PC Magazine has an article on Tech Incubators: How Startups Are Born Today. The author, Chandra Steele, states that today’ s incubators are a different breed from the ones that were existed fifteen years ago and offered startups little more than a desk, some cash, and best wishes.
Rigorous programs include weeks and sometimes months of handholding, often in exchange for a less than ten percent equity stake in the startups.
The application process weeds out unprepared startups. Applicants are encouraged to come to the table with a strong idea and a dedicated team that can handle its execution. The selected startups get cozy with the incubators, moving to their city and, in most cases, setting up shop in their offices. Teams then undergo an intensive crash course about learning how to launch and sustain a successful business. This process can last weeks and sometimes months. Industry mentors spend day and night helping the teams work toward demo day. On demo day, the startups pitch their hard work to venture capitalists and angel investors, hopefully getting the money they need to put their efforts to the test.
The following 8 incubators are presented:
- Umbono, Cape Town, South Africa. Umbono is designed to make the Internet more accessible, relevant, and useful to Africans by building Internet and mobile solutions to local problems.
- Innovation Works, Beijing, China. The incubator works slightly differently than others; about 100 to 150 people brainstorm ideas, prioritize them, and then form project teams.
- Flashpoint, Atlanta, USA. Flashpoint is a startup accelerator program accepting teams at Georgia Institute of Technology. Flashpoint provides entrepreneurial education (in the form of experienced mentors and presentations by veterans), shared learning, and a competitive, accelerated environment for business model and technology development.
- i/o Ventures, San Francisco, USA. The incubator offers Startup Accelerator, a 3 month program to help you launch a product and build a company. It is a bi-level incubator, which has office space on the top floor and a public cafÃ© on the bottom
- Portland Incubator Experiment, Portland, USA. The incubator gives startups three months of office space; mentorship from Google, Target, and Coca-Cola; and $18,000 in capital in exchange for a six percent stake in the company.
- Movistar Innova, Chile. Chile fuels Latin America’ s startup movement, with accelerator program Startup Chile attracting thousands of applicants worldwide.
- Ebda2, Egypt. Google’ s startup incubator Ebda2 embodies the spirit of change that has swept Egypt since its revolution, which was in large part due to one of its own employees, Wael Ghonim. Meaning “start,’ Ebda2 inspires entrepreneurs to use technology and innovation to catalyze change.
- NewMe Accelerator, San Francisco, USA. The NewMe Accelerator is looking to bring new ideas and products to market, and also reduce the disparity that exists among U.S. startups by nurturing minority-owned teams.