Business Accelerators

A Business Incubator is a company that helps new and startup companies to develop by providing services such as management training or office space. A Business Accelerator is very similar to an incubator but differs in that they usually have a greater focus on companies entering or growing in a national or global market. Business accelerators are more likely to be financed by venture capitalist looking for an opportunity to finance growth potential through defined action plans. Business accelerators will generally offer all of the services offered by a business incubator. The key difference is the level of hands-on involvement by accelerator management which should increase the chances of success.

Business Accelerator also referred as Seed accelerators are fixed-term, cohort-based programs, that include mentorship and educational components and culminate in a public pitch event or demo day. While traditional business incubators are often government-funded, generally take no equity, and focus on biotech, medical technology, clean tech or product-centric companies, accelerators can be either privately or publicly funded and focus on a wide range of industries.

Main features of business accelerators are:

— The application process is open to anyone, but highly competitive. Y Combinator and TechStars have application acceptance rates between 1% and 3%.

— A seed investment in the startups is usually made, in exchange for equity. Typically, the investment is between US$20,000 and US$50,000 (or GB£10,000 and GB£50,000 in Europe.

—The focus is on small teams, not on individual founders. Accelerators consider that one person is insufficient to handle all the work associated with a startup.

— The startups must “graduate” by a given deadline, typically after 3 months. During this time, they receive intensive mentoring and training, and they are expected to iterate rapidly. Virtually all accelerators end their programs with a “Demo Day”, where the startups present to investors.

— Startups are accepted and supported in cohort batches or classes (the accelerator isn’t an on-demand resource). The peer support and feedback that the classes provide is an important advantage. If the accelerator doesn’t offer a common workspace, the teams will meet periodically.

— The primary value to the entrepreneur is derived from the mentoring, connections, and the recognition of being chosen to be a part of the accelerator. The business model is based on generating venture style returns, not rent, or fees for services.

Seed accelerators do not necessarily need to include a physical space, but many do. The process that startups go through in the accelerator can be separated into five distinct phases: awareness, application, program, demo day, post demo day.

Business Accelerators in India: Microsoft Ventures in India has launched two new accelerator programs.

These two new programs– Accelerator Plus and Scale Up, will focus on helping later stage startups in gaining acceptance in the marketplace. The batch comprises of 11 new technology startups – AdPushup, Frilp, iReff, DailyRounds, Uninstall, iBot, FortunePay, CustomerXPs, FlamencoTech, WAGmob and UberLabs, which were shortlisted by Ravi Narayan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ventures in India along with Samir Kumar, Managing Director, Inventus Capital and Phanindra Sama, Cofounder, Redbus.

In India besides Microsoft Ventures, Tlabs, GSF, The Startup Centre and Kyron among other startup accelerators are becoming increasingly popular and have demonstrated the need for these support systems to exist.

Top 15 startup accelerators in India are:

CATALYZER: Catalyzer Startup Accelerator Program is a 101 days mentorship driven entrepreneurship cohort accelerator program for startups. Twice each year, it select up to 12 startup teams (or individuals) and help them navigate the crucial first stage. Selected startups receive financial support in the form of pre-seed capital, work space, IT facilities and other resources.

Location – Hyderabad

Founded In – 2014

Focus Area – Technology, Brick & Mortar, Social Enterprises and Non Profits.

Funding – INR 5 – 10 lakhs on 7 – 12% equity

Notable Startups – N/A

Reach Out – Sunil Mayreddy

FREEMONT PARTNERS: Freemont is India’s first Global accelerator and incubator,  which provides seed funding to entrepreneurs focused on technology driven startups. It provides mentorship, strategic direction and access to local/global mentors and partners.

Location – Mumbai

Founded In – 2012

Focus Area – Mobile, Internet & Cloud

Funding – Seed capital of up to INR 50 Lakhs

Notable Startups – Natural Mantra

Reach Out – Vivek Mohan

GSF ACCELERATOR: GSF Global Accelerator is a 13 week program, it aims to provide select startups with unparalleled access to venture and business networks, personalized & intensive mentoring, and initial capital. GSF Accelerator is designed to help product-oriented startups.

Location – Gurgaon

Founded In – 2012

Focus Area – Internet and Mobile

Funding – $25k – 30K for 5 – 8% equity

Notable Startups – Pokkt, Silverpush, Playcez, Little Eye Labs, Browntape

Reach Out – Rajesh Sawhney

HEALTH START: It is India’s first accelerator program dedicated to supporting startups in healthcare industry through funding, mentorship and other requisite support. It is launched by HealthStart & ISB’s human centered design-focused incubator, DLabs. Its a 20 week program providing selected startups with investment capital to develop their ideas further.


Founded In – 2014

Focus Area – Healthcare

Funding – $100k

Notable Startups – N/A

Reach Out – Pradeep K Jaisingh

IACCELERATOR: iAccelerator is a 3- month, mentorship based, intensive residential program for Internet & Mobile startups at CIIE- IIM Ahmedabad.

(Not operational as of now)

Location – Ahmedabad

Founded In – 2009

Focus Area – Data analytics, software, mobile, education etc.

Funding – INR 500k for 3-12% equity

Notable Startups – Innoz, Griddle, Rideshare, Tookitaki

Reach Out – N/A

KYRON ACCELERATOR: Kyron has introduced a new concept of pre-accelerator, which will admit about 20-25 startups. Such startups will be put through a six-month incubation period after which Kyron handpick the companies for its accelerator batches.

Location – Bangalore

Founded In – 2012

Focus Area – Web and Apps

Funding – upto $20k for 5 – 10% equity

Notable Startups – Dronna, Scandid

Reach Out – Vikram Ahuja

MICROSOFT ACCELERATOR: Focused towards promising early-stage startups or first-time entrepreneurs, Microsoft Accelerator runs program of 4 months, starting in January and July every year.  Selected startups get strong mentoring, technical guidance and connections to other startups.

Location – Bangalore

Founded In – 2012

Focus Area – Cloud, Internet and Mobile using Microsoft technologies

Funding – N/A

Notable Startups – Explara, Frrole, Nowfloats, Plustxt

Reach Out –Mukund Mohan & Rajinish Menon

TARGET ACCELERATOR: Target Accelerator Program is a 16 week intensive, high touch, immersive and development-oriented program, specially curated for upto five technology startups focused on transforming the global retail industry through innovative and disruptive technologies.

Location – Bangalore

Founded In – 2014

Focus Area –  Marketing, Omnichannel, Mobile, Big Data analytics and Merchandising and Supply Chain Technologies.

Funding –  $30,000

Notable Startups – Unbxd, muHive, Konotor

Reach Out –Navneet Kapoor

TLABS ACCELERATOR: TLabs, an initiative by Times Internet, is a startup accelerator and early stage seed-fund in India for internet and mobile technology startups. Powered by a panel of 70+ mentors – that includes highly-experienced entrepreneurs and industry professionals, TLabs runs a structured and highly intensive four-month mentoring program for these startups. It also offers a funding of INR 10 Lakh, a co-working space and a host of other benefits from prominent tech partners, to the startups it accepts in the program.

Location – Noida

Founded In – 2012

Focus Area – Internet & Mobile Startups

Funding – INR 10 Lakh against 10% Equity

Notable Startups – Dataweave, Musicfellas, Bluegape, Gradestack, Langhar, News in Shorts

Reach Out – Abhishek Gupta, Abhimanyu Godara

THE MORPHEUS: Before Morpheus had followed a format where it use to provide 4 months intensive engagement / 5 L INR investment and lifetime support. But recently, it has changed the model and as brought in a new / fresh / better way of supporting young startups, where it will start engagement with a startup at a time when the startup and the Morpheus is mutually ready, anytime of the year; for as long as our support is relevant for them. Before it use to focus on startups in the early stage i.e. 0-2 years, not it has started focusing on startups in later stage i.e. 2-5 years / 5-10 years & across other categories.

(Not Operational as of now)

Founded In – 2008

Focus Area – Open for startups in all domains

Funding – No information available as per the new format

Notable Startups – Akosha, Zepo, Commonfloor, CloudEngine

Reach Out –Sameer Guglani & Nandini Hirianniah

THE STARTUP CENTRE: The helps the startups with Business Model Brainstorming, Growth Hacking Strategies, Setting up the Advisory Board and Market Validation, a small amount of Funding and an awesome set of Mentors.

Location – Chennai

Founded In – 2011

Focus Area – Tech

Funding – INR 10 Lakh

Notable Startups – Eventifier

Reach Out –Vijay Anand

VENTURE NURSERY: It is India’s first angel-backed startup accelerator. VN’s acceleration program aims at improving the success probability of the startups and funding for series A. The Acceleration Program offers three months focused Business Acceleration program aimed at enhancing the probability of success of the startup. It works on a hybrid model which includes Acceleration Program as well as ParallelTrack process of acceleration.

Location – Mumbai

Founded In – 2012

Focus Area – Media & Entertainment, Retail, e-Commerce, Consumer Technology, Education and CleanTech.

Funding – Upto 50 Lakhs

Notable Startups – Oravel, Klip, InterviewMaster

Reach Out – Apoorv Ranjan Sharma

ZONESTARTUPS: It is the first Canadian-led accelerator in India, a joint venture between the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute Ltd., (BIL), Ryerson University of Toronto, Canada, Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI), and Simon Fraser University.  It offers State of art infrastructure for 4-6 months and access to mentors – functional experts, business advisors & industry guru’s to the startups.

Location – Mumbai

Founded In – Launched in India in 2014

Focus Area – Mobile, internet and digital media startups across verticals like consumer, enterprise and social

Funding – Funding opportunity of $50k – $750k

Notable Startups – Sismatik, Nimble

Reach Out – Ajay Ramasubramaniam

5IDEAS: It is a seed fund cum accelerator for early stage digital businesses offering unique blend of human, financial and social capital. It collaborates with startups for 6 to 12 months.

Location – Gurgaon

Founded In – 2012

Focus Area – Internet and mobile; niche ecommerce, B2B/SME focused SAAS, intersection of mobile & geo, education, urban parenting, big data and ad tech

Funding – INR 50 lakh to2.5 Cr. for 15 – 30% equity

Notable Startups – Kartrocket

Reach Out –Pearl Uppal & Gaurav Kachru


500 STARTUPS: Founded by Dave McClure famous angel investor from Silicon Valley, 500 Startups run 4 – month accelerator. It’s like a Startup MBA on steroids providing startups access to a network of 1000+ founders, 200+ mentors, and its staff for guidance and mentorship. The 500 Startups is quite active in the Indian startup space and has accelerated and invested in a good number of Indian startups over the past 2 years.

Location – Mountain View, San Francisco, and Mexico City

Founded In – 2010

Focus Area – Open for all domains

Funding – It invests $100k in exchange for 7%, and charge a $25K program fee for a net $75K investment. (Mountain View & San Francisco). And $40k in exchange for 10%, and charge a $12K program fee for a net $28K investment.

Notable Startups – Pricebaba, Tushky, Thinknum

Reach Out –Pankaj Jain