It can be a tricky task for startups to raise funding. According to the research conducted by CB insights, funding (or running out of funds) is the second reason why startups fail. Luckily, there are more emerging startup initiatives in Europe that aim to promote entrepreneurship and nurture more successful company founders on the continent. One of such initiatives is called a startup accelerator program.
What is a startup accelerator program?
A startup accelerator program is an intensive business and personal development program which supports a small team of founders, usually with a business idea of their own. The support comes in a form of mentorship, affordable office spaces, and some starting capital. In a nutshell, a program consists of the following core elements:
- An application process that is open to all, yet highly competitive.
- A provision of pre-seed investment, normally in exchange for a single-digit equity.
- A focus on small teams, not individual founders.
- Time-limited support comprising programmed events and intensive mentoring.
- A final – “A demo day” – when startups pitch their ideas to raise first big funding.
At the same time, it is important to realize that startup accelerators are ultimately investment management companies. They look for the most promising companies at the very early stage and then invest into them. While they expecting companies to raise the next rounds of funding and ultimately (and hopefully) make an exit with companies’ acquisition or IPO.
Best startup accelerator programs in Europe
Note: We keep this list updated, so check IT back to learn about new programs and deadlines.
In order to save time, you would want to know what the best startup accelerator programs in Europe are. StartupFactories has made a list of Europe-based startup accelerator programs, and AlphaGamma revised the list a bit to keep all the latest and relevant updates and deadlines in one table. Here are the best startup accelerator programs in Europe:
|Programme||Location||Investment amount||Length of programme||Next application deadline|
|33entrepreneurs||Bordeaux, France||€ 15,000||3 Months||November 15, 2016|
|Axel Springer Plug and Play||Berlin, Germany||€ 25,000||3 Months||July 19, 2016|
|Barclays Accelerator||London, United Kingdom||up to $ 100,000||15 Weeks||October 14, 2015|
|BBC Worldwide LABS||London, United Kingdom||Mentoring & coaching||6 Months||Will be reopening applications soon for the 2016 cohort|
|Bethnal Green Ventures||London, United Kingdom||£ 15,000||3 Months||June 13, 2016|
|ChallengeUp!||EMEAR||Mentoring, coaching & client introductions||4 Months||March 22, 2016|
|Distill Ventures||London, United Kingdom||£ 150,000||6 Months||Rolling basis|
|Dotforge Accelerator||Sheffield, United Kingdom||£ 15,000||13 Weeks||Rolling basis|
|Emerge Education 2017||London, United Kingdom||£ 15,000||3 Months||Rolling basis|
|Entrepreneur First||London, United Kingdom||£ 17,500||12 Months||Rolling basis|
|GameFounders||Tallinn, Estonia||€ 15,000||3 Months||Rolling basis|
|H-Camp (H-Farm Seed Ventures)||Roncade, Italy||€ 20,000||3 Months||July 15, 2016|
|Healthbox||London, United Kingdom||$ 50,000||16 Weeks||Rolling basis|
|Idealabs||Antwerp, Belgium||€ 25,000||3 Months||August 15, 2015|
|Indiebio||Cork, Ireland||€ 50,000||3 Months||March 7, 2016|
|LAUNCHub||Sofia, Bulgaria||€ 30,000||6 Months||September 15, 2015|
|Microsoft Accelerator||Berlin, Germany||Mentoring & coaching||3 Months||July 3, 2016|
|NDRC LaunchPad Spring 2016||Dublin, Ireland||€ 20,000||12 Weeks||June 24, 2016|
|Nextstars||Paris, France||€ 10,000||4 Months||Rolling basis|
|Openfund||Athens, Greece||€ 20,000||6 Months||Rolling basis|
|Oxygen Accelerator||Birmingham, United Kingdom||€ 21,000||13 Weeks||Fall, 2015|
|Propeller Venture Accelerator 6.0||Dublin, Ireland||€ 30,000||5 Months||Will open soon|
|ProSienbenSat.1Accelerator||Munich, Germany||€ 25,000||3 Months||August 28, 2016|
|Rockstart Accelerator (Smart Energy Program)||Amsterdam, Netherlands||€ 20,000||6 Months||Will reopen soon|
|Rockstart Accelerator (Web/Mobile Program)||Amsterdam, Netherlands||€ 15,000||12 Weeks||Will reopen soon|
|Seedcamp||London, United Kingdom||€ 50,000||12 Months||Open for 2016|
|SeedRocket||Barcelona, Spain||€ 150,000||3 Months||April 15, 2016|
|Startup Reykjavik||Reykjavik, Iceland||$ 16,000||10 Weeks||March 31, 2016|
|Startup Sauna||Helsinki, Finland||Mentoring & coaching||5 Weeks||Beginning of May 2016|
|Startup Wise Guys||Tallinn, Estonia||€ 30,000||12 Weeks||Rolling basis|
|Startupbootcamp Smart City Amsterdam||Amsterdam, Netherlands||€ 15,000||3 Months||February 5, 2016|
|Startupbootcamp Berlin||Berlin, Germany||€ 15,000||3 Months||June 1, 2016|
|Startupbootcamp Internet of Things and Big Data Barcelona||Barcelona, Spain||€ 15,000||3 Months||October 16, 2015|
|Startupbootcamp HighTechXL Eindhoven||Eindhoven, Netherlands||€ 15,000||3 Months||December 31, 2015|
|Startupbootcamp Mobility Copenhagen||Copenhagen, Denmark||€ 15,000||3 Months||Rolling basis|
|Startupbootcamp Singapore (FinTech)||Singapore, Singapore||€ 15,000||3 Months||February 7, 2016|
|Startupbootcamp Istanbul||Istanbul, Turkey||€ 15,000||3 Months||May 29, 2016|
|Startupbootcamp Insurance London||London, UK||€ 15,000||3 Months||October 17, 2016|
|StartupHighway||Vilnius, Lithuania||€25,000||13 Weeks||Open for applications in 2016|
|Techstars London||London, United Kingdom||€ 15,000||3 Months||Rolling bases|
|Yunus Social Business Albania Accelerator||Tirana, Albania||€ 1,000||4 Months||Rolling Basis|
What is the difference between startup accelerator and business incubator?
It is easy to get lost in various startup definitions which intuitively are synonymous, but in fact they are not. The following definitions will help you navigate in the startup universe and to see which programs are applicable to you.
An office location which provides desks, office space and facilities (infrastructure) at a significantly reduced or low rate to startups and growth businesses. As a rule of thumb, you can expect to get standard business amenities which conditions vary from the very basic to somewhat exquisite. Workspaces can be offered at a separate location or as part of a wider network (e.g., startup accelerator or business incubator). Desks are charged at a monthly fee or discounted for an advance payment.
Events run over 48 to 72 hours intended to create new startup teams who are actively engaged in developing a business idea under a strict time limit. Participants can either be individuals with no initial connections, or existing teams joining to fast track their ideas. Events vary whether they accept or invite people to join with existing ideas, or if teams are expected to come up with something new right on the spot. Normally there is a small participation fee, with no liability to continue with a team or idea after the weekend.
Profit-driven programs that accept open applications to attend classes (or ‘cohorts’) of new companies run by small founding teams. The initial ideas are expected to be already developed by the founders. The programs assist by providing seed capital, guidance and events for a limited period – generally 3 to 4 months – in return for equity (in between 5-10%). The newly established companies “graduate” at the end of the program by receiving the first serious investment from investors, usually after pitching their ideas at a ‘demo day’.
Programs that are backing successfully developing businesses by offering assets and services, which are by a group of expert directors and staff, who are supported by their network of contacts. There are two types of incubators: either where the idea is developed within the Incubator and then the external team runs it; or as a complete workspace setting, where participants can come up with their own ideas. In the first case, the Incubator asks for a stake in the company to provide their resources, whereas in the second case entrepreneurs might be asked to pay monthly fees to utilize the resources of the Incubator.
The floor is yours…
Have you participated in any of these programs? Or maybe you have joined others that are not listed here? Let us hear your thoughts in the comment section below. If you also stumbled across startup definitions which are not mentioned here, let us know.