Health Wildcatters got recognized for the first time in an annual report ranking seed accelerators. It scored a Silver ranking while Healthbox attained a Gold in the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project.
Hubert Zajicek is the head of the Dallas-based Wildcatters accelerator, which has been around since 2012. It has 32 portfolio companies and is currently looking for applicants for its Fall class later this year.
Groups like DreamIt Ventures and MassChallenge (Gold) along with Techstars and Y Combinator (Platinum) were included too, but each has programs for technology companies in addition to health tech startups.
Business professors Yael Hochberg of Rice University and Susan Cohen of the University of Richmond produced the report with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Innovation Initiative Lab for Innovation Science, and highlighted their findings at SXSW.
The report is in its fifth and opted for groups to rank accelerators rather than a numerical ranking. Hochberg and Cohen invited 150 accelerators to participate and then asked them to submit data about their programs and the performance of cohorts from up to three years ago. They also combine this data with interviews with accelerator members and alumni. This year, they also used publicly available data.
The criteria they use in their calculations includes: valuation, qualified fundraising, survival, founder satisfaction, and alumni network.
In a statement Hochberg said: “Our goal is to generate a larger conversation about what makes some seed accelerators more successful and help entrepreneurs find the right fit for their startup.”
But the reality is that not all accelerators are designed to last. Iron Yard, which ranked Silver and was included in the 2014 report as well, closed its health tech accelerator earlier this year, although it continues to run other programs.
There are numerous health tech accelerators in the U.S. and their abundance is often the source of criticism. Many provide oxygen to companies that might otherwise fail because their business models aren’t strong enough to attract investors otherwise.
Among the trends the report authors have seen in the accelerator space, Hochberg and Cohen told TechCrunch that 24 corporate accelerator programs have launched in 2015 compared with a couple in 2011.
This post will be updated when more information about this year’s report is available.
Until then, here are the accelerators that made the list in 2016:
The Alchemist Accelerator
New Venture Challenge
Zero To 510