10 Corporate Accelerator Examples You Should Know About

Discover how these 10 corporate accelerators are helping their parent companies innovate, future-proof and dominate their industries.

Discover how these 10 corporate accelerators are helping their parent companies innovate, future-proof and dominate their industries.
Discover how these 10 corporate accelerators are helping their parent companies innovate, future-proof and dominate their industries.

Corporate acceleration has emerged as a powerful tool for established organisations seeking to diversify their portfolios with increased speed and reduce risk - all while leveraging existing corporate assets.

Leading corporations across industries have successfully adopted this strategy to future-proof their businesses, find disruptive solutions to traditional challenges, and maintain a competitive edge. In essence, accelerators enable organisations to “accelerate” growth by tapping into the external startup ecosystem and forging strategic partnerships that enable them to:

  • Test new business models
  • Access and experiment with cutting-edge technologies
  • Launch new products and services
  • Generate new revenue streams

To give you a better idea of how they work in the real world, we’ve created a list of 10 inspiring corporate accelerator examples from around the world. Each example illustrates how this strategy can be tailored to fit different industries, including mobility, food & beverage, beauty, tech and banking (just to name a few). The goal? To provide you with valuable insights you can use to build your own acceleration strategy. 

Let’s kick things off with a bit of context.

What is a corporate accelerator?

Simply put, corporate accelerators enable companies to tap into the external startup ecosystem to boost internal innovation through partnerships and collaborations. Unlike incubators, which turn ideas into businesses, accelerators are the next step in the process, helping young companies expedite their growth and scale their existing business models.

While acceleration programs vary from company to company, in most cases, they support startups by providing them with access to mentoring, expertise, networking opportunities, and funding - all crucial resources to help expedite the scaling process. In addition, accelerator programs tend to: 

  • Be fixed and highly structured
  • Last for a period of Three to 10 months 
  • Arrange equity and establish strategic partnerships and collaborations

Now that you know a bit more about corporate accelerators, let’s look at some inspiring, real-world examples. 

100+ Sustainability Accelerator by AB InBev 

Founder and Managing Director: Maisie Devine Sherman

Headquarters: New York, USA

Industry: Food and beverage sustainability

Founded: 2018

Activities: Acceleration and investments

100+ Sustainability Accelerator provides startups with mentorship, resources, funding, and access to AB InBev’s global network of experts and partners. The goal? To accelerate the development of cutting-edge solutions and launch them to the market. The program is focused on solutions that address sustainability challenges such as water stewardship, agriculture, circular packaging, and climate action.

The name "100+" refers to AB InBev's goal of powering its breweries with 100% renewable energy and achieving a 25% reduction in its carbon footprint by 2025. 

Toyota Startup Accelerator by Toyota Motor Europe (TME)

President and Chief Executive Officer at TME: Matt Harrison

Headquarters: Madrid, Spain

Industry: Mobility, sustainability

Founded: 2020

Activities: Acceleration and investments

Toyota Startup Accelerator is a 6-month acceleration program run in partnership with ISDI Accelerator. The program is designed to support and grow early-stage startups that are developing innovative solutions in four key areas:

  • Mobility for all
  • Carbon neutrality
  • Circular economy of plastics
  • Life cycle footprint ecosystem

Qualified startups get access to funding, mentorship, Toyota’s vast network, and other resources including:

Participating startups also have the opportunity to showcase their solutions at a demo day at the end of the program, and pitch their offerings in front of top investors, media outlets, Toyota and ISDI executives.

Visa Everywhere Initiative by Visa

Head of Innovation and Digital Partnerships at Visa: Vanessa Colella

Headquarters: California, USA

Industry: Fintech, digital banking

Founded: 2015

Activities: Acceleration and investments

The Visa Everywhere Initiative features various competitions and challenges designed to engage startups and encourage them to showcase their innovative solutions. In return, participants receive mentorship, funding, and other essential resources to aid in transforming their ideas into thriving offerings. This year’s edition will focus on: 

  • Founders from underrepresented communities
  • Solutions that specifically serve underrepresented communities

There will also be three challenge categories, including African American, Women and LGBTQ+ focusing on solutions in areas like digital payments, small business, analytics, neo banks, Banking as a service and more. 

Salesforce Accelerate by Salesforce

Director, ISV Events and Programs, Salesforce Accelerate Program: Emilie Jessula

Headquarters: California, USA

Industry: Cloud computing, SaaS

Founded: 2016

Activities: Acceleration and investments

Salesforce Accelerate is a three-month virtual program designed to propel startups forward by integrating them into Salesforce's thriving ecosystem. The program equips participants with valuable resources, expert guidance, and support, ensuring their alignment with Salesforce's corporate objectives while expediting their time-to-market on the AppExchange—the world's largest enterprise cloud marketplace.

The program is designed to provide startups with the support they need to develop key skills and strategies that are essential for success in today's competitive market, including product development, sales, marketing, and fundraising.

The Accelerator powered by Nestle R+D

Global Head of The Accelerator powered by Nestlé R&D: Tom Wagner

Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland

Industry: Food and beverage, health and wellness

Founded: 2019

Activities: Acceleration, Investments and Incubation

The Accelerator powered by Nestlé R+D aims to foster innovative solutions in segments like food, beverage, health, and nutrition (among others). It transforms cutting-edge concepts into market-ready products by connecting Nestlé's vast global R&D network with leading academic institutions, innovation partners, suppliers, and startups. It supports innovators by providing access to:

  • Tailored mentorship opportunities
  • Cutting-edge facilities, tools and technologies
  • Financial support
  • Networking and partnership opportunities

This unique ecosystem enables innovators to test, refine, and scale their ideas, helping them to overcome technical and commercial challenges that typically hinder the growth of startups.

Target accelerator program by Target

Director: Justine Savarin

Headquarters: Minnesota, USA

Industry: Retail, consumer goods

Founded: 2014

Activities: Acceleration, investments, incubation

The Target Accelerator Program is a retail think-tank aimed at supporting early-stage startups working on innovative retail and consumer solutions. It offers two different program categories:

  • Target Forward Founders for early-stage CPG companies looking to enter retail
  • Target Takeoff for mature CPG companies looking to scale

Participants benefit from mentorship, technical assistance, and business development opportunities, including introductions to potential customers and partners. Here’s how it works:

Aside from the benefits mentioned above, chosen startups also benefit from access to Target's resources and expertise, as well as opportunities to pilot and scale solutions within Target stores and digital platforms.

STANLEY+Techstars Accelerator by Stanley Black & Decker

Managing Director: Laila Partridge

Headquarters: Maryland, USA

Industry: Tech, electrification 

Founded: 2018

Activities: Acceleration, investments

As the name suggests, the STANLEY+Techstars Accelerator is a collaborative initiative between Stanley Black & Decker and Techstars. The program is devoted to championing early-stage startups, pushing the boundaries in areas like advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence (AI), automation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and electrification.

The program lasts a total of 13 weeks, during which participants are immersed in a world of mentorship, workshops, funding, and a plethora of resources, all designed to catapult their startups to new heights. The accelerator boasts over 20 graduates that have reached unicorn status, an impressive roster of over 5,500 active accelerator mentors, and a staggering cumulative market cap exceeding $96 B.

Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator

Head of LIFT Labs and Startup Engagement: Laura Plunkett

Headquarters: Pennsylvania, USA

Industry: Media, entertainment, connectivity

Founded: 2018

Activities: Acceleration, Investments, Incubation

The Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator is a six-week program for startups looking to forge partnerships with industry giants like Comcast NBCUniversal. Unlike traditional startup accelerators, this program does not involve the issuance of equity to Comcast in exchange for participation.

Catering to startups ranging from pre-seed to enterprise-ready – the LIFT Labs Accelerator focuses on helping them strengthen their relationships with Comcast NBCUniversal's business divisions. Chosen startups are granted open access to an extensive network of mentors, businesses, and corporate partners, empowering them to cultivate potential commercial deals and flourish within their respective sectors.

Microsoft for Startups GrowthX Accelerator by Microsoft

Managing Director at Microsoft for Startups: Lauren Perkins

Headquarters: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Industry: B2B tech

Founded: 2019

Activities: Acceleration

The Microsoft GrowthX Accelerator is a 10-week virtual program designed to support the growth of B2B tech startups in the Middle East, Turkey, and Pakistan. The accelerator is part of Microsoft for Startups Middle East and has been launched in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) to boost the growth of B2B tech startups in these regions. Participants gain access to Microsoft's ecosystem of customers and partners, with support across four pillars:

The program targets growth-stage startups, ranging from Seed to Series A stages, with a focus on enterprise sales readiness and technical readiness for scale.

Sephora Accelerate by Sephora

Headquarters: California, USA

Industry: Beauty

Founded: 2016

Activities: Acceleration, incubation

Originally launched to support founders in the beauty industry, Sephora Accelerate was relaunched in early 2021 with a renewed focus on supporting brand founders of colour. The change was part of Sephora's broader commitment to promoting equity and diversity - making the beauty industry “representative of the colours, races, and ethnicities that make up the Americas.”

The six-month program offers a comprehensive curriculum, mentorship, merchandising support, potential funding, and connections to investors for all participants. After completing the program, participants have the opportunity to launch their brands at Sephora. 

Final thoughts

These 10 corporate accelerator examples represent some of the most successful and innovative companies in the world - barring Sephora, they’re all part of the Forbes 2000 list. While the main principle is basically the same, each of these companies has adapted the acceleration strategy to their unique assets, industry, growth goals and resources with stellar results.   

We hope these examples help to illustrate all the different ways you can leverage the acceleration strategy to fuel innovation and entrepreneurship in your own business. For more inspiring examples, be sure to check out our new report: 50 corporate accelerator examples. It’s packed with valuable insights that explain how some of today’s leading corporations are using acceleration to boost growth and dominate their industries.

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