Starting an accelerator in itself, is like building a startup company. Initially, you need to solve a problem based on a vision and improve your product as many times as possible along the way. Be certain that mistakes will be made, but kindly, learn from them. Iterate and improve. Again and again. No product is fully made in the beginning. There is always room for improvement.
And this has been our experience as well. But back to the headline of this post. I want to give a perspective of the actual numbers around the Icelandic accelerators Startup Reykjavik (SR) and Startup Energy Reykjavik (SER). For clarity, you can read about the structure (ownership, investments, operations) in the Accelerator menu on top of the site.
Number of applications
The demand for the accelerators was obvious in 2012. No such program was available in Iceland before SR started. Iceland was somewhat in awe post the financial meltdown in 2008. Little support for startups was available, at least not very visible, and unemployment was still high in Icelandic terms. The decrease in number of applications in 2015 can likely be explained by both low unemployment rate (4-5%) and by the fact that demand had been tapped in earlier years with the establishment of SR. Lower application numbers for SER make sense, since it only focuses on energy related startups.
Number of investments made
Types of companies
There are various kinds. In SR, the companies are predominantly software related.
All of the companies in Startup Energy Reykjavik are obviously energy related.
As of today, two thirds of the companies are still active, meaning one third have given up on their activities. Normal or not, these are the facts.
Funding of the companies
For most accelerators, funding of their companies is the most relevant metric (valuation is another).
In total, companies from the accelerators have received 1,060 ISK millions in equity or grants. As time goes by, I expect these numbers to increase every year for each cohort.
Note that the numbers in the graph above relate to funding per yearly cohort (vintage), but not by funding year.
Majority of the funding for the companies is in the form of equity, although grants, mostly from the Icelandic Technology Development Fund, are an important source of funding for many of the companies in the early stages.
There are many ways to compare success, and I may even put these figures into an international perspective later. The fact remains that startup acceleration in Iceland is finally on the move.