“While the seed funding is nice, the real value is the advice, mentoring, and connections” – Brad Feld
Recently, accelerators have proliferated around the globe, bringing a lot of opportunities and support, both money and guidance, to entrepreneurs. Usually every accelerator program combines funding with expert advice and coaching in order to help startups get thefundamentals right and grow their business in ways they couldn’t on their own. However, each program has its own flavor. Let’s take a look at 8 global startup accelerators that help startups get their ideas off the ground:
1. Y Combinator: is a venture fund which focuses on seed investments to startup companies. Its program offers both, financing and business consulting along with other opportunities, to 2-4 person companies looking to take an idea to a product. “Y Combinator looks for companies with “good” ideas over companies with experience and a business model” is written on its CrunchBase profile. The main goal of this accelerator is:” to help startups to be in dramatically better shape 3 months later. For most startups, better shape translates into two things: to have a better product with more users, and to have more options for raising money”, reports Y Combinator on its official website. The first investment was made in summer 2005. Since that time they have funded over 300 startups, including Loopt, Reddit, Clustrix, Wufoo, Scribd, Xobni, Weebly, Songkick, Disqus, Dropbox, ZumoDrive, Justin.tv, Heroku, Posterous, Airbnb, Heyzap, Cloudkick, DailyBooth, WePay, and Bump. Follow this link to learn more about this accelerator’s program details.
2. HackFWD: Beta – Profitabilty – Success: that’s what they say the route of their pre-seed investment accelerator is. HackFWD is focusedon investing and supporting “Europe’s most passionate geeks”. The company is looking for highly scalable products with clear consumer need. In return it offers funding for year 1 up to €191,000 for 27% of the company, while 3% go to startup’s advisors. HackFwd is led by the European technology entrepreneur Lars Hinrichs, the founder of LinkedIn competitor XING.
3. TechStars: is a seed fund, or a mentorship-driven seed stage investment program, as stated on the official website. They offer a three month long program in Boston (MA), Boulder (CO), New York City (NY) and Seattle (WA) once each year. The selected companies can get up to $18,000 in seed funding ($6,000 per founder), “three months of intensive top-notch mentorship, and the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program”. In return, TechStars takes 6% equity in the company in common/founders stock. The company was founded by David Cohen,Brad Feld, David Brown, and Jared Polis in 2006. Follow this link for more info on TechStars funding program.
4. Startupbootcamp: is a global affiliate of the US based startup acceleration programme, TechStars. The programme currently runs in Copenhagen, Madrid and Dublin. They announced expansion to Berlin and London in 2012. As reported on their CrunchBase Profile, “the first edition of Startupbootcamp took place in Copenhagen from August-November 2010 with 32 entrepreneurs from 12 different countries. So what’s the deal? You get €4,000 per team member (up to three members), free office space, 75+ mentors and 100 investors at Investor Day. All this in return for 8% equity that goes to Startupbootcamp. Startupbootcamp was co-founded by Alex Farcet ofRainmaking and Luis Rivera of Okuri Ventures and Tetuan Valley.Eoghan Jennings, former CFO at Xing, joined shortly after as Partner and Managing Director for Dublin.
5. Seedcamp: it acts as a micro seed fund to invest in startup companies, mainly through its flagship event Seedcamp Week which takes place in September. It also runs Mini Seedcamps in several startup hubs around Europe. How it works? You have an idea, build the product (either in alfa or beta version, prototypes, screenshots, videos), apply, then the judging and selection step follow and if you are among the selected companies then Seedcamp usually invests €30,000 to €50,000 for 8-10% of the company in return. If you are a winner you also get their year-long support in growing your company, countless events, and of course a fast track to all the brilliant mentorsand investors. Saul Klein, Index Ventures Partner, is the founder of Seedcamp.
6. Dreamit Ventures: is a venture capital firm specializing in incubation and seed investments. How it works? You can apply with a prototype or even with idea only, the selection process follows and then if you are selected you start the program. Here is what you getfrom Dreamit Ventures: up to $25,000 of seed funding per company ($5,000 plus $5,000 for each founding team member, up to four, who will be onsite for the program), 1-on-1 Mentorship with leading entrepreneurs, introductions to VCs and angel investors and an opportunity to pitch to dozens of them at Demo Day, a weekly Speaker Series, regular check-ins with your Mentors and the DreamIt Managing Partners, and community which will support you along the way. In return Dreamit Ventures gets a 6% passive equity stake in your company. Mentors, advisors and other participants are at no charge to the team/company. The organization was founded by David Bookspan, Michael Levinson, and Steven D. Welch and is based in the United States.
7. Startmate: is a group of startup executives offering mentorship and seed financing to founders of Internet and Software businesses based in Australia. Their first program took place in the first quarter of 2011, while their next program is in the first quarter of 2012 in Sydney, with applications opening up in October/November of this year. Followthis link for more information on the Startmate 2011 program. What does the whole program look like? First, they are mostly interested in entrepreneurs who are primarily technically in nature. This means they are either software developers or user experience designers or some aspect of product development. “If things don’t go your way immediately, which likely they wont, then the company needs the ability to keep moving forward with very little money”, is written on their official website. The program (weekly meetings, lunches, or dinners at which mentors will help the founders begin the search for a business model and win their first customers) takes place in 3 months. They offer $25,000 investment for 7.5% of each startup’s equity, which values the companies at a post-money valuation of $333,000. Check this link to learn more about this program details.
8. Open Network Lab: is a seed acceleration program in Japan, similar to Y Combinator and TechStars, established by Netprice.com, Digital Garage, and Kakaku.com. The idea is to create a global startup ecosystem, allowing startups in Japan to receive mentorship and funding from overseas (USA and Singapore in particular). As reportedon their CrunchBase Profile, besides its mentorship and investors’ network Open Network Lab offers about $3000 per founder to companies that make its list up to 3 founders. In return, limited partners of Open Network Lab will have the priority to invest up to 5 percent in ownership.
These are some of the best global programs which have grabbed a lot of media attention and for that reason we chose them to write about. However, there are many other global accelerators that provide extraordinary support, in terms of capital, mentorship, and networking. No matter where your business is located you can always join a great regional or global accelerator program which will get your idea off the ground. If you have a promising idea, or prototype make your top accelerator list, apply and grab the opportunity.
“Help great people with great ideas build great companies” – Dreamit Ventures goal
Cre: Seeqnce blog