Many early-stage founders would benefit from joining an accelerator, but most accelerators charge a meaningful amount for their services, in cash and/or equity. The good news: a range of VCs, corporates, and non-governmental organizations offer COMPLETELY free accelerators: no cash charge, no equity charge. We’ve collected all of the ones we could find below.
Versatile VC offers an Entrepreneur in Residence program, which is structured for individual people or teams, rather than a cohort.
Sponsored by VCs:
- Antler Launch Academy. “Learn from our real startup generation playbook paired with a helpful community; brought to you by the world’s largest early stage investment platform.”
- Afore Capital: Zero-to-1 is a virtual program with a cohort of 100 founders on the startup journey for any early-stage startup with about a 3-6 hour weekly commitment.
- Contrary Capital: Capital’s Talent program focuses on recent university graduates who are either founders or are likely talent for top tech companies.
- Human Capital: Humans in the Wild is a 100-day program focused on founders in the early stages of developing their ideas. Designed for early-stage founders with an MVP or a strong idea of what to build and who are targeting the US.
- Notation Capital: Notation Moonlight is a community of tech leaders who are considering building a company. There are no hard qualifications required.
- Underrepresented backgrounds: The Fund: BUILD is an 8-week course specifically to help early-stage founders from underrepresented backgrounds.
- NYC: Primary Venture Partners: Founders Fellowship is a free 6-month, part-time program for early-stage founders and aspiring entrepreneurs to learn the necessary skills to be successful entrepreneurs.
- North Carolina: Cofounders Capital: Cary Cofounders Lab provides free office space, mentorship, resources, and more to software founders in Cary, North Carolina.
Sponsored by non-governmental organizations:
- AG Elevate is a 10-month program to help tech businesses steer through legal challenges that arise as their startup grows. To qualify, your company must be a technology business with seed or series A funding looking to continue high acceleration growth. Qualified participants receive a mentor, free legal advice, access to other training, and more.
- Creative Destruction Labis a nonprofit organization that delivers an objectives-based program for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies.
- Future of Work Accelerator is a 9-month program for founders looking to create software or hardware solutions to define the future of work. Participants should be able to commit at least 20+ hours per week, have venture-backed startup experience, and a clear idea for a specific program. Participants benefit from co-founder matching, access to investment, coaching, community, and more.
- One America Works supports regional start-ups in the growth phase all over America so that the tech boom is not stuck in just a few markets, unbalancing the country.
- Hyperspace has an equity-free, no fee-listed program to bring innovators in the space industry together with government and military applications.
- Imagine H2O has a remote accelerator where entrepreneurs receive access to mentors, increased marketing and visibility, and a robust network to accelerate the world’s most promising water innovations. Seeking entrepreneurial solutions spanning municipal, industrial, and agricultural sectors.
- MassChallenge has several global locations and industry-focused equity-free and no fee accelerator programs. Accelerators in some locations accept startups from any industry and others focus on health tech and fintech. At least one team member must be on-site during the accelerator.
- Startup Boost operates equity-free, no charge accelerators in many cities across N. America to work with early-stage startups to help ensure your company is prepared for the next steps into either Accelerators or seed investment. Focused on industries like banking, financial services, and information technology.
- Apple Impact Accelerator is an accelerator for Black and Brown-owned businesses. Accepted participants receive targeted training, access to strategic partnerships and opportunities, mentorship, and access to an alumni network. Eligible companies are late-stage startups that are at least 51% owned by African American, Hispanic American/Latinx, or Indigenous American and are focused on one of Apple’s environmental priority areas.
- Envision Accelerator is a 10-week, virtual, student-led accelerator offering mentorship, $10k in equity-free funding, and more. Looking for applicants with at least one cofounder in or recently in school, one cofounder who is a woman and/or person of color, and a business with a prototype or MVP.
- Veterans Entrepreneurship Training is an intro 12-week educational program for US military personnel, veterans, and their spouses. To earn a certificate, participants must have to attend all the classes and complete coursework and a capstone project.
- Bunker Labs Veteran in Residence: A partnership of WeWork and Bunker Labs, Veterans in Residence is a six-month startup incubator and leadership program that provides veterans and military family member entrepreneurs the community, business support, and workspace to help launch and grow their businesses
- Catalyst NYC provides mentorship and support for 6 months just for pre-seed/seed companies focused on areas like AI, AR, and cloud computing, with benefits of up to $350,000.
- Grand Central Tech is a residency program that provides NYC’s top series-A companies and pre-company entrepreneurs with growth resources, workspace, network, and other support, all for free. The program screens for domain expertise and entrepreneurial experience.
- Orange Fab is a Silicon Valley program lasting 12 weeks that provides business development, access to capital, a vast network, and more. The program is open for US-based startups with an existing product that are exploring new markets or raising a new round of funding.
- Grid110 is an LA-based equity-free, no-fee program for both Idea to Product stage startups and more established founders and businesses. Participants are required to be based in the greater Los Angeles area.
- Founders Business Accelerator (LACI) is a 10-week program that looks to increase the economic, community, and environmental impact of small LA businesses where founders receive resources, support/training, and access to a network of other small businesses. Must be a small business located within LA.
- Innovators Program (LACI) is a 12-month program for Southern California startups focused on cleantech where they receive access to coaches, opportunity updates, industry events, and more. Eligible startups must operate out of either Los Angeles County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, or Orange County.
- Arch Grants Global Startup Competition focuses on founders in the idea stage to pre-Series A startups that have a desire to grow the St. Louis ecosystem. The program provides $50,000 in equity-free funding and pro bono support services and requires participants to stay in St. Louis for at least one year.
- Innovators Program: 3-month program in Raleigh helping founders and innovators take a technical idea to a business model; up to 20k free equity, no fee listed. Must be a team of technical founders willing to locate in Raleigh for the duration of the program.
- Lighthouse Labs is a seed-stage accelerator in Virginia that invests $20,000 and has a 3-month experience designed to help future-focused founders and high-growth startups grow quickly. Prefer high-growth-potential and scalable tech or product startup.
- Facebook/Plug and Play Accelerator for LatAm commerce companies. “Cultivating the startup ecosystem & advancing the commerce experience in LATAM.”
- EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator in Switzerland provides up to 85,000 € in equity-free funding and other support to cleantech startups. Only accepting two-founder teams minimum and startups less than 5 years old.
- K-Startup Grand Challenge is an accelerator based in Seoul, Korea providing support and funding to tech startups from all over the world. Eligible startups must be able to communicate in English and not older than 7 years.
- Tech Founders is a Munich, Germany-based accelerator focusing on tech startups and offering 25,000 € in equity-free funding and other support. Startups must be in fields related to automotive, robotics, automation, software, telecommunications, etc.
- Tech7 Magnet Accelerator is a Negev, Israel-based accelerator that looks for the best early-stage startups and provides them with office space, advising, mentorship, investors, and more, over 3 months while being equity-free.
F6S list accelerators, events, contests, and other resources globally, although most take equity and/or a tuition fee.
You may find your local university, church, or other NGO offers support. Vernon Lee, Partner, The Marathon Fund, said, “I am a member of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA, and we established an Entrepreneurship Ministry over 5 years ago which has included pitch competitions, guest speakers, and training. We at The Marathon Fund are actively engaging with Howard University, George Mason, University of Maryland, and Virginia Tech on their entrepreneurship innovation and development initiatives.”