Beta-i, with the support of the European Accelerators Network, Startup Europe, and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, released an European report on acceleration, based on a survey and the insights gathered from interviews with over 60 accelerators, including top players like 500 Startups and Tech Stars, at the European Accelerator Summit (2015) in Lisbon.

This paper was produced with the goal of sharing information across the current European Accelerator ecosystem, looking to provide an understanding of the current trends and challenges faced by the industry. Their objective in writing this report is to support the growth of acceleration.

Despite the fact that we are part of different, even competing, organizations, we hold a responsibility to the ecosystem as a whole. Therefore, it is necessary that we all develop into the best possible accelerators, improve our programs and provide the highest quality support to our startups

says Ricardo Marvão, Co-founder & Head of Global Resources at Beta-i.

Edite Cruz, Project Coordinator at Beta-i, adds

By examining the current state of affairs, not only can we create a uniform base of information, but we can begin to look ahead to the future of this industry and try to predict what lays ahead

We face similar challenges and so, there is much that can be gained from sharing and learning from each others experiences. This report is a good way of performing the necessary function of keeping the entrepreneurial community informed and updated on the current on-goings amongst accelerators. 

Major Findings

This report draws from the outcomes of the summit, from interviews, research and a survey done with accelerators. It identifies top trends, challenges and opportunities in acceleration and aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the industry of acceleration. 

As a result of the data collected, it’s possible to anticipate what the top trends defining the future of the industry will be. It is likely that accelerators will increasingly target corporate clients to help them both work with startups and to help their intrapreneurs work “the startup way”. Simultaneously commercialisation programs and other ways of supporting later stage startups will hold more importance in the years to come as ecosystems mature. 

Also essentially due to this fact, internationalization will remain a top trend and it is expected that organizations running acceleration programs will increasingly become investors in the startups they accelerate.

Finally, it is expected that education becomes a bigger area of acceleration as universities look for more effective ways to educate for entrepreneurship & ecosystems invest in increase the number of startups being created. 

Key Challenges & Recommendations

But what should be done at European level to support acceleration? Trying to address that question, Beta-i is also putting out an annex of the original document, called Key Challenges & Recommendations for growing the European Startup ecosystem via accelerators.

On this paper you can find that accelerators have the potential to do even more for the European startup ecosystem, and these organizations can make a significant contribution for the competitiveness of Europe’s economy. 6 different areas of intervention, that are critical for sustained growth, were identified: Transnational collaboration, Accelerating the unwanted, Understanding acceleration, Accelerating policy making, Corporate/ startup collaboration and Accelerating education.

Acceleration is powerful and expanding, and we believe this document proposes key suggestions that will help us leverage acceleration in Europe for a stronger economy of startups.