Q. What do First Round Capital, Battery Ventures, SV Angel, Founder Collective, and countless other VC firms have in common?
A. They have all invested in alums of Excelerate Labs in its three short years of existence and none of these firms even has a presence in Chicago.
Excelerate Labs is the best accelerator most people (outside of Chicago) have never heard of. Ranked #3 in the nation (after TechStars Boulder & YC) by both Kaufman and Forbes, Excelerate Labs has earned a place among the very best startup accelerators in the world, and has done so very quietly.
Today, that changes.
In the last three years, almost 1,000 entrepreneurs have applied to Excelerate, with the only the best 30 making it in to our classes. Excelerate companies hail from Chicago and the Midwest, yes, but also from California, Massachusetts, Texas, Kentucky, Florida, France, and India. Those founding teams have described joining Excelerate as “life changing” and “the best decision I ever made.”
Today, founders across the world have a chance to challenge themselves like never before.
Excelerate is a three-year-old startup going through an incredible growth phase, bringing in better investors, better mentors, better companies, and most importantly, better entrepreneurs as it matures. Like any other high-growth startup, there comes a time in in the life cycle when it makes sense to pour fuel on the fire.
Today is that day.
And that fuel is TechStars. Excelerate Labs is now TechStars Chicago.
TechStars Chicago is everything Excelerate Labs was with the added benefits of everything TechStars is. This is an unprecedented joining of forces, marrying two kindred spirits to better serve entrepreneurs.
TechStars Chicago companies will get all the same program leadership and awesome mentors that previous companies have gotten, plus the leverage of a larger national platform specifically designed to supercharge the growth of early stage companies. Not only that, but TechStars Chicago will offer companies over $100,000 in funding – much more than Excelerate Labs offered previously.
The team that built Excelerate is now the team building TechStars Chicago. Co-Founders Sam Yagan, Nick Rosa, and Adam Koopersmith will remain on TechStars Chicago Board and I will continue to run the program as I have for the last two years.
On that note, I should get back to work building our next chapter as TechStars Chicago. And you should tell everyone you know to apply to TechStars Chicago – Applications open today!