Between 2014 and 2017, ANDE conducted web research to generate a global list of organizations that run accelerator programs. We then conducted a survey to gain a better understanding of who these accelerators are, where they are located, and how they are structured.

Accelerator Directory

Potential accelerators were identified through primary and secondary research. We conducted online searches and compiled lists from other organizations, including Enclude, F6S, GAN, Nesta, and Seed-DB. We then reviewed the websites of these potential accelerators to verify that they met our accelerator criteria and to pull other basic information about their programs.

Criteria for Inclusion

To verify that the respondents were indeed accelerators, we checked for three commonly-accepted defining features: 1

  1. Cohort-based model
  2. Time-bound program with specific start and end dates
  3. Typical program duration between 1-12 months

Other research on acceleration also includes investor events (such as a pitch night or demo day) as a defining feature of accelerators. We decided not to exclude respondents without investor events, as there is some evidence that this element is less common in emerging markets. 2

We verified that each organization met the above criteria through web research, and in some cases through research conducted by Nesta or Enclude. 3 The organizations we could verify are included in the Accelerator Directory.

The information we provided in this directory is not complete, as the accelerator landscape is changing rapidly and not all pertinent information is available online. We encourage organizations to update their information by filling out this 5-minute form.

Global Accelerator Survey

Many organizations run multiple accelerator programs, so the survey was conducted at the organization level and asked questions about each organization's accelerator programs as a whole. From May to August 2017, we sent the survey to over 1,000 organizations and received 213 responses. We excluded those that did not meet the criteria (listed above), resulting in a sample of 164 organizations included in the study.

Filter Variables

  1. Headquarters Location: Indicates whether the organization is headquartered in a high-income economy or an emerging market (low-income, lower-middle-income, or upper-middle-income economies) as defined by the World Bank Country and Lending Groups.
  2. Impact Orientation: Indicates whether the organizations has the explicit intent of supporting ventures with social or environmental objectives. 

Note: The venture stages (idea-stage, startup, early-stage, and growth stage) and descriptions were developed based on prior ANDE research and Nesta's study "Business Incubators and Accelerators: The National Picture," April 2017.

We hope this landscape study provides you with a better picture of the global accelerator landscape. Please send any questions or comments to Abby Davidson at abigayle.davidson@aspeninst.org.

  • 1 These criteria are adapted from: Cohen, S. & Hochberg, Y.V. (2014). Accelerating startups: The seed accelerator phenomenon. Available at SSRN 2418000.
  • 2 Dempwolf, C.S., Auer, J., and D’Ippolito, M. (2014). Innovation Accelerators: Defining Characteristics Among Startup Assistance Organizations. Report developed for the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy.
  • 3 Nesta. (2017). Business incubators and accelerators: UK directory.
    Enclude. (2016). Lessons from venture acceleration in developing countries. (Unpublished report)