6 Top Startup Incubators in London that You Should Know

Lockdown is the perfect time to launch a start-up

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If you’re looking to launch a new idea, then a Startup Incubator is one of the best ways of ensuring that your idea has a realistic chance of turning into a viable business. Not only do incubators offer you basic support in terms of office space and facilities, but they also advise on direction and link with reputable investors, customers and suppliers.

However it’s not just that clear. Each Incubator has a different direction and it’s imperative for the vision of the startup to be aligned with the vision of the incubator to ensure success. Some incubators are great for deep-tech moon-shot startups, whilst others may be great for B2C style businesses.

Below, I briefly take you through 6 top incubators in London and what the general feel of what life is like there. If you think I’m missing any (or want to know more), please comment!

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Note: The deal terms, alumni and focus for incubators below were taken from fi.com

Entrepreneur First

EF is the best place in the world to find your co-founder and build a technology startup from scratch. It is a highly charged environment designed to bring people together and help them realise their potential. We pioneered this model, and over the past seven years, we’ve built more startups this way than anyone else.”

  • Website: https://www.joinef.com/
  • Sectors / Markets of Focus: Deep technology or science-based focus that can have a big impact
  • Entrepreneur First Requirements: People are chosen based on their, ambition, potential and willingness to make a significant impact. Often, EF will select people that have advanced degrees in these relevant fields (think Masters or PhD).
  • Entrepreneur First Deal Terms: Assuming you pass the first 3 months of the program, EF will invest about £80,000 for an equity of 10%. From here, EF will help to build cohesive teams and to develop ideas. Plus, the teams work closely with experienced leaders and have the opportunity to pitch to investors during Demo day.
  • Notable Entrepreneur First Alumni: Affable, Beyond, CodeREG, Creditmint, Echobox, Hydroleap, Marble, Represent, Sentient Machines.

Techstars

Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Home to a thriving international community of tech, founders, innovators and investors, London is an epicentre of startup activity. Ranked as the #6 strongest startup ecosystem in the world, London is known as a powerful location for startups. Founders are flocking to London to start their business and to learn from the incredible mentor community there.

  • Website: https://www.techstars.com/
  • Sectors / Markets of Focus: All tech or tech-enabled businesses.
  • Techstars Requirements: Like EF, Techstars don’t specialise in any one field but they look for strong and balanced teams who possess a wide array of skill sets.
  • Techstars Deal Terms: Startups are offered a $100,000 convertible note; plus, Techstars contributes $20,000 USD to support living expenses during the accelerator program. Techstars receives a 6% equity until the startup raises a priced equity financing of $250,000 USD or more.
  • Notable Techstars Alumni: Coconut, EnjoyHQ, Kalo, Lifebit, Lingvist, Memgraph, Quantemplate, SwiftComply, Tenzo, TeskaLabs, TVbeat, Unmade.
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Seedcamp

We back world-class entrepreneurs before their success is known to others. We don’t focus on any one sector and we look to our founders and network to help identify Europe’s next big talent. With some of the largest raises in Europe, acquisitions by major companies and $1bn valuations, our startups go on to achieve great things.

  • Website: https://seedcamp.com/
  • Sectors / Markets of Focus: All tech or tech-enabled businesses.
  • Seedcamp Requirements: They are looking for innovative founders who are solving problems in large markets.
  • Seedcamp Deal Terms: An initial investment of £100,000 for an equity of 7.5%; plus, the possibility of co-investing in seed rounds of up to £2M. Seedcamp offers a community of fellow founders to support your startup; also, access to a network of mentors and investors.
  • Notable Seedcamp Alumni: Bloomsbury AI, Monese, Pleo, Revolut, TransferWise, Trussle, UiPath, wefox.

Bethnal Green Ventures

At Bethnal Green Ventures we help talented teams launch and scale tech for good ventures that will significantly improve millions of lives.

Founders Factory

We partner with the world’s best founders and corporates to build, fund and scale ambitious startups worldwide.

  • Website: https://foundersfactory.com/
  • Sectors / Markets of Focus: All tech or tech-enabled businesses.
  • Founders Factory Requirements: Being an entrepreneur who wants to start their business or scale their startup. “Typically, we’re looking for founders with a product in market and early traction. If you are at that stage and are ready to leverage our network and expert team, now’s the right time.”
  • Founders Factory Deal Terms: For the incubation program, Founders Factory receives a minority stake in exchange for product IP, £150,000 and 12 months of operational support; plus, they help validate ideas and build the right team. For the accelerator program, Founders Factory takes 4–8% equity for £30,000 in cash; plus, participants get access to corporate partners, VCs and an angel investment network.
  • Notable Founders Factory Alumni: ChargedUp, Kukua, LuckyTrip, Luther Systems, Sampler, Straight Teeth Direct, Vidsy.

Level39

We support fast-growth tech companies in three clear ways — giving access to world-class customers, talent and infrastructure. Through expert mentors, access to Canary Wharf’s dynamic workspace, a packed events calendar and best-in-class facilities we help businesses achieve scale.

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The start-up incubators listed above are some of the top in London and having friends who have passed through some of these, I can safely say that a place in any of these will definitely help in launching your business in the right direction.

However, there are a few things that you should bear in mind:

  1. Do you actually need investment? What are the disadvantages to getting external investors?
  2. Would you prefer to grow your company organically? What are the benefits to this?
  3. Do you have any personal contacts (or ways to hustle an introduction) that could lead to an investment without the encroachment/impact of broader investors?

Those are just a few points that you should ask yourself when approaching an Incubator. They need you just as much as you need them, so it’s important to understand the bargaining chips. However, if you are in need of the following:

  1. Contacts in the field that you wish to launch a company
  2. Financing to help develop a product or to grow into a new market
  3. Advice and industry insight that a particular incubator has within a particular domain

Then for sure, you definitely should approach an incubator.


Thanks for reading again!! Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to help.

Keep up to date with my latest work here!

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