The first accelerator, YC, was founded in 2005. The second, Techstars, was founded in 2006. Wikipedia has a good summary of the history of accelerators.
Now that we are 13 years into the accelerator journey, an accelerator is a well-established construct that is part of the global startup ecosystem. They have evolved over the years, and many new approaches have been taken.
The question of the efficacy of accelerators has regularly been asked over the past decade. A number of academic papers have appeared in the past few years exploring this. I was asked if any existed the other day by an LP, so following is a list of papers I am familiar with.
If you know of any others, please put links in the comments or send me an email with the info.
Accelerators and Crowd-Funding: Complementarity, Competition, or Convergence in the Earliest Stages of Financing New Ventures?, Smith, Hannigan, and Gasiorowski, 6/13
Accelerating Startups: The Seed Accelerator Phenomenon, Hochberg and Cohen, 3/14
Accelerators and the Regional Supply of Venture Capital Investment, Fehder and Hochberg, 9/14
Swinging for the fences: How do top accelerators impact the trajectories of new ventures?, Winston Smith and Hannigan, 6/15
Investment Accelerators, Bernthal, 8/15
Do Accelerators Accelerate? If So, How? The Impact of Intensive Learning from Others on New Venture Development, Hallen, Bingham, and Cohen, 7/16
Business Incubators and Accelerators: A Co-Citation Analysis-Based, Systematic Literature Review, Hausberg and Korreck, 3/17
How Do Accelerators Select Startups? Shifting Decision Criteria across Stages, Yin and Lau, 12/17
As someone who disdains software patents and is appalled by universities, especially publicly funded ones, acting as patent trolls, I applaud the MIT Media Lab’s move.
Eric von Hippel, my PhD advisor at MIT (I didn’t finish) and one of my early mentors, co-wrote two of the seminal papers on how free and open source software (FOSS – and now FLOSS) impacts innovation.
- How Open Source software works: “Free” user-to-user assistance
- Open Source Software and the “Private-Collective” Innovation Model: Issues for Organization Science
Joi’s punch line says it all.
“As an academic institution, we believe that in many cases we can achieve greater impact by sharing our work.”
I couldn’t agree more and applaud Joi’s vision and leadership.
Yesterday, Kauffman Foundation released a study that provided empirical support for the Boulder Thesis that I came up with in my book Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City. The study is excellent if you are interested in this topic and can be read at ad “Think Locally, Act Locally: Building a Robust Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.”
Kauffman did a study of 1 Million Cups, a program that was launched at Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City and is expanding rapidly around the US with it now in 33 communities in 21 states. Colorado has two – a 1 Million Cups in Denver and 1 Million Cups in Fort. Collins. 1 Million Cups Denver was also a recipient of one of the first Startup Colorado Community Fund grants.
The study found:
- Entrepreneurship is a local phenomenon.
- Entrepreneurs follow local entrepreneurs.
- Local networks thicken over time.
- Entrepreneurial demand is high for peer-based learning and networking.
- Different programs reach different entrepreneurs.
In the report, Kauffman lined this up clearly against the Boulder Thesis, which, if you don’t know it, is:
- Entrepreneurs must lead the startup community.
- The leaders must have a long-term commitment.
- The startup community must be inclusive of anyone who wants to participate in it.
- The startup community must have continual activities that engage the entire entrepreneurial stack.
Or, if you are a video person and want to go a little deeper, take a look at the great StartupVille video Kauffman did when I released the book as part of their Sketchbook series.
I gave a 30 minute interview on this and other topics at the Atlanta Tech Village yesterday – nice summary from David Cummings. And there was a good student survey at showing Chicago and the Midwest as an Evolving Hub for Entrepreneurship.