The list of startup accelerators has been getting a lot of attention as of late. It was exciting to see the list recently featured on Change.org’s Social Entrepreneurship blog. This activity follows the continuing interest and growth in seed-stage startup accelerators. Below are some updates and additions to the list.
Updates from the startup accelerator world:
- TechCrunch featured a nice write-up on Stanford’s recently launched SSE Labs program. Written by Larry Chiang, one of the advisors to the new Stanford Student Startup Lab, the post touches on some of the political hurdles that the SSE Labs program ran into at Stanford in the process of launching. It is interesting (and disappointing) to read of the difficulties students had in launching an entrepreneurship support program at Stanford, typically referred to as one of the gold standards for academic institutional support of entrepreneurship. Still, it is an academic institution and many of the struggles the students ran into sound similar to roadblocks we’ve hit at Penn State and that I’ve heard about at other institutions. I’m glad to see the students are forging ahead undaunted.
- Lots of activity internationally. The next few updates all concern accelerators abroad. One new program was mentioned in the comments on the accelerator list: The first accelerator for China just opened and will be based in Dalian: China Accelerator
- XING’s founder, Lars Hinrichs, is launching HackFwd in Europe. It has some interesting twists over the conventional model. Funding will be up to â‚¬191,000, depending on the size of the team, and companies will participate in the program for up to a year. This results in HackFwd taking a more substantial equity chunk, though:
HackFwd will take 27% of a company it invests in ““ that’s a sizeable chunk. In the US, Ycombinator takes around 6% but can do anywhere from 2%-10% while TechStars take around 6-10%, whereas the London-based Seedcamp takes 8-10%. However, those latter programmes only last months, while HackFwd”s backing will be designed to last a year.
Startups will get funding for one year, with the aim of roughly matching the founder’s current yearly salary. Founders keep 70% equity, with 3% going to advisors and 27% to HackFwd. However, that said, they then take care of ‘legal and admin stuff”¦ so you can focus on your product.’
- I came across some interesting comments from Kai Fu Lee on China’s Innovation Works accelerator program. It’s an interesting model and certainly unconventional.
“To remedy the problem [of not having any early-stage funding for young entrepreneurs in China], he founded Innovation Works, a startup incubator with a twist. Instead of just doling out a million dollars here and there to promising projects, the company recruits top engineering graduates throughout the country and enlists them to help its portfolio companies get off the ground, while simultaneously grooming them to found startups of their own in 12 to 18 months.”
“‘Y Combinator would have a very hard time making it in China,’ Lee says. ‘It would have a hard time finding the startups and qualified people to fund. It could interview hundreds and find only two.’ The American incubator model only works in China if you turn it on its head, starting first with the people before generating the concept. Right now, Innovation Works is funding two external startups and working on five projects that came from the inside team.”
- TechCrunch announced the launch of accelerator programs in Singapore and Japan: Neoteny Labs and Open Network Lab. The post points out a couple of interesting details:
“Another difference to the [Y Combinator] model: If the startup chooses a designated mentor, it will have to give away another 2% of stock options. ONL”s mentor line-up, assembled via the Neoteny Labs connection (both labs are partnering), is pretty impressive though, including big names such as Reid Hoffman, Napster founder Shawn Fanning, or Tim O”Reilly.”
- Continuing the international updates, King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD) in Jordan is announcing that it will launch a seed fund in August which will operate on an accelerator model. The program is called Oasis 500. From the ArabCrunch.com article:
Oasis 500 aims to push 500 startups in Jordan in 5 years and will offer several programs starting with training courses for entrepreneurs with ideas.
[T]he training program will start around August of this year and will take a quota of around 100 entrepreneurs for several rounds every year ( any one with a tech idea according to Usama.) At the end of each program Oasis 500 will choose 10 ideas to invest in with an average of 10,000 Jordanian Dinars per idea and provide incubation (offices) for a period of 2 months. If the startup is qualified there will be additional investment of an average of 50,000 USD.
- It’s trendy to have an accelerator — PayPal launched an accelerator program, PayPal Startup Accelerator a couple of months back.
Programs being added to the list:
- China – Innovation Works – http://en.innovation-works.com/
- Dalian, China – China Accelerator – http://chinaccelerator.com
- Hamburg, Germany – HackFwd – http://hackfwd.com
- Jordan – Oasis 500 – http://arabcrunch.com/2010/06/oasis-500-a-startup-accelerator-to-launch-in-august.html (launching in August – no specific site yet)
- Silicon Valley – PayPal Startup Accelerator – http://www.x.com/community/ppx/xspaces/accelerator
- Singapore – Neoteny Labs – http://www.neotenylabs.com
- Tokyo, Japan – Open Network Lab – http://www.onlab.jp
- Wilmington, DE – BetaFish – http://betafishde.tumblr.com (on Facebook)
- Cornell University – eLabs – http://www.elabstartup.com
Check out the full, newly updated list of startup accelerators!
Along with updating the main list, I have also updated the Twitter list of startup accelerators – 51 of the programs are included. If there’s a Twitter account that I missed, please let me know!