The era of incubators has official dawned not now, but years ago. More and more startups are coming up every day. Just like the startups, there are many incubators popping up every day. For the startups to be competitive it is important to pitch in as early as possible. With too many incubators in the market, it may be little confusing for a young entrepreneur whom to choose. Plugging into the right incubator is important for the startup to receive right support and guidance and thereby, helping the startup grow. So it is vital to consider few factors before circling down to one for their startup. The list of factors are listed below with details:
Location is one of the prime factor for choosing an incubator. It is always better to choose one close to where you live. Mainly because you would know the place and people better than anywhere else and would know what would be available where. However, if you have a favorite incubator and it is located elsewhere, then relocating is a good option. But before relocating, workout on the pros and cons of it to have a better picture. If you are working on a tech startup plan and would like to know or network in the tech startup community, it is better to move to Silicon Valley or SFO in the USA. So depending on the demands of the company and self, decide the location wisely. It is important to note that some incubators have very specific “place of business” requirements.
*History of the incubator:
If there is particular incubator that interests you, then it is vital to know what they have been doing in the past years and how they fare in the market. Bit of research may be needed to find out the successful business it has helped to launch, help in funding, percentage of graduates to have achieved milestone, what the incubator did to those companies to ensure success, how long they have been in the field, who backs them up and lot more. Getting in touch with the graduates or who are currently being incubated would help one in getting a clearer picture.
*Match the needs:
Different startups have different requirements. One may need funding, one may need advice to run the business etc. So it is important to know if the incubator focuses on what you want for your business. For instance, if you need funding incubators that are known for mentoring will not do any help. If the need is investors and industry partners, then an incubator that focuses on mentoring, offering seed funding and making connections to physical facilities should be the focus. So first make a list of the things your startup needs and check which incubator matches the needs.
*Right Connection and Network:
If you have decided on the incubator, it is important to know whom can you approach to get into it. These days with the increasing number of startups, the competition to enter into an incubator is also growing rapidly. Though they have application process, it is better to go in with a referral. With a good reference the chances of getting into an incubator is high. This is why they say networking and connections are very important for any startup.
*Tougher to enter, the better:
It is obvious that any startup founder would want to be incubated in a successful incubator. The more difficult it is to enter into, more rewarding the incubator would be.
*Founders of the incubator:
The history of the founders does matter in choosing an incubator. Check if they have a proven track record as entrepreneurs, their educational background, experience in operating business and if it is relevant to you and do they meet their participants often.
Generally, incubators do not have a time frame. It is accelerators who have the time frame for its participants. However, there may be some incubators who work on a stipulated time frame so check if it meet your needs.
There are many incubators these days who deal with specialty or exclusive startups like tech startups, healthcare startups. For instance, San Francisco’s famous YCombinator incubates web-based businesses only. Also, it is wise to be incubated in a specialty incubators for the information shared and guidance would be more useful to the business.
*IRR of the incubator:
Financial state of the incubator is also important to consider before applying. To check if the program has a proven track record of ensuring success, it is wise to get the internal rate of return of the company. Apart from IRR, having a look at the quality of the engineering talent on-boarded by graduates of the program can be a good indicator of how success the incubator is.
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