Launching a new startup requires a lot of hard work and sometimes, a bit of elbow grease and a lot of hard work.
Whether you’re just brainstorming an idea or further along in the growth stage and require funding, many entrepreneurs and founders turn to accelerators or incubator programs.
Enrolling in an accelerator or incubator can be insurmountable in launching your startup to the next level of success.
Deciding on which program and why will require deep consideration of your goals, values and team. Each program is unique in what it offers, the timeline and resources.
Let’s compare the difference between an accelerator and an incubator, then look at the pros and cons you should consider in your journey.
Accelerators vs. Incubators
While the two terms are often used as synonyms, the way these programs support startups differ. An easy way to remember the difference is to think of the words literally — accelerate and incubate.
Accelerator programs help to drive the growth and audience of a more mature or growing organization with funding, mentorship and resources.
Incubators, on the other hand, help an entrepreneur or young startup develop an idea to eventually come to fruition as a business model or organization.
Think about where your startup is in the growth process as you dig into the program options and which of the two would be a natural fit.
Pros and Cons
There are many benefits to enrolling in an accelerator or incubator program. Below are a few of the benefits to consider based on your unique needs.
- Opportunities for funding or capital
- Space in an office to collaborate with your team
- Mentorship and networking opportunities
- Resources such as legal advice, discounts, or intellectual property
While the benefits are invaluable, it’s important to also look at the other side before making a lifelong decision. Below are a few drawbacks to keep in mind.
- Loss of equity in your business
- Limited timeline and funding
The table compares accelerators by criteria such as mentorship, legal guidance, office space for team collaboration, or demo day.
Take time to consider all of your options to find the program that aligns with your startup’s unique values, goals and needs.