As venture incubators sprout up around the globe, pledging to nourish the next generation of startups in a period of global recession, they may now be creating a bubble. After Xconomy’s recent report, Guide to Venture Incubators, counted 64 venture incubators in the U.S., more than three times the number in 2009, fears are on the rise that tech incubators are indeed flooding too many early-stage startups with funding both in Europe and the U.S. Although the need to boost economic growth by empowering small businesses is widely acknowledged throughout the Middle East and around the globe, building too many incubators will backfire, especially if too many startups without a viable model receive seed funding, or investors chase immediate profit rather than building long-term profitability.
As someone who has watched Turkey’s entrepreneurship scene since 2000, having worked for five years at Turkey’s first incubation center, launched by Ericsson, I believe that these concerns are valid; there is a bubble in Europe and the U.S. at least. Yet I also believe that what we are seeing is the natural evolution of the entrepreneurship market; increased competition and the real needs of the market will shape the players and create a balance.
And while there are a growing number of accelerators in the Arab World, beginning with Oasis500, which launched in August 2010, followed by several others including recently launched Flat6Labs in Egypt, the Arab World is not yet in danger of having too many.
Fortunately in the U.S. and Europe, the successful and strong accelerators that have pioneered sound business models have continued to succeed, including YCombinator (US), TechStars (US), Kicklabs (US), Seedcamp (UK), Startupbootcamp (Spain), and Springboard (UK).
At the Europas (the European Startup Awards) last week, which honored promising startups and support organizations in Europe, Seedcamp in particular was singled out to receive the “Best Ongoing Startup Program of 2011” award.
This news was not surprising if you’ve met the company’s Partner Reshma Sohoni. I had the pleasure of talking to her about the program two weeks ago in Istanbul at the Webrazzi event. Ever since then, she has been answering my e-mails from China, Bangkok, UK and more countries than I can remember, as I chatted with her further. Her energy and enthusiasm are no doubt a crucial factor in Seedcamp’s success. For those companies in the Arab World looking to expand regionally or even eventually to Europe, Seedcamp is an accelerator to consider. They recently helped Jordanian comedy channel Talasim develop and successfully sell their platform to regional user-generated content and review site Jeeran.
You can read the rest of the article on Wamda where it is originally published.