Incubators et.al.

Incubators have the promise to help you with all the three necessities: network, methodologies, and capital. To a varying degree and at varying terms and conditions, they offer you working space,  a network, coaching, seed money, and a shorter road to follow-on investors. They provide a meaningful shortcut to trying it all by yourself. Some are easier to get in, some are very selective. The right one can be instrumental to success, but no guarantees. With over 20 incubators/accelerators in SV, the challenge again is to pick the best one for you. We can help.

Broad Incubators/Accelerators

  • Alchemist Accelerator (SF, Palo Alto, Menlo Park): only B2B startups, no B2C; program focuses on enterprise customer development, sales (direct and online), market validation, and fundraising; over 300 startups participated, 1/3 raised money (over $500M in total), 23 alumni were acquired; non-US founders welcome
  • AngelPad (SF): Larger amounts of money in fewer startups over a longer period of time in order to provide a more intensive and tailored mentorship incubation program. Offer: Seed funding, mentorship, office space, paperwork incl. incorporation, immigration visas, fundraising documents. Deal: $20k seed investment plus $100k convertible note. Alumni: MoPub, Postmates, Crittercism, CoverHound, etc.
  • BootUp World (Menlo Park and SF): Coworking, courses, SV boot camp, corporate programs. Good for overseas.
  • 500 Startups (Mountain View): Focus on Consumer & Commerce, SaaS, Family Tech, Education, Marketing, Mobile/Tablet, Food Tech, Fintech, etc. Supported almost 1000 startups. Nice coworking space, mentoring, ends with demo day presenting to many large investors. Deal: $50k for 5% stake (and selective follow-on investments up to $200k). Alumni: TaskRabbit, SendGrid, Wildfire, Udemy, Twilio, etc.
  • Founders Space (SF): Flexible program. Strong online program.
  • GSVLabs (San Mateo): Accelerator programs for education, entertainment, sustainability, mobile, big data. Programs for individuals. Mentors, events.
  • Hackers/Founders (Mountain View): Deal 5% stake for free coworking co-located at Hacker Dojo, mentoring, fundraising support, business services support.
  • innoSpring (Santa Clara): US-China focus, coworking, mentoring, access to China network, seed funding $50k-$200k
  • i/o ventures (SF): Focus on web services, client software, digital media, gaming. Enlists mentors Mint founder Aaron Patzer, YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, Digg founder Kevin Rose, Yelp co-founder/CTO Russ Simmons, serial entrepreneur Phil Kaplan, etc.. Deal: up to $25k for 8% stake
  • Launch Incubator (SF): selects 6-8 startups for each of the 3 yearly sessions: winter, spring and summer. Founders meet Thursdays for dinner, a notable speaker & product reviews. After 12 weeks of product development startups launch at one of their events. Launch fund planned.
  • Plug And Play Tech Center Startup Camp (Sunnyvale): 10-weeks program, $25k investment option. See also PlugAndPlay programs at Focused Incubators below.
  • Silicon Valley Innovation Center (San Mateo): co-working space, furnished office space, events, startup camp, robotics boot camp, design thinking camp, executive programs focused on disruption, corporate programs; overall service focus on corporations; milestones 150 leadership programs, 30 conferences/events, 40 SV workshops
  • StartX: focus on entrepreneurs, not ventures. Focus on Stanford alumni.
  • Upwest Labs (Palo Alto): $20k, 4 month program promising access to investors, mentors, and more. 10-12 startups per year.
  • Y Combinator (Mountain View): Good for overseas applicants. Two 3 months batches per year. Top mentors, advisors, and investors. Small amounts of money to many startups is the recipe. Deal: $120k for 7% stake. Alumni: Airbnb, Reddit, Dropbox, Disqus, Scribd, Heroku, Hipmunk, Omgpop, etc.

Some of these incubators are particularly prestigious, which means getting in brings clout and connections and will make life easier. And some of them have a lot of experience with overseas entrepreneurs (visa requirements, cultural differences, etc.) – useful if you are from overseas. We can help you find the best incubator for you.

Specialized Incubators/Accelerators

  • co.lab (SF): Educational games for PK-12 students and teachers. Four-month product accelerator,  up to $50k grant, coworking space, mentoring
  • fastforward (SF): For tech non-profits. Summer acceleration programs. $25k grant, 13 weeks of training, and connections to 75 mentors. Finishes with demo day.
  • Imagine K12: Education. Deal: $100k for 2-10% stake. Track record: 5 years,  81 edtech startups, 170 founders,  $200 million raised.
  • Launchpad Digital Health (SF SOMA): 12 month program co-located at Hatch Today, $200k-$500k. 12-24 companies per annum.
  • Lemnos Labs: Hardware. 6-9 month program with warehouse space, access to prototyping and testing facilities, legal services, introductions to suppliers, weekly office hours, etc. Mentorship from founders and VCs from Electronic Arts, Bain Capital, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Bossa Nova Robotics, Zynga, Justin.tv, etc. Deal: up to $100k for 2-10% stake
  • Matter: Media. $50k plus a comprehensive program.
  • Maven Ventures (Palo Alto): Consumer software and mobile. 6 month custom-tailored program, free office space, up to $500k, 3-4 incubation companies per annum.
  • mediacamp (SF): Turner/Warner owned. Launched 2012. 3 months accelerator program, mentoring, workshops, networking events. $20k + potential for commercial agreement. Access to Time Warner. Status unclear, currently not accepting applications.
  • PlugandPlay Special Programs (Sunnyvale): Connected Health, FinTech, IoT, Media & Mobile, New Materials & Packaging, Retail, Travel & Hospitality. 3 month programs with 20-30 ventures (2 batches per year).
  • Tandem (Burlingame): Mobile. Good for overseas.  6 months program. $200k for convertible note (no cap) and an initial 10%. Alumni: PlayHaven, Sift, UpOut, Pagerduty, etc.
  • TiE LaunchPad (Santa Clara): Enterprise SW. 5 months program, up to 8 companies per batch. Deal: $50k for 4% stake plus 10% co-investment right in next round.
  • Wearable World: IoT and wearables only. Good for overseas.
  • YetiZen (SF): Gaming. Deal: 3-11% stake (typically 7-8%).

International Accelerators (initiatives supporting foreigners with US market expansion)

Educational/Networking Focus

  • Blackbox (Palo Alto) – Blackbox Connect is a quarterly 2-week residential program for 12-18 international startups (max. 2 per country), startup stage must be post initial customer feedback, attending founder must be full time executive; program is sponsored by Google for Entrepreneurs
  • Founder Institute (SF): Academy for very early stage founders. To be paid for (part-time) 16-week program.
  • Galvanize (SF SOMA): Skills education with coworking opportunity.
  • SV In.Fusion Startup Bootcamp (SF): 2-week training program

Coworking & More

  • FirstFloorLabs (Palo Alto): free coworking space if selected, events.
  • Founders Den (SF): Coworking, events.
  • Hacker Dojo (Mountain View): Coworking, events.
  • Hero City (San Mateo): Coworking, events, VC meetings (!).
  • Innowest (Sunnyvale): Coworking, bootcamps, mentoring, events.
  • Parisoma (SF SOMA): Coworking, classes, events.
  • RocketSpace (SF): Coworking, events.
  • Runway Incubator (SF): Coworking, events. 80+ startups. Plans funds and accelerators for education, finance, IoT/robotics, and AI.
  • Sandbox Suites (SF SOMA, SF South Bay, Berkeley, Palo Alto): Coworking, events.
  • Silicon Valley Pad (Menlo Park): Coworking, events, virtual office.
  • Sudo Room (Oakland): (almost) free coworking, events.
  • Tech Liminal (Oakland): Coworking, coaching, events.
  • The Pad (Menlo Park): Coworking, events.
  • wework (5 locations in SF): Coworking, events.

Coworking/Office Space (focus on physical infrastruture only)

Further Resources