It is tough to say which incubator is the best.
They vary in terms of conditions, industry focus, size, and many other factors.
However, one thing we can judge is the results. So, here are some of the best incubators based on their popularity and how good they are in assisting new companies. Keep in mind that the list isn’t in any particular order.
When talking about elite incubators, it is hard not to mention this organization. TechStars is relatively old for incubators and yet, relatively young in terms of how long it has existed. Founded in 2006, it has provided incredible assistance to startups all over the country. Besides your traditional mentorship, companies can also get funding through this incubator. There are approximately 75 venture capital firms and angel investors that contribute to TechStars. It provides training in 10 different cities, and in each of them, there are 10 spots for candidates.
Kicklabs (nothing to do with Kickstarter, although it sounds similar) has a pretty unique approach in dealing with startups. In fact, you can barely say that Kicklabs is an incubator given how late it accepts companies. The organization will take startups when they reach later stages of development and are almost at the point of making revenues. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for a startup to attend other incubators before getting to Kicklabs. Their offices are in San Francisco, and the whole process usually lasts for a couple of months.
3. The Hatchery
The Hatchery is probably the best name ever for an incubator. This organization is a bit different set up compared to other traditional incubators. Officially, it is regarded as a venture collaboration forum. They have an incubator in New York City, which focuses on young tech startups. Another exciting thing about the institution is how long it takes to finish.
The Hatchery is much more interested in a slow build-up as the program takes quite some time. However, once a startup has finished it, it will be able to perform almost every aspect of the job itself. This also includes things such as creating business plans, analyzing the competition, creating viable strategies, creating a marketing plan that will work, etc.
3. DreamIt Ventures
In the end, incubators are there to make dreams come true, which is the mantra of this company. DreamIt Ventures has two spaces; one in New York City and one in Philadelphia. Even though these two are in relative proximity, the programs can vary a lot (especially when it comes to access to mentors). Besides your usual mentorships, each candidate that completes the program gets 25,000 dollars, which is often more than enough to start a successful business. When everything is said and done, startups will have an opportunity to present their idea to media on the reveal day.
3. Y Combinator
Y Combinator was founded in 2005. Since then, this organization’s primary goal has been to provide a new way of startup funding. Over time, they created a winning formula which they use to this day. In a nutshell, they will give small financing to a company twice a year. Instead of focusing on a small number of startups (like other incubators do), they will instead try to include as many companies as possible.
As a result, Y Combinator has funded more than 550 startups in 10+ years. This is almost 10 times more than the average incubator. Some of the biggest companies they helped include names such as Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit.
As previously mentioned, a high number of these incubators have an academic background or certainties with universities. This is true with EnterpriseWorks, which is situated at the University of Illinois. Given that this incubator at the university, they have direct access to some amazing academic minds. At each time, there are about 30 different startups at the facilities.
EnterpirseWorks supports companies that are dealing with software, chemicals, sustainability, biotechnology, and material sciences. In fact, most of these startups are in some way connected to the university (such as ex-students). However, this isn’t a necessity as EnterpriseWorks accepts everyone.
AngelPad is a program organized by Google’s very own Thomas Korte. The incubator has two different spaces; one in New York City and one in San Francisco. This is great because regardless of your location, you will be close to one of these two. The program focuses on startups dealing with mobile technology and the web. It takes approximately 10 weeks to finish it.
When it comes to Canadian incubators, there is none better than DMZ. This company has helped numerous Canadian startups achieve their dreams. They provide lots of different services and assistance. They will connect owners with customers and potential partners, help them raise capital, and get them in touch with media and valuable influencers.
The main focus of DMB is creating an environment where companies can thrive. According to UBI Global, this entity is the number 1 university-based incubator in the world. This, in itself, speaks volumes! Among other things, their main focus is to stimulate technical innovation in Canada.
6. I/O Ventures
This entity is mostly focused on mentorship without providing any funds. Like a true incubator, I/O Ventures focuses on startups in their earliest stages of development. The program lasts for 3 months and is based in San Francisco. This is a great starting point for future tech companies as they have all the contacts and mentors they need in this area. As you can presume, startups have access to some prominent experts such as the founders of BitTorrent, MySpace, Yelp, and Digg.
7. Launchpad LA
Launchpad is an incubator located in Los Angeles. They accept various tech startups to which they provide initial funding of 25,000 to 100,000 dollars. Like most other incubators, it’s not about the money but instead about the mentorship. Their office space is simply amazing, and a long list of mentors will help companies start their corporative journey the right way. Again, the startup has to be tech-oriented and also willing to relocated to Los Angeles.
8. 500 Startups
This organization was founded back in 2010 and has made significant waves in this short amount of time. Its main office is located in Silicon Valley, but its reach supersedes the borders of the United States.
They support both projects in North America and other parts of the world. In fact, they have funded startups from 40 different countries. The money received is not insignificant; companies can get up to 250,000 dollars, which is much more than some other incubators offer. Besides that, startups also have access to some amazing mentors and can attend to high-profile events.
StartFast is not limited to the US and North America. Instead, they offer assistance to promising startups located in various countries of the world. The whole program lasts for 3 months, and during that period, startups can get up to 18,000 dollars. Of course, StartFast also has a mentorship program, and it helps companies connect with prominent figures from their industry.
10. Capital Factory
If you are a startup from Texas, Capital Factory is probably one of the best incubators to help you out during your journey. Their program goes every year in Austin, Texas, and during this time, you will have access to some premium classes and events. Besides some great mentors, Capital Factory can also get your startup in touch with media and valuable influencers.
11. Excelerate Labs
Like most other programs on this list, the one organized by Excelerate Labs lasts for 3 months. The notable thing is that it’s held during summer, and once the program is over, startups can showcase their idea in front of 500 investors! Needless to say, such an exclusive opportunity is not easy to get. Only 10 startups are selected each year, and thousands of them apply. This makes it hard to get in. As of late, this incubator has started a cooperation with TechStars providing its members an even better service.
12. Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator
This incubator has a premium, 4-month program during which a company can polish various aspects of its business. It is one of those incubators that is also providing funding to companies. Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator is situated in New York and focuses on young tech startups. Each accepted company will receive 40,000 dollars and will be in Chelsea for the duration of the program.
13. Le Camp
In terms of elite Canadian incubators, it is really hard not to mention this Quebec organization. Like most other entities on the list, Le Camp mainly focuses on progressive, modern sciences and in particular, the IT field.
The incubator/accelerator provides various types of assistance, primarily mentorship. Regardless of startups’ age or development, they will try their best to help out by improving their internal processes.
Seedcamp is unique, as this is an international program. You can find it in various locations all over the globe. Another exciting thing about it is that, unlike other incubators, it lasts just 1 day! The organization tries its best to squeeze months of training into one day. The whole program is like an event where startups compete against each other. Only those with the most amazing ideas can receive seed funding. They also get an opportunity to attend an extensive Seedcamp program that lasts for a whole year.
15. LaunchBox Digital
LaunchBox Digital more of an investment company than anything else. As such, it focuses on providing startups and entrepreneurs with enough funds so they can start their journey. But there is more to this company than simply money.
LaunchBox Digital also has a network of 100 teachers that will further improve the internal processes of companies and allow them to start their business on the right foot. Today, this organization mainly deals with hatchling companies even though it started as an accelerator.
16. Launch Academy
This incubator is appropriately named Launch, and it helps young tech startups. The organization offers new companies everything they need: from money and professional networking to mentors and an environment where they can learn and thrive. Because of the excellent conditions Launch offers, they are regarded as probably the best organization of this type in Vancouver, British Columbia. Keep in mind that Launch doesn’t only work with early-stage startups by also accepts a bit more mature projects. They offer 3 distinctively different programs tailor-made for companies in various stages of development.
17. Accelerate Tectoria
Accelerate Tectoria is in Victoria, British Columbia, and its main focus is to help grow and stimulate local tech startups. The incubator relies heavily on its network of mentors to provide amazing training to startups that make the cut. Besides that, it also offers some seed funding that will cover their initial expenses.
18. Tech Wildcatters
One of the best Texas programs is located in Dallas. Its main focus is mentorship, with a smaller emphasis on other aspects of the business. Tech Wildcatters specializes in B2B as well as B2C startups. While the program isn’t that long (it only lasts for 12 weeks), there are lots of different stuff that company owners and teams can learn from. When everything’s said and done, an event is held so that a startup can find a potential investor.
19. Ben Franklin TechVentures
There is probably a no better name for a tech incubator than Ben Franklin. This amazing incubator provides support to new startups located in Pennsylvania. The organization is located in Bethlehem, within Lehigh University campus. Startups that are located within this area have access to an amazing workspace and campus facilities and to some experienced faculty members.
The mass within MassChallenge’s name refers not only to Massachusetts (its main headquarter is located in Boston) but also the way this incubator does business. This organization is spread all over the globe in countries like Mexico, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Israel. What sets this company apart from its peers is the fact they’re doing business with all types of companies. Their only requirement? The startup must have high potential. Another great thing about it is that MassChallenge provides its services for a fee instead of taking a part of the company’s equity.
Most of these incubators are geared towards tech companies, but they will also support organizations from other industries.
Some of them are very versatile, providing training to startups from various branches.
No matter what, both incubators and accelerators are great for hastening and improving your internal processes. Keep in mind that most young entrepreneurs have awesome ideas and products, but they might have trouble executing them.
In order to make things happen, you need incubators that will take care of investment and the administrative side of things.
Hopefully, this article has shed some light on this unusual and amazing concept!