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Equinor & Techstars Energy Accelerator - Accelerator of the month
06 May 2021·5 min read

Magdalena Balcerzak

Manager, Vestbee

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - Equinor & Techstars Energy Accelerator

Located in Oslo, Norway, the Equinor + Techstars Energy Accelerator is a global startup accelerator that sources and accepts companies from all over the world. Its selection process is highly competitive and globally distributed, as the program receives applications from 40+ countries. The accelerator selects, funds and works with 10 startups focused on innovations in the energy sector each year. In its third year of operation, the combined market capitalization of the Equinor + Techstars Energy Accelerator portfolio is already significant exceeding $250M. Moreover, it offers an insight into an energy major (Equinor) that no other can match, which all startup founders strongly appreciate. 

Accelerator Strategy Overview 


Geography: Global
Preferred industries: Energy / Energy transition
Company stage: idea (pre-seed), launch (seed), early growth (pre-series A)
Product stage: concept, demo, MVP/beta, ready product
Product type: B2B
Revenues: Flexible


Duration: 3 months
Participation fee:  No
Equity Investment: 6% common stock for participating and $20k grant for founders. Also offering $100k as a convertible note to all companies
No of batches per year: 1/year
No of startups in a cohort: 10

Q&A with Audun Abelsnes, Managing Director

What are the 5 most important things you look for in a startup applying to your acceleration program?

Team, team and team one more time. After getting to know the team and its experience, potential and determination, we pay attention to startup traction and market potential.

What should startups take into account before applying to your acceleration program? 

Startups seeking to apply to our accelerator program need to consider what it takes to “break into an energy giant”. For example, our current class of 2021 is unlocking opportunities within oil and gas, and renewable/low-carbon solutions, such as Ecolectro which is solving the high cost of renewable hydrogen and Vortex Bladeless that harnesses wind energy without blades. This accelerator is amongst the most demanding in the world and we’re looking for startups who can help change the future of energy and provide solutions to the sector’s biggest problems. That’s why it's so important for startups to make sure they have a strong team around in order to maximize the value of the program.

Can you share some of the red flags that can disqualify a startup from joining your accelerator? 

Startups outside of the energy/energy transition space are not a good fit for the Techstars Energy. However, Techstars offers nearly 50 accelerators around the world that are focused on other industries, or industry agnostic, that may be a good fit for a startup in a different space.

What are the most valuable skills that selected startups can develop thanks to your program? 

Thanks to our acceleration program startup founders can get a deep understanding of how to position themselves and their company, personally and professionally, towards the world’s most admired, influential and challenging energy giants.

How does your accelerator support portfolio companies during and after the program? 

The Equinor & Techstars Energy Accelerator’s main goal is to help participating startups and entrepreneurs be successful. During the three-month program, we provide funding and fundraising opportunities, workshops, curated resources, the invaluable experience of working and learning alongside peers. We surround the companies with mentors from the Techstars, Equinor, Kongsberg and Capgemini networks and provide unparalleled access to energy giants, Equinor, and massive exposure to other large global energy companies.

When the three-month program has concluded, accelerator participants have access to the Techstars worldwide network and community of other startups, investors, corporate partners and mentors for life.

What are the best-performing companies in your portfolio?

We have in mind 5 startups that are definitely worth mentioning: 

Why, in your opinion, accelerators are becoming more popular nowadays?

I would argue that accelerators have been popular for a decade or so. Personally, I believe there are too many accelerators out there. Successful programs – where entrepreneurs reap true value - are hard to run successfully. Techstars has a proven model that’s helped build thousands of successful companies across the world for over 15 years. On average, our founders raise $1M post-program and our 2,500+ company portfolio is valued at a combined market cap of more than $207B.

What are the hottest markets you currently look at as an accelerator and where do you see the biggest hype? 

First of all, we look for startups that can help companies decarbonize. Decarbonization is the biggest investment opportunity of the decade. At the same time, with trillions of dollars flowing into this sector, we are concerned that bubbles will be created that ultimately hurt the whole climate-tech space.

Do you have any predictions about the key trends that will shape the European accelerator scene in the near future?

As previously mentioned, we believe there are too many accelerators out there and this will continue to shape the landscape. They all claim to offer value, but that simply is not true. Time is a founder’s worst enemy and most valuable resource at the same time. Startups considering joining an accelerator should make sure to do their homework to find the absolute best program for them. 

At Techstars, we’re always looking for new ways to support startup ecosystems across Europe and match the needs of the thriving community of entrepreneurs across the continent.


Related Posts: 

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - Huge Thing (by Magdalena Balcerzak, Manager, Vestbee)

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - EIT Digital Accelerator (by Magdalena Balcerzak, Manager, Vestbee)

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - ReaktorX (by Magdalena Balcerzak, Manager, Vestbee)


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