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Before he launched Wild Earth, a synthetic biology startup focused on developing “clean, sustainable, and cruelty free” dog food, Ryan Bethencourt was disrupting the broader business of nurturing biotech startups. For example, he co-founded IndieBio, a life sciences accelerator whose 213 funded companies have created a combined $8.3 billion-plus in enterprise value.

In a recent article in Entrepreneur, Bethencourt acknowledged that entrepreneurs have options besides accelerators. These options include early-stage angels and pre-seed investors. Nonetheless, for many if not most founders of biotech companies, the keys to startup success can be found within incubators and accelerators.

The article by Bethencourt outlined several key qualities that distinguish the better biotech accelerators and incubators from lesser ones:

  • Experience: “It’s especially important that the people who run these accelerator programs and back these companies have experience in building and scaling the types of companies that you want to build.”
  • Capital: “Most importantly, you need an accelerator that’s willing to invest. There are a lot of zero-investment, no-cost, or low-cost accelerator programs that, quite honestly, are a waste of an entrepreneur’s time.”
  • Networks: For startups in accelerator programs, having access to the “right investors” and the “right entrepreneurial and technical networks” is much more important than whether “you’re there in person or whether you have to do demo days.”

This article lists the top 20 incubators and accelerators for which the “number of investments” and “number of exits” were available. Most of those numbers were compiled and published earlier this year by Failory, a website for startup founders and entrepreneurs; the remainder came from other public sources as indicated.

In addition to investment and company exit counts, the list presents location information and website addresses. The list also shows contact information of interest to startups.

Two firms that almost made this list didn’t appear on Failory’s original list, either. They are LabCentral (which operates three facilities in Cambridge, MA) and Y Combinator (which is based in Mountain View, CA). At deadline, biotech-specific investment and exit counts for these firms were unavailable. However, total numbers for all industries served were available for Y Combinator, which nurtures startups of various kinds, not just biotech startups. The firm facilitated 5,618 investments and 1,216 exits, according to PitchBook.


1. Alchemist Accelerator
Founder and CEO: Ravi Belani
Locations: San Francisco, CA and Munich, Germany
Number of investments: 563
Number of exits: 41
Website: www.alchemistaccelerator.com
Contact: Annika Lauer, Program Director, [email protected]

2. QB3
Executive Director: David Schaffer, PhD1
Locations: University of California (UC) Berkeley; UC San Francisco; and UC Santa Cruz
Number of investments: 411
Number of exits: 126
Website: qb3.org
Contact: Kaspar Mossman, QB3 Managing Director; [email protected]

3. Johnson & Johnson Innovation—JLABS
Global Head of JLABS, Johnson & Johnson Innovation: Melinda Richter2
Locations: JLABS@San Diego, JLABS@SSF (South San Francisco, CA); JLABS@TMC (Texas Medical Center, Houston); JLABS@Toronto; JLABS@BE (Beerse, Belgium); JLABS@NYC (New York City); JLABS@Shanghai; and JLABS@Washington, DC3
Number of investments: 3404
Number of exits: 534
Website: jlabs.jnjinnovation.com
Contact: jlabsresidency.smapply.io

4. StartX (Stanford-StartX Fund)
CEO: Joseph Huang
Locations: Palo Alto, CA
Number of investments: 333
Number of exits: 63
Website: startx.com
Contact: David Sanchez, Admissions Program Manager; startx.com/contact

5. IndieBio
Managing Director & General Partner: Po Bronson
Locations: San Francisco, CA and New York, NY
Number of investments: 307
Number of exits: 2
Website: indiebio.co
Contact: Catherine Seo, Program Coordinator; indiebio.co/contact

6. Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) Georgia Tech
Director: John Avery
Locations: Atlanta, GA (Atlanta is HQ; other locations in Alpharetta, Athens, Augusta, Forsyth County, Peachtree Corners, and Savannah)
Number of investments: 146
Number of exits: 13
Website: atdc.org
Contact: Ben Andrews, Statewide Program Manager; portal.atdc.org/s/form?id=a0S5e000001durB

7. AlphaLab
Managing Director & Co-founder: Jim Jen
Locations: Pittsburgh, PA
Number of investments: 104
Number of exits: 7
Website: alphalab.org
Contact: Aaron Tainter, Senior Program Manager; [email protected]

8. InnovX BCR
CEO: Diana Dumitrescu
Locations: Bucharest, Romania
Number of investments: 97
Number of exits: 1
Website: innovx.eu
Contact: Silviu Florea, Program Manager; [email protected]

9. CITRIS Foundry (UC Berkeley)
Managing Director: Marc Theeuwes
Locations: Berkeley, CA
Number of investments: 97
Number of exits: N/A
Website: citrisfoundry.org
Contact: Kyle Clark, Program Manager; [email protected], [email protected]

10. BioGenerator (part of BioSTL)
President: Eric Gulve
Locations: St. Louis, MO
Number of investments: 69
Number of exits: 5
Website: www.biogenerator.org
Contact: Kamyla Tomiser, Executive Assistant; [email protected]

11. Big Idea Ventures
Founder & Managing General Partner: Andrew D. Ive
Locations: New York, NY; Paris, France; Singapore
Number of investments: 59
Number of exits: 2
Website: bigideaventures.com
Contact: Domenico Ranucci, Program Director; bigideaventures.com/accelerator-ny, bigideaventures.com/accelerator-sg, bigideaventures.com/accelerator-paris

12. Bigbang Angels
Co-founder & CEO: Michael ByungSun Hwang
Locations: Seoul, South Korea and Singapore
Number of investments: 55
Number of exits: N/A
Website: www.bigbangangels.com
Contact: Leisha You and Jessie Kang, Team Managers; [email protected]

13. Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse
President & CEO: Diana Cugliari
Locations: Pittsburgh, PA
Number of investments: 52
Number of exits: 5
Website: www.plsg.com
Contact: Dana McGrath, Program Manager, Health IT; [email protected]

14. Accelerace
Managing Partner & CEO: Peter Torstensen
Locations: Copenhagen, Denmark
Number of investments: 48
Number of exits: 7
Website: www.accelerace.io
Contact: Rebecca Guacan, Community & Program Manager; [email protected], www.accelerace.io/about/contact

15. DigitalHealth.London Accelerator
Program Director: Sara Nelson
Locations: London, United Kingdom
Number of investments: 27
Number of exits: 1
Website: digitalhealth.london/programmes/accelerator
Contact: Katya Masconi-Yule, Senior Program Manager (on maternity leave) and Yasmin Stinchcombe, Senior Program Manager-Maternity Cover; [email protected]

16. Unfold.vc (Formerly Venture Inc ASI SA)
CEO: Jakub Sitarz
Locations: Wroclaw, Poland
Number of investments: 26
Number of exits: 1
Website: unfold.vc
Contact: Magdalena Surowiec, Managing Partner; [email protected]

17. Walerud Ventures5
Partners: Bengt Walerud, Caroline Walerud and Jane Walerud
Locations: Stockholm, Sweden
Number of investments: 23
Number of exits: 8
Website: www.walerud.com
Contact: Caroline Walerud; [email protected] (not currently investing)

18. Illumina Accelerator
Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer: Alex Aravanis
Locations: Foster City, CA, and Cambridge, UK
Number of investments: 16
Number of exits: 6
Website: www.illumina.com/science/accelerator.html?scid=2015311vu2
Contact: Amanda Cashin, Co-founder & Global Head, Illumina Accelerator; [email protected]

19. New Orleans BioFund
Executive Director & BioFund Managing Director: Kris Khalil
Locations: New Orleans, LA
Number of investments: 13
Number of exits: N/A
Website: neworleansbio.com/biofund
Contact: Margie Gilbert, Community Manager; [email protected], [email protected]

20. Silicon Catalyst
Co-founder & Chairman: Rick Lazansky
Locations: Santa Clara, CA; Chengdu, China; Tel Aviv, Israel; Stewkley, UK
Number of investments: 13
Number of exits: N/A
Website: siliconcatalyst.com
Contact: Pete Rodriguez, CEO; siliconcatalyst.com/application



1. Each QB3 campus has its own director. Sanjay Kumar, MD, PhD, is Director of QB3-Berkeley; Nevan Krogan, PhD, is Director of QB3-UCSF and QBI. David Haussler, PhD, is Director of QB3-UCSC and Scientific Director, UCSC Genomics Institute.

2. Richter is among 12 leaders of J&J Innovation, JLABS, and related positions identified by Johnson & Johnson on JLABS’ website.

3. Johnson & Johnson Innovation–JLABS partners with other incubators in key regions: JLABS@MBC BioLabs (San Francisco, CA & San Carlos, CA); JLABS@LabCentral (Cambridge, MA); and JLABS@M2D2 (Lowell, MA). J&J Innovation—JLABS also partners with research hubs to create “JPODs”: JPOD@Philadelphia (Pennovation Works); and JPOD@Boston (CIC – Cambridge Innovation Center).

4. Figures published by CB Insights.

5. According to Walerud Ventures’ website, “We work actively with several companies but are not engaging with new startups. Contact our portfolio companies directly.”


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