Which Benefits of Startup Accelerators do Founders Prioritize, and Why?
46 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2023 Last revised: 5 Oct 2023
Date Written: October 4, 2023
Startup accelerators offer many potential benefits for new venture development. While the literature has focused on accelerator selection criteria, the nuances of applicants’ benefit preferences remain largely unexplored. We analyze the preferences of 21,541 founding teams that applied to 407 accelerator programs in 177 countries, and find that: (1) applicants chiefly value network development, investor access, and mentorship, clustering preferences into three distinct groupings: capabilities, credibility, and cohort; (2) venture attributes account for 84-98% of the benefit preference variance, dwarfing program and industry effects; and (3) founder backgrounds shape these preferences, with under-represented founders seeking capabilities and credibility, whereas other founders favor capital and connections. Our research underscores the need for tailored accelerator programming, spotlighting avenues to optimize program design based on founders’ varied backgrounds.
Keywords: startup accelerators; benefits; founding teams; applicants; preferences; programming
JEL Classification: M21; M13; L26
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation