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When is it appropriate to approach incubators?

At what point in developing an idea is it appropriate to solicit incubators? Do you need to have more than a good biz plan? Does an incubator serve a similar role as an angel investor?

Thanks.

11 Replies

Joseph Wang
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Joseph Wang Entrepreneur
Chief Science Officer at Bitquant Research Laboratories
Different incubators have different business models, but most incubators would be glad to talk to you at any stage.

As far as roles. What can happen is that different incubators have different themes, and then become a connection point for angels and VC's.
Jeffrey Milanette
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Jeffrey Milanette Entrepreneur
President, Innovative Partners Incubation
That's true, more important from your standpoint as a entrepreneur is to take the time to figure out which incubators will best serve your needs at your stage of development. Some programs require a business plan, some want you to have revenues, some will gladly help you develop the business plan so don't be bashful about approaching them. Their business is helping entrepreneurs become successful but they can't do it if you don't get to know them. Good luck.
Martin Omansky
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Martin Omansky Entrepreneur
Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional
Incubators come in many flavors. So do angel investors. Incubators generally provide space, equipment, services, and advice. Sometimes modest funds, too. Most angel investors furnish larger amounts of cash, usually after the project is further advanced but nothing says that this is sacred. Best kind of angel is one that (1) knows and trusts you, and (2) knows something about the technology and/or market at the core of your idea. Sent from my iPhone
Steven Corn
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Steven Corn Entrepreneur
CEO at Metis Advantage
I appreciate all of these replies. I've been using CrunchBase to research incubators. Any other suggestions?
Robert Clegg
1
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Robert Clegg Entrepreneur • Advisor
Game Based Learning Expert
If you really want to be successful here, go to events the incubator is holding and make sure to connect with the program manager. Ask really good questions to determine what the questions on the application really mean. For example, the meaning of "impact" in the education space has changed overtime behind the scenes with none of us on the outside knowing about it. It used to mean financial returns, then it meant scalable reach so PR could tout millions served, now it means something else akin to "real impact" which is so nebulous these committee's will only "know it when they see it" kind of thing. Point is, they don't even know!

Usually program managers will offer to talk about your company with you in light of their program. This isextremelyhelpful since you will understand what they emphasize. They will also offer their email so you can follow up if you have any questions.

... and p.s. - don't worry about applying too early or making any mistakes, if you do finally get accepted they'll be impressed with the "progress you've made".
Steven Corn
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Steven Corn Entrepreneur
CEO at Metis Advantage
That sounds like great advice. What's a good way to find information about such events?
Sachin Agarwal
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Sachin Agarwal Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder, Braid (braidhq.com) - lightweight project and client management built into Gmail and Google Apps
If you're just looking to identify incubators, starting at F6S (https://www.f6s.com/programs )is a good choice. You can filter by location and stage.

Also, my company Braid is currently participating in Startup Next ( startupnext.co ), a TechStars-affiliated pre-incubator. They take no equity but they've been extraordinarily helpful given the low time commitment. I would reach out and see if there's a local version of that program in your area before applying to accelerators.
Sachin Agarwal
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Sachin Agarwal Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder, Braid (braidhq.com) - lightweight project and client management built into Gmail and Google Apps
Also, the Global Accelerator Network (http://gan.co/members ) has a list of accelerator programs as well. Good luck!
Steven Corn
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Steven Corn Entrepreneur
CEO at Metis Advantage
Sachin: I took a look at StartUp Next. Unfortunately, they are finishing a program in LA right now. It would have been great. But thanks for the recommendation of this and the the other incubator sites.
Robert Clegg
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0
Robert Clegg Entrepreneur • Advisor
Game Based Learning Expert
Find the incubator website, look at their calendar for any events. Use the "contact" to ask about events or ways to meet the team. Meetups are great ways. See if they are sponsoring a meetup. Are they having an open house? often times these incubators rent office space to startups. You can rent this space and be connected without being "in" the incubator. Could be a great way to get started if you can afford it, and of course if its local
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