With over 500,000 startups that were created in 2015, the UK is becoming one of the world’s most dynamic start-up clusters and the most prominent start-up ecosystem in Europe, an entrance to investments. It is not surprising that London has experienced a rapid rise in incubator and accelerator programs much quicker and faster than other European cities. London has 36 programs that includes 12 incubators and 24 accelerators. The vibrant city houses the maximum start-up programs in the country followed by Birmingham, Liverpool, Bournemouth and Brighton.
Considering the importance of the accelerator programs in UK and its contribution to the world startup market, we have listed down the top accelerators in the UK along with their details.
Founded in 2007 by a bunch of experienced angel and VC investors, Seedcamp is a London-based European investment and mentorship program for the startups. It focuses on early stage technology startups with prototype or with a product in beta stage. Through its network of mentors it connects the amazing capabilities with the startups. It connect the startups with 1000 operators, 500 investors with their founders to shape and grow their businesses. This accelerator program brings together learning and capital together.
From being a mere startup accelerator, Seedcamp has been working to transit into a proper VC seed fund for a few years now. Few months ago, it launched of its third fund, a $30 million pool of cash to pump into its startups. It offers three-month program which is mentored by top mentors like Dave McClure, Eric Ries and many angel investors, VCs and mentors from Google, Facebook, Skype, Box and more. During the time of the program, the startups get access to office space at Google campus in London, mentorship from more than 2000 mentors, a four-week mentoring tour of the U.S startup and investor community and a Founder’s Pack worth around $150,000 in free or reduced priced services.
Among the 22 startups that graduated in the first two batches, 85% of them have received follow-up funding or were acquires. Apart from London, the program is offered in various places in Europe. The companies graduated from Seedcamp has raised $280 million since in founding. When the startup graduate, they are offered with seed capital of 25,000 Euros to 50,000 Euros in exchange of 5% to 10% of equity of the startups. Some of the successful startups graduated from Seedcamp are eMoov, Gaming, Live TV, Wordy, Quizlet, Wordy, FishBrain and lot more.
Founded in 2011 and based in Birmingham, the accelerator Oxygen is an intensive mentor led bootcamp that focuses on web technology startups. Though it was founded in Birmingham, in the matter of months, the company shifted its location from Midlands to East London’s Tech City. The program it offers is designed to foster groups or individuals and create workable companies that will result in marketable and innovative technology for the future. The mentoring program is for three months through which it aims to create a sustainable tech community outside of the hub of the capital and to draw in more international talent to cities of equal technological standing.
For every program, Oxygen selects 10 startups who will then work in the heart of technological innovation at BSPA to promote inspiration and offer access to the state-of-the-art facilities to fuel the growing companies to success. The selected startups revolve around ecommerce, social media, mobile, data analytics, publishing, video, gaming and SaaS. The 13-week program culminates with a series of investors days where the startups will have the opportunity to pitch to a large, carefully selected group of Angel investors, VCs and private equity groups for next stage funding.
At the end of the program, the startups are offered 18,000 GBP per team in exchange of 8% equity of stake. The seed funding is offered by dividing the whole amount into around 6000 GBP per founder (up to three founders) to each of the 10 selected startups. Apart from this, they also get the other privileges as mentioned above. Till date, it has accelerated more than 46 startups and around 8% of those companies have received follow on funding of around 100,000 GBP and 500,000 GBP. Some of the graduated startups are Barcode Beastie, BeHiring, Cherry Bird Limited, Dialective, EatSocial, Fashiny and many more.
Founded in 2011 in Spain, the accelerator promotes entrepreneurship and accelerates disruptive startups in Europe and Latin America. It targets at innovative internet and new technologies startups with high growth potential. The accelerator is financially backed by Telefonica, one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world. This backing proves to be a greatest asset for Wayra. One of the biggest advantage is that synergies can be forged between the selected startups and Telefonica’s existing customers.
The acceleration program for the startup runs for a time period of 6 to 8 months in Wayra academies where the selected startups receive mentoring, technical support, networking, access to business partners and Telefonica executives and end up with the demo day. It takes in around 20 startup companies for its program. The participating startups receive up to 50,000 Euros in the form of a convertible loan note which Wayra converts into around 7% to 10% equity after the next round of funding.
Wayra has accelerated more than 350 companies in its program in the 12 countries it operates and in UK, it has accelerated around 80 companies since its founding in 2012. Some of the Wayra UK’s successful startups who were listed in UK’s 100 most innovative and fast growing startups are Yoyo, WeFarm, Quidini, Minicabit and few more. 50% of the Wayra’s acceleration program is funded by the UK Government.
Founded in 2010, Startupbootcamp is a global network of industry-focused startup accelerators that offers investment and mentorship services likes other accelerator programs. Its London program was started last year supported by major big brands like Lloyds and Rabobank, payment giant MasterCard and SBT Venture Capital. For its program, its focuses on startups’ whose business model revolves around any finance related business like banking, accounting, consulting, finance, insurance, software development.
For every Startupbootcamp accelerator program, the company selects 10 starts from the number of global applicants to join the 3 month program. The three month program offers living expenses worth 15,000 Euros, free working space at Rainmaking Loft startup hub for 3+1 months, 15K Euros in cash per team to help relocate, invitation to SBC global alumni network and growth program and more than 450,000 Euros in deals from partners like AWS and Paypal.
Startupbootcamp’s successful graduates for last year are Creditable, Epiphyte, FriendlyScore, Insly, InvoiceSharing, Liquity, M-Changa and many more. The secret ingredient behind the success of the London’s accelerator is the global pool of 2500+ volunteer mentors who offer priceless value through coaching and connections to customers, partners and investors.
Founded in 2013 and based in London, Level39 is Europe’s largest technology accelerator that targets at technology business innovating in the financial services sector. The accelerator program aims to help improve the transparency, competitiveness and client services of the financial services sector along with improving London’s position as the technology capital of Europe. The new facility will ensure that London takes full advantage of the global surge in financial and big data technologies.
Level39 offers short-term programs that focuses to fuel a young company’s growth over a concentrated period of time. Members are offered amenities to create, test, market and deliver scalable world-class financial retails and future cities technology products and services. Unlike other accelerators that offer direct investment, it does not offer direct investment but connects entrepreneurs with investors. No equity is taken from the member participants. Since 2013, the member companies of Level39 has raised more than $200 million from external investors. Some of the successful fintech companies graduated from Level39 are Prophis, Quanstore, Symetrics, Trunomi, Yodlee, Heckyl Technologies etc.,
*The Founder Institute:
Founded in 2009, the accelerator Founder Institute is the world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program with one of its programs based in London. It supports and encourages technology startups to engage their ideas. The startups that are less than two years with less than half a million in annual revenues are generally accepted to the program. The program offered is more structured to allow people who are working at big companies and dreaming about their own startups to learn about business and to find if their business idea is feasible.
The comprehensive step-by-step program of Founder Institute is an intensive four-month program that conducts training, program sessions and public events. The program offers sessions on startup research, naming and branding, hiring and firing, revenue and cost, product development, marketing and saled and fundraising. It has teamed up with Kalliolaw-Attorneys at Law, KPMG, Microsoft BizSpark, Elance, SendGrid, crowdSpring, Softjourn, Squarespace, CloudSigma and Dell.
Founder Institute does not offer direct investment by connects the startups with the investors. Every startup member contributes 3.5% of their company’s equity. But also each Graduate joins a ten year Graduate Liquidity Pool that distributes cash generated from peer success. Some companies it has accelerated are Breezy, LetsLunch, GoFar, Nexercise, Homehey, Brili and many more.
Founded in 2012 in Chicago, Healthbox accelerator focuses on disrupting the healthcare industry by identifying high-potential healthcare technology startups that address very real industry issues. The selected startups revolve around the healthcare sector like improving patient engagement, provider effectiveness, preventative health and wellness etc. The London program is supported by companies like healthcare heavy weights Bupa and Serco as well innovative digital companies like Zone Digital.
Healthbox’s program runs for 8 to 16 weeks which takes place on-site. During the program, the entrepreneurs are offered unparalleled healthcare industry access and insight needed to succeed in a complex marketplace. It has partnered with leading healthcare organizations to advance a culture of idea generation, business creation and external collaboration. It has a portfolio of more than 50 active companies and strategic partnership with more than 20 healthcare organizations.