Amid Talk of Bubble, Xconomy Incubator Guide Grows to 121 Listings
After we put out the 2011 Xconomy Guide to Venture Incubators, my colleague Wade wrote a Friday column entitled “There Is an Incubator Bubble—And It Will Pop.” That particular guide listed 64 startup incubator programs, up from 34 in 2010, and 20 in our first guide in 2009. Wade concluded his column with the admonition: “So, don’t be surprised if Xconomy’s 2012 Venture Incubator Guide doesn’t have quite as many listings as this year’s.”
Well, the results are in, and the 2012 Xconomy Guide to Venture Incubators is 121 programs strong. (You can buy it here for $195.) That’s 61 more programs than last year’s guide, after you count the four we removed because they stopped operating in the meantime. (And the number that went defunct in the last year is less than the seven we removed from our guide between 2010 and 2011).
So if there’s an incubator bubble, it hasn’t popped just yet. Entrepreneurs looking for help building their businesses have more options to sort through than ever—which is why we conceived the guide three years ago.
But we didn’t want to just throw a doubled guide at you with no resources for navigating it and the increasingly complex startup ecosystem, so you’ll notice some handy icons at the top of each program listing (check out this sample for a preview). They indicate whether a program offers funding, whether it takes an equity stake, whether it is affiliated with a university, and what state or province it is located in. There’s also an index in the back that groups incubators by state and shows which ones have specific tech focuses—such as cleantech, mobile, and even civic and social innovation startups. (You can also visit this page to learn more about the 2012 incubator guide.)
We understand that each program is nuanced in exactly what it offers and where in a startup’s lifecycle it sees itself playing a role. So we’ve adopted a more holistic point of view, rather than hard set of criteria, when determining which programs to include in the publication. We also know there are plenty more organizations out there that call themselves incubators, and we’ve done our absolute best to comb through them and determine which ones truly play a part in supporting and growing fledgling companies.
The big idea is that these programs are more than co-working spaces or rental offices, and must be focused on fostering entrepreneurial skills and company growth. Often they provide investment or financial support in exchange for equity, but that’s not universal. Some of these programs may balk at being called an incubator instead of an accelerator, but for the sake of consistency, we’ve stuck with the term incubator.