Startup Competition Guide


Looking for an AI focused accelerator? This list is for you!

These accelerators include Eonify, Rockstart, Techcode and Zeroth

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
June 15, 2017
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For startups, there are numerous paths for getting their name out there. One way, which Vator has been covering recently, are startup competitions, but another popular method to get a foot in the door, as well as some funding and traction, are accelerators. These are programs that provide companies advice, guidance and various forms of support for startups in their early stages. They also often invest in the companies, for a certain equity stake.

Need a list of startup competitions, challenges, accelerators, etc. from around the world? Check out VatorX. You can find them, or list yours!

There are some very well-known accelerators out there, including Y Combinator and 500 Startups, which have made their names through various successful alumni. Those programs fairly general, accepting companies from a variety of different spaces. 

For some companies, it may help to join an accelerator that only focuses on their specific area. That's especially true for those in more specialized spaces, which will have their own unique challenges and regulations.

One of those areas that requires some additional expertise is artificial intelligence.

Here are some of the accelerators that are focused specifically on mentoring companies in that space:

"We are looking to help disruptive startups with innovative technologies, products, solutions and/or approaches in big data, data science, and artificial intelligence by providing them access to funding, mentors, subject matter experts, and data to help startups succeed."

Investment amount: We have a big network of wealthy individuals, seed funders, micro VCs, corporate ventures, and venture capital firms looking to provide funding to disruptive DS / AI startups.

Program benefits: In order to get your data sicence or artificial intelligence technology, data model, and algorithms strategy correct, you will need access to brilliant minds who have been there and done that.

Startups need to have industry partners that will help them develop, test and validate their data science and artificial intelligence product. Eonify have access to midsize to large organizations across major industries willing to prove your concept.

Mentor makeup: Our seasoned mentors and advisors comes from many different industries and professions and can advise founders regarding their company, product, business model, technology, service model, go-to-market strategy and other areas of interests.

"We support startups in becoming scalable by providing access to capital, market, community, and expertise"

Investment amount: The startups selected for the AI accelerator by Rockstart will receive €20,000 cash.

In addition to this, one of the lead investors of its acceleration programs has committed to invest at least €200,000 in an AI Startup of their choosing after the Demo Day.

Program benefits: €80,000 of in-kind funding, office space in Den Bosch for the duration of the program, and support from mentors from relevant industries, as well as more than 50 perks and deals worth some €600,000.

Mentor makeup: Christoph Auer-Welsbach, Jane Zavalishina, Eric Postma, Jasper Wognum

Portfolio companies: Owlin, Cupenya, Sympower, 

"Integrating a wide range of global resources, the TechCode Accelerator program supports startups with the intellectual capital (programming, mentorship, subject matter expertise and supply chain resources) they need to commercialize their technologies."

Investment amount: Ten of the startups =receive a financial capital investment of at least $50,000 USD, or in their local currency where applicable.

Program benefits: Each startup will also benefit from TechCode’s strong connections in China, including its strategic partnership with CFLD, a leader in investment and operation of new industrial Chinese cities. TechCode will help the startups enter the Chinese market and establish relationships with manufacturers and distributors. 

Mentor makeup: Michael Wiemer, Annie Lien, Jessica Zhang, Jeremy Glassenberg

Portfolio companies: Chefling, Rever, Sereneti, RoboMing, ActiveScaler


"Synechron’s Artificial Intelligence platform – Neo – was developed in our Financial Innovation Labs (FinLabs) to help the financial services industry capitalize on this opportunity. Neo uniquely brings together Synechron’s digital, business consulting and technology capabilities, allowing financial institutions to deploy cutting-edge AI solutions that solve complex business challenges using Natural Language Processing (NLP), Chatbots, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Cognitive Machine Learning, Data Science, and Robo-Advisor for financial services."

Investment amount: 

Program benefits: Synechron’s Artificial Intelligence-based accelerator solutions empower financial institutions to obtain:

  • Automation of processes using automated data extraction, voice commands and automatically generated text based on understanding of human language leads to higher accuracy, margins, and more standardized Omni-channel operations.
  • Visible increase in auditability and cost-savings achieved due to reduced FTE operations cost by automating manual, labor-intensive business processes. Operationalization of processes for increased dependability and transparency further enhances compliance workflows and audit trails.
  • Increased efficiency, turnaround time and precision on data modeling and calculations achieved by focusing on real-time price for reporting related to treasury and finance regulations

Portfolio companies: None yet

"’s program focuses on the development of early-stage AI startups by providing hands-on mentorship and funding opportunities."

Investment amount: $120,000USD in exchange for 6% equity in common stock.

Program benefits: Based out of Hong Kong, it is focused on working with founders of AI companies in Asia. Companies are provided mentorship and funding opportunity to builds the foundation of a healthy tech community.

Portfolio companies: aniWEAR, Botimize,, Designjar, DT42m, Mate Labs, Object AI , Rocco, Sero

"The Alexa Accelerator, Powered by Techstars, is looking for entrepreneurs advancing voice-powered technologies. Created in partnership with Amazon’s Alexa Fund, the program will focus on Alexa domains such as connected home and car, wearables and hearables, communication devices and more."

Investment amount:  A $100,000 convertible note is automatically offered to all Techstars companies upon acceptance, as well as $20,000 in exchange for 6% common stock. Participants will receive an investment from Techstars and Alexa Fund.

Program benefits: 

  • Access to Techstars resources for life
  • Acceleration in a 90-day Techstars program with intense, hands-on mentorship from Techstars Mentors
  • Connections to the Techstars Network of over 5,000 founders, alumni and mentors globally
  • 400 perks worth over $1M
  • Office space for three months
  • Demo Day and other investor connections
  • Equity Back Guarantee, the only one of its kind in the industry

 Mentor makeup: Brad Feld, David Cohen, David Limp, Paul Bernard

Portfolio companies: None yet

"We built off the success of the Future Labs at NYU Tandon to create AI NexusLab, our four-month acceleration program in partnership with ff Venture Capital (ffVC). Unlike accelerators with rigid curricula and a quantity-over-quality approach, NexusLab doesn’t lock startups into a set, cookie-cutter program or force founders to meet with an endless array of uninvolved mentors. The program is tailored to the needs of each team in the cohort."

Investment amount: In exchange for 8% equity, companies receive a $100,000 investment from ff Venture Capital

Program benefits: The four-month program offers:

  • More than $400,000 worth of services, including support from our in-house designer, legal and intellectual-property consulting by Lowenstein Sandler, credits from Amazon Web Services, IBM/SoftLayer, and others
  • Companies become part of ff Venture Capital’s portfolio, with ongoing access to firm partners and acceleration team of operations professionals
  • A student fellow from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering
  • All cohorts are taken on a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to meet with our Silicon Valley investor and entrepreneur network

 Mentor makeup: Matt Zeiler, Alex Poon, Fred Wilson, Bud Mishra, Doug Bemis

Portfolio companies: Alpha Vertex,, Klustera, Cambrian Intelligence, HelloVera

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