It’s easier to start a new business with the support of experienced mentors and investment from their funds. To get assistance here start-ups can apply for time-limited programs of support from accelerators, and if win they usually get the conditions which allow creating a project that can enter the market and obtain investment. The budding entrepreneurs are provided with office, mentors and a small investment during 3-6 months.
At Altabel Group being focused on working with the Scandinavian companies, including start-ups, we’ve noticed that recently there has been increased interest and efforts to creating efficient environment and conditions for start-ups development. Local accelerators as one of the prerequisites for this are perhaps not so much mature as global leaders like Seedcamp, Y Combinator, Techstars, etc, still are worth considering since they focus on Nordic companies. To name a few: STING Accelerate, Startupbootcamp, which are rather large and well-know, and Startup Sauna, Nestholma Accelerator, that are smaller. Let’s talk about them a little bit more.
STING Accelerate (www.stockholminnovation.com)
Where: Stockholm, Sweden
Acceptance of applications: twice a year, 7-8 startups are selected in each session
Duration: 4 months
Statistics: over 200 startups funded, 45,000,000 SEK in total exits, over 535,000,000 SEK in total funding raised
Conditions of participation: investment of 250,000 SEK (roughly 29,600 USD) comes in the form of a convertible note that can be repaid in three years with 6% interest or converted into equity when the startup can issue shares valued at least 1 million SEK to new investors.
Founded in 2002, STING coaches Stockholm startups dealing with internet, media, cleantech and life sciences. It evaluates about 150 to 200 projects annually, but accepts about 20 to participate in its programs such as STING Accelerate and STING Excelerate, which is a less intensive acceleration program. STING Excelerate provides startups with a personal business coach who visits the company at least a half a day per week for 6-18 months to help the company grow.
The received investment at STING Accelerate will help startups to focus more on developing their product and less on raising funds. The program runs in the center of Stockholm at the co-working space SUP46, and selected companies are offered free office space there throughout the program.
Before STING used to accept only Swedish startups, but now it accepts international startups and offer housing in apartments (at self-cost).
Where: Copenhagen (Denmark) and others (Istanbul (Turkey), Haifa (Israel), London (UK), Amsterdam, Eindhoven (Netherlands), Berlin (Germany))
Acceptance of applications: several times during the year, 10 startup are selected
Duration: 3 months
Statistics: 9 accelerator programs, 130 companies funded, 2 exits, 20,209,661 USD in total funding raised
Conditions of participation: 15,000 EUR in financing for 8% equity.
Founded in 2010, Startupbootcamp created an international network from eight accelerators. Accelerator selects projects from different countries; startups should be able to move to one of the cities of the program. Each startup team will receive 15,000 EUR and other benefits in the amount of 450,000 EUR. Mentors and experts will work with projects during 3 months. In the end startups will be able to present themselves to funds and business angels.
Some programs accept applications from startups of any fields, the others – just from certain areas: media, transport, energy and others. Startupbootcamp accepts applications from startup teams and individual entrepreneurs as well.
In case you didn’t manage to meet deadlines in your home country in Scandinavia, or accelerators abroad seem to be more attractive and suitable for your startup idea, you are welcome to search for international accelerators across Europe or America for funding your startup business. There are few programs, which Altabel considers to be the most interesting ones on the international scene.
Where: London (United Kingdom)
Acceptance of applications: monthly, 2-3 startups are chosen
Duration: 1 week
Statistics: 118 startups funded, 7 exits, 17,000,000 USD in total exits, 131,189,940 USD in total funding raised
Conditions of participation: 50,000 EUR in financing for 8-10% equity.
The largest accelerator in Europe founded in 2007 in London by famous venture capitalist Reshma Sohoni with the support of the British venture capital funds. The company’s portfolio consists of more than a hundred startups from European countries.
Twenty selected startup teams undergo an extensive training during the week, and then present their ideas to investors. Two or three startups receive funding afterwards. In addition to investments in the amount of 50,000 EUR, startups receive a number of possibilities. They can attend a course Seedcamp Academy, during which they are expected to learn a successful way of bringing the project to the market. In addition, teams will be given the opportunity to work in the London office of Google Campus and visit the United States in the educational tour.
Le Camping (www.lecamping.org)
Where: Paris, France
Acceptance of applications: once a year, 12 startups are selected
Duration: 6 months
Statistics: 48 startups funded, 2 exits, 10,000,000 USD in total exits, 9,955,000 USD in total funding raised
Conditions of participation: up to 20,000 EUR in financing for 3% equity, 1,000 EUR – grant for international startups.
Le Camping is a program launched by Silicon Sentier, a well-known organization that brings together innovative companies and entrepreneurs in the web and mobility space. Open to all types of entrepreneurs: entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, non-profits; early-stage startups; international teams and exchange programs; late-stage startups. The Accelerator offers 6-month program with an acceleration phase followed by a special growth phase. 140 mentors will come together to support, advise, critique and ultimately position the startups to write their own success story.
The 12 selected startups will enter an intensive program in Numa – Parisian web entrepreneurship eco-system. 3 months of acceleration are given to go from an idea to demo, then 1 month to meet investors all around Europe. On a Demo Day, at the end of the first 3 months the startup teams will meet around 500 international investors. A financial grant offered by its partners 4,500 EUR is provided to each team participating in Le Camping, without any equity engagement in the startups.
Y Combinator (www.ycombinator.com)
Where: Mountain View, CA, USA
Acceptance of applications: twice a year, spring and autumn, 68 startups are selected in each session
Duration: 3 months: January- May, July-August
Statistics: 747 startups funded, 89 exits, 2,283,808,100 USD in total exits, 4,042,698,709 USD in total funding raised
Conditions of participation: 120,000 USD in financing for 7% equity.
The first accelerator in the USA, founded in 2005 by entrepreneur Paul Graham. During its existence Y Combinator has funded more than 700 startups. According to the founder’s comment, the average estimation of these startups is 22.4 million USD. Scribd, Dropbox and Airbnb – the largest and the most successful companies in Y Combinator’ portfolio.
Selected startup’ teams are invited to Silicon Valley for three months. The program consists of weekly lunches with experts, investors and other entrepreneurs. The course ends with Demo Day, where startups show their results.
Where: New York, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Boulder (USA), London (UK)
Acceptance of applications: once a year, 10 startups are selected in the chosen city
Duration: 3,5 months
Statistics: 19 accelerator programs, 502 companies funded, 44 exits, 176,000,000 USD in total exits, 1,148,300,000 USD in total funding raised
Conditions of participation: 18,000 USD in financing for 6% equity and also an opportunity to get a convertible loan in the amount of 51,000 – 100,000 USD.
Founded in 2007 by investors David Cohen and Brad Feld, Techstarts is considered to be the second popular after Y Combinator. Accepts applications from early-stage and late-stage startup’ teams consisting of at least two people. A team of experts works with startups for 3,5 months, and then Demo Day is arranged. The accelerator offers a space for work in each city, as well as additional services necessary for the operation of the company at the initial stage.
Choosing an accelerator depends entirely on your business needs and what you want out of the experience. Some accelerators have themes or focus on certain business sectors such as education, healthcare, or finance. Some are harder to get into as the most popular accelerators are bombarded with applications, making it difficult to get noticed in a sea of startups.
Is anybody planning to apply for one of the programs mentioned above? Have you/your company been through an accelerator? What advice would you give founders who are considering applying to one? That would be interesting to read the comments about real experience from participants, feel free to share your ideas about it.