The following are required to be a “seed accelerator”

  • Open application process; anyone with an idea can apply
  • Accelerator invests cash into companies, typically in exchange for equity, at pre-seed or seed stage
  • Cohorts or ‘classes’ of startups; not an on-demand resource
  • Programme of support for the cohorts, including events and company mentoring
  • Focus on teams, and not individual mentoring

Examples of programs that are not seed accelerators:

  • Programs where the startup doesn't receive any cash investment
  • Program where the startup pays for mentoring
  • Incubator where the startup pays (discounted) rent in return for equity and/or discounted business services
  • Program where applications are restricted to students


This is the definition used throughout the site, to keep consistency. Others may have other criteria that are more or less strict, but these are the criteria I’ve chosen as I’ve researched and compiled information on Seed-DB.

I'd like to thank NESTA and their excellent "Startup Factories" report for inspiring and crystalizing this definition.