Corporate accelerators are organizational devices designed to bring together innovative new ventures and startups with specialist knowledge and creativity with the experience and funding of established companies. The main goal for the use of an accelerator program by an established corporation is to open up the innovation process and actively profit from the innovative capacity of new ventures. However, until now there has been little empirical investigation of the characteristics of this particular model of “open innovation”. This paper outlines the key features of corporate accelerator programs and presents empirical data on their characteristics. The existing literature generally reflects positive results from this form of innovation but displays a lack of empirically and theoretically grounded research of how accelerator programs work. Using a standard, holistic taxonomy for programs, covering such components as strategy, resources, roles and structure, we analyzed and assessed data from stakeholders engaged in this approach to innovation in order to understand the expectations and reasoning behind these programs.