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Today’s article focuses on the accelerators which are located in Europe, with the exception of post-Soviet states, which we will talk about in our next and final article. Today we are going to have a look at the top ten companies that are located in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium. Looking ahead, we can say that London leads the way, and its superiority is disputed by Paris, but first things first!
We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.
Crunchbase currently has 920 companies in the “Accelerators” category (387 of them have perceived at least one investment), with headquarters located in Europe. As in the case of the Asian market, of which we wrote about in the previous article, the market is very colourful, but in its own way, one will never confuse Startupbootcamp — London acceleration program with the NUMA Paris.
Startupbootcamp accelerator from London comfortably takes the first place. It has 526 investments and 28 successful exits on its account. The accelerator was founded in 2010 and runs a 13-week acceleration program, which ends with a traditional Demo day. €15,000 received by the teams allows them to pay for accommodation during the program; 6 months of coworking for free, and startup services get a further €450 000 from accelerator partners. Startupbootcamp is a network accelerator which offices are located in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Miami, New York, Cape Town, Dubai, Istanbul, London, Chengdu, Rome and Mumbai. The focus of the accelerator is on startups in the field of software development, healthcare, as well as information technology, mobile applications and fintech. Among their successful exits are the Paris-based startup Sunrise, which was acquired by Microsoft for $100 million in February 2015; Boston-based Relayr startup, acquired in September 2018 for $300 million by Munich Reinsurance; as well as the Amsterdam-based startup Bundle, acquired by ReSnap in May 2017, which allows one to keep the pictures on their smartphone organized.
Second place goes to the Valencian Lanzadera Accelerator, founded in 2013 by Juan Roig. Its acceleration program lasts 48 (!!!) weeks, which is a record among all the reviewed accelerators. Over its 7 years of operating, the accelerator has managed to invest in 253 startups, which has led to 2 successful exits. Their “graduate”, Madrid Afterbanks startup, a bank aggregator, was acquired by Minsait in September 2019 (the amount of the deal was not disclosed), the Madrid-based Groupify startup, which allows finding people and places nearby, was acquired by Paktor in February 2017 and has become the second “star” of the accelerator of the year.
The third place belongs to the Brussels-based accelerator EIT Digital Accelerator which also offers a 48-week acceleration program, this has allowed them to invest in 233 startups, of which 23 have already made a successful exit. The focus of this accelerator is ScaleUp companies, to which it offers, in addition to the acceleration program, a network of 130 partners, allowing them to expand their business throughout Europe and beyond. The focus of the accelerator is software development, information technology and healthcare, IoT, and mobile applications. It is also possible to count the Helsinki-based digital health startup, Kaiku, acquired by Elekta in May 2020, as one of its most successful exits. In addition, it is worth noting that the Paris-based NAVYA, a startup which creates solutions for the automotive industry, went public in July 2018; likewise for the Munich-based startup Magazino, which creates warehouse robots, acquired by Siemens in July 2015.
The fourth place takes Entrepreneur First, another London-based accelerator, founded in 2011. It runs a 24-week acceleration program ending with a Demo day. The company managed to close 203 deals, 10 of which led to successful exits. Unlike other accelerators, Entrepreneur First focuses on the “pre-team, pre-idea” stage, supporting entrepreneurs in building a business from scratch. The focus of the company is on startups involved in AI / ML, software, information technology and healthcare. Among its successful exits are several London-based startups: Scape Technologies, which creates computer vision solutions and was acquired by Facebook in February 2020; AimBrain, a startup preventing fraud in companies, acquired by BioCatch in February 2020; as well as Adbrain, which allows for cross-channel communication of brands with its users, which was acquired by The Trade Desk in October 2017.
The fifth place of the most active accelerators in Europe is taken by the Paris-based Wilco program. Founded in 2011, it is also known as the Scientipole Initiative and focuses on supporting scientific and technological developments by young entrepreneurs. The accelerator offers founders or teams interest-free loans ranging from €20,000 to €90,000 for a period of up to 5 years. After providing financial assistance, the accelerator continues to support projects with coaching and workshops. Wilco, like Entrepreneur First, has made 203 deals, but has 18 exits. Among its most successful exits are the New York-based startup PeopleDoc, a cloud-based HR service for corporations, acquired in July 2018 by Ultimate Software for $300 million; the Paris-based startup Datananas, which helps sellers close more deals and was acquired by Sarbacane in April 2020; as well as the Paris-based startup Artefact, a digital marketing marketing agency that went public in 2006.
Another London-based accelerator, Bethnal Green Ventures (BGV), focused on “tech for good,” which means supporting startups in the area of social and climate change. The 13-week acceleration program includes projects in the field of healthcare, education, Internet technologies, software development and mobile applications. Since 2012, BGV has invested in 120 companies and has on its account one successful exit: the London-based Logomeal, which improves the eating habits of users who take food photos (hello, instafooders!), The startup was acquired by Intent HQ in March 2017.
The next place in our ranking goes to Future Fifty, an acceleration program for companies at the scaling stage, as part of the British state program TechNation. Founded in 2011 by British Prime Minister David Cameron, this accelerator focuses on fintech startups, e-commerce and software development. As a part of the 4-week acceleration program, companies receive support from a network of like-minded people who are doing everything possible to build the digital future of the United Kingdom. Future Fifty has 139 startups in its portfolio, of which 36 have already made a successful exit. The most famous “graduate” of the program can be seen as the California-based startup box for file sharing, which went public on the New York Stock Exchange in January 2015 with an estimation at $1.7 billion. The British startup Funding Circle also went public on the London Stock Exchange and received an estimate of $1.5 billion, but in September 2018. The project consists in a loan service for small businesses.The British company Fartech is yet another successful startup that has gone through the Future Fifty program, it is a platform for selling luxury clothing online. It also entered the New York Stock Exchange in September 2018 with a valuation of $5.8 billion.
In eighth place, we can find the Rockstar accelerator from Amsterdam, which was founded in July 2011. In its existence, the company managed to invest in 132 startups and 9 successful exits. The 6-week acceleration program is aimed at startups at seed stage in 4 main areas: energy, healthcare, agrifood and breakthrough technologies. Rockstar’s most successful “graduate” is Wercker, a Dutch startup that was acquired by Oracle in April 2017, which allows it to quickly deploy microservices through the cloud. Another startup, Syndy, is building a platform for exchanging data with multi-channel marketing and was acquired in March 2018 by Icecat. The third of Rockstar’s most successful exits is the Portuguese startup Codeplace project, which allows one to learn web programming by creating real-world applications; it was acquired by the Portuguese company Academia de Código in March 2018.
In the penultimate place of this top ten most active European accelerators is another Paris-based NUMA accelerator with branches in Moscow and Bangalore. It was founded in November 2013. During this time, 124 startups have managed to complete the 20-week acceleration program and 21 of them have made a successful exit. The accelerator’s focus is on startups in the areas of software, e-commerce, social media, applications and education. Among the most successful “graduates” of the program is the New York-based startup Streamroot, which allows peer-to-peer broadcasts of videos acquired by CenturyLink in September 2019. The Paris-based project DRUST, a platform for car analytics, was acquired by Continental in June 2019; as well as the Paris-based docTrackr startup, which allows one to safely store documents online, it was acquired by Intralinks for $10 million in April 2014.
Closing this top ten, we’re moving to the Barclays British accelerator, which is sponsored by the eponymous bank and is managed by the global TechStars network. It was founded in 2013 and during its existence it has managed to invest in 127 startups, 2 of them have successful exits. The main focus of this accelerator is finance, financial services and fintech startups, as well as software development and information technology. Bean startup, which allows one to conveniently conduct personal finances and determine subscriptions for better financial management, was acquired by BGL Group in October 2018. Their second successful exit is the Abe AI project, which builds dialogue-based solutions for progressive banks (it seems more likely that they are developing chatbots for financial institutions), which was acquired by Yodlee in January 2019.
Just as the Asian market, about which we had a talk in a previous article, the European market for acceleration programs is quite diverse. London is dominating with 5 of the 10 most active accelerators, while Paris is trying to develop its own ecosystem and “undermine” Londoner dominance with its acceleration programs. Out of all the aforementioned accelerators, we will single out the London-based Barclays, which is “sharpened” for financial services. The other accelerators accept orders from different fields.
Our final article will be about the development of accelerators in the post-Soviet area. Stay tuned!