Startup Studios, Incubators and Accelerators differences

What startup model should I choose?

In recent years, different support models for startups has been created growing the capabilities for founders to find the model that fit them best.

As a founder, you start facing a lot of challenges. Even the most experience entrepreneurs needs support from their network to grow their business.

Learning for others is the quickest way to move faster.

Key Differences between Startup Studios, Accelerators and Incubators

This table guide us on what to expect from each offering.

Startup Studios Deep-dive

Startup studios invest in the long run so when you join them you are making a long-term agreement with your co-founder (in this case it will be the studio or a particular team depending on the structure of the studio and deals)

Selection

Startup studios have a very strict selection process. They evaluate mainly the founders and the team who is applying. Companies applying are not in the market yet, they may have an MVP but need a lot of support to build and grow the company. Knowing that the team will keep building so the key is to have a resilient team that can move the company forward.

Education

Educational is focus on expert support within the studio team. Some studios also have a library of different courses so you can learn more about certain topics that you are interested. However providing a learning program is not key foundation.

Mentoring and Support

Studios are equipped with teams to cover all areas of a company needs support with. Since conception startups needs support in different areas depending on the stage and the grow they are into.

Studios provide mentoring and coaching support with their dedicated team and panel of partners and experts. Some areas that are being covered are marketing, design, software development, user experience, PR, etc.

Portfolio - Startup Tracking

Startups in a Startup Studio are required to update frequently to report progress. As Studio has a large stack in the company, they are very interested to look at the progress and offer support if there is something that doesn't look right.

Benefits

Deals from partners and associations helps startups to grow faster without burning a lot of cash at creation. Studios make agreements with companies to offer discount and credit to their startups.

They also offer allocation and co-working offices to collaborate in one place.

Reference

Some of the most famous Startup Studios are: Atomic, Betaworks, Builders, Colab, Coplex, Devland, eFounders, FKTRY, Expa, High Alpha, Human Ventures, Prehype, Pioneer Square Labs, Rocket Internet, Science, Wilbur Labs, Zuma Ventures

Accelerators Deep-dive

Accelerators invest in escalable and growing companies that have a high growth rate and a big market.

Accelerators are very dynamic as they work in a short period of time to get most of the results.

Selection

Accelerators have a selection criteria that focus in the team and the target market. Their focus is based on companies that can grow exponentially and reach to a 10x grow within 7 to 10 years.

Selection is not strict, and more focus on the presentation skills of their founders. However depending on the amount of people applying it could be tough to get into the programs (YC has a 1% success rate to be accepted due to the high volume of applications)

Accelerator objective is to have as many as possible startups that reach 10x. One basic rule is that from 100 startups: 10x 1 to 3, 5x 3 to 5, 1x/2x 10 to 20, <35% fail rate.  

Education

Educational curriculum is critical. Accelerators have multiple models but one objective is to scale as fast as possible or "blitzscalling" as founder need to learn fast.

One very common approach is to have a large library of videos and content online helping founders to learn as much as possible.

Other concept, when a library is not available, is to have basic workshop to build the skills in each program.

Mentoring and Support

This is one of the core target of this type of programs. Mentors and Coaches are constantly available for support.

Accelerators, in most cases, assign a Coach or Mentor that works with the startup during the whole program and guide them on the needs to achieve the goals.

Portfolio - Startup Tracking

Accelerators acts like an outside investors and as such you are not entitle to provide constant feedback however is a very good practice to provide progress, e.g. when things go bad investors can help you improve with support after the program completes.

Benefits

Same as Studios, deals from partners is the main focus to grow faster without burning a lot of cash at creation. Make agreement with many companies to offer discount and credit to startups.

Reference

Some of the most famous Accelerators are: Techstars, Founder Friendly Labs, Y Combinator, 500 Startups, StartX, BoostVC, Plug and Play, Dreamit

Incubators Deep-dive

Incubators are another way to start in the entrepreneurship journey. They are the best for new entrepreneurs and bootstrappers founders.

Incubators are focus in community building

Incubators are build in business development centers or private companies that have a shared space and offer educational and support programs for newcomers.

Incubators are non-profit organizations that focus on regional communities or for-profit organization build to provide additional services to startups.

The models are membership, freemium (e.g. free programs, paid co-working), program up-sell focus, accelerator programs, etc.

Selection

Selection only happens when there is a lot of interest on joining a program. Different programs can be educational, and mentoring and coaching support.

Community have a high turn-over so that they need to be flexible to let enter and leave to community member.

Education

Educational curriculum is offered in paid or free depending of the additional services. Free curriculum is in general basic for you to build a startup. Then more complex program allows to scale and grow in which case those program are in some way the income from the incubator.

Mentoring and Support

All incubators have a set of volunteers that offers mentoring services for free to companies. There are also program offered that can have paid mentors and coaches that will help startups deeply in their journey.

Portfolio - Startup Tracking

Incubators are hand-off program, they need minimal tracking and more focus on community building.

Benefits

Incubators has a wide varity of offerings many of the which are for pay or subscription.

Reference

Some of the most famous Incubators are: Capital Factory, Ace Incubator, Seedrocket, YES! Delf, The Tech Garden

Tools

Team Coaches is an accelerator software that helps Accelerators, Incubators and Startup Studios to build their communities, offer education, track startups, and bring together the best of mentoring and coaching all-in-one.

Diego Alvarado

Diego Alvarado