Accelerator Fest is…

a specialized event presented by BDC Capital, designed for those who run accelerator programs around the globe – directors, program managers and community managers. Take your accelerator to the next level through deep diving content and interactive round table discussions, in an environment where you can share, learn, and iterate your acceleration model to adapt to the current market realities.


  • Semyon Dukach

    Managing Director, Techstars Boston

    Julie Penner

    Director, Techstars Boulder

  • Todd Embley

    Program Director


    SOSV the Accelerator VC

    Selcuk Atli

    Venture Partner, 500 Startups

  • Mikele Brack

    Founding Partner,

    Urban Living Futures

    Molly Cain 

    Venture Partner, Sumo Ventures


    Sean O’Sullivan

    Founder & Managing Director, SOSV

    John Schnipkoweit

    Director, Community & Brand

    Global Accelerator Network

  • Matt Saunders


    Ryerson Futures and Zone Startups

    Henri Deshays

    VP Strategic Initiatives, StartX

  • Helge Seetzen

    General Partner, TandemLaunch

    Katie Chase – MC

    Head of Operations, 8Stem

  • Dan Herman

    Executive Director, DEEP Centre Inc.

    JF Gauthier

    COO, Compass

  • Sylvain Carle

    Partner, Real Ventures

    General Manager, FounderFuel

    Ilana Diamond

    Managing Director, Alphalab Gear

  • Isaac Souweine

    VP of Product, Flatbook


Time Session Title Description
10:00 AM Welcome!
10:10 AM Focusing on Founder Impact over BS Opening Keynote by Semyon Dukach
10:30 AM The state of the accelerator ecosystem "It's been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again, and expecting different results. The best accelerators know this, and focus on outcomes rather than activity. We kick off this session with a set of short talks offering a glimpse into how accelerators separate impact from activity—what they measure, how they adapt, and what they expect from each cohort. Then, we'll explore what's working and what isn't, looking at what needs to change for accelerators to be as effective as possible, listing concrete next steps and actionable suggestions that participants can explore further in today's round-table discussions. 1. how are accelerators evolving, what's working? 2. what gaps and challenges exist that accelerators still need to close? 3. what are the actionable recommendations to close those gaps and evolve? "
11:00 AM Roundtables TOPIC 1: The numbers that matter: Going from vanity to impact // TOPIC 2: Incubate and accelerate: Blending the stages // TOPIC 3: Reaching out: extending your network around the world
12:15 TO 1:15 PM LUNCH Thanks to TWG!
1:15 PM Accelerators: Going Further, Faster How do accelerators themselves get traction? For experienced entrepreneurs and financiers, helping individual startups go further and faster can be relatively straightforward. But how do these accelerator ecosystems themselves continue to thrive in a post-Brexit world? Sean O'Sullivan, founder and Managing Director of SOSV, "the accelerator VC", will discuss accelerators' roles in the success of startups; the importance of accelerators backed by funds; and the emergence of vertical accelerators as opposed to geographic accelerators.
1:45 PM Next-generation programming: Adapting models to achieve impact "The best accelerators run a tight ship, with engaged mentors, proven content, and clear milestones. Not only does this make better startups—it's what the best founders demand. Accelerator curricula have evolved, and now the basic twelve-weeks-then-pitch is just table stakes. So what are the new models? What's working, and what's not? Should you create your own, partner with a broad accelerator network, or double-down on your current approach?"
2:15 to 3:15 PM Choose your own adventure An unconference where you take the lead in deciding the content. We'll take the top four topics that you tell us you want to talk about and those will be featured in a birds of a feather type conversation format, where you can connect to the people you want to meet and have the conversations you want to have!
3:25 PM Does specialization drive impact? Heinlein once said "specialization is for insects." He favored generalists. But does his disdain hold up to scrutiny? Vertically focused accelerators can concentrate their efforts, advisors, and intellectual property in a specific industry—so on the one hand, they apply more force to a smaller area for greater effect. On the other hand, their fortunes wax and wane with the industry they target, so they're riskier than a generalized portfolio of companies. In this session, we'll look at whether focus leads to better outcomes, or to myopia.
4:15 PM Closing Remarks!
4:30 PM Special Chain Reaction Panel: The startup life cycle In this unique one-on-one interview format, we'll hear from a successful founder, an angel, an accelerator, and an LP—all interviewing one another to answer the big questions: What's it like, what have you learned, how can we all work together/collaborate, and what would you change?