Less than two months from launching its New York program, TechStars co-founder David Cohen is already anticipating a critical mass being achieved in the startup-mentoring space within the next five years.
Cohen said that when he and two friends first launched TechStars in Boulder, Colorado four years ago there were just a handful of these accelerator programs. Now he said there are upwards of 60 across the country and he expects that to triple before the bubble bursts.
"There will be a run up to a couple hundred and then we’ll probably see a run down to 10 would be my guess over the next five years," said Cohen, who has expanded TechStars to Boston and Seattle in recent years and has invested in more than 70 startups since launching the program. "There will certainly be a little mini accelerator bubble."
Cohen likened the current craze to the late-90's trend of venture capital firms launching in-house incubator programs, essentially aimed at producing more companies for them to invest in. He added a key difference is that the current wave is being propelled less by VCs and more by organized angel investors, which he believes is better for entrepreneurs.
"We’re going to collect people that are strong entrepreneurs to mentor these companies," he said. "So it’s really a kind of a new phenomenon."