In the fast-paced and competitive world of entrepreneurship, having the proper support and guidance can make all the difference. One prominent player in the venture capital landscape that has consistently provided both capital and expertise to entrepreneurs is Accel. 

With a history spanning several decades and a portfolio that includes some of the most successful tech companies, Accel has proven itself a trusted partner for startups. 

In this blog, we will explore the valuable lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Accel and how their partnership can catalyze success.

Plus, stick around to find out how we can help YOU launch a million dollar brand of your own… for free.

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What is Accel?

Accel, also known as Accel Partners, is a prominent venture capital firm based in Palo Alto, California. It was founded in 1983 and has become one of the most successful and influential venture capital firms in the technology industry.

Accel primarily focuses on early-stage investments in technology startups across various sectors. They include software, internet services, consumer technology, cybersecurity, and healthcare. The firm has a global presence and invests in companies at different stages of growth, from seed and early-stage startups to more established businesses.

Accel has an impressive track record of successful investments in well-known companies. Among them are Facebook, Slack, Dropbox, Atlassian, Spotify, Flipkart, and many others. The firm provides financial support, strategic guidance, and operational expertise to its portfolio companies. It helps them accelerate their growth and maximize their potential.

Who founded Accel?

Arthur Patterson and Jim Swartz founded Accel. They established the firm in 1983 to provide capital and support to early-stage technology companies. Arthur Patterson was the General Partner of Adler & Company, and Jim Swartz had experience as an entrepreneur and consultant. Together, they created Accel Partners and laid the foundation for its successful journey in the venture capital industry.

What is its origin story?

The origin story of Accel Partners began in 1983 when Arthur Patterson and Jim Swartz founded the firm. The two partners shared a common vision of supporting early-stage technology companies by providing them with capital and expertise.

Accel gained early success with investments in notable companies such as Macromedia, UUNET, and RealNetworks. These early wins helped establish Accel's reputation as a reliable and knowledgeable investor in the technology space.

In subsequent years, Accel continued to make successful investments in companies that would become industry leaders. One of their most famous investments was in Facebook in 2005. That's when Accel became the first venture capital firm to invest in the social media platform. This investment was highly lucrative as Facebook grew exponentially in the following years.

Accel's success with Facebook and other notable investments, such as Slack, Dropbox, and Spotify, propelled the firm to the forefront of the venture capital industry. Today, Accel is recognized as a leading venture capital firm. It has a global presence and a strong portfolio of successful companies.

How was it funded?

Accel Partners is a venture capital firm that raises funds from various sources to invest in technology startups. Most VC firms raise funds through limited partners (LPs). 

When Accel raises a new fund, it typically reaches out to potential LPs. It presents its investment strategy, track record, and expected returns. LPs evaluate the firm's investment approach, the expertise of its partners, and the potential for generating attractive returns on their investments. If LPs find the opportunity compelling, they commit capital to the fund.

The committed capital from LPs forms the fund size, representing the pool of money Accel has available to invest in startups. The fund size can vary significantly from one fund to another. It depends on factors such as market conditions, Accel's reputation, and the investment strategy pursued.

What is its valuation?

Accel has raised a total of $18.3 billion across 33 funds, the most recent of which is Accel Growth Fund VI. On June 29, 2021, this fund raised $1.8 billion.

What made Accel grow?

They experienced significant growth and established itself as a leading venture capital firm due to several key factors:

  1. Successful Investments: Accel's ability to identify and invest in successful technology startups was crucial to its growth. The firm invested strategically in companies that became industry leaders, such as Facebook, Slack, Dropbox, and Spotify. These successful exits generated substantial returns for Accel and attracted attention from both entrepreneurs and limited partners.
  2. Sector Expertise: Accel's expertise in various technology sectors has been instrumental in its growth. The firm has developed deep knowledge and networks in software, internet services, consumer technology, cybersecurity, and healthcare. This expertise allows Accel to evaluate investment opportunities effectively and provide strategic guidance and operational support to its portfolio companies.
  3. Global Presence: Accel's global presence and network have contributed to its growth. The firm has expanded its operations beyond Silicon Valley. It established offices in other technology hubs, including London, Bangalore, Beijing, and Tokyo. This global footprint enables Accel to tap into diverse entrepreneurial talent and investment opportunities worldwide.

What lessons can entrepreneurs learn from this venture capital firm?

Entrepreneurs can learn several valuable lessons from Accel Partners, a successful venture capital firm:

  • Identify Emerging Opportunities: Accel's success stems from its ability to identify emerging opportunities and invest in disruptive technologies and startups. Entrepreneurs can learn to stay informed about emerging trends, market shifts, and technological advancements to identify untapped opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Build a Strong Network: Accel's extensive network of entrepreneurs, industry experts, and corporate partners has played a vital role in its growth. Entrepreneurs can learn the importance of building a solid network that provides access to resources, expertise, mentorship, and potential business partnerships.
  • Seek Value-add Investors: Their hands-on approach and value-added support to portfolio companies have been highly beneficial. Seeking investors who provide financial support and bring strategic guidance, operational expertise, and a network of connections has helped Accel grow.
  • Establish a Strong Track Record: Their successful investments have contributed to its reputation and the trust it has built with entrepreneurs and investors. Learn the significance of building a solid track record of execution, delivering results, and achieving milestones to attract investor interest.


What is the Accel venture capital fund?

Accel manages multiple investment funds as a venture capital firm rather than a single "Accel venture capital fund." These funds are typically raised from limited partners (LPs) and used to invest in technology startups.

Accel's investment funds have varying sizes, strategies, and geographic focuses. The firm raises new funds periodically, and each fund operates independently with its capital and investment team.

For example, Accel has raised funds such as Accel XII, Accel London V, Accel India V, etc. Each fund targets specific markets or stages of investment. These funds allow Accel to focus on different regions, sectors, or locations of startups to align with their investment thesis and strategies.

What are the benefits of working with Accel?

Accel, offers startups access to capital, strategic guidance, operational expertise, a vast network, credibility, and follow-on funding. Their support fuels growth, helps refine strategies, optimizes operations, opens doors to partnerships, enhances reputation, and provides ongoing financial support.

What expertise does Accel offer to entrepreneurs?

Accel offers entrepreneurs a range of expertise and support, leveraging its deep industry knowledge and experience in the technology sector. Here are some areas of expertise that Accel can provide to entrepreneurs:

  1. Strategic Guidance
  2. Operational Support
  3. Network and Connections
  4. Fundraising and Investor Relations
  5. Scaling and Growth

What are the differentiators of Accel compared to other venture capital funds?

Accel has several differentiating factors that set it apart from other venture capital funds:

  • Track Record and Experience: Accel has a long and successful track record as a venture capital firm. With over 40 years of experience, Accel has been involved in early-stage investments in numerous highly successful companies, including Facebook, Slack, Dropbox, and Spotify. Its history of successful exits and significant returns on investment showcases its expertise in identifying and nurturing successful startups.
  • Sector Expertise: Accel has developed deep sector expertise in various technology domains. That includes software, internet services, consumer technology, cybersecurity, and healthcare. The firm's partners and investment team possess in-depth knowledge of these sectors. This enables them to identify promising startups, evaluate investment opportunities, and provide valuable insights and guidance to portfolio companies.
  • Long-Term Partnership Approach: They emphasize building long-term partnerships with entrepreneurs. The firm's investment philosophy centers around providing support throughout different stages of a startup's growth journey. Their commitment to follow-on funding and willingness to support portfolio companies beyond the initial investment round contribute to its reputation as a reliable and supportive partner.

Are there any tools provided by Accel to help entrepreneurs?

Accel provides various resources and tools to help entrepreneurs in their startup journey. The specific tools may vary based on the needs of each portfolio company. Here are some standard resources and support that Accel offers:

  1. Operational Support: Accel offers operational resources and expertise to help startups optimize their operations and scale efficiently. They provide access to active partners and industry advisors who can provide guidance and best practices in product development, go-to-market strategies, sales and marketing, talent acquisition, and more.
  2. Talent Network: Accel has a network of experienced professionals and executives that portfolio companies can access. This talent network can help entrepreneurs connect with potential hires for critical positions within their startups.
  3. Market Insights: They offer market insights and intelligence to its portfolio companies. This can include access to research reports, industry trends, and market analysis. Their partners and investment professionals can guide market dynamics, emerging trends, and competitive landscapes.
  4. Founder Events and Workshops: They organize events, workshops, and knowledge-sharing sessions for founders within its portfolio.
  5. Investor and Customer Introductions: They leverage their network to facilitate introductions between portfolio companies and potential investors, strategic partners, and customers.
  6. Ecosystem Connections: They help entrepreneurs connect with other players in the startup ecosystem, such as accelerators, incubators, service providers, and industry associations.

Where is Accel located?

Accel has multiple office locations to support its global operations. The firm has a presence in various key technology hubs around the world. 

  1. Menlo Park, California, USA (Silicon Valley)
  2. London, United Kingdom
  3. Bangalore, India
  4. Beijing, China

What type of investments does Accel make?

It primarily focuses on making investments in early-stage and growth-stage technology companies. The firm seeks to identify innovative and disruptive startups with high growth potential. Their specific investment criteria and strategies may vary over time. Here are some common types of investments it typically makes:

  1. Seed and Early-Stage Investments
  2. Growth and Expansion Investments
  3. Sector and Theme Focus
  4. Global Investments
  5. Follow-on Investments


With its vast experience, global reach, and deep sector expertise, Accel offers valuable lessons for entrepreneurs embarking on their startup journey. 

The firm's strategic guidance, operational support, and extensive network can provide startups with the necessary resources and connections to navigate challenges and seize growth opportunities. 

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