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Incubators, Accelerators and Venture Studios - what's the difference

Bert Farrell

If you're a founder, you've probably heard of accelerators, incubators, and venture studios. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to distinct types of startup support programmes. All of which tends to help start-ups in different stages of development, even within the pre-revenue segment, we explain the differences below:-


Incubators are programmes designed to support the growth and development of startups over a longer period, usually 12 to 24 months and tend to be for early-stage startups. They offer a mix of office space, mentoring, and networking opportunities, but they do not typically provide funding or take an equity stake in the companies they support. They are often run by universities or government organisations and may have a specific focus, such as clean energy or social impact.


Whereas, accelerators are programmes designed to help more established startups that are growth driven to grow quickly. The programmes typically last between 3 to 6 months and offer a mix of educating, mentoring, funding, and networking opportunities. 

They often have a specific focus or industry, such as healthcare or fintech, where each time they run a programme it tends to be a cohort and they sometimes take an equity stake in the companies they accept. The goal of an accelerator is to help startups achieve product-market fit and prepare them for further investment. As part of the cohort companies can also create partnerships with the other startups they meet. 

Venture Studios

Venture studios on the other hand, are a relatively new type of startup support programme that combines elements of both accelerators and incubators. They are typically run by experienced entrepreneurs or investors and offer a range of services, including product development, marketing, fundraising and talent acquisition. 

Unlike accelerators and incubators, venture studios take an active role in the companies they support, often co-founding them and taking a equity stake. The main goal of a venture studio is to work with entrepreneurs and founders to create and launch new startups from scratch, rather than simply supporting existing ones.

This active role can be highly beneficial to many startups especially when it comes to tech startups. There are several reasons why tech startups may benefit from working with a venture studio. 

Venture Studios for Tech Startups

Tech startups often face unique challenges that require specialised expertise and resources. By partnering with a venture studio, these startups can gain access to a team of experienced entrepreneurs and investors who can provide personalised support and guidance throughout the entire startup journey. 

As part of the support they would provide a tailored internal team based on the needs to support the tech startups to overcome common obstacles, such as researching the target audience, navigating complex technical requirements, initial go-to-market strategies for securing investment from specialised investors. 

Additionally, venture studios provide access to an extensive network of industry experts and connections, which can be particularly valuable for tech startups seeking to establish themselves in a crowded and competitive market. Ultimately, partnering with a venture studio can provide tech startups with the tools and resources they need to validate their concepts, build and launch a viable digital product or service, and achieve long-term success.

Which one is right for your business needs?

In summary, accelerators, incubators, and venture studios are all valuable startup support programmes, but they each have their own unique strengths. Accelerators are best for early-stage startups looking to achieve rapid growth, while incubators are better suited for startups looking for longer-term support. 

Venture studios offer a more comprehensive range of services and are particularly well-suited to tech startups looking for personalised support and access to a network of experienced experts, entrepreneurs and investors. 

If you're a founder, it's worth considering all three options before deciding which one is right for you but if you feel that a venture studio can best satisfy your needs, contact us at Zoosh to see how we can help.