Grow your start-up with Illinois' best accelerators & incubators

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Choosing The Right Accelerator

Start-ups are hard. Choose an accelerator that guides you in the right direction.

Patrick Collison, Founder of Stripe

"I doubt that Stripe would have worked without YC. It's that simple."

Patrick Collison, Founder, Stripe

Chris Lynch, Founder of Atlas Venture

"Accelerators claim they are in it for the long haul — I call bullshit"

Chris Lynch, Founder, Atlas Venture

Raj Aggarwal, Founder of Localytics

"The network we built with Techstars was incredibly valuable during and after the program."

Raj Aggarwal, Founder, Localytics

What truly matters

Understand your equity’s true worth

Strategic depth in their thinking

Two-way communication > Interview

Do they know why they succeeded in the past?

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No accelerator or incubator is perfect for every start-up. Your business’s context and constraints matter. Identify your perfect match by answering this short questionnaire.

Illinois's Top Accelerators By Neighborhoods

Comparing Accelerators

NameAerial ScoreStandard DealAddress#Investments#ExitsDetails
Techstars Chicago Powered by J.P. Morgan9.9$120K for 6% equity222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza #1212, Chicago, IL 60654, USA6,002475Learn more
Second Century Ventures5.8430 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA20724Learn more
Techstars Chicago5.7222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza #1212, Chicago, IL 60654, USA13326Learn more
TechNexus Venture Collaborative5.720 N Wacker Dr 12th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606, USA25616Learn more
gener8tor Sustainability Accelerator5.6$100K for 7%+ equity on a SAFEChicago, IL, USA25014Learn more
IrishAngels5.4Chicago, IL, USA16913Learn more
Healthbox5.233 W Monroe St Ste1700, Chicago, IL 60603, USA9712Learn more
Illinois Ventures5.0$10K2242 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60612, USA579Learn more
Alliance DAO4.7$350KIllinois, USA711Learn more
Northwestern University - Farley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation4.7Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center, 2133 Sheridan Rd Room G302, Evanston, IL 60201, USA114Learn more
Garage Incubator4.7$10K2311 Campus Dr #2300, Evanston, IL 60208, USA114Learn more
Polsky Center4.71452 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615, USA203Learn more
Financial Solutions Lab4.7Illinois, USA198Learn more
iVenture Accelerator4.7$10KUrbana, IL, USA50Learn more
mHUB (Chicago)4.6$105K-$70K for 6.5% equity1623 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL 60612, USA44Learn more
Productive Edge4.61 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601, USALearn more
Higher Ground Labs4.6Illinois, USA523Learn more
REach Accelerator4.6Illinois, USA92Learn more
New Venture Challenge4.6Illinois, USA71Learn more
Women's Startup Academy4.6Chicago, IL, USA19Learn more

This page covers the top accelerators and incubators in Illinois.

However if geography isn’t a hard constraint, and you are only looking for the best incubators and accelerators across the US, check here.

Brief Overview Of Different Accelerators

1) Techstars Chicago Powered by J.P. Morgan

Techstars Chicago Powered by J.P. Morgan - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

The accelerator, led by Managing Director Tricia Martinez, seeks audacious founders pioneering disruptive emerging technologies, particularly in Artificial Intelligence and Deeptech. The program is located in Chicago, Illinois and pursues promising early-stage companies using AI to tackle global challenges, scale businesses, and craft new business models. The key industries include AI, Cleantech, Quantum Information Science, Advanced Manufacturing, Biotechnology, and 5G/Advanced Wireless Technology. The 90-day in-person program culminates in a Demo Day and offers various benefits like mentorship, office space, and a global network. Notable Partner Mentors include Tara Reed, Amanda Lannert, Victoria Bills, Sergio Suarez, and Veronica Aguilar. The accelerator aims to provide equitable access to funding for underrepresented entrepreneurs and those dedicated to embracing Chicago's tech uniqueness. With a standard deal offering $120K for 6% equity, the accelerator supports founders envisioning scalable solutions in Biotech, Fintech, and Clean Energy, reflecting a commitment to innovation and collaboration within the tech ecosystem.

Techstars Chicago Powered by J.P. Morgan's Website
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2) Second Century Ventures

Second Century Ventures - Illinois' true entrepreneurial hub

Second Century Ventures is a venture capital fund focused on promoting innovation in the real estate industry. It operates the REACH accelerator program, backed by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), with over 100 bilateral partnerships worldwide spanning 85 countries. The program manages a portfolio of over 200 technology companies across real estate, financial services, insurance, and home services. Based in Chicago, IL, the program accelerates technology companies through an intensive event-based program, offering access to a community of real estate industry executives, investors, developers, and mentors. The team has direct relationships with over 1,000 real estate executives globally. The accelerator provides 1:1 mentorship from industry experts, investors, and corporate sponsors, shaping emerging technologies in areas like property management, proptech, and smart homes. Founded by Bob Goldberg and Dale Stinton, Second Century Ventures specializes in industries like Edtech, Renewable Energy, Healthcare Tech, Logistics and Supply Chain, and SaaS, in addition to real estate tech, offering funding types including Seed, Early Stage VC, and Series A.

Second Century Ventures's Website
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3) Techstars Chicago

Techstars Chicago - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

Techstars Chicago is a global platform that provides investment and innovation, with a focus on audacious founders pioneering disruptive emerging technologies, particularly in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deeptech. The accelerator, known as Techstars Chicago Powered by J.P. Morgan, offers a 3-month program starting on December 5th, 2024. Led by Managing Director Tricia Martinez and Program Manager Anthony Alepra, the institution aims to solve global problems through AI innovation. Notable mentors include Tara Reed, Amanda Lannert, Victoria Bills, Sergio Suarez, and Veronica Aguilar. Positioned in the Midwest startup ecosystem, the program provides access to capital, connections, and mentorship. Founded by Brad Feld, Chisa Egbelu, Daniel Mason, David Brown, David Cohen, and Jared Polis, Techstars Chicago specializes in AI and Fintech industries. Participants benefit from perks such as funding, lifelong access to the network, and mentorship from a wide range of experienced professionals.

Techstars Chicago's Website
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4) TechNexus Venture Collaborative

TechNexus Venture Collaborative - supporting founders in their growth journey

TechNexus Venture Collaborative is a growth accelerator fostering collaboration between established corporations and ambitious startups in various industries such as Travel and Tourism, Renewable Energy, Consumer Electronics, Fashion and Apparel, Healthcare Tech, Robotics, Gaming, and Cybersecurity. Founded by Fred Hoch and Terry Howerton, the organization connects entrepreneurs and corporate executives to drive innovation. The program combines capital investment, incubation, and collaboration to offer a unique advantage to early-stage companies in its venture portfolio. While specific numbers regarding start-ups and funded ventures are not disclosed, TechNexus invests in promising startups using collaboration capital for comprehensive support beyond financial backing. Entrepreneurs accessing the program benefit from partnerships with leading corporations, gaining opportunities for business growth, product co-development, and industry insights. Additionally, they receive network support through introductions to mentors, customers, and investors, as well as access to global entrepreneurial support organizations. TechNexus provides strategic guidance on various business aspects, including models, pricing, fundraising, and market research, making it a holistic platform for venture development and innovation.

TechNexus Venture Collaborative's Website
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5) gener8tor Sustainability Accelerator

gener8tor Sustainability Accelerator - building Illinois' entrepreneurial future

The gener8tor Sustainability Accelerator is a prominent program that accelerates and invests in sustainability and climate tech startups, focusing on solving, mitigating, or adapting to current climate and environmental challenges. With an investment of $100,000 in five cutting-edge startups per cohort, totaling $500,000 annually, the 12-week accelerator offers coaching, mentorship, and valuable connections to support startup growth. Founded by Dan Armbrust, Joe Kirgues, Jon Eckhardt, and Troy Vosseller, it is known for its commitment to supporting diverse founders impacted by climate change. The accelerator specializes in industries like Renewable Energy and Clean Energy, targeting startups in domains such as renewable energy, carbon reduction, waste management, and water conservation. Additionally, startups benefit from networking opportunities with industry experts, investors, and potential partners. Overall, the program aims to nurture a community of passionate founders dedicated to creating a sustainable future, offering a standard deal of $100,000 for 7% equity on a SAFE agreement.

gener8tor Sustainability Accelerator's Website
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6) IrishAngels

IrishAngels - a prominent start-up growth supporter in Illinois

IrishAngels is an angel investing network affiliated with the University of Notre Dame. They focus on pre-seed and seed stage startups in B2B, consumer, and medical domains. The organization has deployed millions of dollars to support startups, with a group of angel investors forming their network. Their collaborative and founder-friendly approach includes regular check-ins to assist companies in building and growing. The accelerator, founded by Gale Wilkinson and Jordan Curnes, strategically supports early-stage startups in industries like Ecommerce, General Tech, Healthcare Tech, and Fintech. The institution engages with startups from due diligence through the investment process and continues to add value leveraging their active network. Notable companies like Elevate K-12 have benefited from their strategic partnership, showcasing the commitment to fostering innovation and supporting portfolio companies. IrishAngels' funding types include Seed and Early Stage VC, making them a vital player in the startup ecosystem.

IrishAngels's Website
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7) Healthbox

Healthbox - connecting start-up founders with success

Healthbox, a HIMSS Solution, was founded in 2010 by Nina Nashif. The organization is a healthcare-focused accelerator that aims to drive innovation and digital transformation in the industry. Over the past 10 years, Healthbox has specialized in health-tech startups across various healthcare domains. The accelerator partners with leading healthcare organizations to support entrepreneurial innovation. In January 2022, Healthbox was acquired by Biolife Sciences Corp. Additional support is offered through Healthbox Studios, an accelerator with locations in Chicago (HQ), Boston, Los Angeles, Orlando, Salt Lake City, and Tel Aviv, to help early-stage health-tech startups navigate industry complexities. Healthbox has also introduced Idealy, an innovation intake software solution utilized internally for over 5 years, which collects input from all organizational voices to drive decision-making. While specific metrics on funded startups are not disclosed, the organization remains dedicated to revolutionizing the healthcare ecosystem, focusing on healthcare tech, general tech, and fintech industries.

Healthbox's Website
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8) Illinois Ventures

Illinois Ventures - supporting founders in their growth journey

Illinois Ventures is a return-focused venture capital firm dedicated to life science and tech innovation. Founded in 2015, the iVenture Accelerator is the educational accelerator for student startups at the University of Illinois, serving as the flagship program of the Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Gies College of Business. The accelerator supports student-led startups by offering knowledge, funding, and access to resources and alumni. With a focus on seed and early-stage technology investment, Illinois Ventures targets research-derived companies in information technologies. The program provides numerous benefits including funding of $10,000 per venture, a $2,500 stipend for up to 4 full-time team members, and access to over $300,000 worth of resources including AWS credits. Alumni of iVenture Accelerator have gone on to create over 550 jobs, received prestigious awards like Forbes 30-Under-30 and Thiel Fellowships, and some have been introduced by President Barack Obama. The accelerator welcomes both non-profit and for-profit startups in various domains including Social Media, General Tech, Healthcare Tech, and Fintech, offering support through different program stages from ideation to scale.

Illinois Ventures's Website
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9) Alliance DAO

Alliance DAO - supporting founders in their growth journey

The leading Alliance DAO accelerator, a prominent program in the crypto space, is a community-driven initiative supporting Web3 startups. It offers mentorship, funding, and access to a network of crypto founders and experts. Each program cohort, like the recent ALL11, includes eight projects. Startups benefit from 50+ investor connections on average, immediate funding of $350,000, and a program consisting of a 4-week in-person onboarding phase in New York City, followed by an 8-week remote program. Specializing in NFTs, security, wallets, and more, the accelerator provides daily 1:1 mentorship, weekly lectures from industry leaders like Anatoly Yakovenko and Amir Bandeali, a founder network, Demo Day exposure, and exclusive TechCrunch coverage. Notable mentors include Anatoly Yakovenko, Balaji Srinivasan, Colleen Sullivan, Devin Finzer, among others. Founded by Imran Khan, Jacob Franek, and Qiao Wang, the Alliance DAO accelerator is highly regarded in the blockchain, fintech, personal finance, and cybersecurity industries, making it a top choice for crypto entrepreneurs.

Alliance DAO's Website
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10) Northwestern University - Farley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Northwestern University - Farley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation - accelerating exceptional start-ups in Illinois

The Farley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, based at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, leads the way in nurturing innovation and entrepreneurial thinking among students. Their mission is to teach students how to think like innovators and use creative problem-solving skills to bring their ideas to life. The center offers a comprehensive curriculum accessible to all students, covering various entrepreneurship aspects such as leadership, accounting, and marketing. Their NUvention courses provide hands-on experience in working on startup ideas. Embracing a cross-disciplinary approach, the center brings together students from diverse backgrounds, relevant to career paths beyond traditional business sectors like medicine, law, and music. A standout course, NUvention: Media, focuses on utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) in the media industry. Students receive support throughout their entrepreneurial journey with access to mentors, collaborative spaces, and networking opportunities. Founded by Craig Wortmann and John Evans, the center's innovative mindset and resources benefit students pursuing any career path.

Northwestern University - Farley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation's Website
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11) Garage Incubator

Garage Incubator - building Illinois' entrepreneurial future

The Garage at Northwestern University, located in Evanston, IL, is an interdisciplinary entrepreneurship and innovation space for students. It serves as a vibrant hub where student entrepreneurs can access resources, mentorship, and support to bring their ideas to life. The institution has an impressive track record of supporting over 1,500 start-ups created by Northwestern students, with a network of 500+ mentors and experts available to guide teams. The space attracts over 1,000 visitors per month and offers specialized support across various domains like technology, social impact, and consumer products. Key programs include the 10-week Jumpstart Pre-Accelerator, offering a $10,000 grant, and the Residency Program providing additional resources to student entrepreneurs. Founded by Craig Wortmann and John Evans, The Garage fosters a strong sense of community, collaboration, and networking opportunities, empowering student entrepreneurs and driving innovation within the campus ecosystem, with a focus on industries like Edtech.

Garage Incubator's Website
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12) Polsky Center

Polsky Center - Illinois' true entrepreneurial hub

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago is renowned for its accelerator programs designed to foster early-stage ventures. The center offers the BUILD Accelerator where students spend their summers validating assumptions and building their ventures, with a focus on market and customer aspects. Teams undergo a competitive selection process based on business stage, team strength, and growth potential, receiving funding, coaching, mentorship from alumni entrepreneurs, and guidance from investors. The LAUNCH Accelerator concentrates on fundraising, selling, and maintaining momentum. Similarly, teams benefit from funding, coaching, mentorship, and guidance. The center also features specialized accelerators such as Compass, a deep tech accelerator for early-stage startups from research institutions, and Transform, a data science and AI accelerator. Both programs offer support tailored to the unique needs of deep tech and data science ventures. Additionally, they support ventures in industries like Artificial Intelligence and Edtech, and Polsky Center was founded by John Rockefeller.

Polsky Center's Website
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13) Financial Solutions Lab

Financial Solutions Lab - connecting start-up founders with success

The Financial Solutions Lab Accelerator, founded by Jennifer Tescher, is a top fintech accelerator in the United States. It is focused on enhancing the financial health of low- to moderate-income (LMI) individuals, Black and Latinx communities, and other underserved populations. Since its inception in 2015, the program has identified, developed, and scaled innovative fintech solutions, serving as a catalyst for advancing financial health. The 2022 Accelerator Challenge centers on refining financial benefits and tools for LMI individuals and Black and Latinx communities, aiming to streamline accessibility and usability. Accepted organizations benefit from financial support, expert guidance, mentorship, industry connections, and a vast network, all geared towards scaling their solutions. The Accelerator's portfolio showcases companies that have positively impacted the financial health of millions of Americans. With a duration of 20 weeks, the program addresses various themes annually, such as the racial wealth gap and LMI community financial health. Despite undisclosed specific metrics, the Accelerator's commitment to driving positive changes in financial health shines through in its ability to empower startups in the healthcare tech and fintech industries.

Financial Solutions Lab's Website
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14) iVenture Accelerator

iVenture Accelerator - Illinois' true entrepreneurial hub

The accelerator at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a top-tier entrepreneurship program designed to support student-led startups in creating both economic and social impact. Launched in Summer 2015, the program offers selected teams the necessary resources, funding, mentorship, and time to achieve product-market fit, develop prototypes, run pilot programs, establish strategic partnerships, and scale their ventures. Each participating team, comprising 4 full-time members, receives $10,000 in funding along with a $2,500 stipend per member, all while retaining full ownership with no equity taken. The program has nurtured 9 cohorts of startups, welcoming ventures across various domains, including for-profit and non-profit sectors. Students benefit from a robust support system, gaining access to over $300,000 in resources, mentorship from industry experts, connections to innovation hubs like mHUB and 1871, and a vibrant community of 200+ alums. The accelerator's alumni have achieved notable success, with some being recognized by Forbes 30-Under-30 and Thiel Fellowships, and even meeting President Barack Obama. Several startups from the program have progressed to renowned accelerators such as Y-Combinator, HAX, and TechStars, showcasing the program's track record of fostering innovation and excellence within the university community. The accelerator runs for 10 weeks and caters to ventures in Sector Agnostic industries, offering comprehensive training in key areas like sales, marketing, and product development, making it a pivotal platform for aspiring student entrepreneurs to realize their startup visions.

iVenture Accelerator's Website
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15) mHUB (Chicago)

mHUB (Chicago) - Illinois' true entrepreneurial hub

mHUB is a hardtech innovation and manufacturing entrepreneurial center situated in Chicago. The institution houses the mHUB Climate & Energy Tech Accelerator, a 6-month program designed to fast-track startups in energy, climate, and clean tech. It is recognized as the largest independent innovation center for hardtech in the US. The accelerator program supports disruptive solutions and has a portfolio of 46 high-growth hardtech startups. Participating startups receive $105,000 in cash, $70,000 in services, programming, and hardware, with the institution taking 6.5% equity. mHUB specializes in energy, climate, and clean tech, and actively encourages startups working on renewable energy and sustainability to apply. The program components include product and business acceleration, prototyping, manufacturing guidance, mentor matching, corporate partner access, and investor networking. Additional benefits include hands-on venture investment, follow-on investments, deep dive incubation, and a requirement for Chicago relocation for the 26-week program. Founders Bill Fienup and Haven Allen have cultivated a community at mHUB that is focused on consumer electronics, renewable energy, and clean energy.

mHUB (Chicago)'s Website
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16) Productive Edge

Productive Edge - supporting founders in their growth journey

Productive Edge is a digital strategy consulting company headquartered in Chicago. They specialize in digital transformation in healthcare and other industries while implementing complex websites for enterprise clients. The Productive Edge Accelerators they offer focus on bridging the gap between high-level strategy and concrete action within rapidly evolving industries. These accelerators include the Digital Product Accelerator, a six-week program aiming to refine, test, and validate distinct problems through design thinking and agile practices to create a prioritized digital roadmap. The Digital Venture Accelerator works on quickly launching new products and services with an emphasis on innovation and market expansion. Additionally, the Omnichannel Engagement Accelerator streamlines digital interactions, the Modern Data Platform and Analytics Accelerator leverages data foundations, the Cloud Migration and App Modernization Accelerator accelerates cloud journeys, and the Intelligent Automation Accelerator reduces manual tasks through automation. Specializing in domains like digital product development and cloud migration, these programs offer expert guidance, industry insights, and networking opportunities to participants. The company was founded by Joel Livet and caters to industries such as Mobile Apps and General Tech.

Productive Edge's Website
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17) Higher Ground Labs

Higher Ground Labs - Illinois' true entrepreneurial hub

Higher Ground Labs (HGL) is a venture fund and ecosystem builder investing in technology for political progress. The accelerator program, known for advancing for-profit tech startups in politics and advocacy, aims to build an ecosystem for progressive political technology. It vets and connects candidates, causes, and funders on the Left with best-in-class tech, sourcing and investing in companies to help them grow sustainably. HGL has successfully run five cohorts, supporting over 54 companies including Mobilize, BallotReady, and Impactive. The upcoming 2023 accelerator program, starting in July and running through October, offers virtual programming, in-person intensives, 400 1:1 mentorship sessions, 1.3K strategic introductions, and has facilitated $85 million in post-accelerator funding. Specializing in political technology and advocacy, Higher Ground Labs provides startups with an environment to innovate and achieve product-market fit. Through community engagement, investor access, pitch opportunities, and graduation into the full portfolio, startups at the organization benefit from a network of experts and influencers like Dr. Lian Bloch, Nellwyn Thomas, and David Axelrod. Founded by Andrew McLaughlin, Betsy Hoover, and Shomik Dutta, HGL is at the forefront of nurturing progressive tech startups shaping the landscape of political technology.

Higher Ground Labs's Website
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18) REach Accelerator

REach Accelerator - a prominent start-up growth supporter in Illinois

REach Accelerator, created by Second Century Ventures and backed by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), is a leading Technology Accelerator in Real Estate. They focus on technology companies in real estate and adjacent industries, leveraging 100 worldwide partnerships. The accelerator operates an intensive event-based program in Chicago, IL, with the goal of accelerating technology companies with real estate market solutions. REach fosters a community of industry executives, investors, developers, mentors, and entrepreneurs, all supported by a global network. Specializing in real estate and adjacent verticals like property management and home buying/selling, they offer perks such as connections with over 1000 real estate executives and mentorship from industry experts. Notable founders of the accelerator include Bob Goldberg, Constance Freedman, Dale Stinton, and Suzanne Raffa. REach's 30-week program has benefited start-ups in industries like Fintech and Real Estate Tech. Testimonials from participants have praised the mentorship and the program's impact on product development for the real estate sector.

REach Accelerator's Website
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19) New Venture Challenge

New Venture Challenge - Illinois' true entrepreneurial hub

The Edward L. Kaplan, '71, New Venture Challenge (NVC) is a prestigious startup accelerator program at the University of Chicago, specifically run by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Established in 1996, the NVC is renowned as one of the top-ranked accelerator programs nationally, having produced successful companies like Grubhub, Braintree/Venmo, and Simple Mills. The program offers aspiring entrepreneurs a platform to refine their business ideas, access resources, and receive mentorship. In 2024, the NVC supported 30 Phase II teams, indicating its impact on budding startups. The program attracts a diverse network of investors, mentors, and industry experts, leading to significant funding for alumni companies, collectively amounting to billions of dollars. The NVC caters to a wide array of industries, including Healthcare Tech and Edtech, fostering innovation, creativity, and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Participants benefit from workshops, networking opportunities, and an active alumni network. To commemorate its 25th anniversary, the Polsky Center hosts a podcast series featuring interviews with successful NVC alumni, showcasing their entrepreneurial journeys and contributions to the program's legacy.

New Venture Challenge's Website
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20) Women's Startup Academy

Women's Startup Academy - connecting start-up founders with success

Beta Boom's Women's Startup Academy, also known as the Women Founders - Google for Startups Accelerator, is a prestigious program supporting women-led tech startups in North America. The 10-week intensive accelerator focuses on Seed to Series A startups in the U.S. and Canada, with each cohort comprising 10-15 top startups. The program, facilitated by experts from Google and the industry, combines remote and in-person elements, including 1-to-1 mentorship, group learning sessions, and specialized workshops on Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Eligible companies, led by women and based in North America, benefit from tailored mentorship, product design workshops, and connections to Google teams. Notable founders like Kimmy Paluch and Sergio Paluch have spearheaded this initiative in industries like Artificial Intelligence, General Tech, and Fintech. Testimonials from Co-Founders Amanda Julian and Kelsey Hahn of Monark highlight the program's value in providing mentorship and technical support. The program's duration is 20 weeks, making it a pivotal accelerator in fostering diversity and innovation within the tech ecosystem.

Women's Startup Academy's Website
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21) Duality

Duality - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Illinois

Duality is the first accelerator program in the US exclusively dedicated to supporting innovative quantum startups. Based in Chicago, known as a leading hub for quantum innovation, the program runs for 12 months, providing a nurturing environment for new startup companies focusing on quantum science and technology. The accelerator stands out for its exclusive quantum focus, offering participants world-class business training from partner institutions and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, along with mentorship from quantum experts. State-of-the-art facilities are provided to foster growth and development within the program. Duality plays a vital role in advancing quantum technologies by supporting and accelerating promising startups in this cutting-edge sector, ultimately contributing to the evolution of quantum science and technology. The industries served by the accelerator include a wide spectrum, as it is sector-agnostic.

Duality's Website
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22) Relish Works

Relish Works - accelerating exceptional start-ups in Illinois

In collaboration with Gordon Food Service, Relish Works operates the Food Foundry accelerator program, which aims to support startups disrupting the foodservice industry and reshaping the food operations landscape. The program works with both early-stage innovators and established industry leaders to provide funding introductions, valuable resources, including access to national foodservice business resources and specialized programming, and a supportive community through events and workshops in Chicago, Illinois. Food Foundry has run multiple cohorts, with the fifth cohort starting in January 2023. Startups benefit from mentorship, networking opportunities, and a vibrant ecosystem in Chicago. The program's specialization in food and foodservice innovation covers areas such as technology, supply chain, sustainability, and culinary advancements. Founded by Mack Tilling, Relish Works focuses on industries like logistics and supply chain, general tech, and food and beverage.

Relish Works's Website
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23) Chain Reaction Innovations

Chain Reaction Innovations - a prominent start-up growth supporter in Illinois

Chain Reaction Innovations is an energy and science incubator located at Argonne National Laboratory. It was founded by Enrico Fermi. The accelerator program, part of the U.S. Department of Energys Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP), runs for two years and focuses on supporting early-stage startups in clean energy and climate change technologies. Selected participants, who can be individuals or teams of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, receive financial assistance, access to cutting-edge facilities, mentorship from industry experts, networking opportunities, and guidance to de-risk innovation. CRI encourages innovators in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and climate change mitigation to apply. The accelerator is one of four nodes alongside Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, all aiming to enhance the success of startups. Chain Reaction Innovations fosters a supportive environment for innovators to address technical challenges and advance clean energy and science-based solutions, contributing to a more sustainable world. Stay tuned for Cohort 9 (2025-2027) applications opening in Fall 2024.

Chain Reaction Innovations's Website
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24) Code Ventures

Code Ventures - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Illinois

Codeventures is an accelerator specializing in incubating tech startups that lack a technical co-founder. Founded by Aji Abraham, the program serves as an interim tech co-founder or CTO for early-stage ventures, assisting in the development of MVPs, web, and mobile applications in exchange for equity. Each year, the program selects only three startups to ensure personalized attention and support, with a focus on accelerating their path towards MVP, seed funding, and beyond. The accelerator addresses the technical co-founder gap by providing expert software development teams, enabling non-technical founders to bring their products to market. With a specialization in Mobile Apps, General Tech, and SaaS, Codeventures offers an equity-based model, allowing startups to access technical expertise without upfront costs. Moreover, the program provides guidance, support, and valuable networking opportunities to help startups navigate challenges and connect with potential investors.

Code Ventures's Website
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25) Paragon Biosciences

Paragon Biosciences - connecting start-up founders with success

Paragon Biosciences, founded by Jeff Aronin, is a global healthcare company specializing in biotech and healthcare tech. The organization focuses on accelerating biomedical research and solving human challenges by nurturing visionary companies in the life sciences domain. Portfolio companies like Harmony Biosciences, Emalex Biosciences, Evozyne, Castle Creek Biosciences, and CiRC Biosciences receive support to develop novel therapies for various conditions. For instance, Harmony Biosciences offers innovative treatments for sleep-wake disorders, Emalex Biosciences concentrates on central nervous system disorders including Tourette syndrome, Evozyne utilizes generative AI for novel protein systems, while Castle Creek Biosciences pioneers cell and gene therapies for skin diseases. The expertise, industry connections, and financial backing of Paragon Biosciences enhance the success of its portfolio firms. The organization provides resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities, contributing to the growth and development of startups in neurology, rare diseases, and regenerative medicine.

Paragon Biosciences's Website
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26) Bunker Labs

Bunker Labs - building Illinois' entrepreneurial future

Bunker Labs is a national not-for-profit organization founded by military veteran entrepreneurs to empower and support other veterans in innovation leadership. They offer a peer-learning environment and a supportive ecosystem for military veterans looking to start and grow businesses. Operating in 12 cities across the United States through local chapters, Bunker Labs provides educational programming, mentors, events, and local networks to facilitate connections with resources and opportunities for veteran entrepreneurs in various industries like Edtech and General Tech. The accelerator program includes mentorship from experienced mentors, networking opportunities within a local community of entrepreneurs, educational workshops, seminars, and training sessions, as well as events for networking with investors and industry experts. Veterans are encouraged to explore Bunker Labs for access to valuable resources and a community tailored to their needs. Notable founders of Bunker Labs include Blake Hogan, Dan Berry, Johnathan Wojtewicz, Joseph Kopser, Mike Maher, Nate Carden, Sean McIntosh, and Todd Connor.

Bunker Labs's Website
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27) Matter (Consulting Services (B2B))

Matter (Consulting Services (B2B)) - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

Matter is a Chicago-based accelerator founded in 2013, focusing on healthcare sectors like biotech and healthcare tech. Collaborating with healthcare innovators, their goal is to improve products and services through technology solutions. Matter integrates sales outsourcing, marketing services, and proprietary technology to drive measurable growth for B2B companies in the healthcare sector. Specializing in digital health, medical devices, and health IT, they aim to facilitate growth at an unprecedented speed, leading to bigger deals. While specific metrics like the number of start-ups associated or funded are undisclosed, Matter actively seeks new investments. The accelerator, co-founded by Andrew Cittadine and David Schonthal, provides market-leading products to enhance precision and performance. By leveraging their expertise and proprietary technology, Matter offers a seamless experience for start-ups looking to make a difference in the healthcare industry.

Matter (Consulting Services (B2B))'s Website
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28) Matter Chicago - Healthcare Incubator

Matter Chicago - Healthcare Incubator - a prominent start-up growth supporter in Illinois

Based in Chicago, MATTER Chicago Healthcare Incubator is a global startup accelerator and community nexus driving healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship in collaboration with industry leaders. Supported by the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, and local businesses, MATTER serves hundreds of startups globally with diverse programs in healthcare and life sciences, focusing on digital health, medical devices, and biotechnology. Among the notable founders are Andrew Cittadine and David Schonthal. The accelerator facilitates workshops, fireside chats, and events for entrepreneurs, partnering with executives, entrepreneurs, and investors to foster a dynamic community aimed at improving products and services in the healthcare industry. Recent initiatives include the U.S. Market Expansion Program with KOSME and the Health Equity Innovation Challenge in collaboration with the Healthcare Education, Research, and Innovation Foundation. MATTER's innovative approach and commitment to healthcare excellence make it a vital player in advancing health technology and patient care worldwide.

Matter Chicago - Healthcare Incubator's Website
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29) Bradley University - Turner Center for Entrepreneurship

Bradley University - Turner Center for Entrepreneurship - building Illinois' entrepreneurial future

Located in Peoria, Illinois, Bradley University is a private mid-sized institution that fosters entrepreneurship through the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship. The center runs the Brave Launch Business Accelerator, a seven-week program supporting startups and existing ventures. It offers participants the chance to pitch their ideas and win prizes of up to $5,000. The accelerator caters to a wide range of industries, including Edtech, and provides business counseling, technical assistance, and educational programs for aspiring entrepreneurs and established business owners. Founded with the vision of Lydia Moss Bradley, the university empowers over 5,400 students with the resources of a larger institution and the personalized experience of a smaller one. The university aims to drive economic development by nurturing innovative companies. The Turner Center for Entrepreneurship at Bradley University is committed to fueling the entrepreneurial spirit and growth of individuals venturing into the business world.

Bradley University - Turner Center for Entrepreneurship's Website
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30) Northern Illinois University - Office of Innovation

Northern Illinois University - Office of Innovation - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Illinois

The Office of Innovation at Northern Illinois University supports the transformation of ideas from inception to impact, collaborating with innovators, entrepreneurs, and students. They focus on addressing significant challenges like climate change mitigation, ecosystem restoration, and cleaner energy production, fostering interdisciplinary solutions. The institution accelerates innovation in various domains such as food systems, technology commercialization, and entrepreneurship. The accelerator benefits from its proximity to leading research facilities like the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Participants in the program engage in webinars, in-person events, and hands-on learning experiences, enhancing their skills and knowledge. Northern Illinois University prepares a diverse student population for leadership roles in industries such as Environmental Tech, Edtech, and Clean Energy. Notable for its commitment to impactful collaboration and cutting-edge research, the Office of Innovation at NIU serves as a pioneering hub for aspiring entrepreneurs and visionary leaders.

Northern Illinois University - Office of Innovation's Website
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31) Illinois State University - Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

Illinois State University - Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies - connecting start-up founders with success

Illinois State University, located in Normal, Illinois, is home to the Means Center Accelerator program. This initiative provides year-round support for student entrepreneurs enrolled at the university. Eligibility criteria require applicants to be current students with original business models that are already operational and prepared for growth, having received less than $20,000 in external funding prior to applying. The program offers financial assistance, with a maximum of $5,000 per student or student entity, to be spent within a year of receiving the award. The application process involves submission, review by the Accelerator Committee, and a pitch covering business progress, growth plans, and funding utilization. The Means Center specializes in supporting various business domains such as technology, social impact, and consumer goods. Student entrepreneurs benefit from financial aid, exposure through social media and annual reports, and access to a supportive entrepreneurial community. The program shares updates on student businesses' progress and operates without providing cash, instead reimbursing expenses or paying vendors directly. Sales tax responsibilities lie with the student participants. Noteworthy is the program's support for industries like Entertainment, Edtech, and General Tech.

Illinois State University - Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies's Website
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32) Future Founders

Future Founders - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Illinois

Future Founders, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to fostering youth entrepreneurship. The organization firmly believes in the potential of every young individual to become a successful entrepreneur. With a focus on building the nation's largest inclusive community of young entrepreneurs, they have already impacted 47,000 youths. This has led to the creation of 1,980 jobs and a remarkable $374M in generated revenue by associated ventures. The organization offers various programs such as the Startup Bootcamp, catering to individuals aged 18 to 30, and the prestigious year-long Fellowship program. The Fellowship program is designed to accelerate top young entrepreneurs and their businesses. Participants benefit from workshops, mentorship opportunities, and a strong peer support network while being paired with successful founders for guidance. Future Founders was founded by Bradley Keywell, Candice Blacknall, and Scott Issen. The organization focuses on nurturing entrepreneurial skills across diverse industries under the generous support of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. This reflects their commitment to empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Future Founders's Website
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33) The Food Foundry Accelerator

The Food Foundry Accelerator - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

Food Foundry is a growth accelerator program founded by Relish Works, Gordon Food Service, and 1871, aimed at supporting and propelling innovative startups in the food industry. The 16-week initiative provides strategic investment, network access, guidance, and tailored programming to companies reshaping the food and foodservice industry. Each startup receives a $75,000 investment, 1:1 mentorship, specialized programming, and networking opportunities with industry experts and mentors. The accelerator focuses on areas like third-party delivery, blockchain, IoT, AI, sensors, AR, VR, autonomous vehicles, robotics, food tech, hydroponics, and vertical farming. Food Foundry creates a dynamic ecosystem in Chicago, Illinois, offering resources for founders and entrepreneurs in industries such as Food and Beverage, AR/VR, AI, blockchain, and robotics. Notable startups and founders have benefited from the program, gaining insights and connections within the foodservice value chain.

The Food Foundry Accelerator's Website
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34) Triple Aim Partners

Triple Aim Partners - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Illinois

Triple Aim Partners, a venture builder based in Evanston, Illinois and founded in 2019 by Andrew Hayek and Cory Roberts, aims to enable great companies to advance the quality, experience, and cost of healthcare. They focus on value-based care, collaborating with outstanding entrepreneurs to build transformative companies in the healthcare sector. Since their inception, Triple Aim Partners has co-founded and launched eight companies addressing various aspects of healthcare delivery and patient experience. Although specific details about investors and funded start-ups are not provided, they work with entrepreneurs and investors to drive meaningful impact in healthcare. The accelerator program's duration varies based on the start-up's needs. Triple Aim Partners offers expertise, mentorship, and resources to support start-ups, emphasizing the Triple Aim of improving patient experience, enhancing population health, and reducing costs. Their disciplined approach ensures a strong cultural foundation for the supported start-ups, contributing to the transformation of healthcare.

Triple Aim Partners's Website
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35) Excelerate Labs

Excelerate Labs - building Illinois' entrepreneurial future

Excelerate Labs, formerly known as Excelerator Titan, is a leading Chicago-based startup accelerator. The program has been in operation since 2010 with the goal of empowering startups through connections, capital, and a supportive community. They have successfully supported 1,578+ startups and engaged with 2,450+ founders. The accelerator has also facilitated funding for 570+ projects. Focusing on General Tech and SaaS industries, the program operates year-round, including a summer program. In addition to office space and funding, Excelerator Titan provides leadership, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Emphasizing collaboration and networking, they create a strong community for participants. Alumni of the accelerator play a crucial role in supporting startups in Chicago.

Excelerate Labs's Website
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36) 511 Capital

511 Capital - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Illinois

Founded in 2012 by Russell Potterfield, 511 Capital operates as a hybrid model combining aspects of a startup incubator and a private equity firm. The organization has established a strong portfolio of successful companies primarily focusing on consumer goods and gaming sectors. With a presence in Chicago, Illinois, and Shenzhen, China, the company leverages key functions such as IT, Legal, Marketing, and Finance to accelerate businesses through the startup phase. 511 Capital's expertise in product design, sourcing, and manufacturing enables it to effectively penetrate underserved markets. Russell Potterfield, who previously served as CEO of Battenfeld Technologies, leads the organization and has a proven track record in developing consumer product companies. The company prides itself on being sector-agnostic, investing across various domains including fashion, apparel, fintech, and personal finance. Its global talent pool allows them to serve as a 'global business accelerator,' providing valuable expertise to their startup ventures.

511 Capital's Website
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37) 1871

1871 - a prominent start-up growth supporter in Illinois

Founded in 2012, 1871 is a private, global innovation hub based in Chicago. The organization serves as a prominent accelerator in the technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Under the leadership of CEO Betsy Ziegler, it is on a mission to uplift, connect, and amplify its members, which include over 400 early-stage companies and various nationally recognized accelerators and incubators within the community. The accelerator hosts a diverse range of tech start-ups across domains such as Technology, Healthcare Tech, Logistics and Supply Chain, and Fintech. Notable founders of 1871 include J.B. Pritzker, James O'Connor, Steven Collens, and Tom Lee. With a focus on building startups and sharing ideas, 1871 offers a vibrant ecosystem where start-ups can connect with potential investors and industry experts. Members benefit from a supportive community, access to workshops and events, marketing exposure, and exclusive perks tailored to their growth stage. Overall, it is a dynamic hub that fosters collaboration, networking, and innovation in the tech industry.

1871's Website
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38) The Bunker

The Bunker - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

The Bunker is a support platform established in 2014 and located in Chicago, Illinois. It operates within the entrepreneurial hub known as 1871, focusing on supporting existing veteran-owned tech startups and aspiring entrepreneurs in the General Tech industry. The program offers a six-month duration of support, providing resources such as access to a network of fellow entrepreneurs, mentorship, and professional development opportunities. Founded by Blake Hogan, Dan Berry, Johnathan Wojtewicz, Joseph Kopser, Mike Maher, Nate Carden, Sean McIntosh, and Todd Connor, The Bunker has been instrumental in fostering a peer-learning environment for veteran entrepreneurs. The accelerator prides itself on offering great talent and support to help veteran entrepreneurs succeed in the business world.

The Bunker's Website
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39) Chicago Innovation Exchange Business Incubator

Chicago Innovation Exchange Business Incubator - connecting start-up founders with success

The Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE) is an accelerator-style program aiming to build a thriving tech ecosystem in Chicago by providing resources, mentorship, and space for startups. It blurs the lines between incubator and accelerator models, hosting a diverse community of startups across various domains such as Healthcare Tech and General Tech. The program supports ventures in technology, manufacturing, creative industries, and more. Startups benefit from mentorship, dedicated collaboration space, and a supportive community to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs and partners. Affiliated with the University of Chicago's Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the organization was founded by Mark Yim. Verix Health, a developer of steerable diagnostic devices, is among the startups that have received support from the program. The CIE facilitates connections with mentors, including potential investors, to create funding opportunities during the program's duration, which typically spans several months.

Chicago Innovation Exchange Business Incubator's Website
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40) Technori

Technori - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

Technori, founded in 2010 and based in Chicago, Illinois, is a media platform that serves the startup ecosystem by providing exposure, hosting live startup showcase events, and connecting entrepreneurs with investors. Through its services like the startup showcase events, weekly podcast, and newsletter reaching over 30,000 investors, it facilitates funding opportunities and showcases new ventures. The company specializes in industries such as Healthcare Tech, General Tech, and SaaS. The founders of Technori include Mark Bertrand, Scott Kitun, Seth Kravitz, Val Chulamorkodt, and Zack Gilbert. Despite the lack of detailed information, its impact on the startup community is evident through its diverse offerings and engagement with entrepreneurs and investors. The accelerator likely offers additional benefits like mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to resources beyond funding, contributing to its support for startups in various sectors.

Technori's Website
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41) Future Founders - Fellowship

Future Founders - Fellowship - building Illinois' entrepreneurial future

Future Founders Fellowship is a prestigious year-long program designed to accelerate the nation's top young entrepreneurs and their businesses. The program is open to 18 to 30-year-olds who are founders and equity holders of their companies, focusing on growth-stage entrepreneurs who are typically revenue-generating or handling investments. It is free of charge and does not take equity from startups. Fellows become part of a national community of successful young founders, receiving mentoring, skill development, and access to entrepreneurship retreats and volunteer opportunities. Led by entrepreneur instructors and Entrepreneurs in Residence, the program emphasizes building transformative relationships and providing motivation and accountability tools. The Fellowship boasts impressive impact metrics, having created 1,980 jobs, generated $374 million in revenue, and raised $299 million in capital through a diverse group of founders representing industries such as Healthcare Tech, Edtech, and General Tech. Graduates can further their entrepreneurial journey by participating in the Alumni Accelerator. Notable individuals involved with Future Founders include Bradley Keywell, Candice Blacknall, and Scott Issen. The program is industry-agnostic, offering support to founders across various sectors and providing additional benefits like priority access to services and a supportive network for personal and business growth.

Future Founders - Fellowship's Website
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42) Future Founders - Startup Bootcamp

Future Founders - Startup Bootcamp - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

Future Founders Startup Bootcamp is a free accelerator program open nationwide to 18- to 30-year-olds with idea-stage companies in various industries like Edtech. Founded by Bradley Keywell, Candice Blacknall, and Scott Issen, the program runs for three months and aims to help participants turn their ideas into functioning businesses. It offers workshops, mentorship opportunities, and a peer support network to assist entrepreneurs in launching and growing their startups. The program is industry agnostic, catering to a wide range of business ideas. Participants can join virtually from anywhere, benefit from entrepreneur-led instructors, workshops focusing on essential skills, and build relationships with a national network of young entrepreneurs. Future Founders does not take equity from the startups involved. Additionally, there are post-program opportunities like mentoring and further programs. Exceptional founders demonstrating traction may progress to Phase Two for continued support in expanding their businesses.

Future Founders - Startup Bootcamp's Website
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43) SmartHealth Activator

SmartHealth Activator - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Illinois

SmartHealth Activator is an incubator and activator specializing in extraordinary biotechnology. The organization has a mission to build biomedical startup companies around biotech innovations from Midwest universities and research hospitals. Situated at the heart of the largest biomedical cluster in the Midwest, the accelerator accelerates the commercialization of therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical devices. Start-ups associated with SmartHealth benefit from the guidance of the Ops Team, consisting of seasoned bioentrepreneurs and biotech experts with over 30 years of industry experience. These ventures leverage promising biotechnology to drive innovation. SmartHealth offers start-ups direct access to investors and seed funding to fuel their growth. The accelerator's focus on biotechnology encompasses domains like therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical devices, aiming to combat life-threatening diseases. Start-ups enrolled in the program gain access to a network of customers, mentors, and shared working spaces. The strategic proximity to healthcare industry giants fosters unparalleled networking opportunities. Founded by Tom Denison and catalyzing solutions for major health challenges researched in the Midwest since 2014, SmartHealth Activator holds a pivotal role in advancing biotech innovations and nurturing start-ups by connecting them with vital resources, expertise, and potential investors.

SmartHealth Activator's Website
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44) SmartHealth Catalyzer

SmartHealth Catalyzer - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

SmartHealth Catalyzer is a biomedical venture studio that accelerates the commercialization of therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical devices originating from Midwest universities and research hospitals. They focus on building startup companies around promising biomedical research to address life-threatening diseases. The accelerator operates with an elite team of bioentrepreneurs and biotech experts, each bringing over 30 years of industry experience in drug development, diagnostics, and medical devices. Positioned at the heart of the largest biomedical cluster in the Midwest, SmartHealth Catalyzer specializes in biotechnology. Founded by Teddy Scott, the accelerator serves as a crucial link between biomedical research and market-ready solutions. The program champions Midwest-based innovations in biotech and healthcare tech, aiming to propel the commercial success of breakthrough technologies.

SmartHealth Catalyzer's Website
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45) VentureShot

VentureShot - supporting founders in their growth journey

VentureShot is a startup and growth-stage incubator and strategic growth program. Founded in 2012, it is based in Chicago, Illinois. The accelerator focuses on helping entrepreneurs build their businesses by emphasizing key factors like growing revenues, scaling the business, and securing funding. It has made one investment in Shurpa Health within the Logistics industry and has one exit involving the same startup, occurring on November 16, 2022. While the accelerator's specialization domains are not explicitly mentioned, it likely supports startups across various industries, including logistics. The mission of the organization is to empower entrepreneurs, foster growth, and facilitate funding opportunities for startups. Notable investments by VentureShot include Shurpa Health in the Logistics and Supply Chain industry.

VentureShot's Website
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46) Hispanic Tech Incubator

Hispanic Tech Incubator - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

The Hispanic Tech Incubator, a joint accelerator/incubator program launched by the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC), empowers Hispanic and LatinX entrepreneurs across the U.S. and the Americas. Specifically designed to foster innovation and success within this community, the program offers specialized one-on-one training, networking, and advanced mentorship opportunities for startups. The incubator serves as an invaluable mentorship platform connecting founders with tailored content and industry mentors. With a focus on industries like Healthcare Tech, Fintech, and General Tech, it champions diversity and equal opportunities for minorities. By offering benefits such as mentorship, networking, and workshops, the program aims to provide a supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs to accelerate their businesses' growth. Key figures at the IHCC drive the mission of the organization, connecting the vibrant Hispanic Business Community of Illinois with resources and opportunities for economic advancement.

Hispanic Tech Incubator's Website
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47) Chicago Venture Summit

Chicago Venture Summit - connecting start-up founders with success

Chicago Venture Summit is a prominent accelerator program showcasing Chicago as a leading global technology hub for investment, entrepreneurship, and innovation. The program hosts the Future-of-Food Week, a multi-day event connecting food innovators throughout the Midwest. Scheduled for May 20-24, 2024, the event focuses on Food & AG Innovation, welcoming over 1,000 startups, VC firms, and Fortune 500 companies. Participating startups benefit from complimentary tickets and exclusive programming invites. Chicago Venture Summit offers venture matchmaking opportunities between regional and national investors and 250+ entrepreneurs seeking various funding rounds. Exclusive event invitations are extended to participants managed by respective event hosts. Since 2014, the program has brought local founders and investors together, solidifying Chicagoland as a global capital for food and ag innovation. The accelerator caters to industries such as Fintech, General Tech, and Food and Beverage, further fostering innovation and investment in the startup ecosystem.

Chicago Venture Summit's Website
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48) Technology Innovation Center

Technology Innovation Center - supporting founders in their growth journey

Technology Innovation Center, also known as The Incubator, is a science and technology-focused accelerator program that provides coworking facilities, community networking, and business support services. The accelerator is run by the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, aiming to assist early-stage startups in achieving product-market fit by helping them understand their early adopter users and validating a path to sustainable market traction. Eligible applicants must operate a scalable B2B or B2G tech venture for more than 6 months but less than 2 years, have a prototype or MVP, raised capital less than $1 million, and have a team of two or more members. The program emphasizes practical execution, leadership development, and overcoming challenges, with CEOs receiving guidance on rapid plan execution. Notable features include partnerships with Corporate and Community Champions, expert mentors, a bottom-up demand identification approach, and leadership development sessions. The program's duration is not explicitly stated, and it likely varies per cohort. Specializing in B2B and B2G tech ventures, the accelerator offers startups a wide range of technology sector opportunities. Some key figures involved in the program are the partners and experienced mentors.

Technology Innovation Center's Website
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49) Women And Drones

Women And Drones - accelerating exceptional start-ups in Illinois

Women and Drones is a Small Business Accelerator and Incubator Initiative focused on supporting women in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), Urban Air Mobility (UAM), Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), and Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) industries. The program caters to U.S.-based for-profit companies and founders seeking to establish non-profit or for-profit organizations, providing resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities to drive growth and innovation. Key aspects of the program include business plan development, pitch competitions, mentoring by industry experts, supplier diversity promotion, access to funding sources, organizational capacity building, co-founder matchmaking, and virtual and in-person networking. A commitment of 4-6 hours per week is required from actively participating founders. The initiative also strives for an inclusive narrative in the industry, supports educational efforts for women and girls, and offers program participation fee discounts to members. Women and Drones aims to empower women in the UAS and related industries, contributing to their professional growth, innovation, and collaboration.

Women And Drones's Website
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50) Springboard Brands

Springboard Brands - supporting founders in their growth journey

Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy, based in Chicago, Illinois, is a brand consultancy and communications firm with a focus on professional healthcare branding and marketing. The company's accelerator is dedicated to supporting women-led companies in the technology and life sciences sectors, aiming to provide equal opportunities for funding, resources, and networking. With a strong track record, over 920 companies have participated in their programs, collectively raising substantial capital and leading to 27 IPOs. The total value created by these companies amounts to $39.1 billion, including the nurturing of 10 unicorn companies. Specializing in domains like life sciences, digital health, retail tech, and women's health innovation, Springboard offers tailored programs to help entrepreneurs thrive. These accelerator programs feature personalized advisory teams, high-value events, and access to a network of specialized advisors and industry leaders. Through initiatives like the Dolphin Tank pitch events, Springboard focuses on empowering entrepreneurs to succeed. Industries served by Springboard Brands include Healthcare Tech and General Tech.

Springboard Brands's Website
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51) mHUB MedTech Accelerator

mHUB MedTech Accelerator - supporting Illinois' best founders

mHUB MedTech Accelerator is a 6-month program designed to fast-track high-potential startups in the medical technology (MedTech) space. It provides hands-on support for product development within a state-of-the-art prototyping facility. The accelerator, based in the leading independent hardware innovation and entrepreneurial center, supports breakthrough solutions in key areas such as Medicine Delivery, Remote Patient Monitoring, Wearables, Sensing and Diagnostics, and Therapeutic Devices. The program focuses on Health Tech and has already supported 46 high-growth hardtech startups. It offers an initial investment of $175,000 (including cash and in-kind services) for 6.5% equity in each startup through the Product Impact Fund I. Startups also benefit from customer discovery activities, prototyping assistance, mentor matching, corporate partner access, investor network connections, and a 24-month mHUB membership post-program for continued support. The accelerator aims to turn innovative ideas into scalable products. Applications for the next cohort will open on 9/5/2022 and close on 10/31/2022.

mHUB MedTech Accelerator's Website
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52) EMERGE CoLab

EMERGE CoLab - Illinois' true entrepreneurial hub

EMERGE CoLab, powered by TechNexus Venture Collaborative, is a Chicago-based accelerator. It functions as a hub connecting enterprises, startups, first responders, and cities dedicated to advancing technology for productivity and public safety. Specializing in industrial wearables technology, EMERGE CoLab drives the development and commercialization of cutting-edge technologies to enhance the efficiency and safety of First Responders. The applications of these technologies span public safety, utilities, construction, and mining. The accelerator offers market validation-driven support, facilitating access to essential markets, key individuals, and resources crucial for accelerating company growth. EMERGE CoLab collaborates with ventures at various stages, prioritizing market traction and intensive mentorship with corporate partners. The accelerator engages with ventures across different developmental phases. EMERGE CoLab operates in a sector-agnostic capacity, fostering innovation across various industries.

EMERGE CoLab's Website
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53) Three Squared Biosciences

Three Squared Biosciences - accelerating exceptional start-ups in Illinois

Three Squared Biosciences is an innovative accelerator specializing in leveraging artificial intelligence to better understand the gut microbiome and prevent diseases. The accelerator comprises two subsidiary companies, Gateway Biome and Covira, both spinouts from the University of Chicago. The organization focuses on the gut microbiome, known to play a central role in various diseases like neurodegenerative conditions, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, and gastrointestinal issues. Covira, a funded start-up under the accelerator, received a $299,000 NIH Seed Fund Fast Track Award for its research on a non-antibiotic, microbiome-directed agent to prevent post-surgical infection. Brian Yoor, former CFO of Abbott, serves as Covira's Chairman of the Board. Operating within the Innovation and Research Park at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, the institution benefits from 14,000 square feet of wet lab and office space, fostering collaboration between academic and industry scientists to address health challenges. Industries involved include Biotech and Healthcare Tech.

Three Squared Biosciences's Website
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Top Reasons Start-ups Participate In Accelerators

Network expansion

Your net-worth is greatly determined by your network.

Business management skills

Reaching the top is relatively easy. Staying there for years is difficult.

Holistic growth

Marketing, Sales, Tech, Ops, HR, Finance, Admin...... you can’t go wrong in any one field.

Peer learning

There’s not enough time in the world to learn from one’s own mistakes. Peer learning helps.

Why an accelerator might not be right for you

It's usually helpful to consider potential pitfalls. Some common misconceptions

Are you really important for them?

An accelerator or investor can hedge their bets by investing in multiple start-ups, but as a founder your start-up is your only bet.

Rome wasn't built in 12-16 weeks

Every business needs a strong foundation, but while some businesses can figure the basics in 3 months, others need > 1 year.

Figuring out the failure rates

Everyone can point to a few success stories. Though in general 95% of all start-ups fail. An important question is- what %ge of an accelerator's start-up survive after 3 years.

FAQs About Start-up Accelerators

Author Bio

Michael Li

Michael Li

For the last 10+ years Michael has helped start-ups of all scales and sizes succeed. A 2X entrepreneur, he is now working on Aerial to help founders avoid costly mistakes. He regularly writes for publications like the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Harvard Business Review and others.

Last updated date 4/5/2024

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Accelerators and Incubators in illinois

Looking for the best accelerators in Illinois to kickstart your startup journey? Look no further! Accelerators in Illinois offer a plethora of benefits such as access to industry experts, networking opportunities, funding resources, and mentorship programs. Choosing the right accelerator can catapult your business to new heights and accelerate your growth exponentially. Illinois boasts a vibrant startup culture with a strong support system for budding entrepreneurs. With hubs like Chicago and Champaign-Urbana, the state provides a conducive environment for innovation and growth. The diverse talent pool, strong infrastructure, and favorable business environment make Illinois an attractive destination for startups seeking acceleration. When selecting an accelerator in Illinois, consider factors such as industry relevance, program duration, mentorship quality, networking opportunities, funding options, and success stories of previous cohorts. By evaluating these key factors, you can make an informed decision and choose an accelerator that aligns with your business goals and objectives. Additionally, learning from the success stories of notable startups like Grubhub, Groupon, and Braintree can inspire and guide you in your entrepreneurial journey.

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