North Carolina's top accelerators and incubators handpicked for you

Learn from North Carolina's foremost start-up experts who know the ins and outs of scaling start-ups.

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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

Domain expertise > Funding amount

Do they really value your time?

Two-way communication > Interview

Discover your perfect match

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.

North Carolina's Top Accelerators By Neighborhoods

Comparing Accelerators

NameAerial ScoreStandard DealAddress#Investments#ExitsDetails
MetLife Digital Accelerator - Techstars9.9$120K for 6% equityCary, NC, USA6,002475Learn more
NC IDEA4.8411 W Chapel Hill St Suite C2, Durham, NC 27701, USA483Learn more
Duke University Office for Translation & Commercialization4.72812 Erwin Rd Suite 406, Durham, NC 27705, USA194Learn more
Duke University - Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation4.7100 Fuqua Drive, Durham, NC 27708, USA194Learn more
Joules Accelerator4.7$10K-$20K9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223, USA273Learn more
NC Idea4.7411 W Chapel Hill St Suite C2, Durham, NC 27701, USA48Learn more
University of North Carolina - Center for Entreprneurial Studies4.6Chapel Hill, NC, USA31Learn more
First Flight Venture Center4.62 Davis Dr, Durham, NC 27709, USA9Learn more
Wake Forest Center for Entrepreneurship4.5Farrell Hall, 1834 Wake Forest Rd Building 60, Winston-Salem, NC 27109, USALearn more
Wake Forest University - Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship4.5Farrell Hall, 1834 Wake Forest Rd Building 60, Winston-Salem, NC 27109, USALearn more
University of North Carolina-Greensboro - North Carolina Entrepreneur Center4.51111 Spring Garden St, Greensboro, NC 27412, USALearn more
University of North Carolina-Wilmington - Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship4.5803 College Rd G, Wilmington, NC 28403, USALearn more
Appalachian State University - Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship4.5John E. Thomas Hall, 287 Rivers St, Boone, NC 28608, USALearn more
The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship4.51451 S Elm-Eugene St, Greensboro, NC 27406, USALearn more
New Ventures Accelerator4.5500 W 5th St Suite 800, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, USALearn more
Start1004.5North Carolina, USA1Learn more
Winston Starts4.5500 W 5th St, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, USA1Learn more
RIoT Accelerator4.4509 W North St, Raleigh, NC 27603, USALearn more
RIoT Startup Accelerator4.4509 W North St, Raleigh, NC 27603, USALearn more
FundSeeder4.4North Carolina, USALearn more

This page covers the top accelerators and incubators in North Carolina.

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) MetLife Digital Accelerator - Techstars

MetLife Digital Accelerator - Techstars - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

The MetLife Digital Accelerator powered by Techstars is a program that focuses on innovating in the insurance industry, which had global premiums of $5 trillion in 2017. The Fortune 50 company with operations in nearly 50 countries collaborates with Techstars to provide startups with a unique opportunity. The accelerator selects 10 startups annually for its 13-week mentorship program, offering guidance from industry leaders. Startups working on insurance-related technologies are encouraged to apply, with a focus on financial wellness and engagement solutions. Participants gain access to a network of experts, mentors, and potential partners. Notable founders of the program include Brad Feld, Chisa Egbelu, Daniel Mason, David Brown, David Cohen, and Jared Polis. The accelerator offers $120K for 6% equity to startups in the Fintech industry. Overall, this program enables startups to collaborate with industry leaders, receive mentorship, and accelerate their growth in the insurance technology sector.

MetLife Digital Accelerator - Techstars's Website
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2) NC IDEA

NC IDEA - accelerating exceptional start-ups in North Carolina

NC IDEA is a pioneering accelerator program dedicated to advancing entrepreneurship in North Carolina. Focused on empowering individuals to kickstart and scale high-potential companies, the program provides essential support, mentorship, and funding to help startups reach key milestones. Participants benefit from the summer labs component, engaging in business model development and data collection to refine strategies across channels, revenue streams, resources, and partnerships. This accelerator transcends industry boundaries, nurturing startups from diverse sectors like technology, healthcare, consumer goods, and more. Notable startups like Bitesavvy, EMIE, Hot Route Analytics, and No Mess SPF have thrived under the NC IDEA umbrella. Summer lab participants receive a $2,000 award, mentorship, and specialized programming aimed at accelerating their growth. While specific metrics may not be available, the program's impact is evidenced through the success stories of its participants, showcasing its commitment to fostering innovation and bolstering North Carolina's entrepreneurial landscape. Industries supported by NC IDEA include Consumer Electronics, Travel and Tourism, Fashion and Apparel, Healthcare Tech, Cybersecurity, Robotics, and Real Estate Tech, with funding types spanning Series A, Series B, and Series C.

NC IDEA's Website
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3) Duke University Office for Translation & Commercialization

Duke University Office for Translation & Commercialization - supporting North Carolina's best founders

The Duke University Office for Translation & Commercialization (OTC) plays a pivotal role in advancing Duke's innovations into the market. Collaborating with faculty, industry, entrepreneurs, and investors, it ensures societal benefits and drives future research investment. The institution aspires to be a global leader in knowledge and innovation transfer. Noteworthy metrics include generating over $100 million in total revenue, securing $1.7 billion for Duke start-ups in the last five years, overseeing 124 active start-ups, and handling $102 million in inventions returned in FY23. OTC spans various domains like therapeutics, imaging, and software, catering to a diverse range of entrepreneurial pursuits. The organization offers valuable resources such as business plan development, mentor connections, investment assistance, and technology licensing. Key figures involved are the founders James Buchanan Duke and Ralph Lauren. With a focus on Healthcare Tech, Edtech, and SaaS, OTC's support system, events, and funding opportunities establish it as a cornerstone for entrepreneurial success at Duke University.

Duke University Office for Translation & Commercialization's Website
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4) Duke University - Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Duke University - Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

Duke University - Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, commonly known as Duke I&E, is a dynamic hub within the university that inspires and empowers the community to pursue entrepreneurship in various fields. The accelerator provides resources and support to entrepreneurs, fostering innovation, creativity, and business acumen among students, researchers, and future industry leaders. Serving as a launch platform, it caters to Duke students, faculty, and alumni looking to grow their ventures. Duke I&E also connects entrepreneurs with mentors, industry experts, and potential investors across diverse domains such as technology, healthcare, and social impact. Notable founders associated with Duke I&E include James Buchanan Duke and Raulph Lauren. The accelerator offers a range of benefits including mentorship opportunities, access to subject matter experts, monthly webinars, a week-long residency at Dukes Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, and a vibrant networking community, fostering collaboration and innovation.

Duke University - Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation's Website
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5) Joules Accelerator

Joules Accelerator - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

Joules Accelerator is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit startup accelerator that collaborates with industry, municipal, and university partners to support early-stage climate tech startups. With a focus on decarbonization and electrification, the organization runs a 90-day accelerator program for cohorts of 7-10 startups selected through rigorous due diligence. Joules engages with key utilities like Duke Energy to catalyze business development for exceptional energy entrepreneurs, offering access to a network of advisors and Joules Camp pilot grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 for deploying technologies in underserved communities across the Carolinas. Founded by Curtis Watkins, the accelerator aims to drive climate tech entrepreneurship, providing startups with opportunities for partnership, commercialization, and community building. Notable founders like Keenan Johnson of Ribbit Network and Dusan Brhlik of Direct Energy Partners have praised Joules for its curated network of professionals and support in achieving shared climate goals, highlighting the invaluable relationships and resources offered by the program.

Joules Accelerator's Website
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6) NC Idea

NC Idea - supporting founders in their growth journey

NC IDEA is an independent private foundation based in North Carolina. They aim to assist entrepreneurs in realizing their business ambitions by establishing and expanding high-potential companies. The organization offers the NC IDEA MICRO grant, providing funding to entrepreneurs testing innovative business ideas. Additionally, the NC IDEA Summer Accelerator program presents alumni with an opportunity to engage in a summer labs initiative focusing on business model development and data collection. The objective is to secure additional funding through NC IDEA, SBIR/STTR, and investments. Participants in the program are awarded $2,000, along with mentorship and programming, to explore various business aspects such as channels, revenue streams, partnerships, and cost structures. Several startups like Bitesavvy, EMIE, Hot Route Analytics, and No Mess SPF have benefited from this program, which accommodates startups from diverse industries like technology, consumer goods, and services. Apart from financial support, participants receive mentorship to accelerate their progress towards specific milestones and enhance critical business components. NC IDEA's contribution is pivotal in facilitating sustainable economic growth by nurturing North Carolina entrepreneurs and aiding them in establishing thriving ventures.

NC Idea's Website
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7) University of North Carolina - Center for Entreprneurial Studies

University of North Carolina - Center for Entreprneurial Studies - connecting start-up founders with success

UNC Kenan-Flaglers Entrepreneurship Concentration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill prepares Full-Time MBAs to be founders, venture capitalists, or entrepreneurs, making it the nations first public university. Their entrepreneurial ecosystem includes three notable startup accelerator programs. Launch Chapel Hill, an award-winning accelerator established in 2013, has supported 75 startup companies through its 16-week program held twice a year, offering office space, mentorship, and connections to key service providers and investors across various domains. 1789 provides workspace and funding opportunities primarily for student ventures, with access to entrepreneurial mentors and professional services. KickStart Venture Services focuses on faculty-led ventures, offering early-stage funding, accelerator space, and support in business development. The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UNC caters to industries like Edtech and General Tech, continuing the legacy of founder William Richardson Davie by nurturing innovation and early-stage startups.

University of North Carolina - Center for Entreprneurial Studies's Website
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8) First Flight Venture Center

First Flight Venture Center - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in North Carolina

First Flight Venture Center is a renowned science-based startup accelerator and venture capital firm situated in the vibrant Research Triangle Park (RTP). With a stellar track record, it has nurtured over 400 companies, leading to the creation of numerous jobs by commercializing cutting-edge technologies. Since its inception, FFVC-backed companies have amassed an impressive market capitalization of $14 billion, filed more than 28 patents, and secured over $4.45 billion in grants in 2023 alone. The accelerator thrives in domains like Bioscience, Life Science, Medical Devices, and Information Technology, offering specialized programs such as FAST SBIR Funding, LiftOff, BARDA DRIVe, and WheelsUP Accelerator in collaboration with BARDA. First Flight Venture Center provides tailored resources, a collaborative community, business incubation services, and expert guidance through Navigators and the Captain's Circle, all under the leadership of key figure Julie Cai. Noteworthy founders like Julie Cai have benefited from their support, cementing its role in driving technological innovation and economic growth in North Carolina's vibrant startup ecosystem.

First Flight Venture Center's Website
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9) Wake Forest Center for Entrepreneurship

Wake Forest Center for Entrepreneurship - building North Carolina's entrepreneurial future

Dedicated to educating and inspiring entrepreneurial leaders through teaching, coaching, and mentoring in a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, the Wake Forest Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University offers the Startup Lab. This serves as a startup accelerator that equips students with essential resources, mentoring, and guidance following an evidence-based and lean startup methodology. The center also provides the Deacon Springboard program, supporting student entrepreneurs in testing and launching their ideas within a supportive community. While focusing on industries like Edtech, General Tech, and SaaS, Wake Forest encourages innovation in various fields. Students benefit from co-curricular activities such as Entrepalooza and the Speaker Series, where successful entrepreneurs share their experiences. Demo Day showcases ventures from the Startup Lab. Led by dedicated professionals, the center aims to foster an entrepreneurial culture, empowering students to transform their ideas into successful ventures.

Wake Forest Center for Entrepreneurship's Website
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10) Wake Forest University - Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship

Wake Forest University - Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in North Carolina

The Wake Forest University Center for Entrepreneurship, home to the Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship accelerator, educates and inspires entrepreneurial leaders through engaged teaching, coaching, and mentoring within a robust entrepreneurial culture. The center follows the IDEATE method, a nationally recognized, evidence-based curriculum tailored for emerging entrepreneurs, guiding them from ideation to market-ready products. Startup Lab, the university's accelerator, offers resources like mentorship, coaching, and access to networks for students to test and launch their ventures. Deacon Springboard provides step-by-step guidance, aiding students in validating and realizing their business concepts. The accelerator supports a variety of entrepreneurial domains, fostering creativity and innovation. Students benefit from events like Entrepalooza, a Speaker Series, Demo Day, and opportunities to develop problem-solving skills and hands-on experience. The Center also facilitates access to seed capital and mentors for passionate students. For those interested in Edtech and beyond, Wake Forest University stands as a supportive hub for aspiring student entrepreneurs.

Wake Forest University - Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship's Website
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11) University of North Carolina-Greensboro - North Carolina Entrepreneur Center

University of North Carolina-Greensboro - North Carolina Entrepreneur Center - supporting founders in their growth journey

The North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center (NCEC) at the University of North Carolina Greensboro is a vital hub dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in launching and expanding their businesses. The center aims to foster the development of sustainable and globally competitive enterprises through various programs that promote entrepreneurship both on campus and in the community. NCEC offers one-on-one consulting, support, and mentoring for students and community entrepreneurs. Key initiatives include Launch Chapel Hill, a renowned accelerator program with a 16-week duration, providing office space, mentorship, and access to a thriving entrepreneurial community. Additionally, 1789 offers a flexible workspace for students, connecting them to funding opportunities via the 1789 Venture Fund and expert entrepreneurial guidance. The center's KickStart Venture Services support faculty startups with funding, accelerator space, coaching, and connections to investors. While specific metrics like the number of startups or funded ventures are undisclosed, the center's commitment to nurturing early-stage ventures is evident through its impactful programs. Entrepreneurs benefit from a network of experienced advisors, funding opportunities, workspace setups, and educational programs, all within the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem of Chapel Hill. Industries supported include Edtech and General Tech.

University of North Carolina-Greensboro - North Carolina Entrepreneur Center's Website
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12) University of North Carolina-Wilmington - Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

University of North Carolina-Wilmington - Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in North Carolina

The University of North Carolina-Wilmington (UNCW) Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) is a dynamic hub fostering innovation and supporting entrepreneurs in southeastern North Carolina. The CIE serves as a UNCW-community connector, nurturing high-impact startups through education, connections, incubation, and providing collision space. They engage a diverse community, including UNCW faculty, students, alumni, community entrepreneurs, and more. With a focus on fostering innovation in sectors like Edtech and General Tech, CIE offers mentoring, coworking space, and hosts events like the Founder's Roundtable and Global Entrepreneur Week. Notable founder John T. Hoggard has been instrumental in the organization's growth. The CIE's impact goes beyond numbers as they also support the Blue Economy Index and provide resources like the Idea Test Lab to validate ideas and connect with UNCW students, fostering an entrepreneurial mindset in the region's vibrant innovation ecosystem.

University of North Carolina-Wilmington - Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship's Website
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13) Appalachian State University - Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship

Appalachian State University - Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship - supporting founders in their growth journey

The Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) at Appalachian State University in Boone serves as a hub for entrepreneurial activities, aiming to spark the entrepreneurial spirit and provide mentorship to help individuals achieve their goals. The center offers programs like The EDGE, providing a competitive advantage, and CONNECT, facilitating networking among entrepreneurs. Open to diverse ventures and industries, it caters to anyone with a business idea or interest in entrepreneurship. Participants benefit from mentorship by experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts, along with access to resources for success. The CFE hosts events, workshops, and networking opportunities to support personal growth. The emphasis is on mentorship, networking, and fostering an entrepreneurial mindset. The center's focus on edtech aligns with its commitment to nurturing a supportive environment for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Appalachian State University - Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship's Website
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14) The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship

The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship - a prominent start-up growth supporter in North Carolina

Established in 1987, The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship (NCFE) is a private non-profit corporation located in Greensboro, North Carolina. As the largest State-designated small-business incubator in North Carolina, it aims to enhance economic development in the local area by fostering successful business owners. With 65,000 square feet of specialized space, the center supports a mix of service and manufacturing firms, providing resources and assistance to nurture business concepts into sustainable companies. Notably, 78% of the businesses hosted are Minority and Women Business Enterprises, having collectively generated around $167 million in revenue since 2012 and created 2500 verified jobs. Entrepreneurs at NCFE can access manufacturing suites, business coaching, and various perks like a coffee bar, shared conference rooms, on-site parking, and gigabit internet, with flexible office spaces starting at $200 per month. The organization's tailored approach to small business development focuses on increasing success rates and mitigating failures, offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to apply online, submit business plans, and benefit from the valuable support provided.

The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship's Website
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15) New Ventures Accelerator

New Ventures Accelerator - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in North Carolina

Founded in 2016 and located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, New Ventures Accelerator is a prominent accelerator program that focuses on nurturing early-stage startups by providing essential resources, mentorship, and funding. It has notably invested in 14 companies, including Hay Trabajo, Proodos, Livwell Nutrition, Nudge AR, One Donation, Vishion, and others, targeting a diverse range of startup ideas in areas such as technologies, social impact, and internet & mobile communication startups. Some successful exits facilitated by the accelerator include Ampogee in September 2022, Fixional in August 2022, and Petrics in June 2022. The program typically runs for a duration of 12 weeks, offering support and guidance to its participants. Notable founder Peter Marsh is at the helm of this initiative. Industries of interest for this accelerator include General Tech, Food and Beverage, and SaaS (Software as a Service).

New Ventures Accelerator's Website
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16) Start100

Start100 - supporting founders in their growth journey

START100 is a unique program that combines elements of an angel fund, an accelerator, and a start-up coach to support potential high-growth product entrepreneurs in the General Tech industry. The accelerator focuses on people fit for crowdfunding, providing funding, coaching, and mentoring. Accepted participants receive initial funding and access to follow-on funding. Some notable projects associated with the organization include MŌMI, HUSH BUDDY, BRILLIANT SOLE, TROOZ, A-CHAMPS AND ROXs, kegg, and INSTRYDE. The program duration spans six weeks. START100 aims to invest in product entrepreneurs, help them execute successful rewards crowdfunding campaigns, and establish a robust foundation for long-term success. However, it is no longer accepting applications. The organization has supported projects like the mōmi breast pump and bottle nipple, designed to mimic nature's functions.

Start100's Website
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17) Winston Starts

Winston Starts - building North Carolina's entrepreneurial future

Winston Starts is a non-profit accelerator situated at 500 W 4th St, Winston-Salem, NC, 27101. The organization aids startups in scaling up without asking for equity. They have two programs available: the Pre-Accelerator (Founder's Journey) for idea development and the Accelerator (Start Growing) which offers up to 42 months of intense support for scaling. The accelerator provides a development framework, valuable resources, and a focus on the success of selected startups in industries like Healthcare Tech, Edtech, and General Tech. Startups at Winston Starts benefit from expert mentors, customized coaching, state-of-the-art offices, resource centers, and learning opportunities through guest speakers. The location of the accelerator in Winston-Salem enriches the entrepreneurial ecosystem for the startups by leveraging the city's diverse business community and commitment to the arts, healthcare research, and technology. Noteworthy for its support across various sectors, Winston Starts also boasts a network of over 0 volunteer expert mentors and has facilitated the raising of $0 million in capital by its alumni companies.

Winston Starts's Website
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18) RIoT Accelerator

RIoT Accelerator - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) is a 12-week high-touch program aimed at accelerating IoT technology startups' growth. Based in North Carolina (NC), USA, RAP offers industry partnerships, an engineering prototyping lab, and access to a thriving IoT ecosystem. Early-stage startups and corporate teams can apply to RAP, fostering collaboration between industry partners and entrepreneurs. Teams are expected to have at least 2 full-time members, with minimum 1 full-time participant available throughout the program. Since its inception in 2014, RIoT has supported 40 companies, raising over $275 million and generating 400+ jobs in NC. Participants also benefit from an engineering prototyping lab, IoT ecosystem connections, and industry-driven projects. RAP sets out to solve market-driven problems and provide valuable networking opportunities. Notable founders and startups that have benefited from RIoT Accelerator include companies in the General Tech industry. Join RAP to unlock your startup's potential and navigate the world of IoT innovation!

RIoT Accelerator's Website
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19) RIoT Startup Accelerator

RIoT Startup Accelerator - North Carolina's true entrepreneurial hub

RIoT Startup Accelerator operates the high-touch RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP), a 12-week initiative designed to enhance the impact of conventional business resources for startups. The program grants access to industry partnerships, an engineering prototyping lab, and a vibrant IoT ecosystem. RAP links startups with over 90 companies in the IoT technology stack, offering opportunities to learn, partner, and penetrate the market. RIoT, a 501(c)(3) organization founded by the Wireless Research Center, supports numerous startups, emphasizing diversity in ideas rather than a strict IoT company profile. The program is stage and industry agnostic, welcoming early-stage startups and corporate teams exploring innovative offerings. Participants in RAP benefit from introductions, educational resources beyond IoT basics, a prototyping lab, and a network of government, academic, and industry collaborators. Companies that have succeeded in the program have collectively raised over $275 million. Teams interested in RAP must have at least one full-time member and be available throughout the three-month duration. RAP acts as a launchpad for startups, offering mentorship, connections, and a conducive environment for growth and innovation, ultimately turning ideas into successful companies.

RIoT Startup Accelerator's Website
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20) FundSeeder

FundSeeder - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

FundSeeder is a financial data and analytics company that aims to democratize the asset management world. They provide a free trader platform, emerging manager investment opportunities, and customized software for financial institutions. The organization primarily focuses on individual traders, seeking talented individuals with superior performance globally, regardless of their background. FundSeeder specializes in trading and investment talent development, emphasizing verified return/risk performance. The platform offers performance analytics, customized charts, index benchmarks comparison, and proprietary tools for traders. Co-founder Jack Schwager's book, 'Unknown Market Wizards,' features traders discovered on the platform. Their leadership team includes Emanuel Balarie as Chairman and CEO, Jack Schwager as Chief Research Officer and Board Member, and Georgios Efstathopoulos as Chief Technology Officer. FundSeeder operates as an ongoing platform for traders, with a global reach that spans developed and emerging-market countries. The company is affiliated with the Fintech industry.

FundSeeder's Website
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21) Unboxed Ventures

Unboxed Ventures - North Carolina's true entrepreneurial hub

Unboxed Venture Studio is a vertically integrated venture studio and an accelerator, focusing on Blockchain, IoT, and FinTech ventures. Their mission is to disrupt traditional startup barriers by validating ideas, augmenting teams, and commercializing companies. With roots in North Carolina, the organization aims to accelerate the startup ecosystem through venture development. Specializing in blockchain technology, IoT, and FinTech, they support innovative ventures in areas such as decentralized networks, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, IoT connectivity, and financial technology including digital payments and lending. Unboxed brings experience, capital, and a broad network to accelerate companies, while emphasizing community, inclusion, and radical transparency. The accelerator ensures mutually aligned incentives by having 'skin in the game,' aligning their interests with founders, partners, and investors. Founded by Eric Porper, the venture studio has a dynamic approach to helping great ideas succeed and make an impact in the market.

Unboxed Ventures's Website
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22) AgTI

AgTI - supporting North Carolina's best founders

Ag TechInventures, also known as Agiliti Technology Innovations (AgTI), is an accelerator program focusing on addressing the unmet needs of the agricultural industry while also supporting innovation in the healthcare industry. Recently, an affiliate of Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. (THL) acquired Agiliti for $2.5 billion. The company specializes in providing medical technology management solutions to enhance the efficiency and safety of healthcare delivery systems. The accelerator likely supports various domains within the healthcare sector, such as medical devices, digital health, and healthcare services. THL, the private equity firm, played a significant role in the acquisition process. Following the acquisition, Agiliti's common stock was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. Centerview Partners LLC and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP advised Agiliti, while Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and Ropes & Gray LLP advised THL during the acquisition. AgTI's mission is to promote innovation and efficiency in healthcare through medical device products and services.

AgTI's Website
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23) Launch Chapel Hill

Launch Chapel Hill - accelerating exceptional start-ups in North Carolina

Launch Chapel Hill is an international award-winning startup accelerator and co-working space in downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Established in 2013 through a partnership, its mission is to help startups and early-stage ventures realize their full potential, enter the market, and contribute to North Carolina's economy. The accelerator offers programs like the Summer, Spring, and Fall Accelerators, each tailored to provide support and mentorship to ventures at different stages. It provides startups with a collaborative workspace, mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, networking opportunities with innovators, partners, and investors, as well as access to resources like workshops and educational programs. Launch Chapel Hill focuses on supporting high-impact ventures across various industries to foster entrepreneurship in North Carolina. Its prime location in downtown Chapel Hill enhances connectivity with UNC-Chapel Hill and other resources, creating a vibrant ecosystem for innovation and growth.

Launch Chapel Hill's Website
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24) Seahawk Innovation

Seahawk Innovation - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

Seahawk Innovation is a financing advisory firm that focuses on building entrepreneurs by providing them with the time, talent, and resources they need to succeed. The company's approach combines M&A services, consulting, and investment banking to support promising businesses. They believe in an entrepreneur-centric model where entrepreneurs are empowered to control their own destiny and work on important projects while generating substantial income. The organization's specialization domains span across various industries such as Fintech and General Tech. Seahawk Innovation benefits from a public-private partnership with UNCW (University of North Carolina Wilmington), granting them access to significant resources. Notable for their investment banking services, Seahawk Innovation assists businesses in effectively communicating their value proposition and facilitating transactions with sophisticated buyers.

Seahawk Innovation's Website
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25) Eshelman Innovation

Eshelman Innovation - building North Carolina's entrepreneurial future

EII MicroIncubator is an emerging innovation engine that transforms groundbreaking healthcare therapeutics, digital health, and education ideas into high-impact solutions. The accelerator actively supports and collaborates with early-stage ventures, likely providing mentorship, funding, and strategic guidance. EII MicroIncubator invests in promising ventures through equity or other funding mechanisms, with programs typically spanning several months to offer mentorship, resources, and networks. Although specialization domains are not explicitly defined, it aligns with sectors like ICT, health, energy, renewable energy, healthcare tech, edtech, and general tech. The accelerator offers perks such as mentorship, workspace, networking opportunities, educational workshops, demo days, and access to resources. Notable for nurturing impact-oriented start-ups in Brazil, it contributes significantly to the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Eshelman Innovation's Website
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26) Collaborative Ventures

Collaborative Ventures - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

Collaborative Ventures is a business consortium in the Charlotte Region that focuses on promoting business diversity, education, and technical assistance. Their structured programs typically last three to four months, offering selected startups mentorship, educational workshops, networking opportunities, and sometimes capital and office space. While the exact numbers are unspecified, the accelerator commonly works with a cohort of several early-stage companies across industries like Healthcare Tech, Edtech, and General Tech. The organization collaborates with a network of investors who provide mentorship and resources to the participating startups. The accelerator also facilitates funding connections for the startups. Apart from the core program, startups benefit from perks such as access to industry experts, legal advice, co-working spaces, and introductions to potential clients or partners. Notable for aiding entrepreneurs and small business owners in achieving their financial goals, Collaborative Ventures is a key player in the startup ecosystem of Charlotte.

Collaborative Ventures's Website
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27) Queen City Fintech

Queen City Fintech - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in North Carolina

Queen City Fintech, known as QC Fintech, is a 12-week accelerator program based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The accelerator focuses on nurturing early-stage, post-MVP, pre-Series A Fintech and Insurtech startups to increase their likelihood of success. The primary goal of QC Fintech is to establish connections between fintech startups and banking partners, offering access to a wide network of major financial institutions and tech/service providers globally. Their specialization domains include areas such as cybersecurity, regulation and compliance tech, payments tech, specialty lending, capital markets tech, blockchain applications, cryptocurrency, banking solutions, digital identity, and more. The program provides startups with mentorship from prominent banking executives, venture capitalists, and legal professionals. Participating companies receive an initial capital grant and may have access to additional funding based on performance. Through its extensive network and experienced mentors, Queen City Fintech supports startups in the fintech industry, driving innovation and accelerating their growth towards becoming industry leaders. Key individuals involved in the program include leading banking executives, business development professionals, and attorneys.

Queen City Fintech's Website
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28) FemHealth Founders

FemHealth Founders - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

FemHealth Founders Accelerator is a women-led, women-centric innovation hub focused on empowering female founders to establish profitable women's health and wellness companies. In collaboration with StitchCrew in Oklahoma City, the accelerator operates in Northwest Arkansas, aiming to launch a top-tier femhealth accelerator by 2026 with 50 women-led femhealth companies in the heartland. The accelerator specializes in supporting startups offering technology-enabled solutions in personalized healthcare innovation, interoperable applications for physicians and patients, real-world evidence health data platforms, CPG wellness solutions, and mental health solutions like addressing postpartum depression and menopause. Northwest Arkansas was chosen for its vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, affordability, and notable local institutions. It provides mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to stakeholders in the women's health sector, catering to the $75 billion women's health innovation market. Notable industries involved in the accelerator include Healthcare Tech and Personal Finance.

FemHealth Founders's Website
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29) Southeast TechInventures

Southeast TechInventures - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

Southeast TechInventures is an innovation lab located in Durham, North Carolina. The organization is dedicated to accelerating the commercialization of scientific breakthroughs from universities. They specialize in domains such as Medical Devices, Diagnostics, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Materials, Electronics, and Agriculture, bridging the gap between academia and industry. Southeast TechInventures collaborates with university inventors to translate technologies into viable commercial ventures. The accelerator program typically offers benefits like mentorship, networking opportunities, co-working spaces, and potential funding. Known for its focus on Biotech and Healthcare Tech industries, the institution plays a crucial role in the innovation ecosystem by nurturing diverse technology sectors and supporting the growth of new technology companies.

Southeast TechInventures's Website
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30) Duke Law Tech Lab

Duke Law Tech Lab - North Carolina's true entrepreneurial hub

The Duke Law Tech Lab is a 'light touch' accelerator program for early-stage legal tech companies with a mission to increase access to legal services, focusing on startups in the United States. The program encourages companies to have a minimum viable product (MVP) at the start. It is a remote program where successful teams commit to 1 to 2 hours per week, typically newly incorporated for-profits, non-profits, or social enterprises, culminating in a Demo Day. The program nurtures several early-stage legal tech companies annually and each participating company receives a $1,000 grant, mentoring, resources, and weekly remote presentations. Specializing in legal technology and related innovations, the accelerator also focuses on justice tech. In 2022, the program paused to conduct research on the justice tech ecosystem. The Duke Center on Law & Tech website hosts the full report based on conversations with relevant stakeholders. Notable for its community building, the Duke Law Tech Lab has a deep-rooted commitment to supporting legal tech entrepreneurs.

Duke Law Tech Lab's Website
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31) MedBlue Incubator

MedBlue Incubator - a prominent start-up growth supporter in North Carolina

MedBlue Incubator was established in 2013 as a for-profit C corporation, specializing in advancing innovative medical technologies originating from Duke University Medical Center. The organization's core mission is to identify and cultivate high-potential ideas and technologies, particularly in the fields of Surgery, Pathology, Anesthesiology, Medicine, Neurosurgery, and Orthopedics. MedBlue Incubator actively supports the development of new science and technology, offering seed funding to promising ventures. The organization typically collaborates with venture capital firms, angel investors, and industry partners to provide support to startups in its portfolio. Participating start-ups benefit from invaluable perks such as mentorship, networking opportunities, shared facilities, and educational programs. Specializing in healthcare technology, MedBlue Incubator serves as a vital link between groundbreaking research and successful commercialization within the medical industry.

MedBlue Incubator's Website
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32) TBD Labs

TBD Labs - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

TBD Labs is a venture builder firm that was founded in 2022 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The organization operates as an accelerator/incubator with a focus on nurturing and supporting early-stage startups. The accelerator was co-founded by Connor Mounts (CEO and Chief Financial Officer) and Christopher Koszarsky (Chief Technology Officer). TBD Labs spans various industries including Edtech, Fashion and Apparel, Artificial Intelligence, Clean Energy, and more. Their specialization domains cover a wide array from SaaS to Robotics. Despite the lack of specific data on funded start-ups and program duration, TBD Labs prides itself on transforming the entrepreneurial process through smarter risk and resource allocation. For further details, interested individuals are recommended to explore TBD Labs' profile on PitchBook or reach out directly to the organization.

TBD Labs's Website
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33) Social Enterprise Accelerator at Duke

Social Enterprise Accelerator at Duke - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

The Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD) was a global health social entrepreneurship hub that operated for five years, starting in 2013. As part of the USAID Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN), SEAD focused on India and East Africa, aiming to identify, assess, build capacity for, and scale health and healthcare enterprises worldwide. The program collaborated with venture capitalists, angels, foundations, and family offices to support start-ups and investors. SEAD specialized in global health and healthcare enterprises, seeking to enhance health outcomes through innovative solutions. The accelerator leveraged interdisciplinary partners within and outside Duke University, offering knowledge, systems, and networks to health care enterprises in East Africa and India to help them amplify their impact. Despite missing specific metrics, SEAD's legacy is evident in the community it cultivated and the investments it facilitated in the healthcare tech industry.

Social Enterprise Accelerator at Duke's Website
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Top Reasons Start-ups Participate In Accelerators

Network expansion

Your net-worth is greatly determined by your network.

Critical Industry connections

A good connection at an FMCG/AI giant can help you 10x more than connecting with 100 retailers.

Rapid learning curve

There’s a reason accelerators are called accelerators. It’s a fast ride.

Developing business sense

Which metrics will make or break your start-up?- You can have 100k users and still fail.

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.

Are the alumni actually helpful?

An accelerator's alumni network can play a big role in your longer term growth. But ask around and figure if any of them gave back even a couple of hours in the past year.

Correlation isn't causation

What worked for Airbnb might not work for you. If the accelerator playbook was 100% full-proof, they would have been running a start-up and not an accelerator. After all, everyone's chasing a unicorn.

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 north-carolina

Looking for the best accelerators in North Carolina? Here are some top reasons to choose an accelerator in the state: access to a supportive start-up ecosystem, networking opportunities with industry experts and investors, customized mentorship programs, and potential access to funding opportunities. North Carolina boasts a thriving start-up culture with a strong emphasis on innovation and collaboration. The state is home to a diverse range of industries, including technology, healthcare, and biotech, making it an ideal location for entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses. When selecting the right accelerator for your start-up, consider factors such as the program's focus areas, industry expertise, success stories of previous participants, and the reputation of the accelerator within the start-up community. It's essential to choose an accelerator that aligns with your business goals and values to maximize your chances of success. Some notable start-ups from North Carolina that have achieved success include Red Hat, a multinational software company known for its open-source solutions, and Epic Games, the creator of popular video game Fortnite. These success stories highlight the potential for growth and innovation that accelerators in North Carolina can offer to early-stage start-ups.

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