Accelerators · Business Development

Are there any accelerator programs that aren't scams?


Last updated on July 15th, 2017

I participated in a new accelerator program with the promise of an investment at the end. After 4 months, it became clear the program was busy raising money for itself and had nothing to invest in its cohort companies.

I made it to the final round of ERA - 10 applicants for 5 slots. When I didn't get it, they told me I was super close, and that if increased X, Y, and Z numbers, I'd be a shoe-in. They asked to keep in touch, said they 'don't just say that to anyone.' I spent significant resources to follow through X, Y and Z. They declined to interview me for the next batch.

I interviewed with gener8tor 4 times in the last year. They allegedly only interview 10% of applicants. The MD had a heart to heart with me, told me they only accept businesses that are earning $50k-100k in monthly revenue. He told me if I got a purchase order showing that, it'd put me over the top for the next batch. I did exactly that...they just declined to interview me.

The worst is 500 Startups. Interviewed with them 6 times. They only give you 5-10 minutes for the interviews, so obviously, your only chance is to get to know the judges in advance and have someone advocate for you during your time slot. I met my advocate in person, talked with him consistently for weeks, traded emails, the works. The day of my interview, he didn't bother showing up. The judges started complaining about my venture without even realizing I was on the call and could hear them. The advocate never responded to my followups.

Please don't chime in with snarky comments. I just honestly want to know, what's the point of any of these accelerators if you're already making $50k/month? Are these accelerators just investing in 'unicorns' and friends and family? Are there any accelerators out there that you guys would recommend?