One of the more interesting phenomenon in the startup world right now is accelerators. The concept, funding extremely early startups and assisting them as they grow, is not a new one at all but the recent growth of them is crazy. I’m having a hard time deciding whether I think the growth in accelerators is natural and sustainable or part of a larger private equity bubble. I like the concept of taking young companies and giving them the fatherly advice they need, so I’m forced to believe that it’s more sustainable then the overall growth in the industry. However, a bubble’s a bubble, so I’m forced to assume it’s not all sustainable. Anyway, most of this discussion is for another day. Today, I want to give a few updates on the status of accelerators both locally and nationwide. You’ve probably seen each of these articles independently, but it’s worth thinking of them together.
- A couple weeks ago Yuri Miller and Ron Conway made a huge splash by announcing that they would offer $150,000 investment to every single company in the latest Y Combinator class. Y Combinator is a silicon valley based accelerator and the investment is surely a vote of confidence in the concept from two of the brightest minds in angel investing. If this story sparks your interest, let me recommend reading Roger Ehrenberg’s take on the investment.
- Pittsburgh’s own Accelerator, AlphaLab was in the news last week as a founding member of the TechStars Network. TechStars is a nationally renowned accelerator with centers in NYC, Boston, Boulder and Seattle. One of the primary men associated with it is Brad Feld, a guy I’ve mentioned several times on this blog. The TechStars Natwork was formed to help develop synergies with other accelerators across the country in conjunction with Barack Obama’s Startup America. I think the move positions AlphaLab well to take advantage of some network benefits and perhaps even some Federal help. Just exactly what ends up coming out of it, will be interesting to see.
- Another local tidbit of information around accelerators was hidden inside a post on Alan Veeck’s Pittsburgh Ventures Blog. Did you notice “I am working with a couple folks locally to build a new accelerator that is looking really promising” nestled in the bottom of this post? I’m excited to see what Alan and his mysterious friends are up to.