London, specifically, is crawly with accelerators. It is by no stretch of the imagination a bad thing, but what are the key differences that set them apart and key characteristics that define them? Well, my friend, you are about to find out!
You see, there are many points to look out for, and to find them you have to conduct a reasonably lengthy search through your friend Google in order to pick out the key players. It boils down to personal preference with resources and functionality as the tipping point in most instances.
You must remember that there is an aspect of scale to the companies also. Some are completely independent and some are backed by major corporations – they’re reasonably easy to distinguish.
A small handful of the top players you need to keep an eye on, and what they are doing in terms of programs is essential.
Backed by a massive conglomerate company, Microsoft. A strategic partner focused on business growth and development of startups around the world. They pride themselves on aiding in building locally and scaling globally. The three programs Microsoft Ventures offer include: Community, Accelerators and Customer Access. Amongst these programs they offer fully immersive services with partnered companies and globally accessible customers to connect the remarkable startups.
Non-for-profit. All the way from Boston, just arrived on the London scene. Their mission is to catalyse a startup renaissance so they definitely mean business. They address the seed stage and investment gaps to promote innovation, collaboration and commercialisation. The educational opportunities readily available to entrepreneurs is substantial and by launching the worlds largest accelerator in to the community mix, they will make it their mission to provide the top solution to startups. Whilst holding prominent locations in Boston, Israel and the UK, Mass Challenge operate an April to October timeframe with various rounds and deadlines as the lead up to the program.
Purely educational. Having recently moved to the London startup scene, Start Up Institute also have campuses in Boston, New York, Chicago and Berlin. Their aim is to bring in and educate their graduates to work in the startup community, to share the specific skill sets and to gain the knowledge they need to adapt. Their programmes run simultaneously together across all locations, and they run between February and April. The selection process is done in rounds with the first round deadline 1st December, second round closing on 12th January and the final round closing 19th February. They also operate two choices of programmes: Part-time and full-time.
It’s interesting to see the diversity that runs through these Accelerator players. While in some cases the main variables are timeframes and the like, their backgrounds with mentors and investors amongst movers and shakers is what can truly define their moves in the communities. Remember to keep an eye out for some friendly faces along the way!