Top 10 angel- and seed-investing programs

Katie Gatto · September 6, 2010 · Short URL:

TechStars, Y Combinator, Seedcamp, Founder Institute, i2E, Plug and Play and more

Angel investors can be that bright light in your fiscal sky, but which ones shine the brightest? Today we will look at the best and brightest of the angel investors and incubators that gear towards funding new start up's, so that you can make your pitching decisions wisely.


Capital given: Up to $18,000; You get $6,000 per founder, up to 3 founders.
Location: Boston (MA), Boulder (CO), New York City (NY) and Seattle (WA) in three month alternating periods
Who they fund: Internet companies
Contact Information for applicants:

 TechStars has a rotating program location, with annual events held in Boston (MA), Boulder (CO), New York City (NY) and Seattle (WA). Each program lasts three months, and focuses on mentoring in that intensive span. The sections each run with 20-plus companies, to allow for a highly-collaborative environment. TechStar's portfolio includes companies such as: DailyBurn, Intense Debate, and Gear Box.  They take a 6% equity stake in your new company for their support.

Y Combinator

Capital given: Seed, rarely more than $20,000
Location: Mountain View, CA
Who they fund: Startups
Contact Information for applicants:

This organization helps its startups with everything, literally. Based on its about page, the range is pretty wide, from "apparently minor (what to call the company) to frighteningly ambitious (the long-term plan for world domination). " They also make introductions to funding sources, help with legal issues, and even help founders work out their conflicts. Applicants are taken in batches every three months, and during their mandatory time in the Bay Area participants will also be privy to a series of expert educational lectures, over a light dinner. Current YCombinator companies include Reddit, DropBox and Pop Cuts. As payment, they take stock in the startup, from 2-10% of it.


Capital given: Up to €50K
Location: London
Who they fund: Startups, preferably not already incorporated, mostly technology oriented.
Contact Information for applicants:

This micro-seed fund connects companies, during their three-month stay in London, with over 400 mentors from around Europe. Companies are chosen during Seedcamp week, and interactive style of selection that pits companies against each other directly. Some Seedcamp companies include Erply, Basekit and Hypernumbers. They take a 8%-10% stake in the company for their troubles.

Founder Institute

Capital given:
Location: San Francisco
Who they help: Startups
Contact Information for applicants:

The Founder Institute takes a radical approach. Instead of being interetsed in the idea they are interested in you. The program focuses on intensive training to make you the best business owner possible. To apply, an applicant must pay $50 before getting in. Accepted founders pay a $900 course fee. General company funding comes in the form of warrants, in the amout of 3.5% of your company stock. The warrants provide the Institute with an option to buy stock at a fair market price, and this price is set during the first qualified financing round that the company raises. They have non-voting rights.

Capital given: Up to $250,000
Location: Seattle
Who they fund: IT Companies
Contact Information for applicants:

Founded by two former Microsoft employees, this group funds startups with a substantial amount of cash. The company, which is just starting up itself takes an undisclosed amount of the company in questions stock. It is best to contact them directly for details and applications. Currently, they've funded lolligift.

Plug and Play
Capital given: Varies, this project connects with multiple investors
Location: California - Palo Alto, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Los Angeles, and more
Who they help: Technology-based startups.
Contact Information for applicants:

This organization introduces you to various sources of funding, and provides a physical location (roughly $600 per cubicle per month) in which to work once you have things ready to go. They can also assist with recruiting talent. Plug and Play, acts in a lot of ways like a broker, but does often invest a portion of its own money into a start up company. While they do not keep a list of companies that they have started they do have working relationships with several major universities, such as MIT and Harvard. Since there are multiple investors involved, the stake in your company taken will vary based on which investors choose your idea.

Bootup Labs
Capital given: Varies based on needed expenses to get you ready for series A
Location: Vancouver
Who they fund: Startups in consumer Internet , mobile, casual gaming and enterprise Internet
Contact Information for applicants:

This incubator, which takes six companies two times a year, is designed to help a company go from concept to operations. They cover things like office space, financial and accounting tasks, and corporate legal expenses, while you get ready for Series A funding, which they can also help you to obtain. Mentorship is also available. See their tips before you apply. They take between 5-10 percent equity stake in the company.

Capital given: $100,000 at the proof-of-concept stage and investments range from $250,000 - $700,000 at the seed and start-up stages
Location: Oklahoma
Who they fund: Technology startups
Contact Information for applicants:

This investor provides large scale funding for start ups in the State of Oklahoma, as well as some advisory services, and through the help of an internship program a small amount of talent as well. i2e is non-profit, and does not take an equity stake unless you recieve extra money from the states gap fund. In that case the stake is variable depending on the amount you take.

NYU-Poly Incubator
Capital given: Varies
Location: New York City
Who they fund: NYC based startups, with a focus on technology and sustainability
Contact Information for applicants:

The goal of this company is to make starting up in New York City's cost effective. Spaces are rented for $200 per month, in addition to the mentoring and legal assistance provided to member companies. They are strongly affiliated with the NYU-Poly university. The NYU-poly incubator is a collaboration between three different incubators, each with its own equity stake requirements. Percentages will vary depending on which program accepts you.

Environmental Business Cluster
Capital given: Varies
Location: San Jose
Who they fund: Science and technology start ups, with a focus on green technologies.
Contact Information for applicants:

This cleantech incubator focuses on providing you with expert coaching and strategic counsel, focused educational and networking programs, targeted access to investors,furnished office space, equipment, conference rooms and training facilities in order to help you get off the ground. Some EBC companies include Clean Solar and Gogo Verde. EBC does not disclose their stakes.

(I hope this list was helpful. I welcome feedback on this list as well as any other incubators or seed funds I've not included.)

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