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  • Writer's pictureKelly Alica Liman

Top 13 Startup Accelerators & Incubators in San Francisco

In San Francisco's thriving and innovative metropolis, the startup scene is a beacon of entrepreneurial opportunity, technological innovation, and limitless potential. With a rich tapestry of creative minds, venture funding, and an innovative culture, the city flourishes as a breeding ground for pioneering enterprises. From the historic Silicon Valley to the dynamic SoMa area, San Francisco's startup ecosystem provides an unrivaled environment for ambitious individuals looking to turn their ideas into revolutionary, internationally impactful companies. The city's startup incubators and accelerators act as catalysts for this shift, offering ambitious entrepreneurs numerous perks and unique opportunities. In this article, we have compiled a comprehensive list of San Francisco's startup incubators and accelerators, so you will be able to find a program that suits you!


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FULL LIST OF STARTUP INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS IN SAN FRANCISCO


Full list of startup incubators and accelerators in San Francisco:




  • Who is it for: Aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea and seeking cofounder / Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic


Founders Space in San Francisco offers a comprehensive startup program with a focus on global venture building and innovation. The program provides participating startups with access to a unique venture building model and a global network of partners, enabling them to tap into international capital. Moreover, startups benefit from the vibrant startup community, expert mentorship, and extensive investor training. Additionally, Founders Space's coworking space fosters valuable connections with world-class startups, investors, and corporate partners. Through this program, early-stage companies can accelerate their growth, gain insights into raising venture capital, and receive personalized advice and coaching from industry experts, ultimately aiding them in scaling their businesses to success.



  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: BioTechnology


IndieBio in San Francisco is an intensive, full-time program designed to support startups in the biotech industry, offering a unique venture-building model and a strong focus on global innovation. The program provides startups with access to a wealth of resources, including expert mentorship, investor networking opportunities, and in-depth coaching. With a curriculum comprising all-group and small-group sessions, startups receive comprehensive guidance on various aspects such as tech product production, business models, intellectual property, and sales. Furthermore, the program emphasizes the importance of diversity, attracting talent from various backgrounds and nationalities. IndieBio's success is attributed to its high-touch approach, providing startups with direct access to a team of experienced partners for mentoring and support, ultimately fostering the growth and development of groundbreaking biotechnology startups.





  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: ClimateTech


YouWeb Incubator is dedicated to assisting passionate impact entrepreneurs in creating and scaling their startups. With a focus on carbon management, the program offers a unique approach to identifying opportunities and implementing go-to-market strategies for startups, particularly those in "green tech" and climate change-related fields. The incubator has a successful track record of incubating startups in various key areas, including gaming, social communications, education, and artificial intelligence. The program provides unique mentorship and investment approaches, aiming to accelerate the progress of early-stage companies through funding and resources, while fostering collaboration with leading academic institutions and government initiatives to combat climate change. YouWeb Incubator stands out for its commitment to driving innovation and progress in the field of carbon management, making a significant impact in the fight against climate change.



  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Hard Tech


HAX, based in San Francisco and Shenzhen, is a pioneering program focused on pre-seed, hard tech startups in the sustainability sector, covering climate, industrial automation, and human health. With a 6-month collaborative residency, startups receive hands-on engineering support and an initial investment package of $250,000, aiming to inflect their technical progress. The program boasts a community of thousands of engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs, providing startups with access to wide networks of manufacturers, experts, and investors across the globe. In addition to the investment, HAX offers a globally diverse community of founders, mentors, and partners, emphasizing engagement and support within the hard tech ecosystem.





Alchemist Accelerator

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Industrial IoT, FinTech / Cybersecurity, Climate Tech, Digital Health, Diversity


The Alchemist Accelerator, founded in 2012, is a six-month program designed to support early-stage startups that monetize from enterprises. The program offers startups access to a world-class enterprise mentor and investor network, early customer adopters, regional industry conferences, and investor demo days. With a focus on providing a structured path to traction, customers, and fundraising, Alchemist supports startups regardless of industry, location, product, business model, or stage, as long as their revenue comes from enterprises. Notably, startups typically receive $25,000 in funding, along with access to exclusive credits, discounts, and deals from the program's extensive network of partners, valued at over $400,000. With a global reach, local hubs in San Francisco, Munich, and Memphis, and a strong focus on industrial Europe and the logistics and supply chain hub in Memphis, the program serves founders with global aspirations wherever they do business. The accelerator is sector-agnostic at its core, with dedicated tracks to support startups in areas such as Industrial IoT, FinTech/Cybersecurity, Climate Tech, Digital Health, and Diversity. Alchemist Accelerator's mission is to help seed-stage entrepreneurs succeed in building successful enterprise companies by providing the necessary resources, guidance, and connections to navigate the complex enterprise landscape, secure early customers, and raise follow-on funding.



  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic


Parkdale Innovates is a not-for-profit incubator and accelerator that prioritizes inclusion and equity, particularly for underrepresented groups such as women, newcomers, and individuals from low-income backgrounds. With a mission to bridge the inclusion and accessibility gap in the innovation economy, the program seeks dedicated founders working to validate and scale their startup projects. It offers guidance, mentorship, and accountability through two main streams: Early Stage Startups and Women Founders. The program provides critical entrepreneurial resources, including support in creating sustainable business roadmaps, business models, marketing, fundraising, partnerships, and leadership. Parkdale Innovates is committed to democratizing access to entrepreneurship, capital, and the innovation economy for traditionally underestimated entrepreneurs, ultimately creating an ecosystem that fosters a sense of belonging and supports the success of diverse startup founders.





  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic


The LAUNCH Accelerator program is renowned for its comprehensive support of startups at various stages of development, not just limited to early-stage startups. The program aims to provide invaluable resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities to help startups scale and succeed. Startups benefit from access to a wide range of resources, including mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, access to a network of investors, potential customers, and industry experts, and opportunities for funding and investment. LAUNCH offers tailored programs for startups in different stages of development, focusing on specific areas such as sales and marketing, product development, and scaling operations. The program's structured approach supports startups throughout their journey, from the application and selection process to continued post-incubation support, workshops, and training sessions, ensuring ongoing guidance, support, and opportunities for growth.



  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic


Y Combinator is a renowned seed funding program that provides startups with an unprecedented advantage, aiming to accelerate their growth and success. The program offers a $500,000 investment, extensive mentorship, and access to a vast network of investors, customers, and experts. With an inclusive approach, Y Combinator supports startups at various stages, irrespective of their age or revenue, and has a track record of improving the success rate of its startups. The program provides founders with invaluable resources, including exclusive deals, access to a private social network for founders, and the best-written advice from the YC collective experience of funding numerous companies. Additionally, Y Combinator's extensive network facilitates team building and offers ongoing office hours and executive councils post-program, ensuring continuous support for alumni as their companies grow. The program's commitment to putting founders' interests first, not taking a board seat, and offering advice without demanding equity, makes Y Combinator a sought-after program to propel startups to success.





  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic


Nex Cubed offers a unique and fully customized accelerator program for startups, providing lifetime support, access to a global network of mentors and investors, initial cash investment, and follow-on funding opportunities. The program includes dedicated executive-level support, access to office space in major cities, and access to over $1M worth of discounts and exclusive perks. Furthermore, the program fosters a collaborative environment for entrepreneurial success, particularly focusing on underrepresented founders, as evidenced by the HBCU Founders Accelerator, which provides significant follow-on funding to HBCU-led companies. The program's emphasis on diversity and inclusion, hands-on support, and access to liquidity opportunities via M&A pathways distinguishes Nex Cubed as a sought-after accelerator, aiming to support the success and impact of startups through an innovative and diverse-focused approach.



  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic


The LAUNCH program in San Francisco offers a comprehensive platform for startup support and investment. The program includes the LAUNCH Accelerator, which invests in seven startups for each cohort, providing founders with access to over 700 investors and expertise in mastering growth strategies over 15 weeks. Additionally, the program operates the LAUNCH Fund and Syndicate, investing directly in deals and operating a syndicate with over 10,000 accredited investors. Furthermore, there's the Founder University, a 12-week course for founders aiming to turn their startup idea into reality, and a two-day intensive workshop for founders who have launched their product but haven't raised Series A. The program's overarching objective is to support founders and inspire innovation by backing builders, offering a series of free events, podcasts, books, research products, and investing millions of dollars into promising early-stage startups annually.





  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Technology


Techstars offers an unparalleled platform for startup success, aiming to provide entrepreneurs with the resources and support needed to thrive. The program's primary goal is to help startups succeed by surrounding them with top mentors and an extensive network of corporate partners, investors, and alumni. Throughout the three-month program, Techstars provides funding, fundraising opportunities, workshops, and curated resources, offering a proven model that has facilitated the growth of numerous successful companies worldwide. Notably, Techstars displays a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, actively working to create an inclusive ecosystem by closing opportunity gaps for founders from underrepresented groups. By providing access to a diverse pool of talent, the program aims to usher in fresh ideas and innovation, ultimately leading to the resolution of pressing societal challenges and the creation of new markets. Furthermore, Techstars is dedicated to actively finding ways to provide access to emerging entrepreneurs and make space for people to show up as their authentic selves, thus providing them with opportunities to share their ideas and raise early-stage capital.



  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Technology


SAP.iO Foundry focuses on fostering innovation in B2B sales and services, offering startups the opportunity to develop innovative solutions to enhance the customer journey. This 5-month program provides selected startups with strategic partnerships, product integration, and extensive business development opportunities, with a focus on improving customer experience and addressing the demands for more CX partner solutions. Participating startups also benefit from the program's emphasis on long-term partnerships with SAP, access to a global network of customers, partners, and employees, and opportunities for proof of concepts. The program's dedication to facilitating partnerships between startups and SAP customers, coupled with its track record of connecting innovative enterprise software startups with SAP customers, positions the SAP.iO Foundry program as a pivotal platform for startups seeking to drive innovation in B2B sales and services.



Founder Institute

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic


The Founder Institute program in San Francisco is a structured accelerator that offers a proven framework for turning ideas into fundable startups and scaling startups into global businesses. With a mission to empower talented and motivated individuals to build impactful technology companies, the program provides extensive support to entrepreneurs, including access to a network of over 35,000 mentors and investors, dedicated alumni support, partner discounts totaling over $2 million, and potential introductions to investors. The program's 4-month core program is just the beginning, as it offers a series of advanced accelerator programs, ongoing support, and valuable resources for alumni, all free and exclusive for life. Additionally, Founder Institute's post-programs, including the Funding Lab and P/M Fit Lab, aim to help startups reach their next milestones, while the Select Portfolio represents the elite group of the top 2% of FI companies with the potential to scale into enduring global businesses.





Closing Thoughts on Startup Incubators and Accelerators in San Francisco


Surrounded by the exhilarating chaos of boundless opportunities, navigating the startup landscape can be daunting. This is where startup incubators and accelerators play an important role. These dynamic institutions act as success catalysts, providing start-ups with the resources, mentorship, and networks they need to fly to new heights. These programs, which embrace the spirit of innovation and collaboration, not only encourage the growth of startups, but also create an environment in which creativity, diversity, and forward-thinking ideas merge to define the future of business and technology. For anybody wishing to begin their transformational entrepreneurial journey, San Francisco's thriving startup ecosystem and the numerous benefits provided by the city's incubators and accelerators make it an unparalleled place for turning ideas into reality.






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