VCs are in search of the next Airbnb

Competition ignites as accelerators woo the best startups in the city.

Winning a place at one of New York City's elite startup accelerators is like getting accepted to Harvard or Yale—and many entrepreneurs go all-out to secure what can be a powerful calling card. But, with startup hubs multiplying, even the most prestigious facilities now must work overtime to lure prized applicants.

Recruiting has become a way of life for Alex Iskold, managing director of Techstars NYC, which is part of a prestigious national accelerator program. He regularly attends meetups for young firms and monitors the media for mentions of startups, sometimes using an algorithm the accelerator has developed to search for intriguing candidates. He also travels globally to find prospects and recently met with 70 startups in France.

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