Startup School, Round Two: The 2010 Xconomy Guide to Venture Incubators

6/24/10Follow @xconomy

A common trait among entrepreneurs is their distaste for working alone. Fortunately, there are programs across the country that aim to surround startups with entrepreneur comrades, seasoned execs, and investors, to provide both community and guidance. We rounded up these programs last year in the inaugural Xconomy Guide to Venture Incubators, and are back again this year with a new and greatly expanded document that reflects the additions to the field and a revamped vision of what it means to be a startup incubator.

These programs have honed and launched a number of all-star tech companies, such as oneforty, the Boston-based app store for Twitter founded by Laura Fitton. She closed her seed round just weeks after joining the inaugural class of TechStars Boston last summer. Fitton attracted attention at the program’s investor nights, and even used the San Francisco version of the event to open the beta version of her product to the masses. “It was just adrenaline charged,” she remarked. Oneforty closed its Series A venture round months later, with backing from Boston and Bay Area investors.

Oneforty provides an example of the financial benefit that these programs bring to young, bootstrapped companies, but there are other elements of support that we sought to capture in this year’s roundup of startup schools. Innovation, after all, is really about evolution-adapting to unexpected market situations, advancing or reshaping old ideas into something better, coming up with new ideas.

And so it is with this guide. As programs for startups and entrepreneurs have proliferated across the country, new models have surfaced that didn’t exactly fit the definitions we set out last year—but at the same time were clearly just the kind of programs that should be included. So we’ve recast our own definitions (read on for details of our criteria)—and in the process, we have expanded the guide substantially, growing it from 20 entries last year to 34 for the 2010 edition. (Entries marked in green are new.)

To purchase an expanded version of this guide, in PDF format, click the “Add to Cart” button.
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As we noted last year, there are literally hundreds of entities in the U.S. and Canada that call themselves business incubators, but that typically only offer rental space and infrastructure to upstart ventures. So in our inaugural guide we looked for programs that provide benefits beyond those, and mainly charge in the form of equity.

Those criteria still essentially hold, but we expanded this year to include programs, such as Washington, DC-based Springboard Enterprises, that don’t directly fund companies or offer office space, but which groom participants with intense mentoring and access to investors. Additionally, we took a look at programs that function as co-working spaces, but also provide coaching and access to investors, such as California’s Plug and Play Tech Centers. We felt strongly that this expanded definition more accurately captured the scope of incubators and additional ways purveyors of such programs are providing real value and service to entrepreneurs.

Several programs included in the 2009 guide—like TechStars, Dogpatch Labs, and TheFunded Founder Institute—expanded to new cities in 2010. So in that sense, the number of new entries this year has climbed even higher. Only one program listed last year-Summer@Highland offered by Highland Capital Partners-is not operating this year. Since Highland says it is taking a hiatus and has not decided to close the program permanently, we left it in the 2010 guide. Its fate should be resolved for the next edition.

No doubt we will evolve our definition again for the next edition. Please let us know about any additions or corrections you think are warranted (editors@xconomy.com).

A much expanded version of this list, in PDF format, is available for a modest one. For $79,* you’ll get information on each program’s focus, application deadlines and procedures, stipend and equity policies, notable graduates, and more. Click here to see what a full entry looks like, or click the “Add to Cart” button below to buy the PDF now using PayPal or your credit card. (If you choose to pay by credit card, first click the yellow PayPal checkout button, then look for “Don’t have a PayPal account?” on the next page and click the “continue” link beneath that.) *Price subject to change without notice.

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We intend to expand and update this list over time. Additions and corrections are welcome at editors@xconomy.com.

The Xconomy Guide to Venture Incubators: The List

Ann Arbor SPARK Incubator Network
Location: Ann Arbor, MI, Ypsilanti, MI, and Plymouth, MI
Founded: 2007
Xconomy coverage:
Five Companies Picked To Slug it Out for Ann Arbor SPARK Incubator Space,” May 24, 2010

Betaspring
Location: Providence, RI
Founded: 2009
Xconomy coverage:
Betaspring Unveils First Class of Startup Groups in Providence, Plans Micro-Seed Fund Akin to Y Combinator,” August 28, 2009

Better Labs
Location: San Jose, CA
Founded: 2008

Bizdom U
Location: Detroit, MI
Founded: 2007

BoomStartup
Location: Orem, UT
Founded: 2010

Bootup Labs
Location: Vancouver, BC
Founded: 2008

Capital Factory
Location: Austin, TX
Founded: 2009

CleanLaunch Technology Incubator
Location: Denver, CO
Founded: 2009

CONNECT Springboard
Location: San Diego, CA
Founded: 1993

Dogpatch Labs
Location: Cambridge, MA, New York, NY, San Francisco, CA (Cambridge branch opened in fall 2009, New York in Janaury 2010)
Founded: 2008
Xconomy coverage:
Dog Patch Lab: An Entrepreneur’s Kennel,” May 26, 2009
Polaris to Open Dog Patch Labs Incubator in Cambridge,” September 10, 2009
Notes from Dogpatch Labs’ Housewarming Party—and a List of Initial Inhabitants,” October 20, 2009

DreamIt Ventures
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Founded: 2008
Xconomy coverage:
Princeton Undergrad Brings Scavenger-Hunt Startup to Boston,” October 1, 2008
Y Combinator Recombined: Talking with Philadelphia Startup Incubator DreamIt Ventures,” October 6, 2008

To purchase an expanded version of this guide, in PDF format, click the “Add to Cart” button.
For $79* you’ll get information on each program’s focus, application deadlines and procedures, stipend and equity policies, notable graduates, and more. Add to Cart
Click here to see a sample entry.
*price subject to change without notice

EvoNexus
Location: San Diego, CA
Founded: 2009
Xconomy coverage:
San Diego’s Wireless Industry Establishes Startup Incubator,” June 17, 2009
San Diego’s EvoNexus Incubator Selects First Gaggle of Fledgling Startups,” September 10, 2009
New San Diego Incubator Adds Three More Startups on Opening Day,” November 3, 2009

First Growth Venture Network
Location: New York, NY
Founded: 2009
Xconomy coverage:
Boston Venture Firms Dominate New Mentoring Program for New York Startups,” June 16, 2009

GoodCompany Ventures
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Founded: 2009

theHuB
Location: Sarasota, FL
Founded: 2009

I/O Ventures
Location: San Francisco, CA
Founded: 2010

KickLabs
Location: San Francisco, CA
Founded: 2010

LaunchBox
Location: Washington, DC
Founded: 2008

Momentum
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Founded: 2009

Nextstart
Location: Greenville, SC
Founded: 2009

NYC Seed
Location: New York, NY
Founded: 2008

NYC Seedstart
Location: New York, NY
Founded: 2010

Obsidian Launch
Location: Boonton, NJ
Founded: 2008

To purchase an expanded version of this guide, in PDF format, click the “Add to Cart” button.
For $79* you’ll get information on each program’s focus, application deadlines and procedures, stipend and equity policies, notable graduates, and more. Add to Cart
Click here to see a sample entry.
*price subject to change without notice

The Pfizer Incubator
Location: La Jolla, CA
Founded: 2004

Plug and Play Tech Center
Location: Glendale, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Palo Alto, CA, Redwood City, CA, and Sunnyvale, CA (primary and oldest location)
Founded: 2006

Shotput Ventures
Location: Atlanta, GA
Founded: 2009

Springboard Enterprises
Location: Washington, DC
Founded: 2000

Start@Spark
Location: Boston, MA, and New York, NY
Founded: 2009
Spark Capital Launches Startup Seed Fund,” March 25, 2009

Summer@Highland
[Note: Program is on hiatus for 2010, but may be reinstated in 2011.]
Location: Menlo Park, CA, and Lexington, MA
Founded: 2007
Xconomy coverage:
Highland Capital Puts Out the Call for Student Entrepreneurs and Interns,” April 3, 2008
Highland Program Offers No-Strings Stipends to Student Entrepreneurs,” March 3, 2009
Paragon Lake Out to Dazzle Jewelry Buyers with Virtual Customization,” May 19, 2009

TechStars
Location: Boston, MA, Boulder, CO (original location); and Seattle, WA (Boston opened in summer of 2009, Seattle in late summer 2010)
Founded: 2006
Xconomy coverage:
TechStars ‘Entrepreneurship Boot Camp’ Comes to Boston: An Interview with Co-founder David Cohen,” February 17, 2009
Oneforty Gets Funded,” June 29, 2009
TechStars in Seattle Will Be ‘Centralizing Force’ for Entrepreneurs and Startups, Investors Say,” December 18, 2009

TechTown SmartStart
Location: Detroit, MI
Founded: 2009

Tech Wildcatters
Location: Dallas, TX
Founded: 2010

To purchase an expanded version of this guide, in PDF format, click the “Add to Cart” button.
For $79* you’ll get information on each program’s focus, application deadlines and procedures, stipend and equity policies, notable graduates, and more. Add to Cart
Click here to see a sample entry.
*price subject to change without notice

TheFunded Founder Institute
Location: Boston, MA; Denver, CO; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Paris, France; Singapore; San Diego, CA; Silicon Valley, CA (original location); Seattle, WA, and Washington, DC
Founded: 2009
TheFunded to Bring Startup ‘Training Camp’ to San Diego—Eyeing Other Cities From Seattle to Boston to Paris,” August 28, 2009

Y Combinator
Location: Mountain View, CA
Founded: 2005
Xconomy coverage:
Y Combinator Gears Up for Startup Summer,” March 10, 2008
As Y Combinator Prepares to Open Summer Camp, Paul Graham Speaks,” May 3, 2008
Paul Graham and Y Combinator to Leave Cambridge, Stay in Silicon Valley Year Round,” January 22, 2009

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