There is number of new models improving forms of support available for early-stage companies, including start-ups in particular. Except start-up accelerators or Venture Capital firms we’d been already writing about at the blog, some other phenomena have been elaborated by NESTA. NESTA, which brand promise is “Making Innovation Flourish” has been founded by National Lottery of the United Kingdom, and operates at no costs to the government, or tax payers. What NESTA does are investments in early-stage companies, experimental support programmes, and analytical research, part of which I’d like to share with you below. According one of NESTA’s studies, in context of new models in start-up support we can distinguish:
Start-up weekends – format of this support reminds intensive company acceleration in start-up accelerators, but instead of 3-month programme, here its duration is shortened usually to 48 hours. In the US start-up weekends under brand of Startup Weekend are supported by Kauffman Foundation (the largest foundation for entrepreneurship in the world), whereas in Europe they are backed-up by Startup Bootcamp. Another example is Garage 48 located Estonia.
Investment marketplaces – an example of investment marketplace is Angel List, which puts records of all angel investors online for all to see to open up the process of raising angel’s investments. It doesn’t mean that thanks to Angel List its easier to contact angel investors unless as a start-up you don’t already have a social proof indicating real market potential of what you develop. Angel List had been founded in 2009 by Venture Hacks. On Europe it’s been replicated by Seedcamp in form of Seedsummit.
Start-up Schools – these are schools with programmes often described as “pre-accelerator programmes”. One of such school is The Founder Institute active in many locations around the world. In the United Kingdom there is Rochard’s School for Startups or TechHub’s Startups at TechHub programme.
Office and co-working spaces for start-ups – co-working offices are spaces tailored for start-ups available at monthly, or daily rent,with shared meeting and conference facilities and other services resulting from having many companies located in one place. In one of the co-working spaces I’d been visiting this year – Cambridge Innovation Center in Boston, companies operating from there have even direct access to angel investors, or Venture Companies firms located at the site. Overall number of companies located in Cambridge Innovation Center exceeds 800, incl. approx. 300, which deliver support services for start-ups incl. business consulting, marketing, or design. Relationships building and networking at Cambridge Innovation Centre is nurtured by The Venture Café where you can grab a beer with other co-workers each week at the site, what is of course included in the fee you pay.
Hackdays – whereas meetups are focused on building new relationships, the hackdays are focused on building new tools, or particular aplications of existing technology, and are not focused on creating new businesses as start-up weekends, or start-up accelerators. Some examples include Local Hack Day, or Music Hackday. If you’d like to organize your own hackday, find some tips at The Hack Day Manifesto.
Venture Incubators – these are investment-led incubators, which unlike accelerators are not time limited, and don’t accept applications from start-ups in cycles, and unlike Venture Capital firms they provide intensive, additional support, often including access to specialized facilities. An example of Venutre incubator is Betaworks – a movie and audio making studio in in New York, which manages and owns their own start-ups, but also back external productions. Another example is White Bear Yard.
Which models of start-up support eco-system are active in your place?