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Business Incubators

We collect all of the information about Business Incubators and Business Accelerators. Incubators are physical locations to which startup companies apply for membership. Incubators offer a vibrant office environment for startup companies to work around other startup companies, gaining guidance and support in developing and growing their company from entrepreneurial experts working at the incubator.

Incubators often specialize in the general industry of companies and can either be free standing institutions or affiliated with a larger company or research institute.

Startup accelerators are a subset of incubators, aimed at rapidly developing high growth potential startups in a relatively short period of time and finding them significant startup capital soon after. While companies can grow in incubators for an indefinite period of time, often lasting over one year, startup accelerator programs follow a very specific timeline, usually lasting around three months. Startup accelerators are highly competitive in their entry process and typically end with a “demo day” in which participating companies have the opportunity to give an in-person pitch to prominent Venture Capitalist firms and angel investors. It is worth noting that most of the top accelerators focus on software- and internet-based startups, due to their relatively low up-front capital costs. While startup accelerators typically take a small amount of equity and provide a relatively small amount of seed capital, they provide invaluable support in developing your company and put you in a favorable position to receive investment, as many investors view the startup accelerator as already having done the legwork for them.


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The two most highly regarded startup accelerator programs in the U.S. are Y Combinator (YC) and TechStars.

Springboard and SeedCamp are the best known programs available in the U.K. It is noteworthy that all of these programs are less than 10 years old, yet companies accelerated by them have already achieved significant success. Lists and rankings of startup accelerators and incubators can be found in the useful links section. It is important to note that since the main purpose of going through an accelerator is the guidance, connections, and name brand your company will receive, not all accelerators are equal or desirable; if your company does not succeed in gaining acceptance into Y Combinator, it does not necessarily mean you should immediately aim for a lower-tier accelerator, as may be more common in approaching angel groups or VC firms. Here, we will use the most recognized accelerators as a guideline for what to expect from accelerators.

The application process for startup accelerators is different from applying for funding from angel groups or Venture Capitalist firms; companies do not simply provide a business plan and wait to hear back. Startup accelerators usually use an application form as an initial screening process. Even if your company does not plan to apply to an accelerator, filling out one of these applications can be a useful starting point for determining whether you have developed your business model and team properly, as these applications are typically a no-nonsense way of getting to heart of what investors are looking for. Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator, provides an instructional guide on what they are looking for in their application. Y Combinator also invites pre-screened companies to a day of interviews to make the final decision on which companies they will fund. Accelerators typically do not have restrictions for where companies and founders are from, they only require founders to come to their area for the duration of the program.


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