Recently the Kauffman Fellows (associated with the Kauffman Foundation) released a list of the top US accelerators (aka Incubators). This is the first year this list has been developed and therefore still very much a WIP.
There are positives and negatives from doing these ranked lists:
– Helps entrepreneurs find out the top quality programs quickly,
– Helps provide some common measurement guidelines in the operation and effectiveness of the programs,
– Many good programs do not get listed on the list thereby limiting the options for startups,
– The list and the producers take a life of themselves distracting from the work at hand: helping build great new companies.
Overall the list is a good starting point but definitely not an end-all for startups. Many of the top programs may actually not be good fits for many startups so the due diligence of company founders should go beyond this list.