Start Up Incubators

Growing Tech Companies

Y - Combinator
Y - Combinator | Source

Support for Entrepreneurs

Start up incubators provide financial resources, expert industry knowledge, and professional networking connections to entrepreneurs looking to launch new product ideas into a thriving and growing company. There are many different types of business accelerators, available for founders to choose from, with a variety of business models. A couple of the more popular solutions include: only funding, office space and business support services with no actual cash investment, financing and professional support, and combinations in between.

The most well known start up incubators are Y-Combinator, Tech Stars, and 500 Start Ups, however there are many more each wit their own benefits and unique approaches to helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. The following is a list of some of the best organizations focused on growing young companies.

Where They Are At

show route and directions
A markerY Combinator -
320 Pioneer Way, Mountain View, CA 94041, USA
[get directions]

B markerTech Stars - Boston -
Boston, MA, USA
[get directions]

C markerTech Stars - Boulder -
Boulder, CO, USA
[get directions]

D markerTech Stars - New York -
New York, NY, USA
[get directions]

E markerTech Stars - Seattle -
Seattle, WA, USA
[get directions]

F marker500 Start Ups -
444 Castro St #1200, Mountain View, CA 94041, USA
[get directions]

G markerPIE -
1227 NW Davis St, Portland, OR 97209, USA
[get directions]

H markerPortland Seed Fund -
805 SW Broadway #2440, Portland, OR 97205, USA
[get directions]

I markerDreamIT Ventures Austin Winter 2012 -
701 Brazos St #1601, Austin, TX 78701, USA
[get directions]

J markerExcelerate Labs -
222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza #1212, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
[get directions]

Would You Apply?

Have you or would you apply to a start up incubator program?

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Benefits of Incubators

There are several positive aspects of start up accelerators for young companies. If you are considering whether to apply for funding or participation in an early stage incubator these are some of the items to consider and compare between programs.

  • Funding - Is there direct funding available? Many incubators provide a small amount of capital i.e. less than $25,000 for a portion of equity. This amount of funding is never enough to launch a new company and grow, however it may allow the founders the resources to dedicate a 100% of their time to building a minimally viable product and really testing it and adapting to the market. Some incubators provide zero cash and support companies in other ways, while a limited number will invest between $50,000 up to $250,000 with partners into the business. The other aspect of funding support occurs when completing the accelerator program, most end with a demo day which is focused on presenting the business to outside investors whether they are angels, venture capitalists, or corporate investors. Participating at an incubator can validate your product, team, and market to others and influence there decision to invest in your company.

  • Mentors - The biggest benefit that most business incubators provide to entrepreneurs is access to industry and business leaders that are willing to share their experiences, thoughts, and connections with the participating companies. Another aspect of mentorship also comes from gaining access to past companies and executives from previous classes at the incubator, specifically Y Combinator has been very successful at building a large business ecosystem of professionals in the tech space that can be reached out to for advice, support, and potential business deals.

  • Business Support - One of the roles of an incubator is to place companies in an environment that is conducive to growth. One of the ways this occurs is through an office space that is packed with intelligent and successful entrepreneurs that can motivate and support one another. Incubators that provide office space and other basic business services to the companies in their programs are able to build such environments. Being challenged in a shared break room over a technical solution or go to market strategy by a peer can help early stage companies from identifying the right and wrong path for their companies development.

Tips for Applying

If you are considering to apply for a program here are a few things to think about and prepare prior to sending in your next idea in an application.

  • Build a minimally viable product if possible.
  • Have a great team that has existing relationships. If you have not built something with these people in the past, do some smaller scale projects that show the ability to complete something successfully.
  • Review your LinkedIn profile and co-founders. Have an accurate profile description and updated resume.
  • Focus on the team. Most incubators and investors as well are investing in the team more than the specific idea. The likelihood that your business will picot once or twice during its life cycle is high and so having the team in place that can handle those challenges is important.
  • Have customer or potential customer feedback handy and possible for discussion in meetings.
  • Pitch friends, family, and others prior to completing your application and presenting to an incubator.
  • Keep answers short on the applications, get to the point.
  • Show a willingness to be adaptable, quick to fix random problems that pop up, and perseverance to finish tough things regardless the challenge

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