the last new born Berlin-based startup accelerator has just done its
first investments at the end of January. The structure (which is
supported by OTTO Group) has invested in Wine in Black (a curated wine shopping club) and in Amerano (an e-commerce startup for tailor-made shirts).
Like YCombinator (USA), Seedcamp (UK) or Hackfwd (GE), A-Ventures (also named The Oryx-Project) invests a small amount of seed money in promising ideas and teams, and boost the development of the early-born startup thanks its digital-entrepreneurial know-how and its network.
Lots of startup accelerators have been created in the past 5 years in Germany. To quote but a few:
These accelerators have played a great role in fostering German digital startup scene. Rocket Internet gave birth to Zalando (the 1rst online shoe-market in Germany) eDarling (a leading European dating portal) or Wimdu (one of the successful German copycats of Airbnb). Team Europe invested in Brand4friends, sold to EBay in 2010 for €150M. And Hackfwd supports Yieldkit, a promising solution that automatically generates affiliate links from keywords and already existing product links.
The business model behind most of these startup accelerators is quite simple. They give a small amount of money to startup-founders who come with great ideas (the amount varies from €20,000 to €50,000) and they highly support these founders with network, coaching, etc., during 3-6 months to 1 year. In exchange, they get 10% to 30% shares of the newly-born startup.
And it seems to work well. TechCrunch EU recently gave some interesting figures (here) which basically prove that startup accelerators are doing a great job. For example: “once Seedcamp invest, 90 percent of their portfolio companies raise further funding as well. Between 2007 and 2009 it supported 22 teams, which have collectively raised over Euro 30 million in venture investment.”
That being said, the growing number of startups accelerators is also interesting because it highlights 2 remarkable trends:
The importance of momentum: The startups market is moving so fast, and the competition is so hard, that momentum is crucial. You’ve to come up at the right time with the right inspirational idea. Then, because of the harsh competition, the startup accelerator plays a great role and helps you differenciating because you find very rapidly the network and the financial support you need.
Large companies are seeking the vicinity of the startup word: They have understood that digital innovation takes place in the startups world. They invest more and more in startups accelerators. Example: OTTO Group invested in Founderslink and in The Oryx Project.