Startups have always been notorious for skating on thin ice. Until now. The rapidly-responsive, high tech world we live in has become a vortex (of sorts), with lenders – from banks to angel investors – being drawn into the centre. Of course, the business accelerator was the logical outcome.
Accelerate /əkˈseləˌrāt/ verb; to cause to happen sooner than expected
The turn of the century brought along with it a sound ideology of business incubating, which was a practical outcome of sharing resources within co-working spaces. Enter the tech startup accelerators – which took this empowering idea to a whole different level. By adding seed money into the mix, they not only boosted startup success but also inspired the brightest minds to share their gifts (both capital and genius).
Ready to learn more about how to setup a tech startup in UK? Read on…
What Makes Accelerators Tick?
Accelerator programmes can last from a few weeks to several months and are made up of small teams with brilliant mentors, advisors and investors giving high-impact startups an energetic and invaluable experience – usually in exchange for a small equity position. The investment is generally pre-seed funding, although certain accelerators are up to backing an SME if it has excellent potential in larger or International markets.
The competition is fierce, with a total number of UK accelerators just topping thirty as we near the end of 2015. Most programmes do require participants to attend on-site training, which means a large percentage of the applicants will be local. Given the velocity of successful startups with UK origins, the tech hubs in and around London have definitely become a magnet for entrepreneurs outside the EU.
Foreign Applicants For UK Accelerators
It’s good news for the UK economy that so many local tech accelerators are hosting the programmes. Potentially, these enterprises could very well bring their business (or even their headquarters) to the region as well. For those speculators outside the EU, there’s yet another advantage to be had for those looking to enter the UK to startup a new company.
There are a handful of accelerators currently endorsed by the government which can support your Tier 1 entrepreneur visa application, and even reduce your required investment funds from £200,000 to £50,000. The approved company programmes are the first 5 on our list, but do note that Oxygen Accelerator and Wayra by Telefonica offer less than the minimum threshold. You can work around this by getting a standard 6-month visitor visa as a prospective entrepreneur; then changing to the entrepreneur visa once you’ve raised £50,000.
Accelerators In The News
Though our list does not claim to be all-inclusive, it does provide you with many accelerators who have made a positive impact on the UK tech scene since their inception:
Oxygen Accelerator – 13 weeks boot camp and 13 weeks incubation – “The Oxygen Accelerator is suited to any technology startup with big ambitions. We give your startup the best chance of success, using our experience, networks, and tried-and-tested programmes.”
Techstars London – 3 month programme – “Techstars is a global ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs build great businesses.”
Seedcamp – 3 month programme – “We invest our Network, Learning, and Capital based on the needs of our Founders, providing the platform to enable you to scale.”
Wayra UK – 6 month programme – “Wayra is a start-up accelerator owned by Telefónica Open Future, a global entrepreneurship and innovation network, open to partners.”
Collider – 4 month programme, with another 4 months offered – “Collider is an accelerator dedicated to marketing and advertising startups, which help brands and agencies identify, understand, engage with and sell to their consumers.”
Bethnal Green Ventures – 3 month programme – “An accelerator programme for people who want to change the world using technology. We invest in and support great teams with new ideas to help build solutions to social and environmental problems through an intensive three-month programme.”
EcoMachines Ventures – 9 month programme – “The world is changing fast, creating new challenges and new opportunities in the energy, infrastructure and industrial sectors. EcoMachines Ventures supports innovative solutions to these global problems by investing in promising technology companies and actively supporting their growth into world class high-growth enterprises.”
Barclays Accelerator – 15 week programme – “A unique programme designed to take your business further. We’re fintech-focused and overflowing with opportunities.”
Distill Ventures – 6 month programme – “We mentor and invest in new and growing independent spirits brands. Substantial investment in your business plus an extensive programme of expert mentorship and hands-on support, helping you build a successful global brand.”
BBC Worldwide Labs – 6 month programme – “Our goal is to strategically and commercially partner with and support the most innovative up-and-coming digital media companies that are helping to define the emerging digital landscape.”
Dotforge Accelerator – 13 week programme – “Our goal is to create an inclusive start-up community that leverages collective experience and networks to create successful companies based in the North of England.”
Freeformers – 1 day workshops – “We help companies fulfil the people part of their digital strategies – and for every business person we train, we train a young person for free.
Entrepreneur First – 6 month programme – “We select purely on the basis of technical talent, so you can apply before you have a team or an idea.”
Accelerate Cambridge – 3 month programme – “We help teams of entrepreneurs turn an idea into a business, launch, and then keep going. Accelerate Cambridge is part of an ecosystem of support for entrepreneurs in Cambridge and will help you to navigate your way through it and find the resources you need.”