Accelerating Success: A Study of Seed Accelerators and Their Defining Characteristics

During recent years, a new phenomenon in the world of startups has risen, the accelerator program. A new way of incubating technology startups that has proven to be at least very popular among startup founders and investors. Typically characterized by web/mobile technology, programme/class based, short time periods (3-12 months) and the use of agile development methodologies.
If Y Combinator is regarded as one of the first accelerators established in 2005, there are now over 200 accelerator programmes world-wide, and new ones emerge each month.

We are a group of students at Chalmers University of Technology who have conducted our bachelor thesis on this subject, where our aim was to find out what defines an accelerator. The thesis was done for Chalmers Innovation, a business incubator connected to Chalmers, who is interested in further exploring the accelerator concept to develop their ongoing and future activities related to early-stage software startups. This interest is what provided the motivation and focus of our thesis.

Download the thesis

Accelerating-Success.pdf (right click and save-as)
Release date: May 8th, 2012

You can also view the Slideshare presentation of our thesis.


Lisa Barrehag
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Alexander Fornell
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Gustav Larsson
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Viktor Mårdström
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Victor Westergård
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Samuel Wrackefeldt
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ScaleMetrics are developing a tool for startups and investors to help them achieve product/market fit. They generously provided the financial support that made the interviews for our thesis possible.


A special thanks goes out to the following people, for contributing with their experience and input in discussions and interviews.

Henrik Berglund @khberglund, Chalmers University of Technology (our supervisor)
Timo Lehes @timolehes, Chalmers Innovation and ScaleMetrics (our stakeholder)
Alan Moore @alansmlxl
Alex Barrera @abarrera
Alex Farcet @alexfarcet, Startupbootcamp
Alex van Someren @alexvans
Andy Cars @andy_cars, Nordic Startups
Brian Weisberg @weisberg, betaFACTORY
Eric Lagier @elagier
Felix Israel
Jan Lindér
Joel Eriksson Enquist
Jon Bradford @jd, Springboard
Lise Aaboen
Max Kossatz @Karli
Natalie Gaudet @nataliepg, Startup Sauna
Oliver Hanisch @ohanisch, GSVA
Tor Grønsund @tor