Accelerator Dynamics: Understanding the Forces of Change & Trends to Watch

Gianna Pinasco
4 min readApr 22, 2024


Traditional accelerator models are undergoing serious changes, driven by a myriad of factors reshaping the startup ecosystem. Through discussions with founders, investors, and industry insiders, it becomes evident that several trends are emerging, poised to significantly influence the landscape of accelerators in the future.

Photo by Sean Pollock on Unsplash

Emerging Trends

Demand for Flexibility:

The move to remote work and digital collaboration across the globe has sent virtual accelerators into overdrive. Founders are increasingly choosing online accelerators for their flexibility and accessibility, with accelerators recognizing the potential to tap into a diverse pool of talent and expertise regardless of geographic constraints. This shift is not only probing the value of blended models but also fostering an environment where innovation thrives unbounded by physical limitations. Looking ahead, we anticipate the emergence of more blended models, offering founders unprecedented choice and flexibility, ultimately reshaping the landscape of accelerators and fostering a culture of global innovation.

Call for Personalisation & Evolving Startup Needs:

The rapid pace of technological advancements, coupled with shifts in consumer behaviour, has intensified the pressure on startups to adapt or risk failure, particularly in growing industries such as digital health, AI, robotics, and climate tech. Many accelerators struggle to realise that their curriculum is becoming obsolete by not addressing individual startup pain points, and instead, are piling countless hours of curriculum only to realise that founders’ extremely limited time is focused on keeping their business afloat — especially in its earlier days.

At least, and as a response to evolving needs (and an increasingly crowded startup ecosystem), we’re seeing the rise of niche-based accelerators gaining traction. Many founders prefer an accelerator that suits their specific requirements — one bespoke enough to address their individual needs and sector-specific challenges.

Rise of Non-traditional Funding Sources:

The latest data suggests a tightening of venture capital markets, as funding rounds are growing increasingly competitive and VCs favouring those with clear traction and revenue models over early-stage startups, who are experiencing longer fundraising cycles and navigating higher risk. As investors start to emphasise tangible traction, very early-stage startups will be inclined to search for alternative sources of financing.

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

To alleviate those pressures, startups might increasingly turn to new sources of funding — sometimes called ‘alternative’ or ‘non-traditional’ funding — as a source of capital. These may include equity crowdfunding sites, governmental grants, incubators, and accelerator programs. While alternative sources might offer entrepreneurs more flexibility and accessibility than traditional venture capital funds, each comes with their own considerations and constraints.

Trends to Watch

Impact and Sustainability:

As the realisation of adverse social and environmental dynamics becomes pervasive, new businesses that are driven with the intent of having a positive impact on society, as well as the environment, are growing in numbers. From sustainability and social innovation to impact investing, accelerators for startups that aim to have a positive societal impact are experiencing a surge in founders seeking to create businesses that make a positive difference in the world.

Diversity and Inclusion:

It is becoming increasingly important for startups and for the overall ecosystem to not just talk about the importance of diversity and inclusion, but to actually live it; a number of founders are looking for accelerators that prioritise diversity across their cohorts, mentor networks and leadership teams, understanding the value that diversity can bring to perspectives and experiences.

Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

Focus on Founder Well-being and Mental Health:

The work hustle culture has become the norm — or so it is argued, especially among founders. Accelerators must recognize the importance of supporting founders in such a domain. Incorporating health and wellness training and initiatives, as well as extending perks offering to cover mental health resources should become a priority. In short,, a startup cannot function properly if the founder isn’t in the right state of mind.

The journey of a founder might seem like a solo journey, but it’s not. Founders need the right support systems, guidance, and resources to turn their goals into reality. As the startup ecosystem evolves, so too must accelerators. Whether adopting a niche-based approach or a blended model, the landscape of startup support is diversifying to meet the changing needs of founders. Staying agile and responsible is the only way accelerators can keep playing a vital role in the development of the next generation of startups.