Ryan Kushner | The Accelerator Guy
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Let’s Accelerate This!

Author. Speaker. Accelerator Builder.


Hi, I'm Ryan!

Climate change is my issue (it's yours too...)
Accelerators are my trimtab
That’s why we need to accelerate This!


I love startups and the role they play in solving serious social and ecological problems.

Accelerators are one of the best tools I’ve found to help startups grow, and to connect money and meaning. Climate change is my issue and accelerators, incubators and prize programs are trimtab for positive change. I am the author of “Accelerate This! A Super Not Boring Guide To Startup Accelerators And Clean Energy Entrepreneurship", and leverage my experience and research to help design and run accelerator programs all over the world.

I had the pleasure to work at Elemental Excelerator, which awards companies with up to $1 million to improve systems that impact people’s lives: energy, water, agriculture, and transportation. EEx has awarded over $20 million to more than 50 companies, is funded by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Department of Energy, state government, and the Emerson Collective (the investment and philanthropic platform founded by Laurene Powell Jobs).

I also helped create Free Electrons, a first-of-its-kind utility accelerator program, along with Elemental Excelerator, the California Clean Energy Fund, Swissnex and electrical utilities from Singapore (Singapore Power Group), Japan (TEPCO), Germany (innogy), Ireland (ESB), Portugal (EDP), Australia (Origin Energy & AusNet Services), and Dubai (DEWA). The program builds bridges between best-in-class cleantech startups and utilities, leading to millions in pilots and investments.

I have an MBA from the Presidio Graduate School, have lectured at UC Berkeley about climate change strategy and communications, was an Echoing Green finalist, entrepreneur, mentor, and strategy teacher at two MBA programs in the Bay Area.

My highest purpose is to support my amazing wife, Amanda Joy Ravenhill, the Executive Director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute.



Ryan's Book

ACCELERATE THIS! A Super Not Boring Guide To Startup Accelerators And Clean Energy Entrepreneurship 

Soooo, what is an accelerator?! And should you do one to grow your business? What's an accelerator versus an incubator? How do you find a good one, get in, and make the most of it? If you're running a program, how can you do that more effectively?

Accelerate This! will cut through all the confusion so you can:
- Decide if you want to join a program
- Learn how to grow your idea into a business
- Create a program (or run yours better!)

Accelerate This! covers the whole shebang, tip to tail, inside out, and outside in. We've collected quotes, insights and best practices from the world's best programs (Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Techstars, Cleantech Open, Google/Alphabet X, The Buckminster Fuller Institute, XPrize, Elemental Excelerator, Free Electrons and a TON more), most interesting entrepreneurs (Justin Rosenstein, Casey Fenton, and more), gathered some of the most useful tools (Lean Startup, Four Steps To The Epiphany, and so on) and put it all together a super NOT boring format for you to learn, work smarter and create change.


The book is written by Ryan Kushner (The Accelerator Guru), and is full of anecdotes and perspectives from his experience working around the world, in various industries, and with hundreds of startups, corporate clients and accelerators, prizes and incubators.


Supported by New Energy Nexus (the global association of clean energy incubators and accelerators), The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the World Wildlife Fund, the book takes a deep dive into clean energy/cleantech entrepreneurship as a test case for what accelerators can (and can't) do.


Bonus! This is a carbon neutral/impact free book! We worked with CQuest Capital (www.cquestcapital.com), calculated the impact of each book, then offset that impact through their program installing improved cookstoves with families in rural Zambia, which reduces deforestation and indoor air pollution (which mainly effects women and children). Carbon offsets are the new hot hotness... get on it!


Did we mention it's not boring? Buy, enjoy, share, turn into paper airplanes and throw at your friends. Just get busy doing, creating and making positive change in the world. We need it –and we hope "Accelerate This!" gives you the kick in the pants you need.


Waaaabam! :)


"Ryan's book is a great read that is full of critical foundational concepts and nuances, mixed in with real world insights from his own front line experience and network. I work in and around this space and know when someone is exaggerating or "making it up". Ryan knows what he is talking about and learned a lot from the stable of contributors. Most importantly, even as a leading practitioner, Ryan maintains a level of humility that is both refreshing and important in understanding the opportunities and potential pitfalls. Kudos and appreciation to Ryan and the contributors for putting this together."
-    Matthew W. Burks


"The book is not only an extremely useful guidebook, but also asks critical questions like if accelerators are good for the economy and world. Kushner manages to keep a potentially dry topic fun all the way through tone and graphics without overdoing it. One thing I'd like to see more of is nonprofit, social enterprise, and cooperative accelerators. They do cover a few, like the Buckminster Fuller Institute, but there could be more. That said, this book is the best guide to the field I know of."

-    Neal Gorenflo, Co-Founder, Sharable


"I once worked on an advocacy campaign to get all the incubators and accelerators around the country to agree to get to a certain target of women-led businesses in their cohorts. What I found was frankly a hot mess, different interpretations of what is an accelerator versus an incubator and many different ideas about what makes them successful. I'm thrilled that someone who actually knows what he's talking about decided to document it and set us all straight. Awesome read for those of us in the proverbial trenches!"

-    Nathalie Molina, CEO, BRAVA Investments


"Accelerate this is a great guide for anyone who is either running an accelerator program or who is considering applying for an accelerator. This is a practical guide and the accelerator model canvas is a great framework for understanding the lens and focus of an accelerator program. In full disclosure - I was also very excited to contribute to this book from the perspective of building a global network of impact focused accelerators. Ryan did a fantastic job of sourcing insights and feedback from a wide range of leaders across the field."

-    Avary Kent, Executive Director, Conveners.org


"This book is chock-full of useful frameworks, tools, stories, tips and tricks for both entrepreneurs and accelerators alike. And it is super duper not boring. Kushner brings his witty playful voice to the pages, making this genuine info-tainment."

-    Amanda Ravenhill, Executive Director, Buckminster Fuller Institute


"This is a great book for an MBA student or even an undergrad. Kushner is a welcoming and an insightful guide and the book is presented beautifully — very accessible for the non-specialist but there is a lot here for the expert too."

-    Benjamin Orbach, Founder, The Ascendant Athlete




I work with accelerators, investors, academics and entrepreneurs all over the world, and would love to help accelerate your work. Consulting is one of the many ways that I create impact, improve systems and educate, so feel free to reach out. Typical activities include:

For Investors:

  • Strategy, insights, and analysis about cleantech, oceantech, blockchain, new protein/clean meat in various geographies

  • Strategies for engaging with innovation and accelerator ecosystems to optimize investments and impact

For Corporates:

For Governments:

For Entrepreneurs:

For Accelerators:


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