The Quest for a Startup Incubator or Accelerator and Where to Begin (Part II)

We have discussed in a previous article about the differences between startup incubators and accelerators, together with some pieces of advice on how to adjust the opportunities that such a program can offer with a startup’s size, stage of development, timing and more.

In the following paragraphs we’ll talk about the ups and downs of opting for these two types of programs.

1. Incubator


  • It provides entrepreneurs with office space, administrative and support services
  • It grants companies access to a strong business network
  • It helps entrepreneurs improve in areas such as public speaking and strategic thinking
  • It offers assistance when it comes to financial and legal aspects of their business


  • It takes a small percent of the stock of the companies
  • It often implies working under pressure

    2. Accelerator


  • It grants you access to a community of mentors, investors and alumni and discounts to social events
  • It offers a clear structure while helping entrepreneurs stay focused
  • It invests capital in your company
  • It helps develop your marketing strategy and identify the right positioning for your products


  • It requires a small percent of the company equity in favor of their benefits
  • It will not give you any more support once the program is over.

And some of the world’s highly rated incubators and accelerators are…

From North America, here are some of the most famous startup incubators, as featured in Forbes Top 10 Startups.

Y Combinator provides seed funding for startups. Seed funding is the earliest stage of venture funding.

Twice a year they invest a small amount of money ($120K) in a large number of startups.

Some of the successful companies that went through Y Combinator include Reddit, Omgpop, Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, Weebly and Scribd.

Techstars is a global ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs build great businesses. In exchange for 6% common stock, each company accepted into Techstars receives $20.000, plus a $100.000 convertible note, access to the Techstars network, and a three-month support program.

500startups is a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator. They have raised over $1 billion funds.

Excelerate Labs is an intensive summer accelerator for startups driven by proven entrepreneurs and investors. In addition to the $25,000 that each startup gets in exchange for 6% in common stock, local venture firm New World Ventures has committed $50,000 to each Excelerate company.

Capital Factory is considered to be Austin’s center of gravity for entrepreneurs, because they introduce the best startups in Austin to potential investors, employees and customers. They have 69 investments in 58 companies and raised over $3 million funds.

On to the other side of the globe, in North-East to be precise, we find ourselves in London with Entrepreneur First. This is one of Europe’s leading pre-seed investment program for technical founders. They have created over 40 startups now worth over $250 million. Typically they invest from £16.600 to £19.900 in each startup. In exchange for this investment, they claim an 8% equity share.

Each of these incubators have succeeded in creating world business leaders because of their assets. Potential can be found in any idea, but it requires vision to create a positive impact.

Moving on to the next best accelerators, below is a list of the 2016 Top Accelerator Programs, as resulted in the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project research. We’ll start with North America.

The Brandery is a seed stage startup accelerator that leverages the expertise of the Cincinnati region, namely branding, marketing and design. The Brandery runs one, four-month accelerator program a year for 10-12 companies.

Capital Innovators is an accelerator program that provides tech startups with funding, resources, and connections. The program provides $50.000 in seed funding, project-based mentorship from a seasoned pool of knowledgeable entrepreneurs, networking, and funding opportunities over the course of 12 weeks.

DreamIT invest in early stage entrepreneurs at all levels to create breakthrough technology companies. The program culminates with a 2 week investor roadshow, during which startups access some of the world’s most active angels and VCs.

gener8tor is seeking to invest in high-growth businesses, including software, IT, web, SaaS, e-commerce and hardware. Twice a year they invest up to $140K in each of five startups who receive a concierge experience during a 12-week accelerator program.

Last, but not least, we find ourselves in London. MassChallenge is the world’s most startup-friendly accelerator & startup competition and the first to support high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs globally. MassChallenge organizes hundreds of events and training sessions during the four-month program, including a one-week bootcamp.

To sum up, these accelerators are not best because of their success, but because they knew what startup companies needed and so, they knew how to sell their creativity. We know what they do by knowing why they do it.

We have been inspired by some of the aforementioned programs to create Startup Avalanche for the first time at Techsylvania 2016 edition. 16 Romanian and international startups got the opportunity to present their products and pitch their product potential in order to get investment from some amazing VCs and investors and also win a trip to Silicon Valley.

Now we’re getting ready for an exciting 2017. Stay tuned!

Anna Maria RaduThe Quest for a Startup Incubator or Accelerator and Where to Begin (Part II)

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