Accellerators and incubators:the 2010 European chart

  1. Seedcamp
  2. Startup Bootcamp Spain
  3. Startup Bootcamp Denmark
  4. Springboard
  5. Openfund
  6. NDCR Lanchpad
  7. Propeller Ventures
  8. Startup Bootcamp Ireland

This is what came up after one year of analysis both on the quantitative side and qualitative side of European incubators and accellerators. The chart is comparable to the US one, that was released a few weeks ago by Techcocktail (here the top 10 US):

  1. TechStars Boulder
  2. Y Combinator
  3. Excelerate Labs
  4. LaunchBox Digital
  5. TechStars Boston
  6. Kicklabs
  7. Techstars Seattle
  8. Tech Wildcutter
  9. Dreamit Ventures
  10. The Brandery

When we started discussing this project with Aziz Gilani was around one year ago. Incubators and accellerators where popping up in the US and Europe at such a rate, that we were seriously getting ‘bubble’ feelings. We started to count and found around 200 entities between the US and Europe that were somehow active, most of them just launched. While this is certainly great news for entrepreneurship at large, it looked to us more like a jungle, in which we wanted to provide some kind of guide to startups.

We wanted to build a map and a ranking that could help entrepreneurs while choosing where to apply. The model was built at the Venture Center of the Kellogg School of Management, NorthWestern University, with the precious help of Kelly Quann and with the support of Marco Ciccolini from the European side.

We decided to focus on some specific incubators:

–          they had to be for profit

–          with closed terms of less than one year

–          paid in equity and not in cash (which unfortunately excluded relevant entities such as Plug&Plan in Silicon Valley and Pier38 in San Francisco)

We wanted to look both at quantitative aspects (how many graduates, how many of them raised money with VCs, what stipend value, how much equity taken by the incubator, which terms) and qualitative ones byinterviewing VCs and program partecipants  to obtain their perspectives on programs, particularly to assess the quality of mentorship, startups and demo days).

Europe seems to be developing with a couple of years of delay compared to the US, as often happens in technology innovation. However there is a lot of activity right now and the chart really does not make justice of the European accellerators and incubators ecosystem. There are around 40incubators right now active in the old continent, many of them launched in the past twelve months. Europe innovation ecosystem is made of several islands, often loosely connected and is quite different from the US environmnet where venture capital is much more developed and present. Therefore European incubators and accellerators often operate with different variations of the model due to the different environments. Often have a no-profit model (The Different Engine in UK, LeCamping in France, AAlto in Finland and Techgarage in Italy are some good examples) others charge startups for their services.

Where will all of this lead? How much will it scale? What will work and how far can all of this be developed?

These are the next questions I intend to address with the further developments of the Accellerators and Incubators study. One thing is sure:YCombinator, Techstars and Seedcampare showing how this is can be a sustainable model and is filling a spot in the innovation food-chain.

Startups like like Dropbox (YCombinator, 2007), DailyBurn (Techstars, 2008), Heroku (Ycombinator, 2008), Reddit (Ycombinator 2005) and Posterous (YCombinator 2008) have also demonstrated that this model can certainly generate significant companies.

Put it in perspective and in a few years these startup factories could easily generate thousands of new startups every year.

More today @Nesta’s Startup Factories.

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