Startup accelerators are closing at an alarming pace nationwide. We’ve written about this before, and detailed how some programs are being re-purposed into “studios” of startups and many other firms are simply closing their doors outright. In the face of this wave of bad tidings, a few firms have piped up recently with new accelerators promising to buck the trend.
The National Assosciation of Realtors (NAR) and VC firm Kleiner Perkins have both just announced that they are opening up brand new accelerators. NAR is expecting differentiation from the crowd to come from that fact that their accelerator will concentrate on one specific industry (real estate) and the fact that the organization has a near monopoly on the real estate market. Industry specific startup accelerators have many upsides over industry agnostic programs, but they also come prepackaged with serious downsides. While pooling resources and industry mentors can provide a major head start to new startups, you also have to contend with all the companies in the program being in passive or active competition with each other.
Meanwhile the Kleiner Perkins effort seems to be about securing deal-flow and keeping a pulse on the state of the LA startup ecosystem. Called the Viterbi Startup Garage, the accelerator is a team effort between Kleiner, the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering and the United Talent Agency. The Viterbi Startup Garage is open to current or recent UC alumni and will provide strategic and financial resources to a group of 10 new Los Angeles based companies.
How these two and other new accelerators fare in this arguable over-saturated startup accelerator market remains to be seen. Between the glut of incubation programs and the Series A crunch, the entrepreneurial ecosystem is currently weathering some dark days. New entrants are going to have to be different and nimble enough to out-perform their competitors, which is actually much better news than it sounds like.