If you’re working in SaaS, you may have considered at some point working with an incubator or an accelerator, or perhaps you already have or are currently working with one. An incubator or accelerator can drastically change your business and catapult it to new heights by providing valuable resources, education, connections, and of course, the capital. Depending on the stage of your business, one may be more useful than the other. In this article, we will explain the difference between incubators and accelerators and take a look at 8 SaaS incubators and accelerators.
A SaaS Incubator is a firm that takes on startups in their early stages and helps them get to a point at which they can operate fully as more established companies. Incubators help support fledgling companies in various ways apart from capital and investors. For example, incubators provide idea generation, mentorship, education, administration support, office space, and more. They focus mainly on innovation and don’t usually invest as much capital in the startups compared to accelerators. Instead, they may negotiate an equity stake in the business in exchange for all the services and resources they offer. Companies often work with incubators before or in preparation to work with accelerators.
On the other hand, accelerators invest capital in new or already established companies to help take their business to the next level, accelerating their growth. They often offer this capital in return for an equity share. Their main goal is to help the companies scale or scale faster.
San Francisco, USA
Y Combinator is a well-known startup accelerator based in San Francisco, USA. Twice every year, they invest $500k in many startups.
Over the course of three months, Y Combinator focuses on helping startups take off. They try to extract the best in all those participating and use the time to be super productive. They work closely and intensively with participants to refine their pitches and make sure that they are in the best shape possible. Participants are surrounded every day by people involved in startups – your batch peers, the speakers, and investors. YC also provides office hours, boot camps, “Tuesday Talks”, and more.
All this work and optimization culminates with Demo Day. This is when startups present their companies to invite-only, carefully selected investors. Moreover, after Demo Day YC offers a strong community to help support you beyond your pitch.
“The first accelerator for ambitious SaaS bootstrappers”, TinySeed is a year-long remote accelerator designed to help founders with a revenue-generating SaaS optimize their product-market fit and grow faster. Companies often apply for the TinySeed program citing TinySeed’s great mentorship, excellent network, and supportive community.
Differentiating them from other accelerators, TinySeed does not have a demo day, there isn’t homework or tests and it is remote! Their program allows founders to focus on what matters most… their company. Additionally, they limit their weekly meetings to 1 hour and there is no minimum time commitment.
They break down the course into three main parts: The TinySeed Playbook takes up the first three months, the middle six months focus on group mentor advisorship, and the last three months provide ongoing education. Those first three months will include presentations, one-on-one help from their team, and best practices. They can help with pricing, funnels, hiring, and lead generation. They break founders into smaller groups based on similarity and host bi-weekly “mastermind calls”. Throughout the whole year, founders have access to a mentor roster for 1:1 help.
Another benefit of joining TinySeed is that they have in-person retreats and MicroConfs, which provide great opportunities for networking and learning, as well as some good relaxation. Check out their portfolio to see past companies that have worked with TinySeed.
L-Spark is a Canadian accelerator with four different accelerator programs. One of their programs is specifically for SaaS, a six-month intensive program. With this program, founders have access to mentorship with a C-level mentor once a week, networking opportunities, B2B SaaS workshops, pitch practice opportunities, business development, go-to-market strategy support, and more. Another plus of participating in the program is the opportunity to participate in SaaS North, which is Canada’s leading SaaS conference.
L-Spark does not invest in your company as they don’t have a fund. It may be better to call this program an incubator program since they are not actually investing capital in your company. Instead, they take 3% equity in your company if you are selected and agree to participate.
They are specific about what they look for in potential companies. L-Spark looks for B2B and B2B2C SaaS companies who are ready to scale and need help to do so, are passionate about building their software product, Canadian, have a prototype (if pre-revenue) or $5-10K in MRR.
They also have a great resource for female founders, a giant database of Canada’s female founders and funders.
NYC & San Francisco, USA
AngelPad has been ranked the #1 U.S. accelerator, and once you see their track record, you’ll understand why. They’ve helped SaaS giants like buffer and Pipedrive. Because of their success, the pool of applicants is usually huge, around 2000. Every 6 months they choose a group of approximately 15 teams out of those 2000 applications and spend 3 intense months with them. In those three months, they provide 1:1 mentorship, funding, community, and access to investors. AngelPad invests $120,000 in each company, and provides access to other perks like access to over $300k in cloud credits from Digital Ocean, AWS, and Google. Their community provides support during and after they exit AngelPad. By being part of AngelPad, investors already have an idea of the quality of companies that come out of AngelPad, which opens a lot of doors for companies looking for investments.
EGG (Enter Grow Go)
EGG (Enter Grow Go) is a Greek accelerator that operates out of Kallithea, Athens. They have two platforms: Startup and Scaleup. Depending on what stage you’re at with your business, you can choose the program that best suits you.
The Startup option is a year-long incubator program, broken into 3 parts: Enter, Grow, and Go. Enter is the period in which founders apply to participate and compete for a spot in the program. Grow is the business incubation period that provides financing, mentoring, business training, and a headquarters in Kallithea, Athens. Lastly, they have Go which is the graduation from the program that gives participants access to the financial tools and more networking opportunities with investors and potential clients.
Scaleup is an accelerator program to help businesses that have been running for 3+ years to grow and expand. EGG offers an integrated framework focusing on business growth. EGG invests in the companies, injecting capital into the company. They give guidance to founders to assist in establishing their long-term vision, better target their product, promote their business within Greece and internationally, and finally come up with a financing strategy. There are more details available on their website about the Scaleup platform.
Itnig is a great place to establish your startup in Barcelona. Barcelona has become Southern Europe’s most dynamic startup ecosystem, providing a space for startups to thrive. Itnig is a space for early-stage startups in Barcelona. They offer coworking space and serviced office space for tech startups but that’s not all. They have a fund called Itnig Future One which invests €100,000 per company in addition to providing support, without being overbearing. To be considered for an investment, you need to be ambitious, talented, and have drive. You need to apply so that they can gain a better understanding of your project and team. If they’re interested, they’ll contact you and invite you to the Pitch to Investors event.
Founders Factory (London) accelerator
Sting is a non-profit organization that is owned by a public-private foundation and has been around since 2002. On average, they support 25-30 Stockholm-based startups every year.
One of their focus areas is Digital and SaaS falls under that umbrella, although many other business types are permitted. Sting is great because it offers 3 different programs that are created to better accommodate startups at different stages. Their programs include Sting Accelerate, Sting Incubate, and Sting Incubate Deeptech.
Newchip is a completely online accelerator program that helps startups successfully raise capital. So far, they have helped alumni raise over $2.25BN in funding! Newchip is the world’s leading online accelerator program operating in over 50 countries and 250 cities worldwide. This program functions more like an Executive MBA program than a traditional classroom-style accelerator program. You can complete the assignments at your own pace and after work hours, from just about anywhere in the world. They also have different programs depending on what stage you’re a: Bootcamp & Pre-accelerator, Pre-seed Accelerator, and Seed & Series A Accelerator. By partnering with some of the biggest companies in the startup ecosystem, Newchip harnesses the power to connect you with the right tools and resources for your startup. Some of these partners include Google Cloud for Startups, IBM, Amazon Web Services, and more.
If you’re interested in Newchip, you can apply to their program easily. They will take 2-3 business days to review your application and they will reach out to you if they think you’re a good fit, passing you to the next step in the application process. Additionally, they have a one hour info session that you can join to learn more about everything they offer.
This is an intense, fast-paced, 4-month program intended for startups that already have some traction for their launched product or service. Accelerate also includes an investment of 500,000ksek from Propel Capital. In this program, you can look forward to 2 hours of individual coaching every week, support from Sting to help build your ideal team, access to industry experts and mentors, a spot at their coworking space in Stockholm, and a great community of other founders during and after the program.
Sting Incubate helps early-stage startups that have launched a prototype or alpha and are aiming to launch within the next year. It is a twelve month program and there is even the possibility of a 500,000ksek investment. They provide coaching and support tailored to each startup so that they can grow and launch their product with success.
Sting Incubate Deeptech is specifically for Deeptech startups and is designed to be a slower-paced 12-24 month long program. In this program, startups get all the perks of Sting Incubate, plus more access to Deeptech-specific resources.
If you are a founder or part of a startup, an incubator or accelerator program may be a great way for you to find success with your business. These 8 SaaS incubators and accelerators are just a few examples out of hundreds of amazing programs that can help you and your business grow.