Top Accelerator And Incubators For Aerospace & Defense Startups

There has been a massive boom in the defense and aerospace industry at a global scale. Those countries, which were not even in the picture in the domain of space research, have started their own programs. Besides, the need for superiority in the air power has pushed some of the major powers of the world to improve their air power. Overall, the defense and aerospace industry, at a global scale, is at its peak, and according to the experts, there is likely to be more improvements in the days to come. 

Countries like China, India, Israel, Germany, France, USA and others have been investing billions of dollars to strengthen their air dominance. This is resulted in the creation of more job opportunities for the engineers and technicians who have expertise in this particular domain. Besides, space agencies like ISRO, which has contributed tremendously towards the overall progress of space research program, are looking for expansion. As a result of this, new avenues have opened up for the scientists, engineers and others related to this particular sector

The Aerospace & Defense Market

In the year 2019, the defense sector, due to increase in budged experienced a major hike. However, due to issues related to manufacturing and production, and other issues like cancellation of orders and etc, the commercial aerospace industry didn’t grow the way it was expected to. This also affected the defense sector as well, according to some experts. However, it is expected, that by the end of 2020, things will start to improve as new technologies are to be introduced which would improve the rate of production by a massive scale, and at the same time would also help in the process of cost reduction. 

The year 2018 had proven to be a very good one for the global A&D, or Aerospace and Defense industry. However, by the middle of 2019, there was a considerable amount of downfall in this sector. The defense sector continues to grow; however, the commercial airlines, all over the world, experienced a massive slow down. It is expected, that in the year 2020, the A&D industry will get back to its path of growth and the commercial sector is also expected to recover from the downfall which it had experienced in the year 2019. 

When it comes to the defense sector, many countries have decided to increase their budget in order to improve their air power. India would be right at the top of the list, as she has started manufacturing her own indigenous fighter jet; Tejas. As a result of this, the demand for parts, engines and other related aspects have increased, which has compelled the Indian government to invest more in this sector. 

What is a Start Up Incubator?

As far as it startup incubator is concerned, it is nothing but a collaborative program which is designed for the purpose of helping the new startups to succeed. The incubators play a major role in assisting the entrepreneurs installing some of the major problems which are associated with the new startup. They help in the following manner,

  • By providing proper workspace 
  • By offering mentoring programs 
  • Seed funding, and 
  • Training

One of the main functions of a startup incubator is to help the entrepreneurs to achieve success in their business. 

When it comes to startup incubators, usually, they are non-profit organizations, which are run and governed by both private and public entities. Often, the incubators are associated with different universities and business schools, and they allow their alumni and existing students to participate in different programs, which help them gain expertise, experience and also add to their level of skill sets. There are also different other types of incubators, which are formed and run by the government, successful entrepreneurs or startup organizations. 

The incubators do not only focus on any one particular sector or industry. They concentrate on all the sectors ranging from tech startups to entertainment, manufacturing, restaurants, fashion industry and others. Fashion and food are two of the most common areas which are being taken care of by the startup incubators. There are also incubators, who take care of all types of startups, irrespective of the industry. 

Here are some of the most common services rendered by incubators

  • Helping the businesses with the basics
  • Networking opportunities
  • Giving them access to high speed internet
  •  Offering networking opportunities 
  • Financial/Accounting management
  • Marketing assistance
  • Offering them easy access to bank loans, funds and various other sources to generate finance
  • Training them on technical as well as soft skills
  • Offering different types of mentorship programs
  • Getting them connected with the strategic partners
  • Mentors and advisory boards
  • Access to venture capital or angel investors
  • Training on different types of business etiquette
  • Helping them to form management team
  • Assisting them  in the process of technology commercialization
  • Helping them with different types of regulatory compliance
  • Offering legal counsel and assistance 

These are some of the areas which are being taken care of by the incubators. They have proven to be very useful when it comes to assisting the startups to get a strong hold in the market and gradually prosper. 

Accelerator vs Incubator

One of the major differences between incubators and accelerators is on the way the programs are being structured. When it comes to an accelerator program, it has a specific time frame, where the companies can spend time with their mentors and learn a lot of things from them. 

On the other hand, incubators are those who apart from offering theoretical knowledge and training, also takes care of different other important aspects related to the startups; like finance, management, and various other aspects. Incubators are basically responsible in setting the motion for a startup and make sure that over a period of time, they achieved their goals and objectives. 

When it comes to a comparison between an accelerator and incubator, both of them are equally responsible and play important roles towards the success of a startup, however, there are differences in terms of their mode of operation. 

The roles of accelerators and incubators have been of significant importance when it comes to the growth of aerospace industry at a global scale. As a matter of fact, without the help of their services, it would be quite difficult to kick start and manage something as complicated as the aerospace sector. There are many reputed organizations which have played significant role in the process of improving and developing this industry. They are the ones who can help the startups to arrange for funds, get training and to take care of various other important aspects. 

Top Aerospace accelerator and incubators

In the year 2012 when all other industries are seeing entries of new startups still then there is no significant investment or companies that can be heard in spacetech. But with the help of business magnets like Jeff Bezos and Elon mask and organizations like NASA the private spacetech industry started to boom within a few years’ time. Also it is worth mentioning that within a few years from that time the private spaceflight has seen the investment going triple fold from nothing.  The best part is that due to this sudden influx of companies and investment the cost of making the rocket and satellites are going down which makes it easier for other startups to enter in the industry too.  Now there are several accelerator and incubators all over the world which are showing new ways and opportunities to the spacetech startup companies. 

Here is a list of few best accelerators of North America and Europe as well, 

  • BoomStartup: the accelerator has founded in the year 2010 and one of the first of its kind. They have till now reserved $25 as seed capital and also trained more than 80 startups till date. They are also one of the promoters of the global accelerator network as well and till now known for their SpaceTech Accelerator program. 
  • Starburst: one of the most famous and revered spacetech accelerator this organization has set up several branches throughout the world and ins cities like Munich, Montreal, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, and Singapore. They offer a host of facilities to the startups like access to angel investors, financial support, etc. also Starbust offer space for the budding startups in various locations. They also known for offering high-class mentorship program in the spacetech industry and give them a better way to innovate and perform. Till date they have offered assistance to more than 200 spacetech startup companies all over the globe. 
  • AeroInnovate: located in the OshKosh United States this incubator and accelerator focuses on different industries like spacetech, agriculture, security, travel education, artificial inelegance and so on. But their main focus is to help the startup companies in aero-related business to grow. They have a 8 week virtual accelerator program enrolling the same the startups can enjoy a lot of benefits like help in developing working strategy, mentorship programs with most revered mentors form all over the globe, cost effective accommodation, chance to join the exhibition at minimal cost, making partners with different companies,  and so on. 
  • Iowa Startup Accelerator: If you are looking for highest standard and top quality mentorship in aerospace engineering then this accelerator can help you.  This Iowa based accelerator is only nominate 10 startup per year and offer them financial support, access to their respective industry, mentorship program, access to C-Suite, road shows and so much more.  Though they offer programs to various verticals like FinTech, Education, Health Care, CleanTech, Agriculture, Business Products, BioTechnology, Financial, and Robotics and so on but they also offer top quality mentorship pro0gram for the aerospace startups as well. 
  • NASA Frontier Development Lab: this is an specialized AI R&D accelerator program which is mainly aimed to help the startups form the technology fields. Operating out of Silicon Valley, United States, this accelerator offers 8 weeks program to the selected startups. This is one of the most competitive and best programs which are at the moment available in the country and only offers programs to those who have masters and Phd in areas like Asteroids, Planetary Geology, Data Science, Astronomy, and Heliophysics, etc.  
  • NASA Research Park (NRP): located in the Silicon Valley, USA NASA Ames Research Center is one of the pioneers in this field and they offer this program to 70 universities and various industry partners. This program is available to those whose main area of expertise is science and research disciplines critical to space exploration. Only the best brains get a chance to get into this program. 
  • Light Speed Innovations: These programs have done from different locations like Los Angeles, San Diego, United States, Orange County. Startups with descriptive and protected ideas are encouraged to apply. They work with established businesses that focus on Deep Tech and product concepts. Then cuts the mentors to join the program to successfully help the startups that they get to work with each of the businesses to help them grow. The 4 month long program benefits the customers, investors, and industry leading expert mentors. 
  • Space Angels Network: They are the most active investors with about 15 startups. The link the investors to stop early stage startups. They don’t charge any fees to invest in them and they focus on helping the entrepreneurs to access funds and other benefits. It is done by directly communicating with the organization. They also give opportunity for the investors to interact with the astropreneurs. 
  • Khosla Ventures: It was started by Vinod Khosla and the year 2004. They have interest in different industries which includes education, financial services, health, agriculture, SpaceTech etc. They have their headquarters in Menio Park, California. Is known for providing assistance and advice to the entrepreneurs on the technologies.
  • Boeing Horizon X Ventures: the startups can benefit from their sources and networks which include leading industry experts, partners. Industries like space, cyber security, Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, Connectivity, and others are invested by them. They look forward for startups with strong management teams with the potential level of growth.  Investors, professionals are encouraged to join the program.
  • Practica Capital: Based in Lithuania, it was established in 2011. They provide early and later stage financing to Lithuanian SpaceTech. These startups have a vision for spending abroad by accessing the wonderful stop it targets financing for growing the companies through equity for investment. Generally the investment period is between 2 and 5 years.
  • Eban Space: This accelerator program is based in Brussels, Belgium. It encourages and grows the ecosystem of Europe for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Investing in Space. It has proved its efficiency in providing the platform for early stage startups bye meeting high level place of the Aerospace industry. They also support the application of technologies and development of search Technologies for future applications.
  • Wren Capital:  This accelerator is London based. This investing company has their interests in Engineering, software and Science. It was established in 2011 and the have invested in a Startup companies and produced one successful company. The successful applicants are contacted after the proposal is been sent to their email. 
  • Coralinn Private Equity: The main aim of the accelerator program is to open startup companies through overseas location like UK, For those having the potential of a worldwide market presence. They also have the freedom to invest in any industry.  It is a Scotland based community which offers private equity funding to the startup companies. 
  • Metatron: This accelerator program aims to create resources companies with the mission of inventing, creating, moving Technologies for the space Frontier. They try to meet most required demands like financial support, management skills. It is based in the Czech Republic. They are given access to wide range of mentors to consult with them to have the best solution for their businesses. 
  • Vitamina K: This accelerator program invest in experienced businesses from the first round to growing support in the second stage of the whole two-stage Investment Program. They provide management needs for the startup companies. You need to demonstrate traction in a venture to consider support from this accelerator program. This is a Spanish based venture which converts capital fund and Technology and internet companies at the startup stage.
  • SpaceTec Partners: This accelerator is located in two cities, Munich and Brussels. This is a consultancy group which provides services like management, strategy to public institutions. They support the provision of business coaching to the startups in the space industry. They generally have their activities in the areas which include energy, security and defense, transport and aviation, geo-information, mobile and mobility. 
  • Techstars: It is a London based space accelerator program. In the 3 months duration, the applicants get intense coaching from the experienced Techstars mentors along with over 5,000 founders, alumni worldwide. They provide technological orientation in the startups they offer to support. 

Apart from this major accelerator and incubators there are a few more which worth mentioning and they are LightSpeed Innovations, Space Angels Network, Khosla Ventures, Boeing HorizonX Ventures to name a few


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