When you think of startup accelerators, Y Combinator certainly has the buzz and backing by some serious investors. But is it the best out there?

Tech Cocktail, Kauffman Foundation and the Kellogg School of Management aimed to answer that question by coming out with the 2011 USA Startup Accelerator Rankings. The study was led by Aziz Gilani from investment firm DFJ Mercury with participation from Professor Yael Hochberg and MBA Candidate Kelly Quann from Northwestern University.

The rankings were compiled through numerous interviews with VC’s, Angels, and program graduates. The accelerator programs were then ranked using a three tiered methodology. From the rankings, “It weighed 25 percent by qualified financing events (i.e. companies that got funded after completing the program), 50 percent by the success of the companies that came out of an accelerator and finally 25 percent on accelerator program characteristics (i.e. money startups receive, equity accelerator takes, with a bonus for the size of the alumni base). Each accelerator was put through this methodology and then the rankings were generated.”

Check out the list below, the first place was not who I thought it was going to be. It is also interesting to note that the TechStars programs were all ranked separately, instead of as one comprehensive program. Kudos to BetaSpring for just making it into the top 15 at number 13 and of course TechStars Boston for taking fifth place. TechStars Boston just recently raised $2 million in funding to support the next four years of startups.

What do you think of the results? The original post did leave you with an editor’s note on the results; “Editor’s Note: The research team’s search for a relevant Venture Capitalist panel for this project required that all members of the panel be investors in startups sourced from accelerators. Although not the intent, the criteria may have insured that some VCs were also investors in the accelerators themselves. This may have impacted some results.?”