Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz today launched a16z START, a startup accelerator for early-stage companies.
Startup accelerators are organizations that offer membership, capital and connections to investors and business partners, with Y Combinator perhaps the best known. A16z START aims to do exactly this, fueling founders at the earliest stages of company-building with one-on-one support, network introductions and up to $1 million in funding.
The new startup accelerator is powered by the a16z seed fund and includes American Dynamism, a16z Enterprise and a16z Fintech as partners. Andreessen Horowitz is pitching the accelerator as “a16z meets START” for entrepreneurs wherever they are in their journey, whether honing a product vision and defining a targeted audience, building and launching their “minimum viable product,” or scaling up an already launched product.
A16z START plans to introduce entrepreneurs to a network of peers, repeat founders, domain experts, potential customers and more to “help refine their thesis and scale it into a world-changing business.”
A beta version of the START program was launched in 2021 and received more than 1,000 applications. Competition was fierce, with only 11 applicants accepted into the program. Notably, although the program is being run out of San Francisco, successful applicants do not have to be in the city: A16z START has a remote-first focus, with founders across the world invited to apply.
“If founding a technology company is a dream of yours — even if you don’t yet have a fully formed idea and haven’t yet quit your day job — we want to hear from you,” Jason Mok, operating partner and general manager of a16z seed, said in a statement.
Y Combinator is highly regarded in the startup incubation and acceleration business, but landing a spot at a16z START would be a dream for many would-be startup founders. Andreessen Horowitz is one of the most successful venture capital firms of all time and was an early investor in companies such as Groupon Inc., Zynga Inc., Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Airbnb Inc., Roblox Corp., Slack Technologies Inc., Coinbase Inc. and Okta Inc.
As Crunchbase noted in 2021, Andreessen Horowitz is not only one of Silicon Valley’s most well-known venture firms, but it’s also one of the most sought after.