A list of top European accelerators and incubators

Steven Loeb · August 3, 2013 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/311a

Even smaller countries like Lithuania, Bulgaria and Estonia are getting in on the action

So, here we are at last: we've finally come to end of our accelerator/incubator series.

It all started when I decided to take a look at what was going in Los Angeles, ahead of our Splash LA event back in May. What did the accelerator and incubator scene look like in the city? What kind of startups were being churned out? What sectors was L.A. becoming known for?

SInce then, we've looked at some of the most well known tech cities in the world, like  the Bay Area and New York City, but we also dove into some of the up-and-coming cities like Austin, Chicago and Boston. We even took a look at some of cities from around the United States that nobody would think of as tech hubs, like Madison, Kansas City, Baltimore and Atlanta. 

Now, for our final destination, we are going to look at a whole region that, until a few years ago, was not known for its tech scene at all, but has managed to make a name for itself recently: Europe.

We've already taken a look at London, so now we are going to see what is going on in countries like France, Germany, and Denmark.


HackFwd is located in Hamburg.

Investment amount: Founders get to keep 70% equity. They give 3% to their advisors and HackFwd takes 27%.

HackFwd invests in1 to 3 member teams. A single founder gets 91,000 €, a two member team gets 141,000 €, and a three member team gets 191,000 €.

HackFwd also charges an administrative fee depending on the number of founders to cover our support services, including company setup, legal issues, consulting and events. A single founder pays 17,000 €, a two member team pays 22,000 €, and a three member team pays 27,000 €.

Program benefits: 

  • An invest a fixed amount in the company for one year that roughly matches their current yearly salary.
  • Legal and administrative help
  • Quarterly conferences
  • Continuous advice for business, UX, marketing and brand.

Mentor makeup: André Schmidt, founder and CEO of BundleTech; Charles Wiles, Managing Director of Imagini; Daniel Gutenberg, General Partner of VI Partners; and Tine Thygesen, founder of Everplaces. 

Partners: Investors include two equity funds representing over 200 top European private investors

Portfolio companies:  Fantasy ShopperYieldKitCobookHikeInfogr.amWatchlaterBeamApp, SubstanceFilmaster.TVtelety.pesharypicTankWars Starforce DeltaFlockOfBirds and Equilibrium.



Gamma Rebels is located in Warsaw. 

Investment amount: A predefined equity investment of up to EUR 12.000 for 10% equity

Program benefits: Three month program

  • $20,000 in cloud service from Google (Google App Engine or Google Cloud Storage, eventually combination)
  • $60,000 in cloud service from Microsoft (Windows Azure platform)
  • Helping hand of the international team of top-notch mentors and coaches
  • Working space in Warsaw along with registration address
  • The chance to pitch the investors at the end of the program at Demo Day in Poland and abroad.

Mentor makeup: Martin Kelly of IBM Venture Capital Group; Rafal Han, founder and CEO at HanBright; Piotr Kulesza co-founder of RTAventures; and Nir Markus, co-founder of PlayerDue.

Portfolio companies:  Alumni include ArtspressoBusyflowArmatia, ResmeshMoiseum and InventCore.



StartupHighway is located in the capital city of Vilnius.

Investment amount: The start-up will receive €2,000 for the idea and €3,000 per founder (for up to 4 founders), in return we will take a minority stake (7.5% of your startup's shares) in the company.

Teams that have already received funding or are cashflow generative to participate in StartupHighway for 3.75% of founder share.

In addition to StartupHighway's funding, all 2013 Spring program participants can opt-in for additional €30,000 convertible note from StartupHighway's partner Practica Capital. This deal is optional.

Program benefits: A 13 week program

The first 5 weeks of the program will be dedicated to mentoring. One-on-one mentoring session will provide startups with valuable advice on how to best shape or reshape their business model in order to build a successful business.

The following weeks will be dedicated to building a business model and a working product. At this stage the startups will be guided by a team of mentors and will be encouraged to reach out to potential customers. 

The last stage will be dedicated to finishing a demo of the product and testing the product on potential customers. The program will finish with two investor days - one in Lithuania and another one in one of the VC capitals of Europe. 

Mentor makeup: Philipp von Bieberstein, New Business Development at Google in London; Tim Messerschmidt Developer Evangelist across Europe for PayPal’s Developer Network; Tautvydas Dagys, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft; and Toivo Annus, co-founder of Skype

Portfolio companies: Alumi include DragdisResponSellSellfy and Relead.



Rockstart is located in Amsterdam.

Investment amount: Startups will receive up to €15,000, for which Rockstart will receive an equity stake of 8% per startup (not per founder)

Program benefits: 

The first part of the program is the "100-day pressure-cooker Spring Program" where Rockstart connects companies to 99 of the brightest entrepreneurial minds and provide them with:

  • Seed funding 
  • Office space in central Amsterdam
  • Access to experts and corporates
  • Conference visits
  • Investor dinners

After that, its offers an additional, voluntary Summer Program, which consists of another three months supporting them with fundraising, PR, and communication matters.

Rockstart Accelerator ends with a 1-month co-working experience in Silicon Valley, where it give the companies the chance to pitch to VCs, angels, and media partners.

Mentor makeup:  Arnoud Haverlag, founder of Marvia;  Dirk Jan Koekkoek, CEO at eFuture; Floris van Alkemade, Partner Solid Ventures; Hans Meyer, Founder of HotelsAhead;  Lee Feldman, Founder of CycleSpace; and Marieke Westgeest, Founder of Markenizer.

Partners: KPN, Rabobank

Portfolio companies:  Amiquo, CupenyaVanChefsOwlin, Peerby, PastBook, Zazzy, and Limk.



Le Camping, located in Paris, was France's first accelerator.

Program benefits: A six month program

The first three months are "acceleration" and end with a demo day. The next 3 months are "growth," followed by a media day.

  • Free space
  • Access to lawyers, accountants and public relations people
  • Access to: Amazon Web Services, Atelier Amelot, CloudSigma, Dashlane, EventBrite, Fotolia, Jamendo, Jampp, Mailjet, Mention, Olark, Ooprint, Paymill, pariSoma, Pressking, Remixjobs, SYO, Textmaster, Toluna QuickSurveys and Twilio
  • English lessons if necessary

Mentor makeup: Over 60 mentors are available, including Andrew Lacy, SVP Disney Mobile at The Walt Disney Company; Ben Hardy, Co-founder & CEO at Kawet; Paul Teyssier, Product Director at PayPal; and Joseph Perla, co-founder of Turntable.fm.

PartnersAtelier BNP Paribas, BNP Paribas Banque Privée, European Social Fund, Google for Entreprenuers, GL Events, Île-de-France, Orange, and SNCF

Portfolio companies:  Alumni include SkerouMesagraphPilipop, Viewrz, Jellynote, Fleex, Lingocracy and Darjeelin.  



Garage48 started in Tallinn, Estonia in April 2010. It has expanded to other countries in Northern Europe and Africa since then.

Program benefits: 

Garage48 hosts a hub, which gives resident member a desk, office devices and meeting room for €120 a month or €1200 a year.

Garage48 also holds 48 hour events. They usually start at 5pm on a Friday evening. All participants gather together in a big room and pitch about 30 to 40 ideas on stage. Each idea is put on the wall and everyone can choose their favourite idea and team. Usually about 12-15 ideas will be selected and teams start working.

Sunday night 5pm is the deadline to step on the stage again and live-demo the project or prototype.

Facilities, mentors, food and drinks are provided over the course of the weekend.

Mentor makeup: Mari-Liis Lind, business developer at Velvet Labs; Elise Sass, CEE Startup Lead at Microsoft; Maarika Susi, Sales & Partnerships Manager, event organizer at Garage48 Foundation; and Krists Avots, head of operations at Garage48.

Partners: Enterprise Estonia, European Union Structural Support, Edicy, 3K Group, Skype, Premia and UK Trade and Investment



Colabs has been around since 2009 and is located in Budapest. 

Program benefits: 

  • Mentoring and coaching
  • Providing contacts and assisting with team building, strategic planning and further fundraising.

Mentor makeup:  Fadi Bishra, founder of Blackbox; Balázs Lazlo Karafiáth, co-founder of Darwin’s Marketing Evolution; and Glenn Thomas, CTO of Jagtag.

Partners: Morgan Stanley, Ernst & Young

Portfolio companies:  iDeapoolRemagine TechnologiesOmixonThinkinvisibleZinemath, Bandalizer, ProtobloxOptoforceInternfish NoispotOurstyleWebcamlaboratoryPocketquideLogtron and 3G Multimedia



Startup Yard 

Investment amount: StartupYard receives 5% equity for participation in the program. For teams interested in funding, they receive $10,000 in exchange for another 5% equity.

Program benefits: A six month program

First 3 months: This part requires full-time presence at StartupYard. There is constant mentoring by tens of mentors who consist of entrepreneurs and other professionals giving back to the startup community. There are also seminars and workshops with local start-up, media, financial, legal and other consultants. This period ends with a Demo Day.

Second 3 months: This period is designed to the venture into a viable and fundable business, and is completed by Investor Day where the companie's efforts and achievements are judged by qualified investors.

Mentor makeup: Over 90 mentors, including David Booth, founder of TallBoy Investments; Anthony Sheenan, founder of Xylitic; Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit; and Roman Kasan, founder of Kasan Ventures.

Partners: Seznam.cz, Global Accelerator Network, Nielsen Meinl, Brave New Media, Direct People,Centrum dohody, and Media Education CEE

Portfolio companies: Alumni include Hlidacky.cz, Aircharts.coStartitupTravelatusWorks.io, and Yummy Food Delivery



Start It Smart located in the capital city of Sofia. It started the 3Challenge accelerator program in 2009.

Investment amount:

Program benefits: 

The competition is divided by 3 stages – Idea, Seed and Grow. They are one-day-events that are held 3 months from one another.

Winners of the Idea stage get:

  • Mentorship for 3 months by successful entrepreneurs and specialists in different areas who support the participants in realizing the projects with meeting, feedback and knowledge, evaluated at 50 000 BGN
  • Hosting by SuperHosting.BG, evaluated at 1 053 BGN
  • One year access to a CRM system by ERP.BG, evaluated at 8 100 BGN
  • One year access to the Entrepreneurship Library of ABLE, evaluated at 600 BGN
  • Access to Embrioo‘s platform, evaluated at 15 000 BGN
  • Access to Meta Reading‘s Level 1 training, evaluated at 1 080 BGN
  • Participation in seminars by Interactive Seminars, evaluated at 700 BGN
  • Access to the second stage of the contest – Seed

Winners of the Seed stage get:

  • Mentorship for 3 months by successful entrepreneurs and specialists in different areas who support the participants in realizing the projects with meetings, feedback and knowledge, evaluated at 50 000 BGN
  • Free events in the event space of betahaus | Sofia, evaluated at 2 400 BGN
  • Accounting services by Saldo.bg, evaluated at 1 800 BGN
  • Entrepreneurship courses by The Business Institute, evaluated at 2 700 BGN
  • Participation in workshops and discussions part of the Masters Program in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Finance in VUZF University, evaluated at 1 320 BGN
  • Participation in seminars by Interactive Seminars, evaluated at 500 BGN
  • Subscription to Capital and Capital Daily digital newspapers for 6 months, thanks to Economedia
  • Access to the final stage – Grow

Winners of the Grow stage get:

  • Accounting services by Saldo.bg, evaluated at 1 200 BGN
  • Participation in The Business Institute’s courses, evaluated at 900 BGN
  • Free event in the event space of betahaus | Sofia, evaluated at 800 BGN
  • Co-working space by betahaus | Sofia for one month, evaluated at 500 BGN
  • Subscription to Capital and Capital Daily digital newspapers for 6 months, thanks to Economedia

Mentor makeup: Aleksandra Nikolova, Co-founder of Eventyard;  Alexander Kovachev, Managing Director of Red Devil Catering;  Angel Lazarov, Founder & Managing Director of NLP Institute; and Tzvetelina Teneva, Managing Partner of Cisco Entrepreneur Institute.

Partners: SuperHosting.BG, Telerik, Obecto, Sofia University, betahaus | sofia, The Business Institute, Saldo, ERP.BG, ABLE, Embrioo, VUZF University, Meta Reading, Interactive Seminars, Capital, LAUNCHub, Eleven, Mind Mapping, CGArt, 42 Ideas, Cocoonix, ESI Center, CEED, UseTogether, StartUP, AIESEC, CEO Club, BNC, NewBiz Club, Ideas Factory, BEST Sofia, Tuk-Tam, BASSCOM, 100% Think Fresh, Manager, Forbes, NewBusiness, Entrepreneur.bg, b2b Media, NewTrend, Enterprise, EventBox, Net News, and Uspehite.com.

Portfolio companies:  There have been two winners of the challenge so far: U Dance and GameCraft.



Startupbootcamp is located in Copenhagen, as well as Berlin, Amsterdam, Dublin, Copenhagen, Haifa, and London. They choose 10 teams per city. 

Program benefits: A three month program

  • €15,000 towards living expenses for the team during the program, 
  • 6 months co-working space
  • Over €150,000 in sponsored services
  • The platform to pitch to over 400 investors at Investor Demo Day

Mentor makeup: Over 750 mentors, including Alan O’Connell, Partner at Seroba Kernel; Andreas Ehn, a co-founder and CTO of Wrapp; Ashu Mathura, founder and CEO of MADS; and Fadi Bishara, founder and CEO of Blackbox.

Partners: Amazon Web Services, Axicom, and Digitalime

Portfolio companies:  Alumni include AdfacesArchifyAutoUncleBalconyTV, BriefixFanarchyOpara, and Pombai.



(Image source: https://www.zazzle.com)

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