Home Guide to Seed Fund Incubators (Y Combinator Clones)

Guide to Seed Fund Incubators (Y Combinator Clones)

They say imitation the most sincere form of flattery. If that’s true, then Paul Graham must be about to drown from all the praise. His Y Combinator project, which has funded nearly 60 startups since 2005 and has arguably inspired a new emphasis on smaller scale investments at traditional venture capital firms, has collected a cadre of imitators. Lots of them, from all over the world. While Graham may not like it, there are a large number of start up incubators following the model he created with Y Combinator and handing out microinvestments in web startups in return for a small stake.

If you’re a startup founder looking for a bit of seed funding to let you quit your day job and finish your web app or service, our guide to seed fund incubators will help you figure out where to apply. (Be sure to also read this great account of what it’s actually like at one of these programs.)

Name:Y Combinator
Location: Cambridge, MA and Bay Area, CA

Investment: $5,000 + $5,000 per founder (i.e., $15,000 for two founders, $20,000 for three)

Stake Taken: 2-10% (usually about 6%)

Companies funded: Too many to list (about 58), but many you’ve heard of, like Reddit, Scribd, and Xobni (Wikipedia has a full list)

Next application deadline: April 2

Location: Boulder, CO

Investment: $5,000 per founder, up to $15,000 (3 founders)

Stake Taken: 5%

Companies funded: 9 so far, including Villij, and Intense Debate
Next application deadline: March 31

Location: London, UK

Investment: 50,000€ (about US$74,000)

Stake Taken: 10%

Companies funded: 6 so far, including Tablefinder
Next application deadline: August 12

Location: Vienna, Austria

Investment: 5,000€ per founder, up to 15,000€ (3 founders)

Stake Taken: 2-10%

Companies funded:Soup.io
Next application deadline: None

Location: Lexington, MA

Investment: $7,500 for individuals or $15,000 for teams (split evenly)

Stake Taken: ?

Companies funded: 8

Next application deadline: Not yet announced

Location: Washington, DC

Investment: Between $15,000 and $30,000

Stake Taken: 4-8%

Companies funded: None yet

Next application deadline: March 14

Name:DreamIt Ventures
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Investment: Between $10,000 and $30,000

Stake Taken: 4-8%

Companies funded: None yet

Next application deadline: March 12

Name:Bootup Labs
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Investment: ?

Stake Taken: ?

Companies funded: None yet

Next application deadline: None / not yet launched

Location: Atlanta, GA

Investment: ?

Stake Taken: ?

Companies funded: None

Next application deadline: None / Not yet launched

See also: Charles River Ventures’ QuickStart loan program, in which seed round startups receive a loan of up to $250,000 against a future Series A venture round (which CRV has the option to participate in). And see the annual Google Summer of Code program, in which stipends are awarded to students working on open source projects.

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