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It is a tricky task for startups to raise funding.

📝 Editor’s note: Make sure to bookmark this page to follow the latest startup accelerator programs deadlines as we keep updating the list.

Want to suggest a startup program? Fill in this contact form.

Luckily, there are more emerging startup initiatives in Europe that aim to promote entrepreneurship and nurture more successful company founders on the European continent.

According to the research conducted by CB insights, funding (or running out of funds) is the second most common reason why startups fail.

Thus, it is critical for startup founders to raise funds. How?

One of the proven ways to do so is by joining a startup accelerator program.

What are startup accelerator programs?

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 event – “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.

Yet, they expect companies to raise the next rounds of funding and ultimately (and hopefully) make an exit – either through companies’ acquisitions or IPOs (Initial Public Offering).

Best startup accelerator programs in Europe

Our team at AlphaGamma has compiled a list of the most prominent accelerator programs based in Europe to help you keep with the latest program deadlines in one place.

To save your time, we cleaned up the list a bit, added new programs and refreshed the deadlines.

Here are the best startup accelerator programs in Europe sorted in alphabetical order:

Program Location The offer Duration Upcoming deadline*
Accelerace København, Denmark Investments up to 500 000 DKK + corporate matchmaking 5 Months February 25, 2021
Antler Amsterdam Amsterdam, the Netherlands € 100,000 for 10% equity + monthly allowance for the duration of the program 6 Months Rolling basis
 Antler London London, UK £ 100,000 for 10% equity + monthly allowance for the duration of the program 6 Months Rolling basis
 Antler Oslo Oslo, Norway NOK 1M for 10% equity + monthly allowance for the duration of the program 6 Months Rolling basis
Antler Stockholm Stockholm, Swedem SEK 1M for 10% equity; monthly allowance of
€ 2,500
6 Months Rolling basis
APX Berlin,
Germany
€ 50,000 for 5% equity 3 Months Rolling basis
Barclays Accelerator London,
UK
up to
$ 120,000
13 Weeks Will reopen soon
Bethnal Green Ventures London,
UK
£ 30,000 for 7% equity 3 Months January 11, 2021
DCU Ryan Academy Dublin,
Ireland
Mentoring, coaching & access to clients 10-12 Weeks Will reopen soon
Distill Ventures London,
UK
£ 150,000 6 Months Rolling basis
Entrepreneur First London,
UK
£ 15,000 + monthly allowance for 8% equity 6 Months January 17, 2021
Birdhouse Gent & Antwerp, Belgium Mentoring, coaching & access to investors 6 Months Rolling basis
Microsoft Accelerator Berlin,
Germany
Mentoring & coaching up to 6 Months Rolling basis
NDRC Dublin, Ireland up to
€ 130,000
12 to 24 Weeks Will reopen soon
Nextstars Paris,
France
€ 10,000 4 Months Rolling basis
PANDO Ventures Frankfurt, Germany Mentoring, coaching & access to investors 12 Weeks Rolling basis
ProSienbenSat.1 Accelerator Berlin, Germany up to
€ 1.5M in advertising volumne
3 Months Rolling basis
Rockstart AgriFood Copenhagen, Denmark; Amsterdam, the Netherlands and online €100k convertible loan from the fund, €65k (i.e. net cash proceeds to your company of €35,000) 5 Months Rolling basis
Rockstart Energy Amsterdam, the Netherlands and online €100k convertible loan from the fund, €65k (i.e. net cash proceeds to your company of €35,000) 5 Months Rolling basis
SeedRocket Barcelona, Spain € 150,000 3 Months Will reopen soon
Startup Reykjavik Reykjavik, Iceland $ 23,500 10 Weeks March 27, 2021
Startup Wise Guys Tallinn,
Estonia
€ 30,000 12 Weeks Will reopen soon
Startupbootcamp Smart City Amsterdam Amsterdam, The Netherlands € 15,000 for 8% equity 3 Months Rolling basis
Startupbootcamp Smart Transportation & Energy Berlin Berlin,
Germany
€ 15,000 for 8% equity 3 Months Rolling basis
Startupbootcamp Internet of Things and Big Data Barcelona Barcelona, Spain € 15,000 for 8% equity 3 Months Rolling basis
Startupbootcamp Insurance London London,
UK
€ 15,000 for 8% equity 3 Months Rolling basis
Sting Accelerate Stockholm, Sweden € 30,000 5 months Rolling basis
Techstars London London,
UK
$ 20,000 for 6% equity + $100,000 convertible note 3 Months Will reopen soon
Techstars Starburst Space Virtual $ 20,000 for 6% equity + $100,000 convertible note 3 Months February 28, 2021
Yunus Social Business Accelerator Europe up to
€ 500,000
4 Months Rolling basis

* Deadlines are subject to change so make sure to check the official website for the latest updates

What is the difference between a startup accelerator and a 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 through the startup ecosystems and to see which programs are applicable to your current development stage.

Workspace

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.

Startup Weekends

These events take between 48 to 72 hours with the aim to create new startup teams who will then develop business ideas within the given time limit.

Participants can either be individuals with no initial connections, or existing teams joining to fast track their ideas.

Such events also have flexible agendas. Some accept or invite budding founders or active founders working on defined business ideas, and some encourage founders with no idea nor team to apply to come up with a new business idea right on the spot.

Normally there is a small participation fee, with no liability to continue with a team or idea after the weekend is over.

Startup Accelerator

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 founders. The programs assist with 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’.

Business Incubator

These are programs that are backing successfully developing businesses by offering assets and services, operated by a group of expert directors and staff, as well as the access incubators’ networks and contacts.

There are two types of incubators: where the idea is developed within an incubator and then an external team runs it; or, similarly to workspaces, incubator 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.

Have you participated in any of these startup accelerator programs before? Or maybe you have joined others that are not listed here? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Have a program to suggest? Let me know in the comments below or share it with us via the contact form.


For more business tips and startup opportunities, check our opportunities section and subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

49 COMMENTS

  1. Very useful information! I just have started to work on new project and looking for external financing for development and testing of the concept, product certification, etc. This really helps me to evaluate the available sources of financing and compare them in a single place. Good job!

  2. That is just what I am looking for! I am working on a mobile application with my team, so this will be of great use. Just one question: do those programs only work on an equity basis as you mentioned or do some of them provide capital in exchange for interest? Since we would like to keep total shares amongst our team members, we are more interested in receiving a loan for our startup.

  3. Selin Yuce You’re welcome! It really depends case by case: some accelerators and incubators are not as flexible as the others. However, if they spot a great opportunity, they will deviate from the standards, giving you more room for negotiation. Plus, when you have so many opportunities (=accelerator programs), you have some options on the table, too. 

    There’s going to be an article devoted to structuring deals, so check AlphaGamma more often. 🙂
    Have a good day!

  4. Wait what?  You call this the “best” startup accelerator programs in Europe yet you missed one of the top, if not the best, Microsoft Ventures Accelerator?  Honestly, this list looks like a compilation of any and all accelerators vs “the best” — the best would consist of maybe no more than 10 if you’re lucky, and of the 10 – Microsoft Ventures is in the top 3.

    Yeah I used to run Microsoft Ventures globally, but all bias aside, I would think that most of the people on your list would agree.  Microsoft is super entrepreneur friendly, they don’t expect you to buy anything, oh and they take no equity.  

    Update your list man.  Arthur Gopak.  Speak to some of the best people who run top accelerators in Europe, Andy McCartney (London), Roxanne Varza (Paris), and Marius Sewing (Berlin).   @MSFTVentures

  5. RahulSood Thank you for your insight, Rahul, and for dropping by at AlphaGamma! 🙂 I’ve just had a look at the Microsoft Ventures Program, and it looks interesting indeed. Just a quick question: does it also offer seed funding, and if yes, how much? 
    I sent this question to your (former) colleagues in a Berlin office today, will update this table once I get the info.
    Thanks, and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this. Wish you a great evening!

  6. It would have been interesting beside the investment what else you can expect. Also the equity they’ll take. Also as Rahul says, Microsoft Ventures is extremely interesting.

    But it’s still a good list. Would be also nice for other continents. 🙂

  7. Matthias Voigt Thanks a lot for the suggestions, we will expand on the table shortly. 🙂 
    Yes, we have plans for other continents, too — stay tuned for more! Have a great day!

  8. Italy’s most advanced acceleration programme is http://www.luissenlabs.com. the website is English only. We give €30k cash + €30k services. Programme is 5 months. We assign 3 advisors. We take 10% and 3% for the advisors. 2 batches per year. We are based in Rome. All details on our website. Mentoring, coaching, seminars. 50 events per year on premises. 2 months product validation, 2 months market validation 1 month revenue generation. Next call will be October 2015. Follow us on the website and socials.

  9. Happy to see our accelerator (FINODEX) is shown here. Just to let you all know we DO NOT take equity and offer free consulting services on top. We are part of a bigger programme called FIWARE Accelerate which is co-funded by the European Commission.

  10. Thrilled to see 33entrepreneurs is part of this ranking ! Thanks @alphagamma ! 
    We are the first accelerator worldwide in #foodtech #traveltech and #wine&spirits tech and a global VC fund. We invest in international start-ups. 
    Website : http://www.33entrepreneurs.net/
    Twitter : https://twitter.com/33entrepreneurs 
    Linkedin : https://goo.gl/BvcBYg
    Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/33entrepreneurs?fref=ts
    Check it out and don’t hesitate to send me a message (audrey@33entrepreneurs.co) if you want more info on us !

  11. […] Best startup accelerator programs in Europe | AlphaGamma. 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 nurture more successful entrepreneurs 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. 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. […]

  12. Great article, I like how you explained the startup scene.  I also wondered if you ever heard of the YEi Start in France accelerator program?

  13. Great list. Just wondering: are these the top accelerator programs, or is this meant to be an overview of what’s available in Europe? If the latter, you should consider adding the :agile accelerator from E.On http://eon-agile.com/

  14. Arthur Gopak Actually I’m not associated with the accelerator – just been at their event and met the people who run the program in Cork. They just had a demo day of the 2nd batch. If you’d like to learn more, you could contact https://twitter.com/onetruecathal

  15. Hi Arthur,
    I see you’ve missed Eleven 🙂 We are one of the most active accelerators in Europe with 107 companies so far http://11.me/. Our application window opens on September 1st.

  16. http://bornglobal.se/ in Sweden!
    Born Global is an accelerator program for ambitious Swedish startups that aspire to go global. The program will put ten startups through an intensive process of Customer Development and Business Prototyping in an effort to accelerate their identification of scalable business models. The methods used are developed by faculty at Stanford University and Chalmers in collaboration with entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and Sweden. The program has been running since 2012 accelerating 50+ startups.

  17. lln  Hello there, thanks a lot for dropping us a line! We would be glad to help you out. Could you please drop us a line to ? Wish you a pleasant day, and talk to you soon!

  18. romainamblard  Hello Romain, thanks again for leaving comment! I messaged you back but didn’t hear back from you. Let me know if you want to still discuss how we can help you. Cheers! Arthur

  19. CathrineAsklint  Hello Cathrine, thank you for sharing your thoughts. We would be glad to help you find companies for your program. Could you please drop us a line at ? Then we will take it from there. Cheers!

  20. Arthur Gopak Miguel Garcia Absolutely, FIWARE and EU accelerators rather go in a different article. And contact the startups which have gone through the programs always: research-article to better know the impact and opinions of the accelerators.

  21. Arthur Gopak Miguel Garcia Absolutely, FIWARE and EU accelerators rather go in a different article. And contact the startups which have gone through the programs always: research-article to better know the impact and opinions of the accelerators.

  22. Hi Arthur, where is the “BEST accelerator programs” coming from? What criteria is being used to get them shortlisted? Or is this just a growing list of all accelerators?
    Thanks!

  23. Hi Selin Yuce, For loans you can always go for a bank or F&F. Notice that in the case of EU there are EU-backed loans offered from some banks.  Google “EU financing instruments”. Out of all accelerator-calls out there, I think I have seen some which mentioned loans, but not any of the “best”. Still as Arthur Gopak says, you may have room for negotiation… but IMHO that is only if you are a top-notch, and by that I mean one of the former founders of an unicorn (in which case you wouldn’t need a lona 😉 ).

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