Accelerating the Flow of Funds into Early-Stage Ventures

An Initial Look at Program Differences and Design Choices

May 2018

The third major report from GALI examines the ability of accelerators to drive funds into participating ventures and explores which programmatic choices correspond with superior outcomes. 

The report shows that in a sample of 52 accelerators, the average flow of incremental funds into participating ventures is significantly greater than the average that flows into rejected ventures. In the majority (but not all) of these programs, this difference exceeds the reported cost of running the program. These superior funding outcomes are accomplished in different ways; many programs are most effective at stimulating revenue growth, while others are best at increasing the supply of outside equity investment. 

Given these differences in program efficacy and different paths to funding success, we then examine how specific program choices correspond with the ability to drive funds into participating ventures.

Summary of Key Findings:

How do programs perform overall?

  • One year after application, ventures that participate in accelerators report higher levels of new investment and revenue relative to their rejected counterparts.
  • However, there is considerable variation across programs. For some cohorts, participating ventures report lower funding growth than the rejected pool.

How does program design influence cohort performance?

  • We find that several elements anecdotally considered important (such as mentorship and program curriculum) do not significantly affect overall funding outcomes.
  • Some of the elements that are linked to superior performance include emphasizing access to other entrepreneurs, providing guaranteed investments, and focusing on women and minority applicants.

What about increasing equity investment versus revenue growth?

  • Programs where increased equity investment was the dominant funding flow tend to specialize in a sector and focus on network development over other program benefits.
  • Programs where increased revenue growth was the dominant funding flow tend to be longer and are likely to work with more mature ventures.
  • Programs where equity growth dominates are more common in North America, while those where revenue growth dominates are more common in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The executive summary is also available in Spanish and Portuguese

View Executive Summary