Startup Incubator programs founders must know of

Starting your startup is an amazing time in entrepreneurial life. There’s pace and passion yet a certain degree of clueless-ness about the finer details of processes, people etc.

You might be a startup founder in Banagalore wanting to start something in Silicon Valley or Amsterdam. and you dont know how or even where to begin. We understand.

Fact is, most startup incubator programs and accelerators have very favourable terms and conditions for the local startups owing to a competitive edge one has when they know how the local eco-system works.

Choosing the right startup is as important for the startup incubator as much as it is for the startup to get the right guidance from the incubator.  You cant just close your eyes and apply to any or all incubators hoping a spray and pray method will work. Far from it.

We suggest you first do a self check to figure what would work best for you by answering the following 3 questions:

a) What stage are you at ? – Idea, MVP, Pre-launch, Post-launch, Ramping up etc.

b) What Industry are you catering to ? – There are incubators that specialise in certain industries eg Tech, Healthcare, Education etc.

c) What geography are you catering to and where are you based out of?

Once you’ve figured it out for yourself, understand what fits better for your stage of business- an incubator or an accelerator :

What is a startup accelerator:

Startups accelerators are short term programs to help early-stage, growth driven companies and startups to attain success by providing seed money, pitch and demos, mentorship, advice and resources.

What is a startup Incubator:

Startup incubators are programs that help startups in the very initial stages of the company’s inception e.g. at the idea stage. Usually functioning like a non – profit organization, they are usually run by both public and private entities. Startup Incubators help founders and entrepreneurs to address basic concepts like process, structure, mentoring, advice, resources, networking, seed funding etc.

How are startup accelerators different from Incubators?

The two differ in the stages of company that they ideally prefer to engage at. In the simplest example, Startup incubators can be considered like programs that help an infant (Idea stage company) turn into a toddler (MVP created) and walk. Startup accelerators are what help a toddler (MVP created) turn into a teen (Revenue generating business).

North America:

1. Y Combinator:

Seed funding, connections and mentoring startups are the highlight of the Y combinator program ideally done in exchange of a 7% equity. It gets you to the point where you’ve built something to raise money on a very large scale where after Y-combinator introduces you to late stage investors.

2. Techstars:

Techstars is a global network that helps entrepreneurs to succeed by providing an ecosystem of mentors who inspire, challenge and mentor you in your startup journey.

3. Angel Pad:

Angel pad is popularly known as the seed-stage accelerator program that is based in New York City and San Francisco and engages in 3-month programs.

4. Launch Pad LA:

Launch Pad is regarded as the startup accelerator for unusual or exceptional entrepreneurs. It invests $25k – $100k in startups. Launch Pad offers free office space and also provides access to the network of mentors, investors and entrepreneurs.

5. Mucker Capital:

Mucker Capital is best known for its seed and pre-seed investment in companies which are building defensible and scalable business.

It focusses on the investments in seed and the pre-stage companies specializing in internet software, services and all the media sectors.


The Alphalab is a nationally ranked software accelerator in Pittsburgh. Alpha Lab helps early stage tech companies to figure out quickly what are the best ways to grow and build in a 4-month program which includes a form of funding.

7.Capital Innovators:

Capital Innovators provide innovation consultation, entrepreneurial based programs and help startups to speed up the investments into early-stage businesses.


The TechWildcatters programs provides investment of time, money and resources in promising tech related startups.

9.The Brandery:

The Brandery is a nationally ranked startup accelerator that helps startups in building powerful brands. It mainly focus on the creation of the consistence omnichannel and brand experience.

10.Boom Startup:

Boom Startup is a mentor-driven seed accelerator. It helps the startup to find an optimal business model and make connections between investors and customers. Boom Startup also provide online acceleration platforms for startups.

11. 500 Startups

500 startups is in essence a VC firm but nurturing the startup ecosystem like no other by having 4 global funds and 14 microfunds to cater to global startup needs.

Beyond providing seed capital, 500 further supports startups via its Seed Programs in San Francisco and Mexico City and the Series A Program in multiple locations globally. The Seed Program emphasizes digital marketing, customer acquisition, lean startup practices, and fundraising for pre-Seed companies.(500 Startups)


1. SeedCamp:

Started by 30 investors in 2007, SeedCamp is a popular seed fund in Europe. They invest in early stage companies and hep with mentoring, advice, product market fit, marketing etc. It mainly focus on to get you off the ground and all the way up to a great series of follow-on funding.

2. MassChallenge Switzerland:

The Mass Challenge helps startups connect with experts and resources without taking equity. Being a non- profit organization they give out over $2milion in equity free cash prizes globally every year.

3. Wayra:

Wayra is corporate accelerator with presence in Europe and Latin America. It focusses on the British and Irish startup scene

4. Startup Boot Camp:

This is actually a global network of programs quite active in the Europe as well and hence the mention. By providing direct access to an international network of mentors, partners, and investors, Startup boot camp supports tech founders to scale their companies.

5. Next:

NEXT Amsterdam follows a hands-on method which helps founders to find a business model that is scalable and repeatable. Their core focus lies on innovation.

6. Beta-i:

One of the main entrepreneurship and innovation organizations in Europe, Beta-i is the Lisbon based startup accelerator. This accelerator focusses its energies on three principles:   create and boost a network of entrepreneurship; accelerate startups with global ambition and facilitate their access to investment; and create space and services.

7. Numa:

To solve the global problems of 2030 through a variety of activities such as-: acceleration programs for startups, open innovation projects for corporates, events, training, and co-working spaces for their communities, NUMA helps in empowering mission-driven tech entrepreneurs to solve these global problems with innovation.

8. Startup Sauna:

Founded in 2010, the startup accelerator provides growth hacks and tips over a period of 3 weeks. They are active in countries like the Nordics, Baltics, Eastern Europe and Russia. Startup Sauna is also a No-equity and free accelerator focusing on finding the right product-market fit and go-to-market strategy.

9. Accelerace:

This is a tech focused startup accelerator program that helps businesses identify scalable business models with a startup survival rate of 88%

10. NDRC:

The NDRC is an early-stage digital startup accelerator for Irish companies that provides modest amounts of capital and high amounts of hands on support to early stage companies.


1. Catalyzer:

This is a startup accelerator based in India which helps businesses grow by providing access to seed funding, office space, mentors etc. It focuses on Technology, Brick & Mortar, Social Enterprises and Non Profits.

2. Freemont Partners:

Being India’s first Global accelerator and incubator, Freemont Partners provides seed funding to entrepreneurs which directly focus on technology driven startups specially in Mobile, internet and cloud. Therefore they also provide mentorship, strategic direction and access to local/global mentors and partners.

3. GSF Accelerator:

Aiming to provide select startups with unparalleled access to venture and business networks, GSF Global Accelerator is a 13 week program which helps product-oriented startups focusing on internet and mobile. The main objective is to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship and to Guide startups.

4. Kyron Accelerator:

Introducing a new concept of pre-accelerators, Kyron admits about 20-25 startups. They assess the challenges of Fortune 500 companies and then fill that need with the right startup specialising with a solution over a six month duration mostly in web and apps.

5. Microsoft Accelerator:

Having a deep focus towards promising early-stage startups or first-time entrepreneurs, Microsoft Accelerator runs program of 4 months to get strong mentoring, technical guidance and connections to other startups. There is a focus on Cloud, Internet and Mobile using Microsoft technologies.

6. Target Accelerator:

The US retail corproration Target has an interesting 4 month long incubator program. It is a high touch accelerator which selects up to five technology startups for each program focussing on the reatil industry directly and indirectly.

7. TLabs Accelerator:

T Labs is a startup accelerator and early stage seed-fund in India for internet and mobile technology startups. Over a period of 4 months, it offers a funding of INR 10 Lakh, a co-working space, and a panel of 70+ mentors that includes highly-experienced entrepreneurs and industry professionals.


Headed by Guhesh Ramanathan, the Excubator is a startup incubator which helps startups move ahead from the idea stage and create an MVP to build scalable businesses. They provide support in terms of platforms, people and processes to succeed.

9. Venture Nursery:

Venture Nursery is India’s first angel-backed startup accelerator and offers an intense three month business acceleration program. Venture Nursery strictly aims at improving the success probability of the startups and funding for series A and enhancing the probability of success of the startup.The main focus area of this accelerator are Media & Entertainment, Retail, e-Commerce, Consumer Technology, Education and CleanTech.

10. 5Ideas:

Collaborating with startups for 6 to 12 months, 5Ideas is a seed fund plus business accelerator for early stage digital businesses. It supports startups with human, financial and social capital while focusing its energies on Internet and mobile, niche ecommerce, B2B/SME focused SAAS, intersection of mobile & geo, education, urban parenting, big data and ad tech.

Asia Pacific – APAC:


1. Slingshot:

With the vision to simultaneously help entrepreneurs build great businesses in Australia and also help corporate Australia develop new and innovative products, Slingshot runs six-month accelerator programs based on themes identified by their corporate partners.

2. BlueChilli:

This is a unique Australian accelerator focusing on helping non-tech entrepreneurs build tech companies and startups. It is a business accelerator assisting in building, growing and investing in new tech startups. With their accelerator program, product development team and Venture Fund, they invests in technology IP, expert skills and early-stage funding.

3. Springboard:

The SpringBoard Enterprises (SBE ) Australia program offers female entrepreneurs with the support and services they need to build their businesses They strictly focus on building high-growth tech companies lead by women through their network of investors, innovators and influencers.

Hong Kong:

1. DBS Accelerator:

Being Powered by Nest, startups selected for this accelerator program receive mentorship from various business units at DBS as well as from Nest over a period of 12 weeks. The program focusses on  FinTech startups from seed through Series B stages specialising in startups with services in  focus on compliance monitoring, credit digitization, customer engagement cyber security and digital channel experience.

 2. SuperCharger finrtech accelerator:

This is a popular 12-week FinTech accelerator programme which aims to help startups penetrate the Asian market without taking equity in return. Therefore this program is dedicated to both startups and scale-up global FinTech companies.

3. The Cage:

This popular accelerator is powered by The Lane Crawford Joyce Group, and focuses on early-stage startups with a customer tested prototype and does not take equity in selected startups. It is also regarded as a full-time, 12-week ignition and development programme for startups developing technologies which are applied to fashion and lifestyle retail.


1. StartupbootcampFintech:

This accelerator is focused on financial innovation and is one of the leading accelerators in Singapore providing funding, mentorship, office space in Singapore and access to a global network of corporate partners, mentors, investors and VCs.

2. InspirAsia Accelerator:

InspirAsia Accelerator aims to to enhance the products to global standards, assist in the global market expansion, help with tech, business, financial and VC partners from global network and also provides free office space.

3. DBS HotSpot Pre-Accelerator:

Offering an intensive 2+4 month program, DBS HotSpot Pre-Accelerator is a program designed to help cultivate entrepreneurship in Singapore through experimentation, mentorship and training. Therefore it aims to help promising teams turn ideas into action, and make the impossible, possible.


1. Africa Startup Ecosystem:

Being the first African startup digital accelerator, the Africa Startup Ecosystem helps in accelerating 100 companies to market each year while providing a partnership platform for startups..

2. ActivSpaces:

Located in Cameroon, Active Spaces is focused on tech startups. It has an incubation program and an acceleration program to help startups at various stages of their existence. At incubation stage, ActicSpaces helps by providing startups with an office space, internet connection, business coaching, and a community of like-minded individuals and experts. The accelerator program helps startups to secure investments by aligning them with mentors, assisting them in incorporation, assisting them in driving growth.

 3. AlphaCode Club:

Based in South Africa, it is regarded as a collaborative club for entrepreneurs in next-generation financial services.  With four membership models for startups of various sizes and stages of development, it provides a platform for members to engage and work alongside experienced entrepreneurs, technology investors and industry experts, resulting in accelerated growth and access to markets.

4. Barclays Accelerator Program:

Barclays Accelerator Program works in partnership with Techstars, providing tools, equipment and facilities for technology based startups. The program provides dedicated mentorship for select startups and entrepreneurs over a period of 13 weeks.

5. Bongo Hive:

This startup incubator is based in Lusaka, Zambia and is its first technology and innovation hub. It provides help to scalable startups of any background by enhancing skills, accelerating growth, strengthening networks, providing a forum for ideas exchange etc.

We recommend treating this article like a starting point on your journey once the startup idea is final.

Do share any major startup incubator programs or accelerator programs of these regions that we may have missed out. We plan to constantly add to this list to make it a useful resource. 

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