Accelerators – Emerging Trends and Models of the Future

Yesterday we had the opportunity to kick off a brand new program: our Open Innovation Series, hosted by Silicon Valley Forum and Accenture. For our premier event, we focused on Accelerators – Emerging Trends and Models of the Future.

The evening began with a short keynote with Matt Gardner, founder and CEO of California Technology Council. California Technology Council (CTC) has just released a new report on accelerators and incubators, and Matt was able to share a few key insights from it:

•    No two accelerator programs are the same—partly due to a discrepancy in the basic definition of accelerators.

•    The number of accelerator programs has“exploded”—there are over 3,000 programs in the United States alone.

  • The largest concentration of accelerator programs is in the US.
  • Not one program that closed down was due to the program’s performance—it was always based on external reasons.
  • Software, e-commerce, and mobile dominate the acceleration programs landscape.
  • Most programs are not tracking each startup’s performance on a deeper level. They tend to track the funding rounds that follow.

The short talk was immediately followed up by a lively panel discussion with Gardner, Jonathan Nelson of Hackers and Founders, Jitendra Kavathekar of Accenture Open Innovation, Ravi Belani of Alchemist Accelerator, and Will Bunker of GrowthX, with Accenture’s Sandy Miller moderating. While a full video will be available in a few weeks online at our website, we’re sharing a sneak peek on what was discussed below. Quotes and short insights from the program can also be found on Twitter, via #SVFOpenInnovation.



Ravi Belani, Managing Partner at Alchemist Accelerator mentions that he comes from a world of, in his words, “evil venture capitalism.” There is $40 billion in venture capital funding and $400 billion spent on corporate R&D. As managing partner of an accelerator, he considers himself to be “in the business of funding employees that lead corporations into the future.”

Jitendra Kavathekar, Managing Director at Accenture Open Innovation, shared an analogy comparing Silicon Valley’s startup ecosystem to Hollywood’s movie ecosystem. In a broad sense, Hollywood’s economic system is built to create movies, and depends on a somewhat predictable way of distributing and promoting a movie to ensure its success. A similar machine exist for Silicon Valley startups—and accelerators are there to help investors choose better companies to invest in and source deal flows. And corporations can add value to the startup ecosystem, via distribution channels and powerful connections. Panelist Matt Gardner confirmed this analogy, stating that film funds today do indeed behave like venture funds.

Jonathan Nelson, Founder of Hackers/Founders, stated VCs often approach corporate enterprises to find out what their challenges are. Based on these challenges, VCs invest in startups that provide an equitable solution, and then go back to the corporate again to ask if they’d like to acquire that startup.

Make sure to come back to our site in a few weeks when we release the full video of the talk and panel discussion, as well as get more info on our second event in the Open Innovation Series.



Author: Xi-Er Dang
Product Marketing Specialist

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