple form that takes less than 10 minutes to complete. When the 500 Startups review is considered, it’s easy to see why the company is so successful. Aside from startup money, the company assists companies with customer acquisition and digital marketing. The 500 Startups alumni continue to enjoy on-going education and now invest in other startups.

Some of the most notable companies in the 500 Startups portfolio include Credit Karma, Twilio, Canva, Grab, Bukalapak, The RealReal, Talkdesk, Knotel, Udemy, and Ipsy, according to the venture capital’s website.  The 500 Startups AUM is high because of the key players they have helped scale to new heights.


Located in California, Expa Los Angeles was built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Founded by Uber co-founder Garret Camp, Expa V3 finds, partners, and funds the next big idea. As a seed accelerator, the startup studio has raised over $150 million from investors. Some of the most notable companies to thrive because of Expa Labs include Uber, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, StumbleUpon, AddThis, MetroLyrics, and Envoy, according to the company’s website.

This leading seed accelerator assists startups around the world and focuses time in Expa San Francisco, Expa New York, and Expa Vancouver entrepreneurs. The company focuses on providing product strategy, system design, and UX. They have the ability to create brands and prototypes that fit the market. With their large network of entrepreneurs and investors, the knowledge available is incredibly valuable. Those who need a space to work can find a desk in the shared office space.

High Alpha

High Alpha is a venture studio that is pioneering the latest model in building a successful entrepreneur based company. They specifically invest in B2B SaaS companies. While the company was only launched in 2015, High Alpha has created 17 new businesses and invested in over 40 — and counting. We are working to change the landscape of how B2B SaaS companies are created and maintained.

As a venture studio, High Alpha is focused on providing venture funding and decreasing the amount of time it takes to scale company growth. A venture studio goes beyond the initial venture capital. It focuses on all aspects of the business since ever part plays a huge role in the business’ overall success. Venture studios are different from accelerators because they do not wait for an opportunity to arise. Unlike an incubator and accelerator, a venture studio does not focus on a new idea or existing company. High Alpha creates their own luck and starts companies that have great potential on their own.

Each venture studio is unique. Some may start with more equity and others may have a tiny piece of the market share. Regardless of how they start, each venture studio will create, build, grow, and sustain a brand new company while gaining valuable knowledge from a variety of partners and investors.

Silicon Valley Startups

Silicon Valley startups are usually the most successful because of the location and number of investors that are looking to network. Silicon Valley incubation and acceleration companies continue to pop up left and right as successful founders seek to help the top Silicon Valley startups 2019. Silicon Valley startups jobs continue to provide vital employment for millions of people.

Silicon Valley startups 2020 should continue to seek our investors and mentors. The number of co-working spaces will continue to increase to meet the needs of those who need to network to grow their business idea. Those who seek a startup accelerator San Francisco or Silicon Valley incubators should seek out the top names mentioned earlier in this article: 500 Startups, Expa, and High Alpha.

Types of Startup Accelerators

A variety of home startups need accelerators to come in and tell them how to grow and scale their business to the next level. Most smart home startups in 2019 saw benefits from turning to a knowledge accelerator.

A few types of startup accelerators include:

  • Space Startup Accelerator
  • Home Appliance Startup Accelerator
  • Health Startup Accelerator
  • Tech Startup Accelerator
  • Education Startup Accelerator
  • Not-For-Profit Startup Accelerator
  • Travel Startup Accelerator
  • Home Cleaning Startup Accelerator
  • and more!

Regardless of the type of startup, every entrepreneur can find an accelerator that provides the knowledge and capital they need to be successful. It is important for these individuals to remember that every accelerator will have comments and actions that seem harsh. However, these are necessary in order to grow and build a successful business. The accelerators are the experts that can identify what works and what doesn’t immediately.

High Alpha Staircase in a Modern Office with Venture Studio and Startup Workers Sitting and Working

High Alpha Venture Studio

The venture studio model is a new model for entrepreneurship, combining company building with venture funding in order to compress time, iterate quickly, and scale faster.

We’re always looking for entrepreneurs with ideas who want to start a company inside a venture studio. Check out the ideas we're currently exploring, or tell us one of your own.

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