Making it on your own as an entrepreneur can seem like a Sisyphean task. While plenty of startups bootstrap their way to viability, they’re often overwhelmed and in need of support.
All across Europe, incubators and accelerators have grown up to provide the support local entrepreneurs need to execute their ideas. Whether it’s funding, professional development or mentorship, these organisations are ready to give startup founders the tools they need.
Top European Incubators and Accelerators Hatching Great Startups
German Incubators and Accelerators
Axel Springer Plug & Play
The 100-day program at Axel Springer Plug & Play in Berlin provides mentorship, networking, workshops, support and investor information to the teams it chooses each session. The current program includes a wide-range of startups including a volunteer marketplace to aid refugees, a virtual reality ad platform and an interactive wedding invitation designer for Millennials.
Also in Berlin (with additional locations in Krakow and Tel Aviv), hub:raum works specifically with startups in the telecom industry. Along with seed funding, the chosen startups receive mentoring and access to the co-working space. They will also receive key introductions to members of the German telecom industry.
The emphasis of this accelerator is media. Along with 25,000 EUR in funding, this incubator provides 500,000 EUR in TV media volume. However, its investors don’t exclusively invest in media or ad tech startups. They typically select B2C businesses in entertainment, ecommerce, health and fintech. Fewer than two percent of applicants are selected for the ProSiebenSat.1 Accelerator program, which will be completed in Berlin.
Incubators and Accelerators for Barcelona Startups
Based in Barcelona and Madrid, SeedRocket has been pairing startups with potential investors since 2008. Success stories include EscapadaRural, a search engine for rural vacation homes, and Habitissimo, an online portal and job board for employers. SeedRocket is known for its mentorship program, activities with program attendees, and Investors’ Day pitches.
You must crawl before you can walk, and Tetuan Valley gives entrepreneurs that opportunity through their Startup School. They have 24 programs in six cities across Spain. To date, they have graduated more than 240 teams with the help of 47 mentors. Graduates can either apply to work with accelerators or seek funding on their own.
Startup Incubators and Accelerators in Austria
With more than100 co-investments and corporate development projects, i5invest is one of Austria’s largest incubators. Based in Vienna, this accelerator believes in long-term investment and mentorship with the startups it works with. They also focus on highly scalable business models to turn a small idea into a big operation over time.
Up to Eleven
With an emphasis on mobile, Graz’s Up to Eleven is one of the smaller incubators in Austria. However, its size does not reflect its value: Program attendees receive funding for a year, mentorships for both software development and marketing, and assistance with standard business operations such as IT and human resources.
Incubators and Accelerators for Belgian Startups
Telenet Kickstart works with up and coming Belgian startups to work through their early stages of development and launch. It’s known for its networking events and international trips to meet with companies, attend conferences and network with prominent organisations. Telenet Kickstart’s team believes in supporting startups that have a sustainable growth plan and long-term vision.
Also in Belgium, Nest’up is a member of the Global Accelerator Network and follows a similar model to promote six to nine startups at a time. Over 12 weeks, six dedicated coaches work with the startups and pair them with more than 50 other experts and mentors. This creates a huge support system and knowledge base that startups can tap into as they grow their business.
Czech Startup Incubators and Accelerators
JIC Starcube is a three-month acceleration program that provides more than 160 hours of seminars and consultations to budding tech companies. They have a team of 80 mentors, with lawyers and copywriters on site to help with assembling plans. Specifically, they are looking for projects related to virtual reality, big data, smart technology, sensors and retail 2.0. Chosen companies will work in their Brno, Czech Republic co-working space.
Also based in the Czech Republic, Prague’s Startup Yard pairs startups with investors, mentors and corporations to give them access to the human capital necessary to formulate and execute their ideas. They also host a variety of workshops across Europe and provide entrepreneurs opportunities to pitch their ideas.
Danish Incubators and Accelerators
Based in Copenhagen, Accelerace is one of the top seed accelerators in Europe. To date, they have worked with more than 265 startups, created more than 1,205 jobs and helped new companies raise more than 240 million EUR in funding. They have multiple programs depending on the industry, including biotech, foodtech, cleantech and medtech.
Estonian Startup Incubators and Accelerators
Startup Wise Guys
Based in Tallinn, Estonia, this incubator has worked with more than 50 startups from 30 different countries. Its participants come from across the world, including South Africa, Chile, India and Australia. By working with their team of 150 mentors, companies under the Startup Wise Guys’ wing are able to develop their business ideas and find the best markets to launch them in.
Garage48 started in Estonia in 2010 but has expanded through Northern Europe and Africa. Events are held in English and have had more than 100 international participants. Garage48 functions more like a hackathon than an accelerator. Participants choose from a variety of ideas and form teams to create a business model and execution strategy. They are regularly named the Best Ongoing Startup Program in Estonia and Northern Europe.
Startup Incubators and Accelerators in France
The Family has one of the most interesting websites that any entrepreneur can appreciate. This Paris-based accelerator offers “Sunday School” for entrepreneurs and a specific program for creating a European startup. What works in Silicon Valley won’t work in Paris, so this accelerator created a program specifically tailored to the region.
Founded by 50 entrepreneurs who wanted to help the next generation of creators, 50 Partners in Paris creates a unique ecosystem for startup founders to thrive. They take two study trips annually to foreign markets, host networking events to connect potential partners, and host discussions on major industry trends.
33 Entrepreneurs, based in Bordeaux, has a three-month program that provides 15,000 EUR to startups in the food, hospitality, energy, logistics or finance industries. Their goal is to bring together entrepreneurs with large corporations to form lasting partnerships and mentorships.
Incubators and Accelerators in Other European Countries
Founded in 2005 to help new Italian entrepreneurs, H-FARM has expanded into Seattle, London, and Mumbai. Along with being an incubator for local startups, H-FARM hosts events like hackathons on road safety and discussions on the future of IoT technology. They also run the H for Human Foundation to provide research scholarships for technology and innovation.
Impact Hub Zürich
Impact Hub does so much more than offer programs for companies and entrepreneurs hoping to expand their business models. They offer fellowships on topics like clean energy or community involvement, while focusing on topics like clean energy and education. Outside of the accelerator, they host events to share skills and create a community of networking in Zurich.
Based in Amsterdam, Rockstart runs between 150 and 180 days to take a startup concept into a company ready for investment. They have different accelerator themes, including smart energy, mobile and digital health. They have both an office space and event space in Amsterdam.
The Lisbon Challenge is a three-month acceleration program that believes in a founder-centric approach. Lisbon Challenge alumni have raised more than 50 million USD in investments, though participants also receive more than 150,000 EUR in perks when they participate in the program. These parks include free office space, intensive mentorship programs and one-on-on support.
Y-PARC is a Swiss incubator that offers a furnished workspace, help with fundraising, mentorship programs, networking assistance and other basic office needs. Applicants must have been in business for less than a year and have proof of creating at least one job through their businesses.
In Bulgaria, LAUNCHub Ventures has backed more than 62 startups and has attracted more than 20 million EUR in funding. This accelerator was founded in 2012 and has continued to boost entrepreneurs in Sofia and the wider Southeastern Europe region ever since.
Startup Reykjavik calls its program the “10 most intensive weeks of your life,” as entrepreneurs work with more than 60 mentors and use 18,500 USD to establish their companies and pitch to investors. This program is ideal for entrepreneurs who have a great concept but need help realising the business and executing the plan.
Startup Sauna works with the top startups from the Nordics, Eastern Europe and Russia. Based in Helsinki, this accelerator runs from May through June, with plenty of other events throughout the year. More than 4,500 applications have been submitted and 208 startups have been chosen, which speaks to the exclusivity and quality of the program.