It can be a tricky task for startups to raise funding.
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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 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
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:
|33entrepreneurs||Bordeaux, France||€ 15,000||Tailored schedule||Rolling basis|
|Accelerace||København, Denmark||Mentoring, coaching & access to investors||6-8 Months||Rolling basis|
|Axel Springer Plug and Play||Berlin,
|€ 25,000 for 5% equity||3 Months||Accepting applications early 2018|
|13 Weeks||Rolling basis|
|Bethnal Green Ventures||London,
|£ 20,000 for 6% equity||3 Months||Summer 2018|
|DCU Ryan Academy||Dublin,
|Mentoring, coaching & access to clients||10-12 Weeks||Summer 2018|
|£ 150,000||6 Months||Rolling basis|
|£ 40,000 –
|£ 15,000 + monthly allowance for 8% equity||6 Months||July 31, 2018|
|$ 25,000||3 Months||Will reopen soon|
|The Birdhouse||Gent & Antwerp, Belgium||Mentoring, coaching & access to investors||6 Months||Rolling basis|
|€ 20,000||3 Months||Rolling basis|
|Lisbon Challenge||Lisbon, Portugal||€ 10,000 for 1.5% equity||10 Weeks||Rolling basis|
|$ 250,000||3 Months||April 2, 2018|
|MassChallenge||Switzerland||Mentoring & coaching||4 Months||Will reopen soon|
|Mentoring & coaching||up to 6 Months||Rolling basis|
|NDRC LaunchPad||Dublin, Ireland||up to
|12 to 24 Weeks||Rolling basis|
|€ 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
|3 Months||Will reopen soon|
|Rockstart Accelerator (Artificial Intelligence Program)||‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands||€ 20,000||6 Months||Will reopen soon|
|Rockstart Accelerator (Digital Health)||Nijmegen, The Netherlands||€ 20,000||6 Months||Will reopen soon|
|Rockstart Accelerator (Smart Energy Program)||Amsterdam, The Netherlands||€ 20,000||6 Months||Will reopen soon|
|Rockstart Accelerator (Web/Mobile Program)||Amsterdam, The Netherlands||€ 15,000||5 Months||Will reopen soon|
|SeedRocket||Barcelona, Spain||€ 150,000||3 Months||March 12, 2018|
|Startup Reykjavik||Reykjavik, Iceland||$ 23,500||10 Weeks||April 8, 2018|
|Startup Sauna||Helsinki, Finland||Mentoring & coaching||7 Weeks||Will re-open soon|
|Startup Wise Guys||Tallinn,
|€ 30,000||12 Weeks||January 31, 2018|
|Startupbootcamp Smart City Amsterdam||Amsterdam, The Netherlands||€ 15,000 for 8% equity||3 Months||April 16, 2018|
|€ 15,000 for 8% equity||3 Months||Will reopen soon|
|Startupbootcamp Internet of Things and Big Data Barcelona||Barcelona, Spain||€ 15,000 for 8% equity||3 Months||Will reopen soon|
|Startupbootcamp HighTechXL Eindhoven||Eindhoven, The Netherlands||€ 15,000 for 8% equity||3 Months||February 12, 2018|
|Startupbootcamp Singapore (FinTech)||Singapore||€ 15,000 for 8% equity||3 Months||Will reopen soon|
|Startupbootcamp Insurance London||London,
|€ 15,000 for 8% equity||3 Months||Will reopen soon|
|StartupHighway||Vilnius, Lithuania||€ 25,000||13 Weeks||Rolling basis|
|$ 20,000 for 6% equity + $100,000 convertible note||3 Months||April 8, 2018|
|Yunus Social Business Accelerator||Tirana,
|4 Months||Rolling basis|
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.