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It can be 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 revising them and adding new programs to the list.

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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.

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

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

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 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:

Programme Location Investment Duration Upcoming deadline
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,
Germany
€ 25,000 for 5% equity 3 Months Accepting applications early 2018
Barclays Accelerator London,
UK
up to
$ 120,000
13 Weeks Rolling basis
Bethnal Green Ventures London,
UK
£ 20,000 for 6% equity 3 Months Summer 2018
DCU Ryan Academy Dublin,
Ireland
Mentoring, coaching & access to clients 10-12 Weeks Summer 2018
Distill Ventures London,
UK
£ 150,000 6 Months Rolling basis
Emerge Education London,
UK
£ 40,000 –
£ 100,000
Unlimited Quarterly
Entrepreneur First London,
UK
£ 15,000 + monthly allowance for 8% equity 6 Months July 31, 2018
GameFounders Tallinn,
Estonia
$ 25,000 3 Months Will reopen soon
The Birdhouse Gent & Antwerp, Belgium Mentoring, coaching & access to investors 6 Months Rolling basis
H-FARM Roncade,
Italy
€ 20,000 3 Months Rolling basis
Lisbon Challenge Lisbon, Portugal € 10,000 for 1.5% equity 10 Weeks Rolling basis
Rebelbio Cork,
Ireland
$ 250,000 3 Months April 2, 2018
MassChallenge Switzerland Mentoring & coaching 4 Months Will reopen soon
Microsoft Accelerator Berlin,
Germany
Mentoring & coaching up to 6 Months Rolling basis
NDRC LaunchPad Dublin, Ireland up to
€ 100,000
12 to 24 Weeks Rolling basis
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
€ 225,000
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,
Estonia
€ 30,000 12 Weeks January 31, 2018
Startupbootcamp Smart City Amsterdam Amsterdam, The Netherlands € 15,000 for 8% equity 3 Months April 16, 2018
Startupbootcamp Berlin Berlin,
Germany
€ 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,
UK
€ 15,000 for 8% equity 3 Months Will reopen soon
StartupHighway Vilnius, Lithuania € 25,000 13 Weeks Rolling basis
Techstars London London,
UK
$ 20,000 for 6% equity + $100,000 convertible note 3 Months April 8, 2018
Yunus Social Business Accelerator Tirana,
Albania
up to
€ 500,000
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.

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.


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