The D.C. area is home to a number of great startup accelerators that can really make a difference for young companies. The right program can provide the resources and advice that entrepreneurs need to transform what may be a great idea into a viable product and thriving startup. Check out a few of the newer and vertical-specific accelerator programs in the D.C. area that you should keep an eye on in 2016.
Bunker Labs - Bunker Labs DC in Alexandria just finished its very first 21-week program, with a new cohort set to start in February. Its program is aimed at military veteran entrepreneurs with early-stage startups looking to take the next step for their company. Bunker Labs doesn't take any equity as it is a non-profit supported by local businesses, but the program costs $1,500. The office used for companies in the accelerator program is also a co-working space for startups that Bunker Labs deems compatible with the startups in the accelerator. Ray Crowell, the director of Bunker Labs DC, said he plans to spend 2016 connecting the accelerator to the larger tech and startup community, "fitting into the fabric" of the D.C. tech scene.
Relevant Health - A new, Rockville, Md.-based accelerator, Relevant is focused on early-stage health tech startups. In particular, helping them deal with the often incredibly complicated regulatory rules and regulations surrounding biotech, health data and related topics. The growing mobile-enabled health apps and wearable tech makes these kinds of startups seem like a smart bet for the investors, who take an eight percent stake in each company. The cohort members get $50,000 when they start the five-month program.
GP Tech Labs - Launched by Gardner Prescott Technology Ventures, GP Tech Labs started in 2014 but didn't start taking applications for its inaugural accelerator cohort until earlier this year. The accelerator invests in the tech and e-commerce startups chosen for its approximately year-long program when they are accepted, paying for any equity and offering free space to work only for the promise of a future discount on investing in future rounds.
Halcyon Incubator - Halcyon's program is for social entrepreneurs, who spend five months in residency and then an optional seven months they can use the space as headquarters during the larger, 18-month program. That residency includes a $10,000 stipend in addition to free office and housing space and programs to accelerate the startups. The program is supported by big name corporations like Deloitte, Sucampo, Capital One and WeWork, which offers reduced rates for Halcyon companies during the last six months of the program. That sponsorship means that Halcyon chooses not to take any equity in the companies it picks for the program.