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Top 30 European Startup Accelerators You Need to Know About

Top 30 European Startup Accelerators You Need to Know About

Startup accelerators have been fundamental to establishing thousands of startups around the globe. The best accelerator programs can give upcoming businesses networking opportunities, mentorship, funding, and educational resources. Startups can also access high-value investors, coworking spaces and unique events. In today’s market, startups who join an accelerator have the edge over their competitors as most form valuable relationships and connect with investors who can scale their idea.

If you have a SaaS business, check out the video below featuring Alexej Pikovsky, NUOPTIMA’s Founder. Here he shares his top 10 accelerators for SaaS founders in 2024 and shares tips on how to increase your chances of getting accepted into one of their cohorts.

Thousands of startup accelerator programs are available, making it difficult to choose the best one for your business. Below we have summarised the top 30 accelerators in Europe.

NameLocationInvestment OfferProgram Length
Founders FactoryUK£30,000 for 3-7% equity6 months
StartupbootcampLondon, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona£30,000 for 3-7% equity3 months
High Tech XLNetherlands (online)Mentoring and access to investors9 months
StingSwedenTheir partner typically invests SEK 500,0004 months
Station FFranceMentoring and access to investorsStartups must stay for a minimum of 3 months
AntleLondon, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Oslo, Stockholm€100,000 for 10% equity6 months
Startup LabNorwayUp to NOK 3,000,0003 months
NDRCIrelandUp to €100,0006 months
SeedRocketBarcelonaUp to €500,0003 months
APXGermanyUp to €500,000No fixed-term program
AcceleraceDenmarkUp to DKK 500,000 through VC fund5 months
H-FarmItalyMentoring and access to investors4 months
Bethnal Green VenturesUK£30,000 for 6% equity12 weeks
Entrepreneur FirstParis, London, Berlin$100,000 for 10% equity6 months
Barclays acceleratorUKUp to $120,00013 weeks
KickstartSwitzerlandCHF 10,000 allowance for business expenses2 months
DCU Ryan AcademyIrelandNo direct investments6 months
Distil VenturesUKFrom £250,0006 months
BirdhouseBelgiumOffers a bullet loan of €50,00016 weeks
NextstarsFranceMentoring and access to investors4 months
Lisbon ChallengePortugal€70,000 for 7% equity4 months
Pando VenturesGermanyMentoring and access to investors12 weeks
Rockstart AcceleratorsNetherlands and onlineInitial investment consisting of a convertible note. Follow-on investments up to €2 million.5 months
Startup ReykjavikIceland$22,000 for 6% equity10 weeks
Yunus Social Business acceleratorEuropeUp to €500,0004 months
Maria 01FinlandMentoring and access to investorsNo fixed-term program
TechstarsLondon, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Paris, Oslo, Turin, Stockholm, Birmingham$120,0003 months
Microsoft acceleratorGermanyMentoring and access to investorsUp to 6 months
ProSienbenSat.1 acceleratorGermanyUp to €1.5m in advertising volume3 months
Startup Wise GuysEstonia, Italy, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania€50,000 average6 months

Top 30 Startup Accelerators in Europe

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Founders Factory

Founders Factory[1] is a UK-based startup accelerator. Startups who join their 6-month program gain access to a valuable global network, including personalised support from over 100 experts. Startups receive advice across various sectors, including growth, product, PR, fundraising and engineering.
A network of high-profile partners also helps elevate the programs as they support business-specific accelerators, such as Retail, Fintech and Travel. These are sponsored by the likes of M&S, L’Oreal, and EasyJet.

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Startupbootcamp

Startupbootcamp[2]  has become a global program reaching startups in numerous major cities, including New York, London, Berlin and Amsterdam. This accelerator offers an intensive program over a 3-month duration. For each industry-specific accelerator program, they only accept up to 10 startups.
Startupbootcamp is an excellent option for early-stage tech founders who could benefit from their network of partners, mentors and alumni.

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High Tech XL

Founded in 2015, High Tech XL[3]  is a completely online accelerator. Over 60% of the startups that went through their program survived until today. In 2018, this Amsterdam-based company switched to a tech-focus and partnered with significant industry players, such as CERN and Philips.
Unlike other startup accelerators, High Tech XL offers a 9-month program to startups at the idea level. Essentially, it combines the essence of an incubator and an accelerator by helping startups establish a team and minimum viable product (MVP).

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Sting

This startup accelerator was founded in 2002 and is based in Stockholm. They offer a 12-month incubator program for startups at the idea level, alongside a more intensive 4-month accelerator program for those ready to grow their MVP.

For their accelerator cohort, Sting[4] only accepts 8 startups twice a year. Each one needs to have launched its MVP and demonstrate evidence of early traction.

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Station F

Founded in 2017, Station F[5] now represents the largest startup accelerator in France. On a unique campus, they have over 1000 startups, 30+ programs, 600+ workshops and events every year. Unlike most accelerator programs, Station F doesn’t directly invest in startups. However, they invite the businesses to join their campus to enjoy the programs of noteworthy partners, such as Facebook, Microsoft and Zendesk, as well as the perks that come with it. While there is no set duration for the program, applicants are expected to stay for a minimum of 3 months.

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Antler

From the thousands of growth programs available, Antler[6] is one of the most significant accelerator programs worldwide. Antler initially started with a focus on founders from emerging markets as opposed to the majority of other accelerators who focused on founders based in the US, UK or mainland Europe. Similar to Entrepreneur First, Antler invites founders without a co-founder to their programme where founders are teaming up and developing an idea over time. The program runs in multiple locations across the globe, including London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Oslo and Stockholm. A typical investment from this early-stage VC firm is €100,000 for 10% equity. During the 6 month program, Antler provides the founders with a monthly allowance of €2,500.

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Startup Lab

Based in Norway, Startup Lab[7] was founded in 2012. It welcomes over 100 startups in its accelerator, which run twice a year. In fact, they are now the most prominent tech incubator and accelerator in Norway.
Within the 3 month program, all successful applicants get minimum funding of NOK 1,000,000, with some raising as much as NOK 3,000,000. Businesses benefit from mentorship and valuable support from their experts and alumni within the program.

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NDRC

The NDRC[8] accelerator is a national program based in Ireland. With a focus on tech entrepreneurs, the program invests €100,000 into each company. Every year they accept an average of 13 startups for their 6-month program, providing support through mentorship from their network of over 40 entrepreneurs in residence. Moreover, the successful applicants get free office space for 12 months which gives them access to over 50 coworking spaces worldwide.

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SeedRocket

Barcelona is home to one of Spain’s most significant startup accelerators – SeedRocket[9]. Since its inception, the program has helped over 90 startups. Upcoming startups hoping to join the program must have an MVP, evidence of early traction and be open to investments from business angels.
Unlike the majority of accelerators, SeedRocket doesn’t invest in startups directly. Instead, they connect applicants with business angels that might invest later. What’s more, SeedRocket 4Founders Capital, an in-house VC fund founded in 2017, is available to successful startups. The in-house fund invests between €50,000 – €500,000.

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APX

APX[10] is an early startup accelerator based in Berlin, Germany. Since 2018, the program has helped 100+ startups in over 20 industries and more than 20 countries. However, APX differs from most accelerators as it doesn’t run a fixed-term program. Throughout the startup’s journey, APX invests up to €500,000 over multiple rounds of investments.

During the engagement, APX supports pre-seed startups, often as the first investor, by connecting them with an unparalleled network of 10,000+ experts, investors and mentors.

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Accelerace

Since its inception in 2015, Accelerace[11] has supported more than 800 startups’ growth journeys as they went through pre-accelerator and accelerator programs. Today, they are one of the top accelerators in the Nordics.

The Accelerace accelerator runs once a year and lasts for 5 months. Since it is equity-free, the program doesn’t provide any equity in return for ownership. Startups could potentially receive funding from the VC fund, but it only focuses on pre-seed startups. The VC fund makes an average of 30 investments each year, up to DKK 500,000.

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H-Farm

H-FARM[12], based in Italy, was set up in 2005 to support digital projects that make life easier for people. The H-FARM campus is the biggest hub for entrepreneurs, startups and students in Europe. Their 4-month program offers an immersive experience to help entrepreneurs launch fresh ideas within the various industry-focused accelerators.

After selecting applicants, their startup accelerator aims to invest in early-stage and market-ready businesses to support their growth. During this program, businesses easily connect with an extensive network of ventures at various stages, industry leaders, investors and mentors. H-FARM has an all-inclusive investment package of seed investment, working facilities, mentorship, workshops, deals from tech partners and more.

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Bethnal Green Ventures

Bethnal Green Ventures (BGV)[13] is a London-based early-stage incubator and VC fund. BGV focuses their investments in the tech sector and aims to scale projects that have a positive impact. Specifically, they invest in founders who seek to improve millions of lives by using technology to address huge social and environmental issues. Since 2015, BGV has been responsible for funding 141 startups for a total of £98 million. The BGV accelerator runs for 12 weeks, and they offer an investment of £30,000 for 6% equity.

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Entrepreneur First

Entrepreneur First[14] is one of the top accelerators founded in London. They have offices and programs across the world, including Bangalore, Toronto, Paris, Berlin and Singapore. Since 2011, they have supported over 3000 entrepreneurs and more than 500 startups. Businesses in this program should be able to test their idea, find a co-founder and raise investments. Entrepreneur Firsts aims to help grow startups from the ground up. However, only 10% of applicants are successful. Those who make it into this selective accelerator can raise up to $100,000 for 10% equity. In addition, during the 6-month program, successful founders receive a $2,500 monthly allowance.

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Barclays Accelerator

The Barclays accelerator[15]  is a UK-based program recruiting startups across various streams of financial services. In particular, they want businesses in the technology sector that have an established team and are ready to launch their product at the end of the 13-week program. The Barclays accelerator offers up to $120,000 investment and supports businesses with networking, PR, pitching, and marketing, to name a few.

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Kickstart

Since Kickstart’s[16] inception in 2015, they have helped more than 270 startups across 40 countries and raised over CHF 1,500 million. They are arguably Switzerland’s largest startup accelerator program. The programs target numerous industries, including Edtech, Fintech, Healthtech, Food tech, Circular economy and Smart city. Through these focused programs, businesses get tailored mentoring and expertise in their industry.

While some of the programs on our list feature incubator options, Kickstart is primarily for later-stage startups who are in the position to form partnerships and commercialise their product. During a 2-month program, successful applicants receive designated mentorship and access to a substantial network of VCs and partner companies. Kickstart also offers CHF 10,000 allowance to cover business expenses.

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DCU Ryan Academy

The DCU Ryan Academy, based in Ireland, offers mentorship, coaching and access to training and funding opportunities. Based on campus in Dublin, this accelerator aims to bridge the gap between education and entrepreneurial practice. In the 10-12 week Innovation for Social Entrepreneurs program, applicants develop professional skills and an entrepreneurial mindset and access key opportunities for future growth. This program is better suited to very early-stage startups who are taking the first steps in their growth journey.

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Distil Ventures

Distil Ventures[17]  is an independent drinks accelerator. Their 6-month program aims to support founders of drink brands to help build, scale and commercialise their business. Distil Ventures invests various amounts from £250,000 and provides hands-on service to help promising beverage brands scale to the global market. Startups benefit from a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help grow their business sustainably.

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Birdhouse

The Birdhouse accelerator offers mentoring, coaching and access to investors. By only taking on a small cohort of startups, each company gets intensive personal guidance from more than 35 established mentors. Those who enter the 16-week program could receive a bullet loan of €50,000, but the Belgium-based accelerator also helps startups connect with investors to raise the necessary capital. Finally, joining the Birdhouse startup accelerator gives you access to collaborative coworking spaces, networking events and learning opportunities in various fields such as funding, marketing, legislation, sales and more.

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Nextstars

Based in France, Nextstars[18] run a 4-month startup accelerator program to help teams of entrepreneurs grow their projects. They offer a valuable working environment where businesses can connect with partners, mentors and business angels. During the program, the startups are expected to bring their product to market, establish a business model and present them to the Nextstars network of investors. There may be investment opportunities throughout Nextstars programs, including a few startups that may be integrated into their crowdfunding platform.

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Lisbon Challenge

Lisbon Challenge is the flagship startup accelerator in Portugal. Their 4-month program focuses on tech software startups and assists them in developing MVP, provides resources and mentors founders along the way.

The Lisbon Challenge accelerator requires applicants to have started working on their MVP and have global market potential. What’s more, startups must have at least 2 founders and a minimum of one technical founder to be eligible for this program. Successful applicants receive an investment of €15,000 for a small 2% equity. After completing the program, the companies can get a further €55,000 for an additional 5% equity. Therefore, the total investment size is €70,000 for 7% equity.

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Pando Ventures

Pando Ventures is based in Utah, USA; however, the program invests in a select cohort of founders to help them establish themselves in the market and to German investors. Therefore, they have become a big player in the European market. Through various mentoring opportunities, the program assists with branding, networking, market growth, raising seed capital, developing partnerships and aiding the legal process. In their 12-week accelerator, Pando looks for digital business models, early-stage startups, scalable businesses, and culturally valuable ideas.

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Rockstart Accelerators

Rockstart[19] is a tech-focused accelerator with three specific industry focuses. Firstly, Rockstart AgriFood aims to invest and empower founders with impactful ideas to use new technology to improve the food supply system. This program looks at regenerative and future-proof ideas, responsible and circular solutions, and quantifiable consumption that improves access to quality food. Next, Rockstart Energy supports and invests in founders with scalable innovations to slow climate change; they look for opportunities in renewable energy generation, low carbon solutions and improved mobility. Finally, Rockstart Emerging Tech supports and funds founders with cutting-edge technologies and the ability to create meaningful solutions for universal issues and positively impact lives.

All three accelerators offer a 5-month program in the Netherlands, an initial convertible loan from the fund and potential follow-up loans with investors up to €2 million.

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Startup Reykjavik

Founded in 2012, Startup Reyjavik[20] runs an accelerator program for 10 weeks based in Iceland. Successful participants receive a $22,000 investment for 6% equity, mentoring from over 90 experts and office space for the duration of the program.

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Yunus Social Business

Yunus Social Business[21]  aims to fund social businesses in a bid to end poverty and the climate crisis. They support startups that can provide education, clean water, clean energy, employment and healthcare to more than 13 million people in struggling communities. Their program focuses on tackling the poverty and climate crisis in East Africa, Latin America and India. Alongside funding up to $500,000, the Entrepreneur Growth Facility will connect startups to a network of mentors and entrepreneurs, provide strategic consulting, and teach valuable skills such as managing the impact of your social business.

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Maria 01

Similarly to some other accelerators on our list, Maria 01[22] features a startup campus. In the heart of Helsinki, over 170 startups and 1,300 founders use the Maria 01 campus for its unique co-working spaces and networking events where companies, startups, and VCs can collaborate. There is no fixed-term for this program and no direct investments from Maria 01. However, successful candidates benefit from this entrepreneurial community and are equipped with tools, creative spaces and knowledge to build their companies.

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Techstars

Techstars[23] is one of the largest startup accelerators, not just in Europe but around the world. Each year, 500 startups enter one of the 3-month mentorship-driven accelerators. The programs run across 9 cities in Europe and invest $120,000. Successful applicants benefit from hands-on mentoring and gain access to a high-value alumni network.

In total, Techstars has helped over 2,589 startups raise $15.7 billion since their inception. Programs run in various cities, including London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Paris, Oslo, Turin, Stockholm and Birmingham.

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Microsoft Accelerator

The Microsoft accelerator[24] helps startups at various stages of their growth journey. For brands with a market-ready product, the Founders Hub can give you up to $150,000 in Microsoft Azure credits to scale your business. Programs like the GrowthX Accelerator offer coaching, mentoring, and investor opportunities. Successful applicants access educational resources, Microsoft tools and platforms to assist their growth.

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ProSiebenSat.1 Accelerator

The ProSiebenSat.1 Group present the Seven Accelerator, named the number 1 German startup lab for 3 years running. Through the use of mass media, the program helps scale B2C startups with mass-market ready products. They offer up to €1.5 million in advertising volume and help connect consumer-focused startups with angel investors.

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Startup Wise Guys

As one of the largest early-stage investors in Europe, the Startup Wise Guys[25] has a survival rate of over 77%. More than 7 out of 10 startups raise above 100K within 6 months of graduating from the program. Since its 2012 inception, they have invested in over 150 early-stage startups and have supported founders from more than 40 countries. To date, they have 28 programs to support budding businesses. Programs run in Estonia, Italy, Denmark, Latvia and Lithuania.

References

  1. https://foundersfactory.com/[1]
  2. https://www.startupbootcamp.org/[2]
  3. https://hightechxl.com/[3]
  4. https://www.sting.co/[4]
  5. https://stationf.co/[5]
  6. https://www.antler.co/[6]
  7. https://startuplab.no/[7]
  8. https://www.ndrc.ie/[8]
  9. https://www.seedrocket.com/[9]
  10. https://apx.vc/[10]
  11. https://accelerace.io/[11]
  12. https://www.h-farm.com/en[12]
  13. https://www.bethnalgreenventures.com/[13]
  14. https://www.joinef.com/[14]
  15. https://home.barclays/who-we-are/innovation/barclays-accelerator/[15]
  16. https://www.kickstart-innovation.com/[16]
  17. http://www.distillventures.com/[17]
  18. http://www.nextstars.fr/#/entrepreneurs/[18]
  19. https://rockstart.com/[19]
  20. https://startupreykjavik.is/[20]
  21. https://www.yunussb.com/[21]
  22. https://maria.io/[22]
  23. https://www.techstars.com/[23]
  24. https://www.microsoft.com/uk-ua/startups[24]
  25. https://startupwiseguys.com/[25]

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