According to the Boston Startup Guide, there are nearly 50 Greater Boston startup accelerators, incubators and similar support programs. To help you navigate the landscape, we selected six accelerators and provided a short guide to how they work and how to apply. Consider the following guide as a list of accelerators that people working in Boston innovation should be at least familiar with.
We focused on accelerators that are independent of universities. A list of accelerators supporting Boston students startups is in the works.
Here are the six Boston accelerators that we selected:
MassChallenge at a Glance:
What: A registered nonprofit, each year MassChallenge awards over $2 million globally in equity-free cash prizes to startups in any industry. When admitted to the 4-month program, startups do not receive any funding, but they have two ways to raise money. First, they can access scholarships provided by MassChallenge sponsor organizations. Second, winners of the internal competition (10-20 ventures) share $1 million in cash awards at the MassChallenge Awards Ceremony. Currently, over 1,000 startups have gone through the program.
When: The Boston accelerator runs from June to October. You can sign up here to be alerted when the next round of applications opens.
Where: 21 Drydock Avenue 610E Boston, MA 02210
How: To qualify for MassChallenge Boston, startups must be at a seed- or early-stage level. A panel of judges review the applications to determine if they qualify as “early stage.”
TechStars at a Glance:
What: A three-month program accelerator program, the accelerator takes equity from all accepted companies. In exchange for 6 percent common stock, TechStars offers $100,000 in a convertible note and $20,000 for living expenses. As part of the program, companies receive connections to the TechStars network and office space for three months.
When: Applications open twice a year.
Where: Kendall Square.
How: As its name implies, Techstars funds technology-oriented companies, typically web-based or other software companies. “We don’t fund biotechnology companies, restaurants, consultancies or other service-oriented companies,” according to the website.
PULSE@MassChallenge at a Glance:
What: Only for healthcare startups, PULSE distributes more than $250,000 in zero-equity awards throughout the program. When it comes to award money, the accelerator works similarly to MassChallenge. Before the program, selected startups have access to scholarships (up to $50,000); at the end of the program, $200,000 are distributed to the program winners.
When: The 2018 cohort will start in January.
Where: The 8,000 sq. feet office space is located in Fenway.
How: PULSE accepts applications from “digital health startups” that have raised “less than $5 million in revenue and less than $5 million in funding.” Applicants are not required to be based in Boston to apply or participate.
TiE Boston – Scale Up at a Glance:
What: The five-month program is free for admitted companies and the accelerator does not take any equity. The program focuses on overcoming common barriers that growth stage companies usually face to scale. According to the website, many of the founders and companies participating in ScaleUp have previously completed one of the many incubators and accelerators found in Massachusetts.
When: The latest cohort has started in October and will present at Demo Day in April.
Where: Boston/Cambridge area.
How: The ScaleUp Team supports Massachusetts-based startups. The online application asks for a 1-minute long elevator pitch in video format, team member information, company business model and market opportunity, among other things.
LearnLaunch at a Glance:
What: For edtech startups, the LearnLaunch accelerators is composed of two different programs depending on the stage of the accepted ventures. The Boost program is a three-month residential program designed to help early-stage entrepreneurs successfully grow their startups; the Breakthrough program is a four-week boot camp designed to help edtech companies that are beyond seed stage. Boost companies may get up to $70,000 investment ($20,000 investment in exchange for 6% equity at the start of the program and additional $50,000 convertible note if milestones are hit). Breakthrough companies may get up to $120,000 in investment (again, $50,000 convertible note at the start of the program and $70,000 convertible note if milestones are hit.)
When: You can sign up here to be alerted when the next round of applications opens.
Where: Floor 2, 281 Summer St, Boston, MA 02210
How: LearnLaunch accepts companies focusing on early education, K-12, higher education, adult learning and corporate training.
Leangap at a Glance:
What: For high school student startups, the summer program provides accommodation, curriculum, classes and activities in exchange for a tuition of $5,985. No equity is taken. The curriculum focuses on prototyping, programming, client-acquisition, fundraising and pitching.
When: The program runs for four weeks between July and August. December 1st is the early deadline to apply.
Where: The program is housed at Bentley University.
How: The Boston location of the Leangap program focuses on science, education and medtech startups.