Startup accelerators are something that European technology has no lack of.
There appear to be several in every region of the continent, and now, Sifted has created a database of more than 400 of them.
In the early stages of their startups, first-time entrepreneurs may largely benefit from accelerator programs by using them as a forum to get guidance, coaching, and financial assistance. Workshops, educational opportunities, and, if they’re fortunate, connections to suitable investors and mentors are provided to cohorts. In return, they typically offer the accelerators between 7% and 10% of their stock.
In our study on accelerators, 86% of Sifted readers who participated said they would recommend the experience to friends.
Not all of them, however, get five-star reviews; several Sifted users complained that the “professional mentors” in their program might have been far more knowledgeable. Only Entrepreneur First and Y Combinator received more than a few votes from the dozens of top tier VCs we polled on which accelerators they pay attention to.
However, there are a lot of regional and industry-specific accelerators supporting companies throughout Europe. Here, we include more than 400 programs that Sifted readers submitted and our editors cleaned up. Please let us know if you believe we have overlooked something.
Startup accelerators in Europe
Location: France, Germany, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Portugal, Spain, and the UK are all in Europe.
Pre-launch, pre-idea, and pre-seed teams with a broad focus
67 businesses met in Stockholm in January 2019 for the inaugural Antler program launch, hoping to win $110k for 12% ownership. The accelerator has now expanded to 18 sites worldwide, including seven in Europe. It assists entrepreneurs in finding cofounders from the very beginning, often even before they have a concept.
Focus: SaaS, deep tech, and fintech
Through its accelerator program, Baltic Sandbox cultivates aspiring deeptech businesses (plus fintech and SaaS). Additionally, it hosted a Women in Tech accelerator for the CEE area and a Silvertech initiative that supported firms that offered solutions to issues faced by senior citizens in 2022. Zenoo, a firm that creates customized pet food, and SEARADAR, a yacht booking service, support it.
Recently, the accelerator also created a VC arm with the same name. It revealed this week that it had secured €10 million of its first €13 million early-stage deeptech fund, the first such fund in the area.
Lab for Creative Destruction
Location: Oxford, Paris, Tartu, and Berlin are all in Europe.
Focus: Science-based businesses at the seed stage
Every eight weeks, Creative Destruction Lab’s cohorts participate in rigorous full-day sessions supervised by mentors from from a pool of successful entrepreneurs, angel investors, and venture capitalists. Additionally, teams get technical advice from academic consultants, and business school students are consulted for strategic guidance. Ecoation, a platform for yield forecasting, and DarwinAI, a quality inspection tool driven by AI, are alumni businesses.
Focus: Pre-seed for an accelerator, sector-neutral, or an incubator
After commencing its program in 2013, Demium established a venture capital arm in 2020. It currently invests up to €500k in follow-on rounds, starting with €150k in the pre-seed rounds of its cohorts (using a convertible note). The six-month accelerated program includes weekly online sessions with subject-matter specialists. Additionally, it offers eight incubators where prospective entrepreneurs are paired with one another to launch a firm as part of the program.
Focus: unbiased to industries
In addition to hosting startups, Maria 01’s space also welcomes VCs, corporations, and foreign investors to provide entrepreneurs access to a crucial network inside the coworking space. This campus-style community is housed in a historic hospital building in Helsinki. Members get access to a variety of programs offered by business and venture capital partners, such as the Microsoft For Businesses Founders Hub and the Arrow Cloud Innovation Factory program for SaaS startups.
Attention: Impact startups
Another nonprofit, Norrsken, focuses on groups creating impactful solutions and has a coworking space within the opulent halls of a former tram stop. Teams may join the office as a place to work and have access to the contacts the organization has with VC firms Fry, Nordea, Nordic Capital, and PwC. Selected startups participating in the eight-week accelerator programs at the Stockholm office get a pre-seed investment of $125k, coaching from successful entrepreneurs, and a demo day for investors. In Barcelona, it plans to launch a second center for Europe in 2023.
French location of Station F
The Paris outpost of Station F, the biggest startup campus in the world, provides a variety of options for entrepreneurs to use the coworking space. After a 2022 makeover, its flagship Founders Program 2.0 is now divided into two batches, each of which hosts up to 25 entrepreneurs for six weeks of workshops, six weeks to prepare for a pitch, and then 12 months to refine the concept before making another proposal at the conclusion of the time period.
There are also sector-specific initiatives, such as a six-month FemTech project, that help entrepreneurs at the concept stage. A number of other partners with programs are also present, including Facebook, L’Oreal, and the Fighters program, which supports chosen entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds by giving them free admission to the campus for a year.
Location of Wilco: France
Various among 16 programs for the focus
Wilco offers a choice of 16 sector-specific programs with a focus on French businesses with Greater Paris locations that were established less than three years ago. The three-year programs’ objective is to get entrepreneurs achieve their first million in annual revenue. The carpooling website BlaBlaCar, the custom tour company Evaneos, and the parking spot rental company Yespark are all graduates of the accelerator.
Founders of the pre-team and pre-idea
The London School of Economics provides financial support for Zinc’s 12-month Venture Builder program, which chooses around 70 pre-idea, pre-team participants to take on a particular social purpose. This program’s social mission varies each time it is run. Looking for ways to “change people’s financial resilience” will be the focus of the 2023 program. Businesses that are created successfully may earn investments of up to £250k.
Germany: Ignition Location
Supporting teams to achieve product-market fit.
This Berlin-based accelerator offers teams with an idea €25k in money without taking any ownership in exchange for helping them uncover validation for their concept throughout a five-month program. It is backed by digihub Düsseldorf, a project meant to foster innovation in the area.
The list, created by Sifted Intelligence, includes more than 400 accelerators operating across Europe.
An editorial assistant at Sifted is Sadia Nowshin. Her Twitter handle is @sadianowshin_. Check out Sifted Pro for more thorough information and analysis on European technology.
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