How can incubators create value efficiently through their network?

nevaal AG
nevaal AG
Oct 21 · 4 min read

When hearing the word “incubator”, many people’s thoughts will go directly to small feathery flappers and hatching eggs. Although the core mechanics are similar, we will be talking about a different kind of incubator in this blog. This article will focus on the business model of an incubator and its network.

To make sure we are all on the same page here, let me first explain the concept of incubators. They are usually large, non-profit organisations that support start-ups with different services. These provided services range from helping the businesses with basic requirements to networking activities, etc.

The most significant trait of incubators however, is that they often provide office space and equipment, so that the start-ups are able to physically place themselves inside the incubator to work there efficiently (so indeed not too different from hatching an egg).

Of course, incubators can ́t accept all start-ups trying to get a place and only the ones proving good organization and a promising future will be let in and supported. The ones that do make it, profit greatly from the offered services and, even more, from the network of the incubator.

On the one hand, there is an internal network consisting of all the start-ups working right next to each other at the incubator ́s office space. On the other hand, there is the external network, big companies, investors, incubators, graduated start-ups and many more which are connected to the incubator in some way or another.

Startups benefit greatly from this since it will make it easier for them to deliver their product into the world when already having an existing and functioning network to rely on.

Yet, many incubators are unable to utilize this strong tool of theirs, networks and connections, to its full potential. The main reason is the sheer amount of administrative tasks, meaning paperwork, which clogs up all communication channels, hindering the organization and taking away important time.

Starting at recording all the data, relationships and connections with all the different parties in your network. Then keeping track of the start-ups currently in your program, further evaluating ones that are applying for it, introducing newcomers to your community, staying in contact with graduated ones, it’s a lot.

You can imagine it like a hen in a 400 chicken stable having to organize and document every name, age and telephone number of every egg she has ever produced, as well as the contact info of every other animal and warder in the stable. Surely enough to make a poor feathery mother lose her head.

That is similar to the amount of amount of paperwork incubators usually see themselves confronted with. Often repetitive but necessary tasks to keep the community active and alive.

It is obvious that a lot of time, money and potential is wasted in this process and could be used in supporting the young companies more effectively, expanding the community ́s reach or organizing more events. Incubators have such a huge and diverse network, that they hold an amount of potential that should not be underestimated and which practically demands full usage, in the benefit of the incubator and their community.

Our product, nevaal maps, is meant to help anyone who has a wide network and the need to handle it well. Although we will focus on incubators in this article, any other type of company with a strong community could benefit from using our software. For more information please refer to our “Use-Cases”-page.

nevaal maps will be helpful from the very beginning when integrating a start-up into an incubator. You are not only able to analyze the start-ups structures and its possibilities, but you can also compare these to the other competing start-ups. This will facilitate the decision process, which start-up to choose for a place in your program.

Then, following the adding of the new start-up into the incubator, many administrative tasks will appear out of nowhere. Administrative tasks, which nevaal maps will help you to get done. The introduction of the new start-up to your network, keeping track of its development, staying in personal contact with it and further connecting it to the right companies at the right time, to just name a few examples.

And even after the usual year-long partnership of start-ups and incubators has ended, after the young company graduates and leaves the “parental” safety, staying in contact is so very important. Most graduated start-ups struggle with finding new contacts and miss the access to the incubator ́s network, leaving aside all the other services an incubator offers. And on the other side, it is also a huge advantage for Incubators to have a functioning network of graduates.

Afterall, most people that once participated in this kind of program are willing to give value back into the network that supported them for so long. Not only through investments, but also with their knowledge and experience, which they can communicate to the next generation of start-ups through workshops and events. They can teach the newcomers how to bring a start-up past graduation, what mistakes they used to make in this early stage or how to use the incubator ́s services most effectively.

A win-win-situation for chicken and egg.

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