While AI startups have a lot of potentials they also face several challenges along their evolutionary journey. As AI startups gain traction, it is important to understand what their options are for growth and development. Once investors come into the business development picture of a startup, investors like to see that certain critical business parameters are being met. The AI startup must meet customer expectations and achieve business growth over time.
Impact-driven investors actually look for more than just business potential. They assess the business holistically in order to ensure that the business proposition will be sound, sustainable, and have longevity in the marketplace. Great expertise, a company vision, and a roadmap to get there will be key to achieving success. Since data is king, great data scientists will have to be involved in identifying strategic paths for a startup. Startups are enterprises that are full of ideas and motivation and they can benefit from partnering with entities that can fund these ideas and visions. Suitable partners for AI startups can be accelerators and incubators.
What is an AI Accelerator?
AI startup accelerators are communities that are designed to provide early-stage AI companies with the tools to develop validated business models. Startups that are entered into accelerator programs often have a workable (Minimum Viable Product), and the business model is tweaked until it matches the criteria for full business launch. Accelerators are able to provide the startup with appropriate mentorship and compress several years worth of business experience within a few months. Accelerators catalyze the business development process and enable startups to accomplish their business objectives in a faster time frame.
How does it work?
AI startups have dreams that they have to fulfill and AI Accelerators are the vehicles that they use to take them there. Accelerators offer a variety of funding options for startups. Whether you are looking for a full investment partner or part ownership there are options that are available to suit the development of your business. There are a few steps that are involved in the process of establishing the relationship between an AI startup and an investor. These steps include:
1. Understanding the current condition of the business. A target condition is then identified and an action plan to achieve the goal will be defined.
2. Establishment of an advisory committee that will assist with the business expansion activities. Business analysts will be on hand to track profitability while ensuring that the technical requirements of the business are being met.
3. Progress tracking as the business project unfolds. Where any roadblocks are identified, a suitable solution will be proposed.
4. AI Strategy: Identification of AI services provided to the customer base are satisfactory or will be optimized with time.
Discussions with an Accelerator will determine what the baseline of the business relationship will be. Investigating the relationship with several companies will enable an AI Startup to determine the best path. You want to establish relationships that are synergistic and place you in the best position as an organization. At best, you don’t want to give full ownership to an organization, especially when the idea is yours.
What is an AI Startup Incubator?
An incubator is a safe haven where business ideas are nurtured before launching into a new frontier. AI startup incubators are early-stage investors that focus on new AI startups. AI Startups with great potential have the ability to be scaled up in order to achieve more impact. Startup incubators provide mentorship for new companies, along with technical and business expertise. The aim of an AI Startup incubator is to provide AI companies with assistance during the early stages of the company. An empowerment initiative for entrepreneurs, AI Startup Incubators provide the springboard to later stages of business expansion and growth.
Types of startup incubators
There are a variety of options that are available to AI startups who are seeking mentorship and growth in an incubator. Types of startup incubators include:
1. Universities/Research Hubs: Many business ideas are generated in the academic setting. With time, business development hubs were generated on University campuses in order to incubate ideas generated onsite.
2. Incorporated development companies: In any city, there are independent companies that cater to small businesses and provide them with assistance for growth.
3. Venture Capitalists: These are firms with accumulated capital that are able to invest in semi-established companies.
4. Non-profit organizations: The government does provide small to large-scale investment opportunities for businesses. Businesses contribute to the economy and such organizations exist to stimulate the economy. The government will provide incentives for business development.
There is no rule that says you can’t have multiple investors, so building a portfolio that will enable you to have more than one funding source works best. If anything were to go awry with any of your options you have an alternate option that you can utilize to progress the business.
What’s the difference between Accelerator and Incubator?
Incubator programs are usually the precursor to accelerator programs. While accelerators and incubators offer similar services the intensity of activity in each program is different. The time frame spent in an accelerator is significantly less than the time in an incubator. While business accelerator programs offer access to capital and investment, after the initial training period, start-ups graduate from their accelerator program after three or four months. Time sensitivity is very important in accelerator programs. After the accelerator program, start-ups are often ready for engagement with Venture Capitalist firms.
Benefits of AI Accelerators and Incubators
Three primary benefits of AI Accelerators and Incubators include:
1. The support of a network. Within incubators and accelerators, there are usually experienced mentors who are able to support businesses through all aspects of the business process, which can often prove challenging. In some instances, business ideas may be generated by persons who have limited business knowledge. Having the support will motivate the team to achieve critical milestones in the business development process.
2. A program of activities. There is a process that generates successful businesses. Accelerator programs and business incubators are quite structured in their approach to developing a business and guide companies through the pipeline toward success. Figuring things out can take a company a long time, but utilizing tried and true methods will enable the right decisions to be taken.
3. Investor access. The best way to achieve success is to put yourself in the company of individuals who can enable you to reach your goals. In incubators and startups, there are always investors who are looking for the next best business. By preparing, you will be able to make the right decisions and attract the right business partners who will synergistically work with you.
11 Top AI Accelerators and Incubators in 2023
Next AI is an accelerator for entrepreneurs looking to solve global challenges with AI enabled solutions. Next AI is a world-class program for artificial intelligence-based ventures and technology commercialization. The company identifies talented ideas or early-stage teams with ambitious solutions and leverages Canada’s leadership position in AI to provide them with the capital, mentorship, education and network to disrupt industries.
Case Study: Next Canada 2021 Cohort Awards
Digital Catapult is experienced in applying AI to new use cases and specialise in predictive modeling, reinforcement learning, machine vision, edge computing, and generative adversarial networks. The accelerator works with businesses at various stages of the AI adoption journey to help innovate, test, and develop algorithmic proof of concept. Digital Catapult supports larger businesses in accelerating AI adoption, working with policymakers and academics to ensure that the UK takes the lead in transparent and ethical AI applications.
Case Study: Ascalia
Analytics Ventures is home to a team of data scientists with unmatched credentials in the field of AI, coupled with an impassioned desire to see the results of their work come to life in the real world. Analytics Ventures lab brings together great minds in the fields of neuroscience, physics, machine learning, dynamical systems theory, and control theory to help our start-ups accomplish game-changing goals within their industries.
Case Study: Kazuhm
Nextgrid’s mission is to accelerate the pace of innovation by investing in startups, talent & ecosystems that are driven by modern Artificial Intelligence.
Case Study: Deep Learning Labs
With the pan-Arab region in scope, Al Venture Labs’ accelerator seeks mature, pre-Series A (post-seed) Al startups in the expansion phase, and that is on a mission to innovate in – or disrupt – specific industries, or that are even developing new technologies within the realm of Al science itself. The accelerator’s goal is to support such startups in their growth through a unique, highly efficient approach.
Case Study: Deep Learning
NVIDIA Inception is a free program designed to help startups evolve faster through access to cutting-edge technology and NVIDIA experts, connections with venture capitalists, and co-marketing support to heighten a startup company’s visibility.
Case Study: Resemble.AI
AI Seed offers pre and post-investment support specifically tailored to the unique needs of artificial intelligence and machine learning startups. The company has an excellent network and provides training in business development. Introductions to commercial partners and customers are part of the accelerator program’s benefits.
Case Study: Thinksono
AI Startup Incubator is an investment fund with focus on early stage AI startups. The accelerator differs from a typical accelerator by understanding Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and focusing exclusively on AI startups. Our AI experts, who have more than 15 years of active experience, are able to offer all the expertise needed within the AI field.
Case Study: AssetFloow
The AI2 Incubator is an initiative of the Allen Institute for AI. The accelerator helps entrepreneurs create AI-first startups through world-leading AI research, support and funding. AI2 Incubator brings together world-class engineers, researchers, and entrepreneurs to create new companies together from scratch. AI2 Incubator helps start-ups come up with ideas, find co-founders, engage pilot customers, define their product, incorporate the latest A.I. techniques into their technology, and raise millions of dollars in venture funding.
Case Study: Xnor
Hero House Yerevan is where the culture of exceptionalism, integrity, openness, hard work, and fun shapes a better future! Hero House is constantly looking for high-level industry experts, leading tech companies, disruptive startups, accelerators & incubators, venture capital firms & angel investors, as well as top-ranked universities to partner within AI Business Development.
Programs: Entrepreneurial Assistant’s School
Alsessor AI is a five-month accelerator program designed to support global early-stage AI companies at the prototype or proof of concept phase. Sectors of interest are retail, digital health, fintech, insurtech, regulatory, and compliance.
Video: Alsessor AI