Getting a new start-up company off the ground today is often slightly easier than it once was if your key product or service is unique, you’ve applied for all appropriate patents, and you’ve carefully researched your competition. One of the main reasons why so many start-ups are now expressing greater optimism is because there are so many high-quality incubators and accelerators ready to help out -- and they’re located all across the country.                                                            

Here’s some important information about what incubators and accelerators try to do to help new companies, along with the names of some of America’s most highly rated ones.    

What’s the Difference Between an Incubator and an Accelerator?

According to an article published by Inc., “Incubators tend to [offer help] longer (one to five years) and they don’t frequently offer funding. Accelerators, by contrast, usually offer funding in exchange for equity, tend to have short programs (as brief as three months), and seek to ready start-ups for seed funding.”                                                                                                                      

Stated differently, incubators help new companies with the basic aspects of getting a business started, attracting customers, providing marketing advice, and helping to set up meetings with angel investors and venture capitalists.  Accelerators are usually “more hands-on and intense, making use of a kind of boot camp approach to venture creation.”                                 

A growing number of state governments are becoming involved with incubators and accelerators in an effort to attract new businesses (and revenue) to their states. It’s becoming much easier to find these groups. In fact, according to Dinah Adkins, President and CEO of the National Business Incubation Association, has indicated that “there are more than 1,100 incubation programs in the U. S.” A number of them are run by universities and their business schools. (This also holds true for some accelerator programs, like one run by Colorado State University’s Institute of Entrepreneurship.)               

Here are Some of America’s Leading Incubators and Accelerators

  • Y Combinator (Mountain View, CA)

  • Tech Stars (Boston, MA; Boulder, CO; NYC; Seattle, WA; Microsoft (Seattle, WA) + the Cloud Accelerator (San Antonio, TX)

  • Excelerate Labs (Chicago, IL)

  • 500 Startups (Mountain View, CA)

  • Capital Factory (Austin, TX)

  • Dreamit Ventures (Philadelphia, PA + programs in Austin, TX & NYC)

  • Entrepreneurs Roundtable, NC

  • I/O Ventures (San Francisco, CA)

  • Tech Wildcatters (Dallas, TX)

  • Angel Pad (San Francisco, CA)


Before applying to any incubator or accelerator, be sure your company can truly survive the temporary move to a different city. If not, just look for highly reputable ones in your area. Sometimes, it’s wisest to remain in the same city where you hope to launch the business in the future.                                                                                                                                                    

Always remember to carefully research every incubator or accelerator you apply to –and have your Peachtree City business lawyer carefully review any contracts before you sign, so you can avoid giving away any equity in your company -- or as little as possible.                                                

Finally, never sign on the dotted line with any of these groups unless you have first spoken with at least two or three companies that have “graduated” from their programs. All reputable incubators or accelerators should be eager to share the names of prior “graduate companies” with new start-ups interested in possibly signing up for help.


To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact Shane Smith Law today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999

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