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Accelerator vs. Venture Capital vs. Incubator

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Accelerators, incubators, and venture capitalists are the three essential words in an entrepreneur’s vocabulary. They’re also some of the most misunderstood concepts in business today, so we’ll try to help you understand them with this simple post.

Tabular difference between Incubators vs. Accelerators vs. Venture Capital

 IncubatorsAcceleratorsVenture Capital
ObjectivePromote economic growth of the start-upGrowth of start-up and positive ROISet up and growth, positive ROI
Duration/ Timeframe1 to 5 years3 to 12 months2 to 5 years, usually long term
ServicesInfrastructure and supportAccelerate through resourcesCo-development through resources and infrastructure
Application ProcessLenientRigid and rigorousRigid and rigorous
Business ModelNon-profitInvestment style or non-profitInvestment
CohortsNoYesNo
Venture stageEarly or lateEarlyEarly or late
Share In EquityThey mostly don’t take a cut in equityThey command a stake in equity or sharesThey command a cut in equity or shares in proportion to the investment
SelectionNon-competitiveHighly competitiveHighly competitive
EducationLegal, Ad Hoc, and HRSeminars and networkingNetworking and resources
MentorshipMinimalIntensiveMinimal, as the founder requires
LocationOn-siteOn-siteOff-site
CompaniesY Combinator, Tech StarsY Combinator, Tech Stars, 50 start-ups, Plug and PlayTiger Global Management, Sequoia Capital, DST Global

Incubators

Incubators are programs that provide mentorship and funding for start-ups. The goal of an incubator is to help new businesses navigate the early stages of growth by providing resources like office space, legal advice, and intellectual property guidance in exchange for equity in the company.

Accelerators

They are programs that provide seed funding, mentorship, and office space start-ups. They typically last between 3-12 months and offer a chance for early-stage companies to get off the ground. Accelerators are not for established companies; they are meant for new ventures in the start-up phase of their growth cycle.

Accelerators offer intense training sessions with experts in different fields (e.g., marketing or product development) and networking opportunities to help founders connect with potential investors or partners in their industry.

The most significant benefit of accelerators is exposure: they give you access to a network of industry leaders who can help you find your first customers and build relationships that turn into valuable partnerships later down the line.

Venture Capitalists

Venture capitalists are investors who provide capital for start-ups in exchange for equity. VCs invest in seed, early-stage, and expansion-stage companies. These investments can be thought of as long-term with a moderate risk profile.

VCs invest in businesses with a proven business model or working product but need additional funding to expand the company or take it to the next level. This can be helpful for companies that have great ideas but cannot bootstrap from inception through their growth stage by themselves.

Conclusion

When it comes to business, every entrepreneur needs a few things: funding and mentorship. Accelerators and incubators give you the funding you need and help you get your company off the ground by providing mentorship from experienced individuals in the industry. Venture capital firms offer to finance as well, but they also bring their expertise to the table, which makes them very attractive to start-ups looking for investment capital.

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