Accelerators are to startups as spinach is to Popeye. And for those located in the DC area, it's important to stay updated on the biggest and brightest accelerators available.
It's tough to stay on top of the constantly shifting mass of incubators, accelerators, and VC funds in DC's tech ecosystem — particularly since many umbrella groups run several programs under the same or similar names. TechCo strives to keep this page updated, so if you see any accelerator that has closed, needs to be added, etc. on this page, feel free to drop us a note.
Check out the list below, updated as of September 2017, for a comprehensive collection of the DC accelerators currently in operation, what they’re looking for, and how you can apply today.
We've covered this veteran-focused accelerator in the past. Here's the summary of where it hails from, and what to expect from it.
“The original Bunker Labs was founded by Todd Connor out of Chicago’s 1871 nearly two years ago. With six locations and five more on its way, Bunker Labs is rapidly developing a network that is laser-focused on accelerating veteran businesses. However, they recently opened the doors to all entrepreneurs. Unlike your typical accelerator, Bunker Labs is a nonprofit, does not take an equity stake in the companies, and does not directly invest in the company either. Outside of that they adhere to structured curriculum and scheduling over a 21-week program.”
Further information is available here, and you can stay updated on their program application guidelines through this link.
This accelerator program is specifically for tech companies who want to enter the federal government market. They have “started, owned, and operated federal government IT companies, managed multi-billion-dollar federal programs, and led numerous organizations to success in the market.” It's the best of the DC accelerators for those startups hoping to catch the ear of a government program or their industry partners.
At the time of writing, Dcode's Fintech and Blockchain program is open for applications: You can apply to either the Startup Track or to the Emerging Growth, depending on the age of your enterprise.
Check out Dcode's entire suite of programs — including Developer Tools, IoT, Big Data and AI, and Market Assessment — over at this link for a look at which startups can apply next.
Cybersecurity startups looking for DC accelerators are in luck: This one is looking for teams that are “building a disruptive information security technology product,” and require help with “startup capital, introductions, and navigating pitfalls” in order to achieve rapid, VC-powered growth. Those accepted will receive a $50,000 investment and must relocate to Virginia for the entire 90-day program and commit to their venture full-time.
Past members include Axon Connected and Disrupt6. Mach 37's 2017 cohort starts September 5, and you can apply on their site.
Designed for slightly later-stage startups, the 1776 accelerator aims to capture the talent spread across three states – DC, Maryland, and Virginia – and corral it into a single gathering place. The 1776 organization, a global incubator and seed fund, is far larger, so those who join will be gain access to a network of over 30 other programs, listed here.
Visit the 1776 site to review their DC membership plans.
The Halcyon Incubator splits its energies between creating both a social impact and a profit from the companies who land one of their 18-month fellowships. The benefits include a free residency and workspace, coaching, business consulting, and a living stipend. A Demo Day separates the first five months from the next 13 months, which represent a “post-residency” period during which startup still have full access to Halcyon's resources.
Application periods for the latest cohort end on October 17th, and are open to those in the pilot phase or earlier who have less than $500,000 annual revenue. You can learn more about the eligibility requirements here, more about the selection process here, and how to get your application in here.
DC i-corp Accelerator
This accelerator's focus on getting results is clear from the variety of aid it offers: Those in this cohort can expect consulting and resources needed to improve their customer discovery, begin prototyping, and start fund-raising through grants and investors, as well as learning more about the red tape surrounding company-building requirements.
Applications are only open to those entrepreneurs and teams that have already completed the five-week DC I-Corps customer discovery program, and applications are accepted monthly in batches.
Of the operating DC accelerators, this is the best one for health tech startups: Based in MD, it offers health startups $50,000, along with a coworking space in the DC area, mentoring, and access to public sector health organizations including NIH, HHS, FDA, and CMS. The program takes five months from boot camp to Demo Day. Given DC's status as a major health technology hub in the U.S., it makes sense that startups would want to position themselves within its health industry ecosystem, and that's what this accelerator promises to do.
You can contact the program by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about their current application process.