Passion, dedication and groundbreaking concepts are plentiful when it comes to San Francisco’s small business owners. However, things like capital, guidance and infrastructure are in shorter supply. Thankfully, the Bay Area is home to many startup incubators and accelerators that can help local small business owners realize their dreams.


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Matter offers an immersive 20-week incubation program that will give media entrepreneurs the opportunity to enter the marketplace with a thoroughly vetted concept and a $50,000 investment. The program begins with a week-long design boot camp, followed by five months of structured workshops and other educational programs from established entrepreneurs. Small business owners will be able to create a business plan and refine their products in a supportive environment.

i/o Ventures

i/o Ventures is a seed fund that focuses on an entrepreneur’s move from initial product launch to the next stage of development. As the organization includes mentors who helped create tech innovators like TechCrunch, Mint and YouTube, i/o Ventures can provide entrepreneurs with mission-critical insights into fundraising, revenue generation and infrastructural scaling. On average, startups incubated by i/o Ventures receive a $25,000 investment.

Y Combinator

Heralded as “the world’s most powerful startup incubator” by Fast Company, Y Combinator has played a role in the development of nearly 1,000 tech firms, including high-profile companies such as Instacart, Dropbox and Airbnb. In exchange for a 7 percent equity stake, Y Combinator provides founders with one-on-one advice, a $120,000 investment, and access to the organization’s invaluable connections within the tech industry. The firm also has a fellowship program where they offer to invest in a company at the idea stage of development for $20,000 in exchange for a 1.2 percent equity stake.

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500 Startups

For 500 Startups, diversity isn’t a buzzword or marketing strategy, it’s the core of their ethos. To date, the firm has helped develop more than 1,600 companies across 60 countries in fields including finance, online video, digital healthcare, drones and education. 500 Startups’ seed program involves four months of a hands-on mentorship, the use of a fantastic San Fransisco office space, and $150,000 in exchange for a 6 percent ownership stake.


As opposed to macro-focused incubators like Y Combinator and 500 Startups, AngelPad unitizes a more drilled down methodology. With an acceptance rate of less than 2 percent in previous years, AngelPad’s intensive 10-week program focuses on providing a small number of startups with pragmatic mentorships and a space to brainstorm, leading up to a demo day in front of hundreds of big money investors. Recently, the fund offered the companies it accelerates $50,000 plus $4,000 per founder for a 7 percent equity stake.


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This article was written by Mario McKellop for CBS Small Business Pulse