Are we in a startup accelerator bubble?

Yesterday Sam Altman from Y Combinator posted this on twitter:

One year ago, almost to the day, I wrote a post about the surge of startup accelerators in Paris. Since then, even more accelerators opened in Paris like Axeleo (originally from Lyon), Innov&Connect from BNP Paribas, SenseCube (for social entrepreneurship). This is not counting corporate or VC backed open innovation spaces like Le Village by Crédit Agricole or Partech Shaker. And of course not counting all the accelerators that opened in the rest of France. My assumption is that there are today between 50 and 100 startup accelerators/incubators in France.

So are we in a bubble?

By counting the number of programs that opened in the past 2 years, definitely! On the other hand, have we ever talked about a higher education bubble? There are millions of schools around the world, some of them are elite, some of them are bad, but no one contests their existence.

So, if we assume that:

  • Startup accelerators are higher education for entrepreneurs
  • 45% of french people between 18 and 35 want to start their own companies (around 14M people according to INSEE)
  • 5% of these people will actually attempt to start a company in the next 7 years (so 100K per year)
  • On average, a startup accelerator/incubator takes in 50 startups per year and a startup is founded by 2 people (so that’s 100 people per year)

Then: the maximum number of startup accelerators France can absorb should be 1,000. That’s at least 10 times more than today…

Maybe we’re not in a bubble after all ;)

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