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EUROPEAN STARTUP INCUBATORS  /
April 11, 2019
Viktoriya Polyarush Social Media Coordinator, an avid reader with the passion for technology.

Incubators and accelerators are an important factor for European startup scene as they are starting to reshape the tech industry.

There are many European funds and accelerators ready to help young entrepreneurs and companies get the funding and professional support. But, there are good and bad accelerators and incubators everywhere, and some cannot help turning the idea into the next big thing.

While you first need to have an excellent idea, you need to do some research to find out which program is best for you. What makes an accelerator a good one is smart mentorship and smart money, but which accelerator or incubator offers resources you need?

Austria

i5invest

i5invest is a business incubator focused on B2C, B2B and mobile internet ventures. The incubator runs a small accelerator program (for a period of two years) to help start-ups find investors and expand internationally.

They support new business ideas through coaching, mentoring, infrastructure, seed funding and more, and offer great opportunities through their strong network that extends from Vienna to Silicon Valley and New York.

INiTS

Ranked as 11th worldwide and 3rd in Europe, INiTS is a business incubator that supports entrepreneurs through an intensive 18- month long program.

The incubator offers significant resources, and mentoring and consulting through their network of mentors, experts, investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, as well as infrastructure, and funding.

They support various industries like mechanical engineering, materials technology, information and communication technologies, electrical engineering, electronics, micro-and nanotechnology, transport, life sciences, food technology, agriculture, public health, medicine, environmental and economic development, energy, space technology, security, research, economics and social sciences, humanities, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and more.

Up to Eleven

Up to Eleven, founded in 2012, co-founds early-stage business ideas and solutions in the mobile ecosystem.

Experts in HR, finance and management and entrepreneurs with vast experience, and legal advisers, will help startups accelerate creative solutions in the mobile development world.

Through mentoring, coaching and operational expertise, and initial financing for a period of one year, they support high-quality digital software solutions.

Belgium

Telenet Idealabs

Telenet Idealabs is the first vertical accelerator in Belgium, launched in May 2014.

Through an intensive 4-8 months program, startups receive seed funding and office space, support from experienced mentors and great networking opportunities through business Telenet network.

NEST’Up

NEST’Up, a 12-week acceleration program in Belgium, is founded in 2012 on the same model as TechStars’ American accelerators.

The program welcomes 6 to 9 teams which receive support from 50+ mentors and experienced entrepreneurs, an opportunity to crowdfund their campaign, and to pitch their idea to investors.

Applying to and participating in NEST’up accelerator program is free.

The Czech Republic

StarCube

Czech accelerator StarCube is an international accelerator that supports innovative business ideas in ICT security and the Internet of Things.

A 3-month program includes business-related workshops with experienced mentors and offers infrastructure, co-working space, potential funding, free prototyping facilities, and access to an extensive business network.

 Startup Yard

Founded in 2011 as a part of the Global Accelerator Network, Startup Yard is a seed accelerator based in Prague that supports startups focused on Data, Mobile, and Analytic business ideas.

A network of established mentors, entrepreneurs and business capitals help startups accelerate their business ideas. In three months, entrepreneurs will learn more about business and monetization strategy, communications, A/B testing, UI/UX, community management, copywriting, SEO, and more.

The investment: StartupYard receives 5% of the capital of the startup (the founders can receive an investment of €10,000 for another 5%).

Denmark

Accelerace

Accelerace is a leading Scandinavian startup accelerator focused on business development organization.

Accelerator’s 5-month customer driven and an operational program offers one-to-one sessions with experienced consultants, monthly training sessions and workshops with international mentors, investment, resources and tools worth €50,000+ from companies such as Amazon, Deloitte and Microsoft, and networking opportunities to help startups succeed.

Estonia

GameFounders

Estonian GameFounders, with hubs in Asia and Europe, is the first global game accelerator. GameFounders accelerator offers a 3-month program in Tallinn providing free office space and support from 120 developers, gaming professionals and CEOs as mentors.

The investment: a seed capital up to 15K for a 9% of the capital

Garage48

Garage48 is a series of international events that started in Estonia in 2010.

These startup bootcamp events, which have around 100 participants from different countries and with different skills (design, marketing, entrepreneurship, software development and so on) have expanded to Northern Europe and Africa since Garage48 was launched.

The idea behind the event is to bring together people with different skills to share experience and knowledge and promote entrepreneurship.

Around 12-15 ideas are chosen, and during a two-day event the teams pitch their idea and present a live demo, while the jury and audience vote for the best one.

Startup Wise Guys

Located in Tallinn, Startup Wise Guys is a B2B Software accelerator that offers a 3+1 month on-site program, seed investments, mentoring and coaching from experienced entrepreneurs from the UK, USA and Europe, free co-working space, and good business networking opportunities.

They are focused on business ideas in payments, security, and banking.

Investment: €30k seed funding for 8% equity

Finland

Startup Sauna

Startup Sauna accelerator, founded in 2012, is focused on accelerating the innovative business ideas from Easter Europe, Russia and Nordics.

A five-week program offers quality coaching events for startups from all fields of business.

The event takes place twice a year, and all programs are free-of-charge. Visiting Silicon Valley (a one-week program) is a part of the accelerator program and the best teams have an opportunity to meet partners, investors, and customers and to get a better understanding of the US market.

Startup Sauna is a project of the Startup Sauna Foundation, along with Slush conference and Startup Life internship program.

Once you get accepted to Startup sauna, you also get access to Slush, the conference that attracted around 700 investors, 600 media representatives, 1400 startups and more than 13000 attendees in 2014.

France

TheFamily

Paris-based accelerator, TheFamily, supports early-stage startups through education, mentoring, and capital.

The important part of the accelerator’s strategy is monthly meetups, events and conferences, and Saturday school for entrepreneurs.

Numa (Le Camping)

The oldest accelerator in France offers a unique 6-month program (3 months of accelerating and three months of growth). Startups can learn from a network of 250 business professionals and 140 mentors, and have an opportunity to pitch their idea to 500+ investors.

The accelerator also offers different programs to non-profits, youth projects, entrepreneurs regardless of the industry.

Investment: The accelerator’s partners offer a financial grant (4500 euros) without any equity engagement.

Germany

Axel Springer Plug & Play

The accelerator offers a three-month program, supporting startups with office space, mentoring and coaching, infrastructure, a workspace, and networking.

The program runs three times a year, and the winning startups have a chance to travel to Silicon Valley and further grow their business.

Investment: The accelerator provides a seed funding of 25,000 Euro against a shareholding in the company of 5% (the investment would be cash against equity, resulting in a valuation of 500,000 Euro). Read more about it in the Terms section.

German Silicon Valley Accelerator

Supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, private sponsors, partners, and donors, the accelerator offers an intensive three-month program for German startups, supporting ideas from ICT related sectors. The accelerator is located in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and New York City.

hub:raum

Deutsche Telekom’s start-up accelerator Hub:raum supports early stage startups in mentoring, seed financing, co-working, and infrastructure. The incubator program is available in Krakow and Berlin.

Young entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas ranging from mobile payment, e-commerce, IoT, big data to security, cloud solutions, health, video content and more, are welcomed to join the accelerator.

FIT 4 Europe, available in Tel Aviv, is a program specifically created to expand business in Europe.

Hub:raum is voted best corporate incubator/accelerator in 2015 by the Corporate Startup Summit.

Investment: The incubator program in Berlin offers comprehensive seed financing package for the first 6 to 12 months, for 10 to 15% equity in exchange. Hub:raum Krakow offers an extensive pre-seed and seed financing packages, each for 6 months for 10 to 30% equity in return.

The Netherlands

Rockstart

Amsterdam-based accelerator, launched in 2012, is an intensive 20-week program that offers office space, mentoring and coaching, investment, and access to a broad network of international mentors, experienced entrepreneurs, and investors.

The important part of the program is workshops on Lean Startup, Fundraising, PR & Marketing, Growth Strategy, Sales, Legal and Finance, and more.

The accelerator offers monthly programs in Silicon Valley where startups get to expand their knowledge, network and get experience from the US tech scene.

Rockstart offers two accelerator programs: Web and Mobile Program and Smart Energy Program.

Investment: In return for 8% equity stake, seed funding is up to 15.000.

Norway

betaFACTORY

betaFactory is an independent accelerator and mentoring program, modeled after YCombinator and Techstars.

The accelerator started in 2011 as the first in Norway, and since then has been supporting entrepreneurs through high-level mentoring opportunities, education, professional advice, investment, the community, infrastructure, and visibility.

Spain

SeedRocket

A Barcelona-based accelerator  SeedRocket is made up of successful professionals and experts in different areas within the Internet sector. Those serial entrepreneurs and experts provide mentoring support and help with investment for high-growth potential startups.

The selected 10-12 teams enter a week-long program of training and workshops with mentors. After a week, they present their projects to private investors, business angels, VCs, and the SeedRocket team getting a chance to receive €150k seed investment.

The winning startups have the opportunity to join the 3-month SeedRocket Barcelona Accelerator program.

Investment: The first round of investment is between € 20,000 and € 120,000, after acceleration program, within Investor’s’ Day startups can receive 150,000 € and 500,000

Switzerland

Fongit

Fongit is a startup incubator founded in 1991, and known as Switzerland’s first incubator that supports entrepreneurs and businesses in the Cleantech, IT, and Medtech.

The team provides business coaching, a fully furnished office space and networking for early-stage, high-tech venture. They invest in business ideas through their sister company Fongit Seed Invest (FSI) that provides series A capital to startups that grow their business around disruptive and patent enabling technologies.

Investment: equity financing of up to 500k CHF through fund matching

Y-Start

Y-Start is a public technology incubator within one of the first technology parks, Y-Parc, that supports the growth of business ideas from all sectors of the industry, fostering diversity and promoting new technologies.

The incubator provides infrastructure, coaching services, workshops and mentoring for two years as well as expertise and support from their partners, Innovaud, and CTI Startup.

International and pan-European Startup Accelerators

Startup Bootcamp

Founded in 2010, Startup Bootcamp is a well-known global network of startup accelerators that offer an intense 3-month program. After Selection Days, 10 startups join diverse accelerator programs (Amsterdam, Istanbul, London, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Berlin, Eindhoven and Haifa) where they receive mentoring, free work space, great networking opportunities, and pitching opportunities to over 400 investors on Investor Demo Day.

Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend brings together developers, designers, product managers, aspiring entrepreneurs, marketers and tech enthusiasts to launch a startup in 54 hours. These weekend-long events are focused on learning through creating, building professional relations and networking.

Through sharing skills and knowledge with local startup leaders and entrepreneurs, the goal is to launch a (sustainable) business. Powered by Google For Entrepreneurs, events are successfully organized all over the world.

StartupBus Europe

StartupBus is a peculiar project founded in 2010. It’s a hackathon for European tech entrepreneurs (“buspreneurs”) where they compete over the course of a 3-day bus ride on the way to Vienna.

Criteria for acceptance into an incubator varies, but most require you to present a feasible business idea and professional business plan. Here are a few steps to get started finding an incubator that is right for your business.

  1. Review your options geographically or vertically – due to the sheer volume of available incubators, you might have more than one option to choose from. By doing a quick regional search, you can understand and rank the incubators that might be a good fit. Always review the website and ask for references from successful companies they have helped as well as a few from companies that have dropped out to get an overall view of a match.
  2. Review criteria for admission – most incubators have defined criteria for which types of companies they are prepared to help. Some require certain milestones or criteria, like headcount, capital, entrepreneurial experience, background, revenue, or product fit. Others require contractual obligations from the accepted companies, so reviewing the application and understanding what is is crucial to ascertaining fit.
  3. Prepare a business plan – it might not be required during the application process, but definitely helpful in determining whether the incubator is a good match. A simple overview of business name, team build, value proposition, competitive advantage, addressable market, go to market strategy, product or service can help you differentiate your company.
  4. Be prepared to work with a screening committee – in most cases, incubators will accept initial applications for companies meeting basic criteria. Some incubators require a video submission to explain the basic business model, vision, and mission of the company. The second stage is usually to meet and discuss your goals, plans, strengths, and weaknesses with a screening committee. This might take the form of an application, pitch or interview, and a series of meetings to set expectations for each side.