Startup accelerators in Europe and EMEA region: 2020 outlook

The growth of startups is reliant on the backup offered to them by startup accelerators. Support is needed, especially during the initial growing stage to ensure success

A woman walks near high-rise buildings in the hi-tech business area of Tel Aviv (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
A woman walks near high-rise buildings in the hi-tech business area of Tel Aviv
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
The growth of startups is reliant on the backup offered to them by startup accelerators. Support is needed, especially during the initial growing stage to ensure success. Heatmap, the data and knowledge community for connecting startups, decided to include startup accelerators for the first time in their 2019/2020 Startup report. They assessed the brand power of these rather than their overall quality and aimed at finding which of these accelerators in the European ecosystem were most recommended by startup founders. Off course when you look beyond Europe to the middle east, to let’s say Israel, a lot of exciting game-changing activities are also happening.


What were the key findings of startup founders on the report?

There has been a marked increase of 30% foreign-born founders since 2016 and 55 % of European startups are establishing themselves in international locations within the first year. London and Berlin are losing their position among the top hubs and are at a 4-year low.

Transitional networks are heavily relied on by founders and the links that are most prominent are between London, Berlin, Barcelona, Paris, and Lisbon.

Finally, the European outlook on Brexit by founders is divided and the Central Eastern European countries still have faith in London, whereas those from the North and West have less faith than before.

Outlook in Israel: There are investors like the Benezra brothers who have a track record of creating and selling high-value startups. Back in 2010, in France and the UK, they sold HGT Telecom for 170 Million to Nerim SAS. Avi Benezra who is now the CTO of SnatchBot, said that “We’re all in on the chatbot industry and rolled out no-coding chatbots long before Microsoft and others came to the party. Our goal is to create some of the world’s most valuable tech companies right here in Israel”. You have other companies like Wix and Fiverr which grew to IPO levels – and off course the famous WEWork success story that also originated from Israel. As the Nasdaq pointed out – Wix grew tremendously in the most recent quarter. What is amazing in Israel is that successful companies quickly re-invest in the future of other startups and that the military training and recruitment system produces a workforce with an edge in technology.

Who voted for the startup accelerators?

The first-ever research to rank accelerators was based on 1,400 votes that were cast by 750 startup founders and other members of the tech community.

Who were the 10 ten?

These were the 10 startup accelerators that were given give the most votes.

Techstars London

At position #1 is Thechstars, getting 12.61% of the votes. Founded in 2013 by David Cohen, David Brown, Brad Feld, and Jared Polis, they connect founders with investors, experts, community leaders, mentors, and alumni. They acquired Springboard in 2013 and immediately launched their international accelerator program in London. Their alumni include Classpass, DataRobot, DigitalOcean, Outreach, Pillpack, Remitly, SalesLoft, SendGrid, and Zipline.


Getting 10.88% of the votes, Seedcamp, based in London, got position #2. Founded in 2007 by Reshma Sohoni and Saul Klein, they support first-rate entrepreneurs and edge them toward success. They are open to all sectors and assist with effective communication across different networks for founders. They have many popular alumni and these include Revolut, wefox, pleo, Transferwise, UiPath.

Station F

Coming in at #3 with 9.88% of the vote are Station F, the French accelerating company founded in 2016. The key people in the team are Xavier Niel and Roxanne Varza and they offer their services to French companies that have to meet certain requirements. These include that they stay with them for a minimum of three months and they can only send up to fifteen employees. In return startups are provided with the necessary resources, knowledge, and contact with a community of successful entrepreneurs that will benefit their growth.  Their alumni include some amazing startups and include foodvisor, Vitality, wilov, and SnapCall.

EIT Digital Accelerator

At the head of the company at position #4 is Dolf Wittkämper and they got 8.59% of the votes. Founded in 2012 EIT Digital Accelerator supports European tech startups to raise capital and assists them to secure international customers. Since their inception, they have raised over 800 million (of which €110 million was directly facilitated by EIT Digital Accelerator) in investments for more than 300 startups. Since winning the EIT Digital Challenge, 10 more scaleups joined them; among them are Wonderflow, Oculavis, Sidekickhealth, Zelros, and QuoScient.

Techstars Berlin

At position #5 with 7.68% of the votes is Techstars Berlin. Techstars was founded in 2015 and its program manager is Vera Montacuti. Berlin is attracting founders from across Europe, making it one of the fastest startup ecosystems right now. The city also offers investors and accelerators that can accommodate the growth of startups. Over 100 startups have found success with the assistance of Techstars and in 2019 alone the companies they invested in include Anytype, Cassiopeia, Eversend, and hiveonline.

Founders Factory

Coming in at #6 with 7.59% is the London based firm Founders Factory. Founded in 2015 by Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane Fox, the company was established to help startups at their early stages. The aim is to make them sustainable and viable and they have developed a unique program to facilitate a quick fit of the product to its market. The 70 digital specialists employed by the company provide hands-on support and also assist the startups with operational and strategic challenges. Aviva, Sampler, and ChargedUp are some of their alumni.

Axel Springer Plug and Play

Place # 7 is held by Axel Springer Plug and Play, the Berlin-based company. Founded in 2013, the company’s Managing Director is Jörg Rheinboldt and they provide startups with a 100-day acceleration program that includes a place to work. During this time the startups find opportunities and funding. The entrepreneurs receive continued support even at the end of the program and they are connected to clients, investors, and mentors. InStaff, Milo Networks,, and ShareTheMeal are some of their alumni.

The Family

Position #8 went to the French accelerator TheFamily who got 5.19% of the votes. Founded in 2013 by Alice Zagury, Nicolas Colin and Oussama Ammar, the company helps startups by giving them access to successful founders, key players in the industry, and thought leaders. TheFamily has won many high-profile battles for startups and besides fighting for them; they also assist them in their path to growth by managing any chaos. Agricool, HealthCube, FretLink, jow, and PayFit are just some of the startups that they have assisted.

50 Partners

At # 9 with 5.14% of the votes are 50 Partners. The French based accelerator was founded in 2012 by Charles Fourault and Jerome Masurel and the startup support program was built by 50 experienced entrepreneurs. The company selects and support promising startups that are still in their early stages. The partners assist the startups with access to financing and mentoring, while they offer operational advice. Some of the startups supported by them include Animaute, Biomede, botmind, Cleany and brigad.


The company that came in at # 10 with 4.90% was founded in 2012 and it’s the tech incubator of Deutsche Telekom. Hab:raum connects early-startups with the telecommunications companies in order to create new businesses opportunities for all concerned. The benefits for startups are seed investments, programs that assist innovation, and a ready customer base. The company has assisted startups in Berlin, Krakow and Tel-Aviv and has invested in CloudStorm, Twyla and other startups.