3 Differences Between Accelerators and Incubators

PilotLabs is the first accelerator in Syria. Though there are already several incubators in Syria such as ICT public incubator and Afkar Plus incubator in Hama. What makes us different from incubators?

  • Incubators operate on an open-ended timeline. Some run for 3 months, some can even be 2 years or more and are not necessarily cohort based. They focus more on the longevity of a startup and are less concerned with how quickly the company grows. Accelerators are cohort-based programs that lasts three to four months can entertain cohort batches. During this period, startups build out their business with the support of mentors and capital provided by the accelerator. At the end of the program, startups receive the opportunity to pitch their businesses to investors and should be ready to look to raising another round of funding (e.g. Seed or Series A) or possibly applying to another accelerator with a more specialized, industry specific program.
  • While both incubators and accelerators offer an environment of collaboration and mentorship, Incubators have less pressure to deliver startups that can grow fast, as fostering and supporting local startups is part of their charter. Accelerator programs are competitive as the accelerator must select the top startups from across the country, that are scale-able, invest-able and have to show an ability to grow rapidly within months.
  • Incubators do not traditionally provide capital to startups. They also don’t usually take an equity stake in the companies they support (although some exceptionally do such as Afkarplus)Accelerators invest a specific amount of capital in startups in exchange for a predetermined percentage of equity. After this investment, the accelerators become partners with the startups and share both success and failure with their startups

In summary, both incubators and accelerators aim to help and support startups and the ecosystem, thus both united play a great role in the community and the role becomes greater when these stakeholder collaboration among each other and with other community players