5 Things to Look For in a Startup Incubator
Startup incubators have recently grown in popularity all around the world. Incubators are organizations that support startups by providing a variety of resources and services meant to speed up a startup’s development. Typically, a startup incubator invests in a startup in exchange for a portion of the startup’s equity. The application process tends to be highly competitive—thousands of applicants typically compete for a very small number of spots across the country.
Before a startup company looks to work with an incubator, several steps must be taken to make sure that that particular startup incubator is the right fit. Here are a few things to consider.
- Qualified MentorsIt’s important to know whether the specialists and mentors in a particular incubator have experiences and networks that are beneficial to your startup. Passionate, qualified entrepreneurs and mentors are what you should look for. These mentors will help you fill any gaps you might have in your idea. Remember to do your research to make sure you will have the best people helping you launch your startup.
- Current and past startupsIt’s important that you are able to contact companies that have already gone through the process. They are able to give you some valuable insight about what your experience might be like. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions and find out what they specifically did during their time with the incubator. Also, make note of how they are doing now and it going through the process was a success.
- Collaborative EnvironmentThe environment is key; you want to make sure you are going to be in a positive environment surrounded by other hard-working founders. Look for incubators with shared workspaces, or a calendar of events that encourage entrepreneurs to think and work together.
- Mutually beneficial dealsLike mentioned before, incubators typically offer their services in exchange for equity in your company. You need to ask yourself how much you are willing to give up and if it’s worth it. Do your homework and seek legal counsel if necessary to ensure that the deal is fair to you and your incubator.
- CurriculumStartups accepted into incubators typically go through several educational trainings and seminars. Make sure that you can handle the curriculum, and that it is truly going to give you some insight about what you don’t already know.
- LocationMost incubators make it a requirement to relocate when you are accepted into their program. Again, you must ask yourself if the move will be beneficial to your business.
Finding the right incubator can give your startup a significant advantage in successfully launching and becoming profitable in the long term. Take the time to be sure you’ve found the best fit for your idea and don’t simply be lured in by name and reputation alone – your future may depend on it.
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