Entrepreneurs have a few options when it comes to choosing where to grow their startup company. Co-working spaces like our very own CoGarage.co in Westminster are a great place for creative professionals to work alongside others, instead of in isolation. Often times co-working spaces, whether private or public, will host incubator and/or accelerator programs. So what’s the difference? A startup accelerator is a short-term option (usually 3-4 months) where fledgling startups can get temporary access to quality resources necessary for success, at no cost to the startup, and often alongside some additional funding for the start-up via a convertible note. Accelerators can be very competitive, so there’s no guarantee of acceptance. A startup incubator is usually a longer-term program that provides resources on an ongoing basis, sometimes at a monthly cost to the start-up, or in exchange for some equity ownership.
The Incubation Environment
When you choose incubation for your startup, you’ll be physically locating your tech business in a central workspace with other entrepreneurs. This provides the benefits of a co-working space while also providing you with helpful resources for your startup. Incubators come in all shapes and sizes, and are often sponsored by non-profit or economic development organizations. They often provide collaboration and mentoring environments and are often funded by local universities, economic development organizations in partnership with corporate sponsors, or private investment groups.
Horizontal vs. Vertical Incubators
Business incubators have been around for decades. Naturally, some startups that began in incubation succeeded, and some did not. Many incubators are horizontal and offer resources that can help a broad range of startup industries. Because of this, they often provide a more general value and have a mentor network that isn’t capable of providing the more specific resources that each individual company needs.
Vertical incubators are relatively new and are being established across the nation to offer industry-specific tools and resources to give entrepreneurs the specialized help that is paramount to establishing and growing their businesses, usually in partnership with corporate ventures. Vertical examples include: FinTech, InsureTech, Healthcare, EdTech, and more.
What a Tech Incubator Can Do For Your Startup
Technology is an industry that has been booming since the dotcom bubble, so it’s no surprise that tech incubators exist. Tech incubators offer entrepreneurs valuable assistance in making their innovative ideas a reality. These technology-focused workspaces can provide:
- Startup and business planning guidance
- Access to mentors that are experts in tech
- Networking connections with local professionals
- Access to investors and funding
- Public attention and interest within the community
MAGIC is your local resource for tech incubation in Maryland. If your startup is focused in the technology industry and in its early stages, our incubator is here to provide the tools and resources you need to establish your business and succeed. We offer business development assistance, strategic planning guidance, and product development opportunities to local entrepreneurs in tech. But what sets us apart? We are headquartered in Westminster, MD, a city that is invested in technology and economic development. So invested, in fact, that they decided to build their own gigabit fiber network with the help of Ting.