Flashstarts takes the basic software startup accelerator model and adds several unique enhancements.

The typical startup accelerator accepts 12 two-to-four person teams, gives about $25k for 8% equity, and applies coaching, mentors and cycles of rapid iteration for 12 weeks (culminating in a public Demo Day).

Flashstarts is an optimized version of the startup accelerator. Here’s how we’re different:

Our co-founders are highly involved, dedicated coaches to each team in our program. They bring world-class backgrounds in retail, enterprise, and media software with multiple successful launches and exits.

Flashstarts accepts teams and solo entrepreneurs, because we believe there is no typical entrepreneur or founding team.

Our teams will benefit from our award-winning internship program. We provide a highly skilled group of 20 interns, who are selected from hundreds of applications by a dedicated recruiter and managed by dedicated staff. These interns assist our teams with software development, graphic design, marketing, public relations, and/or accounting.

Teams have access to our mentor network. Over 40 mentors, each an expert in their given field, are committed to helping our startup teams in the most efficient ways.

Startup teams in our accelerator program will follow rapid cycles of iteration and feedback, and continuous market validation, and receive resources tailored to their needs. We operate our program this way because we believe there is not one correct way to start a business.

We offer an opportunity for follow-on funding. After the initial 90-day program, the best teams (determined after 500 hours of hands-on due diligence) receive additional funding and continue in the program for another 9 months when the next annual cycle begins. This Darwinian approach acknowledges the inherent high failure rate and ensures that the best startups get the best chance to succeed.

We grow companies. Each summer, we swap $25k and a lot of support, mentoring, and services, for 8% equity with interesting software startup teams.

The (Short) History of Flashstarts

Flashstarts was founded Monday, October 15, 2012 by Charles Stack and Jennifer Neundorfer. Since then, we have run two successful summer accelerator programs. We completed our second session with a successful Demo Day on August 18, 2014.

We will soon be accepting applications for our third startup accelerator class, which will run in the summer of 2015. Visit our Teams Page to stay informed.

Meet our portfolio companies to-date.

Our progress from the moment of conception to today has been documented in our blog. All our steps and missteps are there for everyone to see – and learn from.

Why We Choose Cleveland

There has been a lot of buzz about Cleveland and its current renaissance.

Our Cleveland location is home to a world-class healthcare ecosystem with top 10 hospitals, 700+ health-related companies and institutions, 230,000 workers, and $1.3 billion in recent investment. A $465 million, 1 million-square-foot Global Center for Health Innovation just opened in summer of 2013.

Cleveland is not known as a high-tech hotbed like Silicon Valley or New York, but that comes with numerous advantages: high employee retention, low noise, low cost of living, four full seasons, and great housing options.

Learn more about our culture and Cleveland home.


We will soon be accepting applications for our third startup accelerator class, which will run in the summer of 2015. Visit our Teams Page to stay informed.

Flashstarts is looking for software startups who have unique, problem-solving ideas. While we review any team with any idea, our sweet spots include Enterprise IT (EIT) and Healthcare IT (HIT).

We have a highly iterative application process. Every team that applies to our program will be reviewed and receive feedback. Fill out our application form and we will provide you with prompt feedback. Digest the feedback and reapply, and we will give you more feedback. Rinse and repeat.

Worst case – we serve as your practice accelerator application. Best case – your startup will be accepted into the FlashStarts Summer Accelerator.

Want more reasons? See our Top Ten Reasons to Pick Flashstarts.

Learn about the Flashstarts-Entrepreneur relationship.


Flashstarts is a mentor-driven startup accelerator. Mentors provide teams with entrepreneurial advice, strategic direction, tactical assistance, emotional support, access to a network of contacts, and occasionally wisdom. Check out the current list.

If you are a seasoned entrepreneur, have founded your own startups, had some successful exits, and think you can help a new entrepreneur, please apply to become a mentor.


Each summer, Flashstarts operates an internship program in conjunction with its startup accelereator program. Our skilled summer interns provide assistance to the startup teams and will gain valuable experience.

For the past two years, we have found 20 interns who are diverse in talent and background. Our internship program also won an award in 2014. Meet our past interns.