Company builders in Germany - how to differentiate between accelerators, incubators and company builders
The VentureCapital Magazin (a German print magazine) had a head line this month, roughly translated into English: “incubators and accelerators help to overcome infancy - a market overview”.
While they actually didn’t list accelerators (just mentioned some in the article), they are listing “incubators”. I believe this list is the most comprehensive that I have seen so far. However, they are mixing up things here a bit.
Firstly, this is listing mainly company builders and for that it is a quite comprehensive list. Secondly, there is some wrong labeling - while HackFwd, Hubraum and YouIsNow are incubators, SevenVentures is a corporate VC. The parenting media group, ProSiebenSat1, does have an accelerator (ProSiebenSat.1 Accelerator) and an incubator (Epic Companies) and they are all three part of the business unit Digital & Adjacent, however, they are separate initiatives.
The article mentions that the autor doesn’t see a clear definition of accelerators, incubators, and company builders. I would disagree and suggest an easy, non-academic differentiation (in an European context):
- Accelerators are structured programs (with a start and an end) targeted to pre-seed and seed startups with the goal to help achieve some predefined goals (being it graduation from the program, funding, etc.)
- Incubators help teams to develop and grow their idea or company (this ranges from university programs to company building-like structures - however, the idea comes from outside)
- Company builders build companies. Period. No outside ideas considered (except copied).
Would you agree?