According to the internet it’s thousands of startup accelerators programs & incubators out there, looking for the most talented startups to accelerate.

What started with Y-combinator back in 2005, was followed by Techstars, 500 startups and a couple of thousand other organizations which now all are competing for the same talent, according to Angel Garcia, director of Startupbootcamp IoT, Data & Cybersecurity in Barcelona.

It’s turning into a very crowded space, it’s much harder to find good startups for every round we do.

He continues:

Online I’ve seen lists of thousands of so-called accelerators. Many of them provide mentors, a table to work at and other perks, but they don’t run sustainable businesses.

From the left: Angel Garcia (Startupbootcamp) Patricio Hunt (Intelectium) & Bernat Farrero (itnig).

The business model

Just like venture capital investors, both accelerators and incubators are betting on a large volume of projects, and hope one out ten get’s a big exit.

That’s why it’s hard to say exactly what accelerators that are successful and which that are failing, says itnig president Bernat Farrero and points to the business model:

In practice, we’ve had virtually no time to see any of this models succeed just yet, even the few biggest ones have kept growing their expectations and none has yet consolidated and shown a real business success case.

Unlike most accelerators that are funded by VC’s, Startupbootcamp is funded by corporations that all get access to the products the different startups are creating, according to Garcia.

We’re different from most of the accelerators out there. It’s not only our business model, but 82 percent of our startups that have gone through our program is still going, and that’s a high number.

Evolving into venture builders?

Both Farrero and Hunt used to run accelerator programs, but later chose to leave the space to dedicate a deeper focus on fewer projects.

President Farrero explains that itnig didn’t find it sustainable to have a large number of startups go through a fixed program:

If we look at all of the accelerators today, both the ones we call successful, and all the others, I’ve never heard of anyone being profitable.

Startup studios or venture builders has been gaining more and more tractions lately, with studios like eFounders, Betaworks, Idealab & itnig pumping out new companies annually the last years.

Also Patricio Hunt, managing partner at Intelectium has been transitioning over to an approach of building talented teams, instead of accelerating already existing startups.

We have, as Farrero, evolved into more of a venture builder the last years. We study the markets, talk with corporations and possible future customers, and create products we know are needed.

Talent-focused

Farrero says their approach has changed drastically the last years, they now focus on finding makers:

Instead of using valuable time on accelerating tons of projects, we are using that time to study the markets and current trends, as well as attracting the best talent to come work for us.

Even though Startupbootcamp is working with a different business model, also Garcia stresses the importance of knowing your markets.

As we work in industries where everything is changing very fast, we need to understand the markets better than most people do.

The amount of accelerators getting started is not decreasing, but as the amount of programs increases, the less credibility the accelerator gets.

All the three directors agree that the few accelerators with an established brand will survive, and so will the ones that have implemented sustainable business models, but the rest will have to pivot or innovate into something new, something startups actually need.

To get the full interview, go to the video in top of the article.


The post was written by Sindre Hopland, media manager at itnig.

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

T.

The new time and attendance law will kill innovation in Spain and Europe

Simple solutions or “one fits all” policies are easy to market by populist governments but they are sometimes at the expense of certain sectors and their people. This time the affected party is innovation and value added services, to a point that puts in jeopardy our (already weak) spot in the global competitiveness landscape.

I’ve always told my teams that I do not hire their time, but rather their talent and potential: their brains, their energy and passion and their willing to make a difference and impact our clients and the world through them. Innovative companies try to get in existing markets and solve things in complete different ways, some go as far as creating new markets from scratch. They all have in common that their mission is extremely hard, sometimes impossible (thus most fail along the way). The key for their success is how they manage to convince their teams that everything they do is not a job, but a religion. They are changing the world and that is something worth spending time and making history.

I can tell if somebody is motivated by their job by looking at their eyes while they talk about their challenges and ideas. Best people don’t work, they play. They make their challenges their hobbies. I’ve had many conversations at 1 am in the office, after some beers and sushi, before even realizing what time it is. Only when a job makes this kind of conditions happen, the wheel of significant value creation really stirs and great things come from it.

It is very hard to create a culture in which people feel so empowered that they are capable of anything. In my experience, it helps granting absolute flexibility. I don’t remember the last time I approved vacations to my team, or I paid attention to their schedules, or the days in which they worked from home or the office. This is not the kind of conversations I want to have with them. My relationship with my team is based on trust, and it is based on one single (often repetitive) conversation: how can we do more and better, how can we grow faster, how can we raise the bar. Little it matters to me whether they contribute to this questions from the beach in Canary Islands or spending many hours in the office.

However, the government today decided that it is a great idea in the 21th century that all companies like ours should make everybody clock in and clock out by law. I’m now obliged to add people’s time and attendance into our conversation. We now have to treat all jobs like production lines in factories (amidst the era of hyper automation and robotization). They go as far as having us registering accurate pauses for lunch. Unfortunately they don’t include how should we manage the time spent in the chill-out area, or when having long coffees in the outside terrace, or spending the afternoon in ping pong championships. Should we clock-in and clock-out every time we do that too?

When I travel I always get asked how is the Spanish ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation developing, I always defend our potential to become a leading actor in science and technology,  besides our current reputation for tapas, toros and siesta. We previously analysed the many initiatives taking place in the city of Barcelona. But my question is: is there anybody in the government actually helping us to make this happen?

The new law will come to place the next 12th of May. At Factorial we developed a free feature, so companies can instantly become compliant with the law. Interestingly enough, almost immediately after launching this feature people started developing tools using our API to automate clocking or connecting it with Slack and other interfaces. It looks like after all there will always be people willing to work on relevant things and not waste their energy in bureaucratic traps.

PD: You can find more information about the law in this article.