The three biggest and most succesful startup and accelerator programmes in the world are probably Y-Combinator, TechStars and Seedcamp. There are a huge number of pretenders to the throne and we have had some experience with the Springboard programme in Cambridge and London over the past few years so it is fantastic news to hear that their exceptionally high energy team – Jon Bradford, Jess Williamson and Elaine Finn are joining forces with TechStars to extend the reach of their programme beyond the US.
If you want to join Y-Combinator, you have to go the to the US. Seedcamp has done a great job of girding the loins of European entrepreneurs and are currently taking a batch of their companies on a tour of the US but you can never have enough high quality support for early stage entrepreneurs and a European operation for TechStars means that companies in this programme will be able to access an extensive network of support in Europe as their US companies expand. More importantly, it gives non-US entrepreneurs an opportunity to join a very high quality programme in Europe and get access to a US network as they grow. Anecdotally, programmes like TechStars have been reluctant to engage to closely with entrepreneurs outside the US because getting people VISAs has been too much of a PITA.
Huge props to the people at Springboard and TechStars for pulling this one off. The only winners will be entrepreneurs and investors. The only losers will be those running low quality programmes and that is a great thing.
If you want to find out more about accelerators, incubators and all that stuff, including some great actual proper data on money in, money out etc, you should follow Jed Christiansen’s blog. He obsesses over that stuff and is an intelligent writer.