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06 Dec 2019 Updated 29 Apr 2021

United States of America

An advisor, a mentor and more? How a US accelerator can put your tech startup on the fast track to Silicon Valley

Gain speed, support and opportunities in Silicon Valley and beyond.

In the not too distant future, shrimp meat grown from stem cells may find their way into your favourite dim sum dishes.

The company behind this ground-breaking technology is Shiok Meats, a Singapore-based food tech startup. Giving the venture a boost is Y Combinator, a startup accelerator in Silicon Valley which propelled it into the United State’s (US) startup ecosystem.

“Y Combinator (YC) helped us gain a lot of access to investors, partners, future hires, media, and other startups in the sector. Investors recognise us as a YC company and this helps us raise funds effectively. Shiok Meats was put on the global map due to YC and we highly recommend it for startups that are looking to expand their business and vision,” says Ms Sandhya Sriram, CEO and Co-founder of Shiok Meats.

If you own a tech startup, breaking into the US startup ecosystem with a US accelerator is an opportunity not to be missed.

An advisor a mentor and more How a US accelerator can put your tech startup on the fast track to Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley beckons

The US is regularly ranked the most entrepreneurial economy in the world1. According to data firm CB Insight, venture capital backed companies in the US raised nearly US$130 billion (S$172.5 billion) in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, setting a record.

Since 2012, the San Francisco Bay Area has consistently topped the charts of Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report and has produced the most number of unicorns in the world. As the gateway into the North American market, key sectors in the San Franciso Bay Area include fintech, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and analytics.

Home to tech giants Apple, Facebook and Google, the thriving ecosystem is brimming with investors, mentors, potential customers and business partners, and remains a magnet to tech startups all over the world. Not surprisingly, bringing their tech startup to the Silicon Valley is a dream for many startup founders.

Rev up your engine with startup accelerators

What then, is the role of a startup accelerator?

Among a myriad roles such as incubators, angel investors and venture capitalists, startup accelerators provide education, mentorship and financing to startups for a fixed period of time, and as part of a cohort of companies. The intensive and immersive experience compresses years worth of learning-by-doing into just a few months, which typically culminate in a “Demo Day”.

If you are looking for advice, networking and funding, joining a US accelerator programme is a way to fast-track your learning process and open doors into the US startup ecosystem.


In September 2019, Enterprise Singapore entered into a partnership with 500 Startups to run Global Launch, a Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) Acceleration Programme. The GIA is a network of Singapore and overseas partners in major innovation hubs and key demand markets, with a focus on technology and innovation.

500 Startups is one of the world’s leading global venture capital firms and has invested in more than 2,300 companies in over 75 countries. Their accelerator programmes have helped more than 600 startups globally.

As part of the San Francisco Launch Programme for Singapore-based startups, selected startups will take part in an 8-week virtual programme that includes workshops and masterclasses to devise a roadmap for entry into the US market, individual mentor guidance and access to virtual networking events with potential partners and customers. They also have the opportunity to take part in an optional 8-week in-market immersion to San Francisco.

If you are keen to find out how this programme supports your entrepreneurial journey into the Silicon Valley, email 500 Startups to sign up for the next Global Launch programme.

Apart from Enterprise Singapore’s tie-up with 500 Startups, there are other US accelerators programmes available in the market, which Singapore-based tech startups have joined:


Based in Boston, Learnlaunch is an education innovation hub and edtech startup accelerator with the aim to expand access to high-quality education for all learners. LearnLaunch runs accelerator programmes targeting both early stage startups and edtech companies with track record. Upon completion of the programme, your edtech startup will gain tools and forge relationships with mentors and venture partners to grow a successful venture.

CognaLearn is a local edtech startup that developed a team-based learning (TBL) software platform, used by educators from over 100 institutions around the world. They are the first in Asia to be selected for LearnLaunch’s five-week Breakthrough accelerator programme.

Y Combinator

Y Combinator runs a startup accelerator programme that requires startups to move to Silicon Valley for three months, during which Y Combinator works intensely with them to shape up the company and refine their pitch to investors. Each cycle culminates in Demo Day, when the startups present their companies to a carefully selected invite-only audience. Once inducted into the YC Alumni network, your startup can count on the support from the network for the life of your company.

The Y Combinator alumni includes Airbnb, Dropbox, and Singapore-based Shiok Meats.

Plug and Play

Plug and Play Tech Centre is an innovation platform that brings together startups and the world’s largest corporations. Each year, it runs more than 50 accelerator programmes which are industry themed – such as health, insurtech, new materials & packaging – to ensure startups and corporate partners make the most meaningful connections for their business. There is no equity required and the accelerator helps startups of all stages.

PlusMargin is a Singapore-based startup that has joined Plug and Play’s accelerator programme to advance its persuasion strategies using AI and behavioural psychology.


The Alchemist Accelerator is a six-month accelerator programme in the San Francisco Bay Area exclusively for startups whose revenue comes from enterprises, not consumers. The accelerator focuses on enterprise customer development, sales (direct and online), market validation, and a structured path to fundraising. A Demo Day is hosted towards the end of the programme for you to pitch to top funding sources.

Digify, a local startup which provides document security services, is an alumnus of the Alchemist Accelerator.

Whether 500 Startups, or other US accelerators, there is always a programme out there to match the needs of your tech startup. With their help, you could bring your startup journey into Silicon Valley and beyond, reaching a much wider pool of mentors, investors and customers.

1 According to the Global Entrepreneurship Index, which measures the health of entrepreneurship ecosystems across countries.