Well, let's be completely honest: the current startups landscape is incredibly messy. There are plenty of ways to get funded to start your own company -- but how many of them are not simply'dumb money'? How many of them give you some additional value and really help you scale your business? This problem is particularly relevant for emerging exponential technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics. For those specific fields, highly specialized investors/advisors are essential for the success of the venture.
Since the edges are blurring, it is hard to find a commonly shared definition for accelerators and incubators. Hence, I will provide two different definitions, one a bit more from a practitioner's point of view, the other slightly more academic. In the industry, the distinction between an accelerator and an incubator is simply related to the rationale for a company to join such a program. In other words, an incubator helps the entrepreneur in the development of her idea, while the accelerator focuses more on growing the business. The two programs have therefore two different goals and should be joined at a different stage of the startup lifecycle (Isabelle, 2013).
In 2013, Khadim Batti, 41, was a small entrepreneur staring at a big problem. He and a colleague from Huawei, Vara Kumar Namburu, had founded Whatfix, a startup that helped enterprises build and improve product usage for customers. Using clever and interactive walkthroughs, their solution was able to improve adoption and usage significantly. "We saw a big market in the US," says Batti. But for the first-generation cofounders with little exposure to the US, cracking that market proved a challenge. "We had no idea how to get there," he says.
The Australian government has officially launched its AU 23 million incubator support program, which will fund the creation of new incubators in a bid to see more successful startups emerge from the country. Launching the event at fintech incubation hub Stone & Chalk in Sydney on Monday, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Greg Hunt said he expects business incubators will increase innovation capacity in Australia's urban areas, as well as regional and rural Australia and in university precincts, by bringing communities of entrepreneurs together to increase the flow of local knowledge and foster "collaboration". The government's funding pool will be distributed via an application process, where matching grants valued between AU 10,000 and AU 500,000 will be awarded to the successful candidates for the creation of new incubators in regions or business sectors with strong links to international trade, and for existing, high-performing incubators to expand their services. Hunt confirmed that incubators can also access matching grants of up to AU 25,000 to engage experts-in-residence from Australia and overseas as well. "This ensures startups have access to the top-quality research, managerial, and technical talent they need to develop their capabilities and commercialise their ideas," the minister said in a statement.