The Charles M. Harper Center at UChicago’s Booth School of Business.

Locally, the University of Chicago’s New Venture Challenge is regarded as a prestigious startup accelerator that has helped launch several thriving tech companies. But on Tuesday, the NVC got some well-deserved national respect as it was ranked among the top 5 business accelerator programs in the US.

The Seed Accelerator Rankings Project released its annual list Tuesday of the best accelerators in the country, and the UChicago NVC placed fourth, making its first appearance on the four-year-old list. The results were announced at SXSW and published first on Techcrunch.

The project defined “accelerator programs” as organizations with a fixed-term, are cohort-based, have educational and mentorship components, and culminate in a public pitch or demo day. Programs were judged by data presented by the accelerators, like valuations, fundraising, and exits, and measured alongside satisfaction from alumni. The rankings looked at 150 accelerators and heard from roughly 1,000 accelerator program alumni.

The Seed Accelerator Rankings Project noted that UChicago’s high ranking was due largely because of its strong exits, including the $2 billion GrubHub IPO and Braintree’s $800 million acquisition by PayPal.

Launched in 1996, the NVC has also helped launch startups like BloomNationJanus Choice, and PrepMe Corporation, which was acquired by Ascend Learning in 2011.

Topping the NVC was AngelPal, MuckerLab, and Techstars, a national accelerator with a Chicago presence.

Here are the top 20 accelerators, according to the project.

To go deeper into the methodology of the rankings, you can access the full report here.

Image via Creative Commons