Take a look at top accelerators from around the country

Steven Loeb · July 27, 2013 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/30e6

Accelerators are popping up in cities such as Kansas City, Atlanta, Baltimore and Indianapolis

We here at Vator have recently been taking you on a tour of some of the biggest accelerators and incubators around the country. We've, of course, covered some of the biggest areas, like the Bay AreaLos Angeles and New York City. But we have also covered some of the smaller, and up and coming, areas around the country as well, including Austin, Chicago and Boston.

But there are even smaller areas around the country. They may have only one or two accelerators, and are places that nobody would think of as hubs for innovation. Cities like Kansas City, Atlanta, Baltimore and Indianapolis.

They deserve some love too! So let's take a look at some of the areas of the country that we might be talking about in the next five or 10 years.


SparkLabKC launched in January of this year. The program will focus on early-stage Internet startups working in industries that are driving the Kansas City regional economy such as telecommunications, engineering, health care, agriculture and energy.

It will select 10 early-stage Internet startup companies. 

Investment amount: Seed capital of up to $18,000

Program benefits:  A 90-day accelerator program that includes

  • More than 80 mentors with deep experience across virtually every industry
    Free workspace
  • Legal, accounting, financial and human resources advisory services
  • A formal prototype demonstration day for potential investors

Mentor makeup:  Mentors include Kelly Pruneau, Network Manager of the Women’s Capital Connection; Evan Conway, president of OneLouder; Alex Altomare, CEO and co-founder of BetaBlox; and Sue Mosby, founder of Infinium.

Partners: APolsinelli Shughart, Meara Welch Browne, Mid-America Angels, Missouri Bank, OneLouder, HR On-Call Solutions, MRIGlobal, University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center, University of Kansas Center for Technology Commercialization, University of Missouri

Portfolio companies:  

The first 10 companies selected for the program are: 

BriefcaseFolioMatchKnodaProdigyArcadeNeighborsGrowInnovative Health MediaVolunteerMarkFormZapperYour Adoption Finance Coach; and FanAddict


Think Big Partners was founded in 2009.

Investment amount: 

Traditional model: companies receive $18,000 + $3,000 per founder (up to 2 founders) for a 6%-8% equity stake in your company.

Alternative model: For those entrepreneurs that want all the benefits of the program but either do not need the investment or feel their valuation is significantly higher than the traditional program have the option to pay fee-for-service. Typical fee for service will range from $3,000-$6,000 per month, dependent on resources needed.

Program benefits: A 14-week program that will provides:

  • Ongoing coaching and mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs, subject matter experts and individuals with relevant domain expertise to your startup
  • Access to resources to include valuable introductions to network partners, service providers and syndication partners around the country



The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) was founded in 1980. It has graduated more than 150 companies, which together have raised over $2 billion in outside financing.

Program benefits: 

  • ATDC Select

ATDC Select is our flagship incubator program for high potential technology startups. In addition to our education programs and event series, ATDC Select companies receive hands on coaching from experienced Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, are eligible for suite space in the incubator, and receive priority in programs such as Industry Connect. Companies must apply for participation and meet progress criteria to graduate in three years or less.

  • ATDC Entrepreneurs

The ATDC Entrepreneurs Program is open to all technology entrepreneurs in the State of Georgia. The Entrepreneurs program provides startups coaching, connections and community through office hours with experienced Startup Catalysts and entrepreneurs, access to an experienced mentor pool, and participation in the education series and events. In addition, members are eligible for seed and co-working space in the incubator.

Mentor makeup: .Bob Atwood, the co-founder of Forest Partners; Peter Chronis; Director, Information Security and IT Risk Management for EarthLink; J Cornelius, President of Nine Labs; Chris Hagler, founder and managing partner of HaglerHomrich; and Giri Iyer,CEO of Prism Technologies.

Partners: Bennett Thrasher, DLA Piper, HA&W, Imlay Investments, Insperity, Jones Day, Morris, Manning & Martin, Nelson Mullins, Noro-Moseley Partners, Oracle, Silicon Valley Bank, TAG, TechCXO and TriNet

Portfolio companies:  Alumni include SalesLoft, Skytree, Lumense, IdeaString, BrightWhistle, OneCare, and PatientCo



Launch Pad opened its doors in June 2009 and is located in downtown New Orleans.

Program benefits

  • high-speed internet
  • programming & events
  • conference facilities
  • printer, fax, copier
  • gym
  • free coffee every morning

Mentor makeup: Alexander Black, founder and CEO of Turing; Paige Craig, co-founder/CEO at BetterWorks; Mike Brown, Investment Professional at AOL Ventures; John Elstrott, Chairman of the Board at Whole Foods Market; Angie Shelton, Vice President of Product Development at Wikia.com; and Chris Bernard, Director and Advisor at Microsoft.

Partners: New Orleans Startup Fund, New Orleans Downtorn Development District, .CO, Microsoft BizSpark, Kean Miller, Jones Walker, Graffagnini and Associates

Portfolio companiesRed Ticket GamesGiftmeoVoteItKinobiUnawkwardLawyerfy, Connect For a CauseBadger, Game Builder StudioDydra, KinioLiveset and Rayku.



Accelerate Baltimore

Investment amount: Up to $25,000 in principal amount of convertible promissory note 

Program benefits: 


  • Free space at ETC during the program
  • Access to mentors, investors and potential partners
  • Access to all ETC resources
  • Networking

    Mentor makeup: Andrew Coy, Co-Executive Director of Digital Harbor Foundation; Chris Brandenburg, co-founder and CTO of Millennial Media; Tom Little, a co-founder at Binary Event Network; and Vicky McAdnrews, the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of CMD.


    Dreamapolis started in 2011. No more than ten startups participate in the program at any one time.

    Investment amount: Dreamapolis receives up to 15% redeemable equity in the company in return for an investment plus space and services. 

    Program benefits:  A 12-week program that includes

    • A team of marketing and sales experts with a built-in labor force to help ensure success and market validation, giving the company the ability to make significant progress by the end of the program.
    • Intimate class sessions, with hands-on assistance you need from our team and our network.
    • Midway Demo Day and multiple Company Review Days to ensure the company stays on track.
    • Office and co-working space
    • Entrepreneurship events

    Mentor makeup: Mike Langellierm, CEO of Indianapolis Techpoint and Co-Founder of MyJibe; Brenda Frejie, co-founder of Studio Ninety-Six; Gagan Dhillon, founder of Cause.It;  and  Kevin Hitchen, founder of Localstake.

    Partners: LISC Indianapolis; Brannon, Sowers and Cracraft; Nuvo; Localstake; Speakeasy; Business Ownership Initiative of Indiana; Sun King Brewery; Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation; BigCar.org; Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center; KeyBank; and The Indianapolis Public Library

    Portfolio companies: Alumni have raised $120 million, including Make Life Fair and Trade School Indianapolis



    Bizdom was founded by serial entrepreneur Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans, Majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and General Partner at Detroit Venture Partners.

    Investment amount: Startups receive $25K in seed funding in exchange for 8% equity to the nonprofit Bizdom fund.

    Program benefits: A three month program that consists of

    • Direct access to the Quicken Loans Family of Companies in Sports, Entertainment, Gaming, Real Estate, Enterprise Software, and Digital Sales/Marketing; Fortune 500 Companies in the Midwest such as GM, Ford, Kellogg, and Dow Chemical; and designers, developers, marketing experts, finance experts, and law services in Michigan.
    • Bizdom sponsored workshops, trainings, and classes. Topics may include web development, business negotiations, business law, business valuation & term sheets, and online marketing tactics.
    • Entrepreneurs moving to Detroit or Cleveland will be connected with our partner organizations to help them find and discover housing, transportation, city navigation, restaurants, nightlife, entertainment, and other parts of our growing cities.
    • Free workspace, wireless, tech support, office supplies, and conference rooms, all within walking distance of Detroit’s best tech entrepreneurs.

    Mentor makeup: They include Josh Linkner, CEO/Managing Partner of Detroit Venture Partners; Ray Jones, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz; Darren Schwartz, SVP of Sales at Groupon; Bill Emerson, CEO of Quicken Loans; and Ann-Marie Murphy, co-founder of Quizzle.

    Partners: Kauffman Foundation, New Economy Initiative, Mac Professionals, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and Ohio Third Frontier Fund

    Portfolio companies:  Alumni include ChalkflyMascot SecretGuidesmobBigRivereCollectfoodjunky, Greenlancer, Firmly Planted, and Canopi.

    • DURHAM

    Triangle Startup Factory is located in Durham, North Carolina. 

    Investment amount: $50,000 in seed capital. Companies are also eligible for a $20,000 to $150,000 convertible note.

    Program benefits: A 12 week program that includes

    • Office space
    • Hands on mentorship
    • Access to the Triangle Startup Factory network

    Partners: Robinson Bradshaw; Hughes, Pittman and Gupton; Thomas, Knight, Trent, King and Company; 1 Square 1 Bank; Smith Anderson; Rankin McKenzie; Triangle Tech Talk; Knurture; Hutchison; and American Underground.

    Portfolio companies:  Alumni include ArcametricsArchiveSocialBerstEntassoRuzukuScience Behind SweatAble DeviceAlektoArtificial Intelligence PatentsPopUpOfflineBringMeThatTabSprint, TaggsTuee, and VacationFutures.



    gener8tor was founded by Troy Vosseller, Joe Kirgues, Jon Eckhardt, Daniel Bader, Joel Abraham and Dan Armbrust.

    Investment amount: Accepted companies receive $70,000. Graduates typically recieve an additional $25,000. 

    Program benefits: A 12 week program

    • Office space and surround you with fellow entrepreneurs, 
    • Access to Mentors, industry experts and service providers
    • $60,000 in Microsoft Azure Credits
    • $12,000 in SoftLayer Hosting Services
    • $10,000 in PayPal Transaction Credits
    • $6,000 in Rackspace Hosting Credits
    • $5,000 in Public Relations Support from the Metzger PR Firm
    • $3,000 in Human Resources Support from Premier Employer Services
    • $1,000 in Amazon Web Services Credits

    Partners: Global Accelerator Network, American Family Insurance

    Portfolio companies: Alumni include Zero LocusQuietymeDineInTimeScanalytics, WeMontage, MoveIn, and EatStreet



    AlphaLab was founded in 2008 by Innovation Works and is a charter member of the Global Accelerator Network. Twice a year, up to six companies are selected to participate in the program.

    Investment amount: Upon signing, Innovation Works (AlphaLab’s parent organization) will make a $25,000 investment in exchange for 5% common stock in the company.

    Program benefits: 20 week program that consists of

    • Access to Innovation Works
    • Networking opportunities through educational sessions and grassroots startup events like Open Coffee Club Pittsburgh, Innovation Happens and the IGDA Gamers Crawl.
    • Office space
    • Access to free and discounted legal services including a complimentary incorporation package through Cohen & Grigsby's AlphaLaw program
    • Funding to subsidize hiring an intern through Innovation Works’ Internship Program
    • Discounts on products and services essential to any startup like Amazon Web Services, Apple, and ZipCar through the Global Accelerator Network membership

    Mentor makeup:  Sean Ammirati, partner at Birchmere Labs; Phil Anderson, founder of Budgetsimple; Josh Dziabiak, co-founder and CEO of Showclix; Matt Fleckenstein, Relationship Marketing for Microsoft Office Live; and Steve Robinson, general partner at Pittsburgh Equity Partners.

    Partners:  Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

    Portfolio companies: Digital Dream LabsMeaningfyPoweredAnalyticsSolePower; Woo With Style; and Workshirt.



    Betaspring runs its program two times a year, in the Spring and Fall. It has accelerated 72 companies in six sessions and its alumni have raised $30 million in follow-on funding.

    Investment amount: An initial investment of up to $20,000. Betaspring takes 6-10% of common stock in companies that participate in the program.

    Teams that choose to remain in Providence for 12 months after completing the program are eligible for a$50,000 equity investment from the city of Providence. 

    Mentor makeup: 

    Three times a week, particpants meet  Betaspring mentors over breakfast, dinner or a whiteboard to learn from their experience and expertise, share your progress and receive crucial feedback and guidance.

    Mentors include Keith Authelet, CEO of Namaste Holdings; Zac Goldberg. VP of Online Marketing at Groupon; Annette Tonti, CEO of Mofuse; and Eric Silverman, co-founder and Managing Partner at Eastham Capital.

    Portfolio companies: TennisHub; Crunchbutton; Autobike; SurpriseRide; and Thumbs Up



    The Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) is a partnership among leading brands, technology innovators, and Wieden+Kennedy.

    Program benefits: Three month program that includes

    • Free office space for another additional six months
    • Ability to learn from startups-in-residence, successful alumni, Wieden+Kennedy, investors, and a mentor network

    Partners: Google for Entreprenuers; Urban Airship; AppFog; Cloudability; Network Redux; Softlayer; Sprintly

    Portfolio companiesAppThwackAthletepathCloudabilityCode ScoutsDailyPathKS12Little BirdLytics, MoPix, Revisu, spotsi, StayhoundStublisher and VendScreen 



    Awesome Inc. is a seed stage startup accelerator program in Lexington, Kentucky in 2009.

    Investment amount: Up to $20k in funding

    Program benefits: Three month program

    • Access to designers and developers who will work for your startup for free.
    • Free office space for your entire team at the Awesome Inc co-working space - including desk space, internet, printing, conference room, mailing address, ping pong table, etc.
    • Access to in-house tech talent to offset early development and design needs
    • Free database and website hosting on Dreamhost servers for up to 12 months
    • Access to attorneys who will assist with legal filing of your startup - including assistance with documents such as Articles of Organization, Operating Agreement, and more
    • At least 1 free meal per week
    • Access to experienced project managers
    • Assistance with customer development, product development, business model design, fundraising, and other pressing issues for growing startups

    Mentor makeup: Bambi Francisco Roizen, founder and CEO of Vator; Drew Curtis, founder of Fark.comMarc Nager, founder of Startup Weekend; and Nihal Mehta, CEO of LocalResponse

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    Nihal Mehta

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    Drew Curtis

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    Founder/CEO/Sole Owner Fark, Inc

    Bambi Francisco Roizen

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