The 32 Best Resources for Startups [2021 Guide]

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Whether it’s you or your startup that’s new to the Bay Area, it can be difficult to know where to turn to take your new business forward.

To simplify your search for the tools you need to save time and grow your business, we’ve compiled this guide to resources for startups in San Francisco.

Inside, you’ll find:

  • The best startup events and meetups for upskilling, networking, and more
  • The area’s top startup programs and accelerators
  • Tools and apps to save you time and help you focus on growth
  • A built-in filter to find resources best for your startup’s stage
  • Partners of Runway Innovation Hub

Table of Contents

Resources for Startups in San Francisco

Launching and growing a business is no easy endeavor. Beyond the million-dollar idea that got you started, there’s no shortage of things to worry about as a founder.

You need to learn new information that keeps you ahead of the curve. You need to connect with the right people to find guidance, support, and foster new ideas, not to mention fund your business. Plus, you need to discover the right tools to save you time to focus on everything else that matters.

It’s complicated. But there’s plenty of reason to remain calm. In a startup scene as sprawling and dynamic as San Francisco’s, you’ll find what you need—if you know where to look.

No matter where your business is at in its journey from idea to exit-stage, there are plenty of startup resources to turn to. We’ve curated the list below to cover off those items we know will be top-of-mind for all Bay Area founders.

Use the handy filters to narrow your search based on your own priorities.

Resource


Seed Stage


Startup Programs and Accelerators

In the startup world, you can only make it so far on your own. These accelerators and programs for startups in San Francisco help founders make connections and move forward with their businesses—and do so fast. Explore these top programs to find an option that suits your startup’s stage and needs.

1) Runway Innovation Hub

Image source: http://www.runway.is/

What It Is: Started in 2013 as an incubator and acceleration space for startups, Runway has since become a nexus for not just startups but innovators and investors. With membership in Runway’s coworking space, founders will find much more than just a place to work. Located in the Financial District, Runway offers a wide range of events, including workshops, crash courses, expert panels, and community activities.

Beyond coworking, Runway regularly offers both independent and corporate-sponsored accelerator programs, introducing startups to its global network that includes some of the world’s most innovative companies.

Who It’s Best For: Seed-stage tech startups of all stages

Website: https://www.runway.is/

2) 500 Startups

 

Image source: https://500.co/accelerators/san-francisco

What It Is: Established in 2010 in Silicon Valley as an accelerator program, 500 Startups now offers a bevy of services to both startups and investors. With a network of programs that cover the globe, there is still something special about the company’s flagship San Francisco Accelerator.

The Downtown-based seed-stage accelerator accepts applications year-round on a rolling basis for its 4-month-long program. Founders whose businesses make the grade can receive a $150,000 investment and a full program that’s focused on growth and scaling.

Who It’s Best For: Seed-stage startups

Website: https://500.co/accelerators/san-francisco

 

3) Alchemist Accelerator

 

Image source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/20/alchemist-accelerator-europe/

What It Is: Focusing specifically on seed-stage ventures that monetize from enterprises, Alchemist’s 6-month program aims to provide founders with investment and a structured path to traction, customers, and fundraising.

Founders will be quickly plugged into the accelerator’s network of over 3,000 faculty and mentors, 5,500 investors, and a number of large enterprises looking to engage with promising technical startups. Specialized tracks in Industrial IoT, FinTech/Cybersecurity, Climate Tech, Digital Health, and Diversity are available for applicants.

Who It’s Best For: Seed-stage startups developing products and services for enterprise customers

Website: https://www.alchemistaccelerator.com/program

4) Band of Angels

 

Image source: https://www.bandangels.com/

What It Is: Founded back in 1994, Band of Angels was the very first high-tech angel investment group in the US. Today, the group of over 165 investors hosts weekly member events and monthly deal pitches.

Founders of seed-stage startups may apply to present at these monthly events, which continue virtually during the pandemic. Those that are selected for investment receive significant investment as well as access to a range of mentoring options.

Who It’s Best For: Seed-stage startups

Website: https://www.bandangels.com/

 

5) Founder Institute San Francisco

 

Image source: https://fi.co/

What It Is: The Founder Institute (FI) uniquely positions itself as an accelerator program for pre-seed ventures. Solo-founders, small teams, and young companies without significant funding, traction, or revenue are encouraged to apply.

Founded in 2009, the model of FI’s 4-month program is similarly unique. Program alumni, mentors, and others involved in the program cohort contribute 4% in warrants to establish an “Equity Collective,” which creates an atmosphere of shared investment, support, and teamwork around participants.

Who It’s Best For: Pre-seed startups

Website: https://fi.co/

 

6) Lemnos

 

Image source: https://lemnos.vc/

What It Is: Founded in 2011, Lemnos is a venture capital fund only directing its investments to pre-seed and seed-stage hardware startups. The fund focuses on engineering, manufacturing, and financial capital while giving founders access to a global network of mentors, partners, and engineering experts.

Who It’s Best For: Pre-seed and seed-stage startups

Website: https://lemnos.vc/

7) Women’s Startup Lab

 

Image source: https://womenstartuplab.com/about-us/

What It Is: Silicon Valley-based Women’s Startup Lab has offered a unique accelerator program for women entrepreneurs since 2013.

The Women’s Startup Lab experience is kept small by design, giving its cohort members a special degree of intimacy and personal attention. Group sessions over two intense opening weeks help hone business skills and build toward a pitch showcase. Founders who attend the Lab will join a growing network of alumnae and advisors that includes a number of Silicon Valley and VC luminaries.

Who It’s Best For: Pre-seed and seed-stage startups

Website: https://womenstartuplab.com/

Events and Meetups

8) General Assembly Workshops and Events

 

Image source: https://generalassemb.ly/locations/san-francisco

What It Is: Famed for its pioneering coding bootcamps and accessible coursework, the New York-based school has established itself as a go-to for startup education on the West Coast. Explore upcoming events to find both weeks-long intensives as well as one-off workshops and events. Founders can brush up on design and digital marketing or mingle with other thought-leaders at mixers held in GA’s sunny Financial District space.

Who It’s Best For: Pre-seed and seed-stage startups

Websites:

 

9) Girls in Tech San Francisco

 

Image source: https://www.meetup.com/GITSANFRAN/photos/31023366/

What It Is: Girls in Tech boasts a growing global network of over 70,000 people that empowers and engages young women in tech. The organization’s San Francisco chapter offers founders the opportunity to join a diverse community that includes everyone from beginners to industry veterans. Local events offer opportunities to network or find a new hire. Regular bootcamps and ongoing mentorship programs give founders chances to expand their skill sets and find support.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Websites:

 

10) PitchForce

Image source: https://www.peopleconnectstaffing.com/new-page-2

What It Is: Produced by the folks at PeopleConnect (see below), PitchForce gives seed-stage and post-seed startups a chance to gain exposure to top-notch investors, get important feedback, and potentially secure funding.

Currently held virtually, startups accepted to present give their best elevator pitches at events held regularly. Those with top-rated pitches then have an opportunity to more fully pitch their businesses and field high-caliber panelists’ questions and feedback. Winners frequently follow up with further meetings with panelists and investors.

Who It’s Best For: Seed- and growth-stage startups

Website: https://www.pitch-force.com/

11) SF New Tech

 

Image source: https://sfnewtech.com/

What It Is: Founded back in 2006, SF New Tech is among the longest-running and largest tech event series in the Bay Area. Hosting regular meetups and events, SF New Tech brings together people from all corners of the Bay Area tech scene. Startups are regularly given the chance to demo their ideas and technology to an audience that includes VCs, journalists, developers, and other entrepreneurs from the area.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://sfnewtech.com/

 

12) Silicon Valley Forum

Image source: https://siliconvalleyforum.com/startup-program/

What It Is: Operating since 1983, Bay Area veterans Silicon Valley Forum connect and educate entrepreneurs through closed-session roundtables and public forums.

These engaging events include the annual Women in Tech Festival and Visionary Awards, as well as regular pitch events and more. Silicon Valley Forum also creates custom educational and training programs that are tailor-made based on specific startup needs. Educators and mentors in these programs help founders develop a unique roadmap for success.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://siliconvalleyforum.com/

13) Silicon Valley Startup Incubation and Acceleration (SVSIAA)

 

Image source: https://www.meetup.com/svsiaa/photos/7757282/

What It Is: This Bay Area non-profit keeps busy organizing a full slate of networking sessions, seminars, workshops, coaching and mentoring programs. In partnership with incubators and investors, SVSIAA puts on events that provide a range of resources for San Francisco and Bay Area startups.

Monthly networking events help startups network to find cofounders, key contributors, and funding. Meanwhile, a diverse set of training opportunities help entrepreneurs develop their skills in everything from business basics to applied ML.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Websites:

 

14) Startup Grind Silicon Valley & San Francisco

 

Image source: https://www.startupgrind.com/

What It Is: Startup Grind is a global community for entrepreneurs with a presence in more than 85 countries. But it all started with this Bay Area chapter. Join other startup founders facing similar issues at the group’s monthly open meetings. Find support and exchange ideas with colleagues in the Bay Area startup community, and meet others from around the world at SG’s annual global conference that’s also held in the Valley.

SG’s Startup Program offers exclusive access to networking resources, mentoring, and special offers on solutions from Oracle, Zendesk, and more.

Who It’s Best For: Pre-seed and seed-stage startups

Websites:

 

15) TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco

 

Image source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/04/and-the-winner-of-startup-battlefield-at-disrupt-sf-2019-is-render/

What It Is: Despite its annual events held around the globe, TechCrunch Disrupt’s annual San Francisco edition is a can’t-miss conference for Bay Area startups and founders.

More than just a great opportunity for networking, this packed weekend typically features a 24-hour hackathon and an onstage Startup Battlefield competition, where startups founders from around the world vie for a $100,000 prize. In addition to thousands of attendees, Disrupt also features speakers and panels that offer insights on the latest trends and innovations.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://techcrunch.com/events/tc-disrupt-2021/

Startup Services

As your startup grows, you will have a range of new concerns to stay on top of. These next resources provide unique services to help you manage growing (or moving) pains in the San Francisco area.

16) PeopleConnect Staffing

Image source: https://www.peopleconnectstaffing.com/

What It Is: While there are a range of digital solutions available to today’s startups, sometimes staffing requires a human touch. PeopleConnect has established its reputation in the Bay Area as a specialist in startup hiring.

Innovative startups and early-stage ventures can turn to PeopleConnect for a range of hiring services. Whether your startup needs to staff up whole teams or find equity-only and interim candidates, PeopleConnect offers a range of flexible options.

Who It’s Best For: Seed- and growth-stage startups

Website: https://www.peopleconnectstaffing.com/

17) Startup Legal Garage at UC Hastings College of the Law

 

Image source: https://www.startuplegalgarage.org/

What It Is: Some startups might forgo important legal services due to their high costs. For Bay Area startups, UC Hastings’ Startup Legal Garage makes the calculation simple. Since 2009, the Startup Legal Garage has provided legal services to startups of all stages and sizes completely free of charge.

Startups are paired with accomplished supervising attorneys from top firms and a pair of law students. Through the Garage, founders can get insights and support as they navigate the patent landscape, contracts, privacy policies, and much more.

Who It’s Best For: Seed- and growth-stage startups

Website: https://www.startuplegalgarage.org/

18) Startup Embassy

 

Image source: https://www.startupembassy.com/#portfolio

What It Is: If you’re bringing your startup to the Bay Area from overseas, you will face a range of unique hurdles. Startup Embassy in Palo Alto aims to provide a soft landing for international entrepreneurs.

Startup founders can apply to live in this shared entrepreneurial residence with other like-minded change-makers. Startup Embassy provides living and co-working space for up to 6 months within a community that’s intent on collaboration. Residents also gain useful access to Startup Embassy’s far-flung community of Ambassadors, who have moved on from their time at the house.

Who It’s Best For: Pre-seed startups

Website: https://www.startupembassy.com/

Tools and Apps for Startups

Funding and Networking Tools for Startups

Use these networking and funding resources for startups to make connections and secure the resources your startup needs.

19) CrunchBase

 

Image source: https://www.crunchbase.com/

What It IsIf you have a company, you should have a Crunchbase profile—it’s as simple as that. As the leading destination for people looking for information on businesses of all sizes, you will want to have a well-developed presence on Crunchbase. 

Of course, the site is much more than a brand awareness tool. Founders can use Crunchbase to search for funders who have invested in businesses like theirs and make an initial connection. It’s also a useful tool for monitoring the activity of other businesses in your space.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://www.crunchbase.com/

Pricing:

  • Crunchbase Basic: Free
  • Crunchbase Starter: $29/month
  • Crunchbase Pro: $49/month
  • Crunchbase Enterprise: Custom pricing

20) Foundersuite

 

Image source: https://foundersuite.com/

What It Is: The Foundersuite platform looks to bring structure, speed, and efficiency to fundraising and startup-investor relations. Foundersuite offers entrepreneurs a suite of tools to manage their investor funnel from end to end: Founders can search the proprietary database of over 21,000 VC funds, create newsletters to share updates with existing investors and prospects, and host and share their pitch decks online.

Who It’s Best For: Pre-seed, seed-stage, and growth-stage startups

Website: https://foundersuite.com/

Pricing:

  • Basic: Free
  • Silver: $44 per month
  • Gold: $62 per month

21) Gust

 

Image source: https://gust.com/

What It Is: The Gust gives founders the tools to optimize their new and early-stage startups for investment and growth. Gust Launch helps founders incorporate their business, adopt bylaws, and take other steps to ensure that their startup is investor-friendly. Meanwhile, established startups can use additional tools that support hiring, searching for funding, apply for investment, track progress, and obtain legal counsel.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://gust.com/

Pricing:

  • Start: $300 per year
  • Accelerate: $1,000 per year
  • Raise: $3,000 per year

 

22) Pitchbook

 

Image source: https://pitchbook.com/

What It Is: Founders (as well as Runway members) can turn to this extensive database of VC, private equity, and M&A data to curate and compare lists of investors. Filters help startups find the right match based on their location, industry, and stage. Meanwhile, competitive intelligence and research tools help founders fine-tune their pitches and business plans. 

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://pitchbook.com/

Pricing:

  • Start: $300 per year
  • Accelerate: $1,000 per year
  • Raise: $3,000 per year

Marketing and CRM Tools for Startups

Make sure that your business is seen—and that you know what those who are seeing you think—with these marketing resources for startups.

23) Google Marketing Platform

 

Image source: https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/partners/become-a-partner/

What It Is: No matter how established your web presence is, the free tools in the Google Marketing Platform can help you define—or just better understand—your startup’s marketing strategy. Google Analytics and Tag Manager give you the tools to understand how customers are interacting with your brand, while Optimize enables you to test and improve new experiences. Learn even more from customers with Surveys, and tell stories with your data using Data Studio.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/

Pricing: Free

24) Amplitude

 

Image source: https://amplitude.com/

What It IsFor startups offering digital product experiences, Amplitude’s analytics and data management offerings can help you take your product optimization game to the next level. With just a free Starter account, you can track up to 10 million actions per month with unlimited data retention. Premium accounts add increasingly advanced features including predictive analytics, automated insights, and more to help you build better products and experiences.

Founders can apply for the Amplitude Startup Scholarship, which awards one free year of access.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://amplitude.com/

Pricing:

  • Starter: Free
  • Growth: Unavailable
  • Enterprise: Unavailable

25) Mention

 

Image source: https://mention.com/en/press/

What It Is: To track the way that your brand is being talked about, look no further than Mention. This platform offers monitoring tools that help your brand make sense of conversations across the web and social media. Posting tools also make it easier to draft, schedule, and manage your own social posts.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://mention.com/

Pricing:

  • Free plans available
  • Solo: $29 per month
  • Pro: $99 per month
  • ProPlus: $199 per month

Staffing and HR Tools for Startups

Adding to your growing team is one of the most important things you will do as a startup. Explore these options that make the process of finding talent and staffing up as simple as it can be.

26) AngelList

 

Image source: https://angel.co/

What It Is: Once described as “Match.com for investors and startups,” AngelList is an essential resource for virtually any startup. As the world’s largest startup community, AngelList connects startups with both potential investors and job-seekers.

Startups who establish a profile on AngelList can target potential investors by searching the platform’s extensive database. Plus, the AngelList Recruit suite now offers founders a variety of solutions to find, attract, and track talent as they build their teams. 

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://angel.co/

Pricing:

  • AngelList Recruit:
  • Starter account: Free
  • Pro account: $250 per user, per month
  • Team account: Custom pricing

27) Sourcing.io

 

Image source: https://sourcing.io/

What It Is: Many startups, of course, are only as good as their software. Founders on the hunt for software engineers can use Sourcing.io to discover top talent. The platform’s database of engineers contains millions of potential candidates and gives startups the tools to browse, filter, and find the perfect hire for their needs.

Who It’s Best For: Seed- and growth-stage startups

Website: https://sourcing.io/

Pricing:

  • Monthly: $199 per seat
  • Annual: $1,599 per seat
  • Custom pricing is available for companies hiring multiple seats

28) Workable

 

Image source: https://www.workable.com/press

What It Is: The Workable platform simplifies startups’ hiring process, giving them tools to speed up a range of tedious tasks: posting to job boards, managing candidates, scheduling interviews, and streamlining approvals.

The easy-to-use software helps founders manage their entire recruiting pipeline, making it a great choice for those looking to make their first hires, as well as those trying to hire at scale.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://www.workable.com/

Pricing:

  • Paygo self-serve solution: $99 per mont

News and Information for San Francisco Startups

Whether it’s tech trends or news on VC activities, staying on top of the region’s startup news can help you make informed decisions on the future of your business. Keep your eyes peeled to these publications and newsletters to make sure you stay in the know.

29) SFGate Tech Section

 

Image source: https://www.sfgate.com/

What It Is: Though it covers the wide world of tech, there is no better place to catch the latest news breaks out of the Valley and the Bay Area than SFGate. The web publication’s Tech section features stories on market movers, controversies, big mergers and acquisitions, and more. Stay tuned to the Tech section page to keep your finger on the pulse of the Bay Area’s tech and startup scene.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://www.sfgate.com/

 

30) Calacanis.com

 

Image source: https://calacanis.com/

What It Is:  Influential angel investor, entrepreneur, and host of the This Week in Startups podcast, Jason Calacanis, maintains a long-running, insightful blog at Calacanis.com. Readers will find everything from Calacanis’s roving thoughts on the day’s issues to important updates on events and happenings in the Bay Area and beyond.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://calacanis.com/

 

31) Techstars Startup Digest

 

Image source: https://education.startupdigest.com/

What It Is: Accelerator giant Techstars offers founders a unique way to keep tabs on local startup events and resources. Bay Area entrepreneurs can have startup-scene updates delivered straight to their inbox by subscribing to the Silicon Valley-SF Bay Area newsletter. Likewise, a wide array of industry- and region-specific Digests are made available for free.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://education.startupdigest.com/

32) Vator News

 

Image source: https://www.carrumhealth.com/healthcare-payments-platform-carrum-health-raises-6-5m-2/vatornews-logo/

What It Is:  Founded by former MarketWatch columnist Bambi Francisco in 2007, Vator is a great source for startup and innovation news. Daily funding roundups deliver the latest investment info in one convenient place. Meanwhile, ongoing podcasts and in-depth articles help introduce founders to important influencers and others in the wider community.

Who It’s Best For: Startups of all stages

Website: https://vator.tv/

Conclusion and recap

As the founder of a startup, sometimes it can be easy to feel as though you’re on your own. What this list of resources makes clear, however, is that you never really are. 

We hope you’ve discovered something new about the sprawling startup community in San Francisco—and that it serves your startup well on the road ahead.