Update: Article title was updated because of feedback in the HN thread. It was originally more linkbait-y with “The Next Big Consumer Application Is Most Likely Not Coming From An Accelerator”
What do Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Youtube, Tumblr, Instagram, Google, Spotify, Skype, Zynga all have in common?
Not a single one went through an accelerator program.
Granted some of them came about before accelerators became super popular.
Building a successful consumer app is difficult. It’s a bit of talent, a bit of luck, and a smidgen of timing. Some of the most successful consumer apps don’t come from accelerators because they typically happen by chance. You iterate and iterate and something just clicks with the way people interact with your product. And once you hit, you don’t need an accelerator. Ironically, an accelerator would slow you down.
I think the exception might be Y Combinator. Out of all the accelerators, YC probably has the best chance of producing a successful consumer app. Reddit, Dropbox, and Airbnb are examples of this. It may be how YC is set up. The accelerator’s duration is focused more on building your product, as opposed to scaling your product/business.
Bottom line: If you are trying to build the next killer consumer app, being in an accelerator is probably not the best route to take. I would stay independent, continue iterating, and try to do everything you can to make the luck, timing, and talent converge.