Startup Accelerator2024-07-12T10:42:27-04:00

At RIoT, we are passionate about fostering innovation and empowering startups  that disrupt the status quo and drive the future of IoT, AI, and Data technology.

The RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) is a 12-week high-touch program designed to connect you with an industry consortium of more than 90 companies across the IoT technology stack to provide you with the resources, mentorship, and connections you need to scale your business and achieve your vision.

Thank you for your interest in the RIoT Accelerator Program! Applications for the current cohort are closed. However, we encourage you to click the link below to sign up and be the first to hear when we open our next round of applications!

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The RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) facilitates a variety of entrepreneurial processes– from research commercialization to startup growth to corporate innovation projects. There is an opportunity for industry to seed the accelerator with market-driven problems. If you are part of a research commercialization or corporate innovation team motivated to solve through entrepreneurial partnerships or internal startup teams, contact us.

  • Connect with industry partners and customers

  • Leverage an engineering prototyping lab and tools

  • Access an IoT ecosystem of government, academic and industry collaborators

From 2014-2017, RIoT supported 40 companies that went on to collectively raise over $275M and create more than 400 jobs in NC. Recognizing the opportunity to leverage this momentum, the EDA awarded RIoT an economic development grant to launch a formal accelerator program in 2018.

See the launch story

Who Should


Since its inception, RIoT has supported dozens of startups–many of which may not look like classic IoT companies. RAP seeks innovative ideas from companies and entrepreneurs that recognize the the opportunity to leverage the data economy.

Three paths into the program:

  • Apply as an early stage startup
  • Apply as a corporate team to leverage the program to facilitate an innovative new product offering and network in a creative environment outside of your corporate structure.
  • New team formation around industry-driven projects: RIoT helps source talent for sponsored innovation projects. Connect with us if you’re interested in seeding a project into RAP or joining a RAP team as a complementary technical or business applicant.

RAP is stage and industry agnostic. Whether you are a startup, a motivated entrepreneur onto your next idea, or a part of a company interested in starting a project in an environment independent of the company structure, please apply. Strong applications demonstrate a market demand, ideal timing, and early validation or traction.

Team Requirements

Team size requirement: 2 full time preferred, 1 full time minimum.

Must be available to participate full time through the 3-month program. Content is a mix of on-site workshop programming and mentorship and dedicated time to work on your company.

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How many teams does RIoT accept into the program?2022-08-05T16:11:40-04:00

We typically accept 6-10 startup teams in each cohort, and usually have a mix of early-stage entrepreneurs, growth-stage startups, and corporate innovation teams.

What kind of corporate project scope is well suited to leverage RAP?2022-08-05T16:12:08-04:00

Corporate teams interested in participating in RAP should be exploring an innovation project that represents an unmet market need or an entirely new product offering. Interested corporate participants should connect with RIoT early and often to assess fit with RAP and determine priority needs to address before entering the program. RAP is a great tool for corporate to “act like a startup” in a creative environment, receive ongoing innovation “project management” and strategy advising, and expand their network of partners. 

What kinds of startups are best suited for RAP?2022-08-05T16:13:07-04:00

RAP is open to all industries and a range of development stages. In past programs we have supported tech startups in public safety, environmental monitoring, healthcare, manufacturing,  consumer products, two-sided marketplaces, and more. While we will work with teams at an idea stage, our sweet spot is startups that have at least validated a proof of concept and are beginning to attract and pilot with early customers (but are typically pre-revenue). We aim to support teams who are well positioned to leverage the program curriculum and network. 

What does a typical week during the program look like?2022-08-05T16:15:09-04:00

Typically, you will participate in two 90-min workshops and 2-3 mentoring sessions each week during the program. The weekly time commitment is about 8 hours– of working ON the business, not just IN it. We keep programming to a consistent schedule (usually concentrated on Wednesdays and Thursdays) so your week is predictable and ample time is open for executing on your business.

If accepted to RAP, do I need to participate on location?2022-08-05T16:15:23-04:00

We work with startups from all over the world. Most cohorts operate out of an anchor location (currently in either the Triangle region of NC, Eastern NC, or Northern VA), but are offered in a hybrid format.

We believe in the power of face-time, so we bring cohorts together in-person on certain days or weeks of the program, but also offer virtual programming. The exact hybrid schedule may look different cohort to cohort– don’t hesitate to reach out to the RIoT team to determine which upcoming program best fits your needs. 

I don’t live in NC or VA. Can I still apply?2022-08-05T16:15:33-04:00

Absolutely! We welcome teams and applications from around the globe.

What makes for a strong application into RAP?2022-08-05T16:16:36-04:00

We most closely assess the strength of the team (Do you have industry experience and expertise? Do you have a well-rounded team with necessary skills covered? Is there a compelling case that you are the right team to solve this particular problem? Do you have a track record for executing successfully?), problem/solution fit (How have you narrowly defined the problem you’re solving? What traction points can you indicate that your solution is the right approach?), and the business case (Do you know the market you’re entering into? Is it the solution right for the target market? Do you have a clear path to revenue that is well informed by research, customer discovery, and testing– or at least a thoughtful plan for how you will go to market?). 

What if I don’t think my team or product is quite ready for an accelerator program?2022-08-05T16:16:50-04:00

Apply anyway to get connected with us! An application is a great way for RIoT to get to know you, which allows us to connect you to people and resources (regardless of program acceptance). If the timing and fit are not right for the near-term, an application is a low-commitment and worthwhile exercise. At a minimum, an application serves as a data point for future applications you may submit. Repeat applicants that show progress are strong contenders.


RIoT Accelerator Program Alumni