Incubators and accelerators are an important factor for the European startup scene as they are starting to reshape the tech industry.
There are many European funds and accelerators ready to help young entrepreneurs and companies get funding and professional support. But, there are good and bad accelerators and incubators everywhere, and some cannot help turning the idea into the next (big) thing.
While you first need to have an excellent idea, you need to do some research to find out which program is best for you. What makes an accelerator a good one is a smart mentorship and smart money, but which accelerator or incubator offers resources you need?
We have created a list of some of the best European accelerators and incubators with a short description of each to help you get started.
Below is also the short list of the best international and pan-European accelerators and incubators you should check out.
i5invest is focused on B2C, B2B and mobile internet ventures. They run a small accelerator program (for a period of two years) to help start-ups find investors and expand internationally.
They support new business ideas through coaching, mentoring, infrastructure, seed funding and more, and offer great opportunities through their strong network that extends from Vienna to Silicon Valley and New York.
Ranked as 11th worldwide and 3rd in Europe, INiTS is a business incubator that supports entrepreneurs through an intensive 18- month long program.
They offer resources, and mentoring and consulting through their network of mentors, experts, investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, as well as infrastructure, and funding.
They support various industries like mechanical engineering, materials technology, information and communication technologies, electrical engineering, electronics, micro-and nanotechnology, transport, life sciences, food technology, agriculture, public health, medicine, environmental and economic development, energy, space technology, security, research, economics and social sciences, humanities, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and more.
Investment: on average €32K of subsidy and loan funding per startup; only 15% of the funding must be repaid if the business is not successful after three years from acceptance.
Up to Eleven, founded in 2012, co-founds early-stage business ideas and solutions in the mobile ecosystem.
Experts in HR, finance and management and entrepreneurs with vast experience, and legal advisers, will help startups accelerate creative solutions in the mobile development world.
Through mentoring, coaching and operational expertise, and initial financing for a period of one year, they support high-quality digital software solutions.
Kubator is a business incubator that supports entrepreneurship ideas and creative solutions in the field of Internet of Things, Smart Living and Industry 4.0 for 12 months.
They offer free office space, coaching in product development, marketing, communications, and law. Through their network of partners in Europe and worldwide, they help with investments matching startups and potential investors during the Investors Day that takes place every two months.
Investment: After the company is founded, the Kubator holds a 10 % share
Telenet Idealabs is the first vertical accelerator in Belgium, launched in May 2014, and one of the best European accelerators in Belgium.
Through an intensive 4-8 months program, startups receive seed funding and office space, support from experienced mentors and great networking opportunities through business Telenet network.
NEST’Up, a 12-week acceleration program in Belgium, is founded in 2012 on the same model as TechStars’ American accelerators.
The program welcomes 6 to 9 teams which receive support from 50+ mentors and experienced entrepreneurs, an opportunity to crowdfund their campaign, and to pitch their idea to investors.
Applying to and participating in NEST’up accelerator program is free.
Organized by Start It Smart, the biggest entrepreneurship club in Bulgaria, 3Challenge gathers young entrepreneurs to compete for the best innovative idea.
The entrepreneurship competition has 3 stages: Idea (presentation), Seed and Grow, and all three stages offer different business opportunities, however, regardless of the stage, young entrepreneurs receive mentoring, access to valuable resources, and an opportunity to actively participate in workshops and seminars.
Eleven is a Bulgarian accelerator and venture capital fund that offers a program for early stage startups.
The accelerator provides mentoring, infrastructure, technical resources, and support for the first round of investments for 50+ companies through a combination of a 3+3 month program (for an 8% equity stake).
As one of the biggest early-stage investors, they partner with Amazon, IBM, TechStars, Microsoft, Telerik and Google to provide infrastructure and technology solutions.
Founded in 2012, LAUNCHub is a Bulgarian accelerator focused on investing in startups from SEE region.
They support startups by providing mentoring, coaching, infrastructure and funding for 25 startups every year as well as good opportunities to find support from the leading European and international VC’s . The accelerator partners with Seedcamp and Mozilla WebFWD.
Zip is the first incubator in Croatia, founded in 2012, to help entrepreneurs from the Southeastern Europe region build their businesses. The startup program is based on the Lean Startup methodology. Through a period of 4 months, the teams have an opportunity to truly excel in their industry as they go through 24 educational workshops, working in a specific area of their project.
The program offers an extensive network of top international and local mentors, networking opportunities, and support.
The investment: for up to 8% of the startup’s equity, although it depends on the terms negotiated
The Czech Republic
Czech accelerator StarCube is an international accelerator that supports innovative business ideas in ICT security and the Internet of Things.
A 3-month program includes business-related workshops with experienced mentors and offers infrastructure, co-working space, potential funding, free prototyping facilities, and access to an extensive business network.
Founded in 2011 as a part of the Global Accelerator Network, Startup Yard is a seed accelerator based in Prague that supports startups focused on Data, Mobile, and Analytic business ideas.
A network of established mentors, entrepreneurs and business capitals help startups accelerate their business ideas. In three months, entrepreneurs will learn more about business and monetization strategy, communications, A/B testing, UI/UX, community management, copywriting, SEO, and more.
The investment: StartupYard receives 5% of the capital of the startup (the founders can receive an investment of €10,000 for another 5%).
Accelerace is a leading Scandinavian startup accelerator focused on business development organization.
Accelerator’s 5-month customer driven and an operational program offers one-to-one sessions with experienced consultants, monthly training sessions and workshops with international mentors, investment, resources and tools worth €50,000+ from companies such as Amazon, Deloitte and Microsoft, and networking opportunities to help startups succeed.
Investment: The company can get a €50 000 – 400 000 follow-up investment on favorable terms
Estonian GameFounders, with hubs in Asia and Europe, is the first global game accelerator. GameFounders accelerator offers a 3-month program in Tallinn providing free office space and support from 120 developers, gaming professionals, and CEOs as mentors.
The investment: a seed capital up to €15K for a 9% of the capital
Garage48 is a series of international events that started in Estonia in 2010.
These startup bootcamp events, which have around 100 participants from different countries and with different skills (design, marketing, entrepreneurship, software development and so on) have expanded to Northern Europe and Africa since Garage48 was launched.
The idea behind the event is to bring together people with different skills to share experience and knowledge and promote entrepreneurship.
Around 12-15 ideas are chosen, and during a two-day event the teams pitch their idea and present a live demo, while the jury and audience vote for the best one.
This is an excellent opportunity for a first-hand experience of working from idea to a product in only 48 hours.
Located in Tallinn, Startup Wise Guys is a B2B Software accelerator that offers a 3+1 month on-site program, seed investments, mentoring and coaching from experienced entrepreneurs from the UK, USA and Europe, free co-working space, and good business networking opportunities.
They are focused on business ideas in payments, security, and banking.
Investment: €30k seed funding for 8% equity
Startup Sauna accelerator, founded in 2012, is focused on accelerating the innovative business ideas from Easter Europe, Russia and Nordics.
A five-week program offers quality coaching events for startups from all fields of business.
The event takes place twice a year, and all programs are free-of-charge. Visiting Silicon Valley (a one-week program) is a part of the accelerator program and the best teams have an opportunity to meet partners, investors, and customers and to get a better understanding of the US market.
Startup Sauna is a project of the Startup Sauna Foundation, along with Slush conference and Startup Life internship program.
Once you get accepted to Startup sauna, you also get access to Slush, the conference that attracted around 700 investors, 600 media representatives, 1400 startups and more than 13000 attendees in 2014.
Paris-based accelerator, TheFamily, supports early-stage startups through education, mentoring, and capital.
The important part of the accelerator’s strategy is monthly meetups, events and conferences, and Saturday school for entrepreneurs.
Numa (Le Camping)
The oldest accelerator in France offers a unique 6-month program (3 months of accelerating and three months of growth). Startups can learn from a network of 250 business professionals and 140 mentors, and have an opportunity to pitch their idea to 500+ investors.
The accelerator also offers different programs to non-profits, youth projects, entrepreneurs regardless of the industry.
Investment: The accelerator’s partners offer a financial grant (4500 euros) without any equity engagement.
50 Partners is a French accelerator funded by 50 successful entrepreneurs including Frederic Mazzella, the founder and CEO of Blablacar, and Justing Ziegler, the founder of PriceMinister.
The accelerator provides coaching, infrastructure, office space, and networking for early stage startups, for free. The accelerator supports innovative ideas related to media, mobile, software and web through a 4-month program. 50 Partners is also a founding member of an exchange program for startups, Startup Exchange.
Investment: The accelerator offers an automatic funding from 50K€ to 150K€ per project and 500K-2M € for early investments making 50 Partners a stakeholder for up to 7% of common shares.
EquiFund accelerator focuses on helping tech companies in Greece bring their business in international markets. They provide mentoring and coaching from experienced entrepreneurs on different business-related issues, such as business development, marketing and advertising, legal advice, technical support and more.
They are supporting companies in various tech-related industries: SaaS, eCommerce, Gaming, Mobile, Cloud, Software, Physical devices, Internet and they provide access to both private and institutional investors.
The Accelerator is a part of the social enterprise Metavallon that helps entrepreneurs develop their business ideas into new ventures.
Though their three-tier program, The Lab – The Accelerator – The Hub, they support a broad range of business ideas, from web and mobile to healthcare, energy, food and clothing, social, and more.
The ideas are first accepted in the e-venturing platform, The Lab. The startup acceleration provides initial pre-seed capital offering support and mentoring. The Hub is the final stage of support where startups prepare for growth and funding and benefit from global networking opportunities with international companies and investors.
Investment: From €25.000 in pre-seed funding through their Partners, Founders contribute a €3.000 donation to Metavallon. They take no equity and no part in the ownership of the new venture.
The accelerator offers a three-month program, supporting startups with office space, mentoring and coaching, infrastructure, a workspace, and networking.
The program runs three times a year, and the winning startups have a chance to travel to Silicon Valley and further grow their business.
Investment: The accelerator provides a seed funding of 25,000 Euro against a shareholding in the company of 5% (the investment would be cash against equity, resulting in a valuation of 500,000 Euro). Read more about it in the Terms section.
German Accelerator empowers German startups to scale globally. To each startup, they provide mentoring from dedicated experts as well as access to a vast global network of business partners and investors combined with a free office space.
Each program is free and highly customized to the participants’ individual needs in order to help them enter international markets and succeed quickly.
Since launching in 2012, German Accelerator has nurtured over 250 startups which have raised more than US$3 billion in funding so far. German Accelerator is run by German Entrepreneurship GmbH and is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The accelerator is located in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and New York City.
Deutsche Telekom’s start-up accelerator Hub:raum supports early-stage startups in mentoring, seed financing, co-working, and infrastructure. The incubator program is available in Krakow and Berlin.
Young entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas ranging from mobile payment, e-commerce, IoT, big data to security, cloud solutions, health, video content and more, are welcomed to join the accelerator.
FIT 4 Europe, available in Tel Aviv, is a program specifically created to expand business in Europe.
Hub:raum is voted best corporate incubator and accelerator in 2015 by the Corporate Startup Summit.
Investment: The incubator program in Berlin offers comprehensive seed financing package for the first 6 to 12 months, for 10 to 15% equity in exchange. Hub:raum Krakow offers an extensive pre-seed and seed financing packages, each for 6 months for 10 to 30% equity in return.
iCatapult, a global business development accelerator for CEE tech companies, was founded in 2012.
As a business development company, they focus on taking Central European technologies to global markets.
The program has two stages: stage one – global startup training program, and stage two – soft landing. The startups receive one-to-one mentoring from many international industry experts before they move to Silicon Valley for three months.
Investment: the funds of the program are for up to €200K for equity positions in each accelerated company up to 19%.
Startup Reykjavik was founded in 2012 as a mentorship-driven seed stage investment program.
Once a year, selected startups go through a 10-month program where they get free office space, infrastructure, mentoring, support and a chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program during the Investor and Demo Day.
Startup Reykjavik is a member of the GAN, an invite-only community of the world’s most respected organizations. If you get accepted into a GAN accelerator, you will have access to over $1M worth of free services, a network of investors and access to soft landing spaces worldwide.
Investment: The companies get $16,000 in seed funding from Arion Bank in exchange for 6% of the equity
Founded in 2005, H-farm is a Venture Incubator focused on accelerating the development of Internet startups via a combination of seed investment and incubation services.
As a VC, H-Farm invests seed capital for the early stage startups, as an incubator, it provides an inspiring workplace, human resources, press office, legal and financial consultancy and more. The Venture Incubator has offices in Ca’ Tron (Italy), Seattle (USA), London (UK) and Mumbai (India).
LuissEnLabs is a startup accelerator based in Rome and operated by LVenture Group, a publicly listed venture capital company.
They support early-stage disruptive startups through their 5-month acceleration program twice a year.
The program provides support and mentoring from 50+ international executives, two weeks sprints, demo days, business checks and nine startup management seminars, along with funding and networking.
Investment: micro-seed funding (€30K cash + €30K facilities) in return for 10% equity
Amsterdam-based accelerator, launched in 2012, is an intensive 20-week program that offers office space, mentoring and coaching, investment, and access to a broad network of international mentors, experienced entrepreneurs, and investors.
The important part of the program is workshops on Lean Startup, Fundraising, PR & Marketing, Growth Strategy, Sales, Legal and Finance, and more.
The accelerator offers monthly programs in Silicon Valley where startups get to expand their knowledge, network and get experience from the US tech scene. Rockstart offers two accelerator programs: Web and Mobile Program and Smart Energy Program.
Investment: In return for 8% equity stake, seed funding is up to €15.000.
betaFactory is an independent accelerator and mentoring program, modeled after YCombinator and Techstars. The accelerator started in 2011 as the first in Norway, and since then has been supporting entrepreneurs through high-level mentoring opportunities, education, professional advice, investment, the community, infrastructure, and visibility.
StartupHighway is a startup accelerator and an early seed stage fund founded in 2011. Through its investment program and, in particular, individually tailored support, the accelerator supports innovative technology startups.
The program, not framed in a standard pattern but defined according to the business needs and scope, provides seed funding, free open working space, support and mentoring from the international mentors and expert guidance.
The program also offers a follow-up funding. Moreover, the best performing teams are selected for the next round investment from StartupHighway, and it’s VC partners. The startup accelerator also organizes individual or teams roundup meetings with separate investors in London.
Investment: Selected startups might be granted with up to €25,000 in seed funding, depending on the number of startup co-founders for up to a 7,5% equity stake based on the standard global practice.
Garage is the first Venture incubator in Moldova that offers initial funding, support through mentoring and expert advice, infrastructure and office space, and help with promotion and marketing of the idea.
As the company behind the incubator, Simplas, founded in 2002, owns several major web portals, the expert team has vast experience in online business, especially in web design, internet advertising, video production and animation.
The program lasts from 3 to 6 months for a startup that can bring innovative ideas in mobile applications, e-commerce, social applications, cloud services, search technology, SaaS, augmented reality and geolocational services.
Investment: Up to $ 40 000 in each company
Lisbon Challenge is a 3-month acceleration program for ambitious international tech startups, supported by Beta-i, a non-profit association founded in 2010.
Apart from the great support startups receive through mentoring, 1000+ workshops and free office space in the city’s center, they have an excellent opportunity to meet 200+ international mentors and investors and boost their business in a global environment.
After an Investors Day in Lisbon, the selected teams have a chance to go on a roadshow to London, San Francisco, Boston and Tel Aviv.
Investment: 150k€ in perks (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Paypal, and more) and no equity
GammaRebels is an intensive 3-month startup accelerator program held in Warsaw for technology entrepreneurs and early-stage startups.
The startups receive support from top-notch mentors and coaches and the chance to pitch the investors at the end of the program at Demo Day in Poland and abroad.
All startups receive $5,000 in Amazon AWS credits and additional services, $20,000 in cloud service from Google, $60,000 in cloud service from Microsoft (Windows Azure platform) and access to PayPal Blueprint program.
Investment: up to 12.000 € for 10% equity
A Barcelona-based accelerator SeedRocket is made up of successful professionals and experts in different areas within the Internet sector. Those serial entrepreneurs and experts provide mentoring support and help with investment for high-growth potential startups.
The selected 10-12 teams enter a week-long program of training and workshops with mentors. After a week, they present their projects to private investors, business angels, VCs, and the SeedRocket team getting a chance to receive €150k seed investment.
The winning startups have the opportunity to join the 3-month SeedRocket Barcelona Accelerator program.
Investment: The first round of investment is between € 20,000 and € 120,000, after acceleration program, within Investor’s’ Day startups can receive 150,000 € and 500,000
The Tetuan Valley is a pre-accelerator, a Startup School for young wanna-be-entrepreneurs.
It’s a 6-week intensive program for entrepreneurs that want to create tech-based startups within the TIMT industry (Telecommunications, Internet, Media and Technology). The Startup School runs twice a year in Madrid and the best teams and projects are sent to international investors for further analysis and business networking.
Fongit is a startup incubator founded in 1991. and known as Switzerland’s first incubator that supports entrepreneurs and businesses in the Cleantech, IT, and Medtech.
The team provides business coaching, fully furnished office space and networking for an early-stage, high-tech venture. They invest in business ideas through their sister company Fongit Seed Invest (FSI) that provides series A capital to startups that grow their business around disruptive and patent enabling technologies.
Investment: equity financing of up to 500k CHF through fund matching
BlueLion supports the early stage ICT and Clean Tech projects with in-house coaching program, partnership network and the basis for the incubation. Their coaching program is fully embracing the Lean Startup approach (based on agile methods) to accelerate the growth of startups during three years or until they reach ten employees.
BlueLion joined the program of the European Union, Climate-KIC, that supports startup companies, which address the climate change issues.
This is one of the best European incubators and accelerators, well known to many startup buisnesses. Y-Start is a public technology incubators within one of the first technology parks, Y-Parc, that supports the growth of business ideas from all sectors of the industry, fostering diversity and promoting new technologies.
The incubator provides infrastructure, coaching services, workshops and mentoring for two years as well as expertise and support from their partners, Innovaud, and CTI Startup.
ImactHub Zurich offers inspiring infrastructure, incubation programs for startups, coaching, and entrepreneurial leadership training, and workshops. The network is comprised of more than 50 hubs across the world, with more than 7000 members, from London and Amsterdam to Johannesburg, Singapore, and San Francisco, being a place for entrepreneurs from different sectors and industries to gather and foster collaboration.
Etohum is an accelerator and seed investor that supports entrepreneurs from various IT-related industries partnering with many international companies and investors. The selected business ideas and companies are presented to investors and the Etohum Investor Club.
The chosen companies receive coaching and guidance from experienced mentors and experts, office space and software support, and access to a vast business network as well as an opportunity to attend the Startup Turkey
Happy Farm is a business accelerator that provides business development services for startups, further supporting through investment, and mentoring from international mentors from different business-oriented and IT-related areas. The accelerator organises a unique one-month internship program American Breakthrough to help five selected startups grow their business and attract partners and investors.
Through Lion Farm acceleration program for pre-seed IT startups, organized in cooperation with Group venture fund, they offer a 6-week of intensive workshops, coach sessions, individual consultations with mentors from Europe and the US.
Investment: 30K dollars (or more) for the share in the company’s capital
International and pan-European Accelerators and Incubators
Founded in 2010, Startup Bootcamp is a well-known global network of startup accelerators that offer an intense 3-month program. After Selection Days, 10 startups join diverse accelerator programs (Amsterdam, Istanbul, London, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Berlin, Eindhoven and Haifa) where they receive mentoring, free workspace, great networking opportunities, and pitching opportunities to over 400 investors on Investor Demo Day.
Startup Weekend brings together developers, designers, product managers, aspiring entrepreneurs, marketers and tech enthusiasts to launch a startup in 54 hours. These weekend-long events are focused on learning through creating, building professional relations and networking.
By sharing skills and knowledge with local startup leaders and entrepreneurs, the goal is to launch a (sustainable) business. Powered by Google For Entrepreneurs, events are successfully organized all over the world.
StartupBus is a peculiar project founded in 2010. It’s a hackathon for European tech entrepreneurs (“buspreneurs”) where they compete over the course of a 3-day bus ride on the way to Vienna. They are challenged to launch a startup, sometimes in a very limited environment (unstable wi-fi, for instance).
The buses are departing from the United Kingdom, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, and Greece, all having different participation requirements.
IMPACT Accelerator (Internet Mobile Projects Accelerator) offers premium acceleration services for European mobile start-ups and small and medium-sized business for a period of six months. It operates in several locations in Spain and Italy and given it is one of the 16 consortia selected by the European Commission within the framework of the Seventh Framework Programme, the selected start-ups in the extended phase can count on the Buongiorno Headquarters in 14 countries.
The program gathers top class professionals from Google, Yahoo!, Airbnb, and LinkedIn and successful entrepreneurs that offer training and mentoring for mobile-focused startups. Apart from Startups have the opportunity to receive an investment of 100K euros without equity consideration. The accelerator is soon launching a new program, IMPACT Growth that focuses on Smart Cities, Smart Content, Smart AgriFood, and Smart Manufacturing.
Launched in 2011, Wayra is a startup accelerator financially backed by Telefonica, one of the biggest telecommunication companies in the world. The accelerator promotes startups in Europe and Latin America providing office space, experienced mentors, access to global network of business partners, and funding.
If you are an incubator or accelerator that doesn’t appear on our list of the best in Europe, feel free to contact us and send us your details.