← Techstars Blog

It’s a sobering reality that 60 percent of new startup firms fail in just five years. However, the future is much brighter for startups nurtured by incubators. Ninety percent of these are thriving three years after their inception, and 87 percent are still in business five years after their launch. If you dream of launching a successful startup, partnering with one of these incubators that are transforming the tech industry could give you the helping hand you need.

DreamIt Ventures: Where Dreams Come True


Image via Flickr by Tech Cocktail

Business partners Steven Welch, Michael Levinson, and David Bookspan launched DreamIt Ventures in 2007 with a plan to help inspiring tech minds get their ideas out of their garages. Since that time the Philadelphia incubator has expanded its program to New York City, but its simple philosophy remains the same.

“We’ve brought in companies that have little more than an idea on a napkin,” Levinson once told Forbes. “But in three months they can prove a market need and adjust their business model.”

The incubator gives tech teams up to $25,000 in seed funding, expert mentorship, and the opportunity to present their projects to investors at a demonstration day. Its success stories include location-based mobile gaming platform SCVNGR and the largest online ticket search engine, SeatGeek.

Y Combinator: Coding Credentials in California

With more than 300 graduates including file-hosting company Dropbox and social news and entertainment site Reddit, Y Combinator’s got an enviable track record. This Mountain View-based incubator is the brainchild of Harvard-educated coder Paul Graham. His partnership with Silicon Valley investors Ron Conway and Yuri Milner sees every Y Combinator company receiving a generous $150,000 investment in convertible debt on commencing the three-month program.

With its focus on coding and the internet, Y Combinator needs a fast internet connection with plenty of bandwidth. This Californian incubator and others like it would do well monitoring Internet specials like the bundles offered by CenturyLink.

TechStars: Elite Incubator Nurtures Transnational Startups


Image via Flickr by Robert Scoble

With each TechStars rotation hosting just 10 teams, its program is seen as one of America’s most elite. The incubator celebrates startups with global appeal, and this approach has seen it give birth to successful brands including social media organizer Socialthing, which was acquired by AOL, and tablet publishing platform OnSwipe.

Tech teams can enrol in its three-month programs in seven key locations: Austin, Boston, Boulder, Chicago, London, Seattle, and New York City. Each team member receives funding amounts ranging from $6,000 to $18,000 in exchange for a six percent equity stake in its companies.

Capital Factory: Help to the Power of 20

It’s all about the number 20 at Austin’s Capital Factory. Its chosen start-ups receive $20,000 in seed money, $20,000 in extras including legal and web-hosting facilities, and unlimited access to a prestigious list of 20 homegrown mentors, including Smart Bear founder Jason Cohen and ApartmentRatings.com creator Jeremy Bencken.

Originally launched as a summer program by local entrepreneurs Joshua Baer, Sam Decker, and Bryan Menell, Capital Factory has grown to become a year-long endeavor for its passionate team. It even attracted the attention of President Barack Obama, who toured its home in the Omni Building in May 2013 as part of his tech-focused visit to Austin.

Capital Factory holds two annual demo days which put startups in front of angel investors. The practice has boosted the fortunes of graduates including social music event app Vivogig and swim team management system Swimtopia.

Environmental Business Cluster: Helping Tech Go Green

Founded in 1994, Environmental Business Cluster is one of the oldest tech-focused start-ups in the United States. However, this institution takes a decidedly modern approach to technology. The Environmental Business Cluster has nurtured more than 150 eco-conscious tech companies since its inception. It’s also grown to become the largest environmental and cleantech incubator in the United States.

The incubator, a partnership between the city of San Jose and the San Jose State Research Foundation, has provided counseling and education, office and conference space, and access to investors for a range of firms interested in waste management, renewable energy, and other environmentally-friendly endeavors. Its graduates include solar energy producer Optony Inc. and wind tower maker Wasatch Wind.

It takes more than a bright idea to find business success. These startup incubators give aspiring entrepreneurs the additional tools they need to make it in the competitive tech industry.

JT Ripton