The 2018 Seed Accelerator Rankings

David Ruth

Jeff Falk

The 2018 Seed Accelerator Rankings
Coveted platinum status won by 7 programs

HOUSTON – (Oct. 26, 2018) – Seed accelerators AngelPad, StartX and Y Combinator have landed the coveted Platinum Plus spots in the 2018 rankings from the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project, a benchmarking program run by entrepreneurship and management experts from Rice University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Georgia. Amplify.LA, Chicago New Venture Challenge, MuckerLab and Techstars make up the Platinum tier.

The rankings reflect a variety of metrics, including the valuations of participating startups, amount of funding raised by participating startups, startups’ exits and ratings provided by program graduates.

The Seed Accelerator Rankings Project is headed by three entrepreneurs-turned-academics who are leading research experts on accelerators: Yael Hochberg, an entrepreneurship professor at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business and researcher with MIT’s Innovation Initiative Lab for Innovation Science; Susan Cohen, an assistant professor of management at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business; and Dan Fehder, an assistant professor of management and organization at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. Hochberg and Fehder also have research affiliations with the MIT Innovation Initiative.

Now in its eighth year, the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project aims to solve a puzzle for entrepreneurs and accelerator programs. Myriad programs are available to entrepreneurs, but it’s difficult to find reliable data about programs’ efficacy.

“Our goal is to provide reliable information to entrepreneurs about the relative performance of accelerator programs,” Hochberg said. “All of the spotlighted programs stand out from the pack, but it’s important for entrepreneurs to do their own due diligence as finding a strong fit is essential.”

“Each program is differentiated,” Cohen said. “Our methodology considers a wide range of inputs to help entrepreneurs identify a set of quality programs and help them narrow down the field.”

“With so many programs available, it’s hard for entrepreneurs to know which are best.” Fehder said. “The Seed Accelerator Rankings Project brings rigorous benchmarking to help entrepreneurs make a critically important decision for their startups.”

The rankings are based on detailed confidential data on accelerator portfolio outcomes, which produce the most complete and comprehensive data set available on accelerator performance. The research team also used surveys to assess the satisfaction of accelerator programs’ graduates; more than 1,000 graduates have taken the survey to date.

To be invited to participate in the rankings, accelerator programs had to meet several criteria. First, they had to meet the definition of an accelerator: Programs had to be fixed-term, cohort-based startup “boot camps” that include educational and mentorship components and culminate in a graduation event, which is most often a public pitch or demo day. Invitees also had to have graduated at least one cohort and have more than 10 startup graduates.

More than 160 programs were invited to participate in the 2018 rankings, which employ a system of tiers with no ordinal rankings within tiers. Programs of similar quality are grouped and listed in alphabetical order.

The top accelerator programs in this year’s rankings are (in alphabetical order):

Platinum Plus:
AngelPad, StartX and Y Combinator.

Amplify.LA, Chicago New Venture Challenge, MuckerLab and Techstars.

Alchemist, Dreamit, 500 Startups, gener8tor, HAX, IndieBio, MassChallenge and SkyDeck.

Acceleprise, AlphaLab, Brandery, Capital Innovators, Healthbox, Health Wildcatters, Lighthouse Labs, Tech Wildcatters, TMCx and Zero to 510.

Details on methodology are available at

About the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project
The Seed Accelerator Rankings Project aims to begin a larger conversation about what makes seed accelerators successful and to provide entrepreneurs with a tool to help them decide which accelerators are a good match for their startup. Confidential data provided by accelerator programs and accelerator alumni are incorporated into the evaluation process.

For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at 713-348-6775 or

This news release can be found online at

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Follow Rice Business via Twitter @Rice_Biz, the Terry College @TerryCollege and the Marshall School @USCMarshall.

Related materials:

Hochberg bio:

Cohen bio:

Fehder bio:

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.