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Washington DC’s Top 15 Startup Accelerators [2023]

Are you looking for capital and/or mentorship for your startup in Washington, DC? Beyond funding, Washington DC’s startup accelerators and incubators also offer founders incredible valuable support for product development, sales and marketing.

Whether you are looking to find a co-founder, build your MVP and/or get the seed money you need to scale up, accelerators and incubators are the way to go!

In this article we have listed our top picks for the best startup accelerators and incubators in Washington DC. So, if you haven’t yet started to apply, here is a good place to start learning about them.

This article is part of a series where we present you the top incubators and accelerators across the US. For the North East, check out our rankings for New York City, Boston and Philadelphia.
Looking for Washington DC's top startup venture capital firms instead? Check out our ranking here.

Top 15 Startup Accelerators in Washington DC

Here’s a summary of our top 15 picks for Washington DC’s best startup accelerators and incubators (in alphabetical order):

NameProgram lengthInvestment sizeSector focus
1863 Ventures3 weeksUndisclosedB2C and B2B, Sector agnostic
CivStart24 monthsNoneGovtech
FedTech3 months to 6 monthsUp to $250,000Tech
Founder Boost6 weeks$280,000 ***Tech startups
GeorgeTown Startup Accelerator4 weeks*NoneSector agnostic
PeaceTech Accelerator8 weeksNoneTech for sustainable peace
Seed Spot8 weeksUndisclosed ****Sector agnostic
Smart City Works90 daysUndisclosed ****Urban Tech, IoT
Springboard4 monthsUndisclosed (89% of ventures raise capital)Life Science, Fashion Tech, Digital Health, Digital Media/Technology
Startups Ignite90 daysNoneMarketplace, SaaS, Emerging Technology, Enterprise
STEM to Market10 monthsNoneSTEM
Street EntrepreneursN/AUndisclosed ****Sector agnostic, Small businesses
Techstars13 weeks$20,000Tech (Elder care)
Union Kitchen16 weeks**NoneFood business

* Duration based on the program calendar for 2021

** This duration is for the first phase focused on product launch

*** Average amount raised by startups participating to the program

**** Successful startups raise from external investors at Demo Day

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1. 1863 Ventures

Based in Washington DC, 1863 Ventures is a startup accelerator that focuses on B2C and B2B startups. In order to do so, they offer two programs, which are:

  • Pipeline Program: 3 weeks program focusing on pre-growth stage companies with annual revenue of $100k or more. The participants get to participate in workshops, dedicated one-on-one advisory sessions, mentoring, etc.
  • Acceler8: 3 weeks program focusing on growth to scale stage B2B brand with at at least $1 million yearly revenue. Just as in the Pipeline program, the participants of Acceler8 receive mentoring, one-on-one advisory sessions, workshops, etc.

Indeed, the participants of both programs receive mentorship on fundraising via various models like equity financing, debt financing, crowdfunding, angel investments, etc.

2. CivStart

CivStart Accelerator focuses on govtech startups. Although it is stage agnostic, the participants must not be in the ideation and product development stage.

This 24 months program offers mentorship and facilitates key meetings with CivStart’s Advisory Board members who are experts in local and state government opportunities and challenges. The program attracts an annual fee of $10,000.

Indeed, the program ends with a Demo Day and Innovation Summit. 

3. Dcode

Dcode Accelerate connects the tech industry startups with the government with the aim of driving commercial innovation in the federal market. 

In order to do so, they induct top tech companies to the Dcode accelerate program on a rolling basis.

As a part of the program, Dcode offers a paid platform called Nexus where the selected tech companies interact directly with government decision-makers.

Indeed, the participants receive advisory services on how to match their technology with government use cases. Participants also get to learn how to properly market and price their technology among other things.

4. FedTech

FedTech is one of Washington DC’s top startup accelerators. Indeed, it partners with multiple organizations to offer custom accelerator programs to tech startups.

The idea behind custom accelerator programs is to help startups to provide solutions to the most pressing needs of the partnering organizations.

Indeed, the accelerator programs allow startups to reach the next level through educational programming, mentoring, 1:1 consultation, pitch days, etc.

The 10 accelerator programs that FedTech organizes are:

  • xTech Accelerator: This program is for xTechSearch finalists and further aids in transitioning tech into the Army.
  • xTechGlobal AI Challenge Accelerator: This program supports AI companies and further aids in transitioning tech to the DoD.
  • DredgeTech Accelerator: This program is for startups working with dredging technologies for removal of reservoir sediments.
  • xTechHBCU Accelerator: This program is for xTechHBCU finalists looking to attract Army research funding.
  • xTech Innovation Combine: This program targets startups working with innovative solutions for scalable power and energy solutions.
  • xTechSBIR Waveform Challenge: Unlike other programs, this program is for startups working on enhancing waveform capabilities through development and integration of new waveforms onto software-defined radio using an open architecture.
  • Innovation Crossroads: This program explicitly targets startups in the next-gen clean energy sector.
  • Innovation Combine Cohort: This program is particularly for the participants of AFC Innovation Combine with focus on helping startups with dual-use technology.
  • TABA Program: This program is for small businesses applying for STTR/SBIR grant and are presently looking for additional commercialization support.
  • KIC-FedTech Accelerator: This program is for Korean tech companies and offers help in launching their products in the US market.

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5. Founder Boost

Founded in 2017, Founders Boost offers a pre-accelerator program for pre-seed startups without any fee and equity share.

On the contrary, this 6 weeks mentor-driven program is completely free and offers mentorship on market understanding, pitch preparation, dealing with venture funding and accelerators, etc.

In short, the program prepares startups for accelerators, investment, and revenue.

6. GeorgeTown Startup Accelerator

Georgetown Startup Accelerator focuses on early-stage startups where at least one founder of a participating company must be a Georgetown University alumni. Additionally, they must also have an MVP.

As a part of this 4 weeks program, the participating startups receive one-on-one mentorship in addition to workshops and opportunities to interact with guest speakers.

Also, it is worth noting that the participants of the program need to pay a one-time fee of $500.

7. PeaceTech Accelerator

PeaceTech Accelerator uses cloud innovation to help startups that use technology to assist civilians in crisis and conflict zones to scale.

As a result, this 8 weeks program offers training and mentorship to startups using novel and innovative techs for predicting, preventing, and mitigating conflicts, thereby promoting sustainable peace.

8. Seed Spot

Seed Spot’s Impact Accelerator focuses on established entrepreneurs to scale and impact their operations rapidly.

As a result, their 8 weeks program offers mentorship in building go-to market strategies, modeling solid financials, establishing relationships with investors, etc.

Of course, the program ends with a pitch day where the participants can raise funds to accelerate their growth.

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9. Smart City Works

Smart City Works is a next-gen business accelerator focusing on building and launching urban tech and IoT companies. The purpose of the program is to move early-stage startups to commercialization.

As a result, the program known as the Business ACTUATOR provides a customized acceleration program for every participant including one-on-one mentorship, access to technical resources, reduced business expenses with several perks, and rent-free office space for a year.

Indeed the program ends in a Demo Day where graduates get an opportunity to raise investments in exchange for a 4-6% equity share.

10. Springboard

Working with 8-12 companies in each accelerator class, the Springboard Accelerator accepts startups in all stages. However, the participants must have a woman in senior management with a significant equity stake.

In addition to an intensive Bootcamp, each participating startup receives a personal advisory team providing mentorship in business strategy.

Indeed, the program ends with a pitch day where the participants get the opportunity of raising funds from investors and corporate partners of Springboard.

Also, it is worth noting that the participants need to pay a fee of $2,500 to $5,500.

11. Startups Ignite

Founded in 2015, Startups Ignite’s Startup Venture Accelerator focuses on early-stage startups through a 3 months program.

As a result, the program offers mentorship to help startups build scalable and defensible success using time-tested best practices.

The participants also get to engage with mentors for strategy development, product adoption & iterative solution tests, identifying market segments, etc.

Also, it is important to note that the participants must pay a commitment fee of $400 a month.

12. STEM to Market

STEM to Market is an accelerator program organized by the Association for Women in Science. It focuses on women STEM entrepreneurs and helps them with the commercialization journey.

To achieve this, the 10 months program offers customized support and training for commercialization, and mentoring from market experts, funders, investors, & successful entrepreneurs.

To clarify, the program requires a registration fee ranging from $50 to $300 based on the income of the participant. Additionally, there is a program application fee of $50.

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13. Street Entrepreneurs

Founded in 2015, Street Entrepreneurs focuses on startups and small businesses run by women and people of color and provides them with customized business education.

To achieve this, the program offers workshops and mentorship with industry experts & coaches.

Eventually, the program culminates into Street Pitch and Live Pitch, where the founders get an opportunity to raise funds.

14. Techstars

Techstars Future of Longevity Accelerator is a partnership between Techstars and Pivotal Venture and focuses on startups working on innovative solutions for addressing the unmet needs of older people and their caregivers.

In order to achieve this, the 3 months program offers a $20,000 investment with a 6% equity share in addition to personal mentorship and co-working space.

Additionally, the selected companies also get $400,000 worth of hosting, legal support, and accounting, plus an additional $5 million worth of perks and credits.

Indeed, there is a Demo Day where participants can raise funding from external investors.

15. Union Kitchen

Union Kitchen Accelerator focuses on food startups and speeds up their product launch and company growth.

In order to achieve this, the program runs in four phases with the first phase focusing on product launch and lasting for 16 weeks. Phase two focuses on what consumers want and the methods of delivering the same. Phase three focuses on growth, and finally, phase four focuses on business scaling.

Of course, the participants receive training and co-working space. Additionally, participants also get access to on-demand courses, coaching sessions, and workbooks on launch checklist, pricing strategy, etc.

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