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March 9, 2018

Tech Accelerators: The Top Five

As investment in tech start-ups soars and Oracle accepts applications for its latest cohort of future stars, we look at some of the country’s leading accelerator programmes.

By April Slattery

You don’t get much hotter than a start-up in today’s world. Just 10 weeks into 2018 and some 116,999 new businesses have already registered with Companies House, according to data from the Centre for Entrepreneurs. As for tech start-ups? They’re the lodestars of this lively commercial cosmos, attracting nearly double the funding in 2017 that they did in 2016. Many have gone stratospheric through accelerators programmes.

So as Oracle announces today that it is accepting applications for the second cohort of start-ups in its Accelerator programme in Bristol, we scanned the landscape to identify the Top Five. It’s a lively space: UK-based innovation foundation Nesta last year identified 205 incubators and 163 accelerators in the UK, supporting over 7,000 new businesses annually.

So if you feel you missed out unfairly, share your successes with us!

Entrepreneur First (EF)

The highly competitive EF programme is over-subscribed for good reason. Backed by Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn) along with Greylock Partners, Mosaic Ventures, Founders Fund and Lakestar among others, the programme is supported by veterans of industry-leading companies such as McKinsey, Google, Apple, Yahoo. EF’s leaders have experience building some of the fastest-growing companies in recent years, including Metaswitch, Moonfruit, Taboola, Mind Candy and Space Ape Games. As the accelerator puts it: “Since 2011, we have built and funded more deep tech start-ups than any other investor and the 140+ start-ups we have built are now worth more than $1 billion.”

Want to apply?


Global enterprise cloud computing giant Oracle’s Startup Cloud Accelerator runs programmes  in Austin, Bangalore, Bristol, Delhi–NCR, Mumbai, Paris, São Paulo, Singapore and Tel Aviv. The accelerator selects five to six start-ups per cohort, with two cohorts annually. It’s run by Oracle’s R&D team and provides mentoring, state-of-the-art technology, a co-working space, access to Oracle customers, partners and investors, and more. Recent successes include Duel, Interactive Scientific, iGeolise and Trail.Tech Accelerators: The Top Five

As Oracle’s Senior VP, Startup Ecosystem and Accelerator Reggie Bradford puts it: “The first cohort included tremendously talented start-ups creating innovative new products in areas ranging from AI to VR. We look forward to working with more emerging companies in the thriving UK start-up market.”

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To apply for Oracle’s Bristol programme:

Tech Nation

Currently known as Tech City UK (and TechNorth), these two are merging to become Tech Nation in April 2018. Their wide range of programmes is designed to support existing businesses as they scale and grow. “Future Fifty”, for example, powers 50 of the UK’s fastest growing digital technology companies through a curated set of private partners, networking opportunities and direct links to the UK government. Future Fifty companies raising over $5.5bn in the past five years. “Upscale”, meanwhile, is a network of Series A UK digital technology companies scaling together with mentoring and support from some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. The companies that made the cut for the most recent cohort have collectively received $730m in funding.

To register interest in applying for the Future Fifty Autumn 2018 cohort:


R/GA IoT Venture Studio

One of the newer kids on the block, the R/GA IoT Venture Studio launched in 2016 and is an accelerator programme for early, mid and late stage start-ups or companies developing connected hardware products and software services. It has particular interest in supporting start-ups working in Enterprise IoT, Buildings-as-a-Platform, Smart Infrastructure, Advanced Analytics, Voice & Augmented Reality, Blockchain, Robotics & Actuation, Security, and the Circular Economy, to name just a few.

It offers successful applicants capital investment of up to £75,000 for up to 6% equity, along with co-workspace provided in R/GA’s London office, a bespoke curriculum, speakers, and workshops, partnership, manufacturing, distribution, and market strategy support and more over an intensive three-month programme.

Applications are currently closed, but for updates subscribe to newsletters at

PwC Scale

Big Four stalwart PwC runs an enterprising array of “scale-up” accelerator programmes across a wide range of sectors, including government technology. Its next 12-week programme launches in early April 2018, and links participants with senior public sector leaders, corporates serving the gov-tech space and other opinion leaders. Applicants need to be revenue generating, at Series A growth stage and have a validated product. At a private event on May 25th, successful participants get to pitch their business in front of a “curated public and private sector executive audience”, then on June 7th,pitch again to over 50 venture capital players, private equity houses and High Net Worth individuals.

To apply to one of PwC’s Scale programes

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