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Are Europe's accelerators speeding out of control?

Here's a story trying to start a discussion about the current explosion of startup accelerators and bootcamps across Europe. Are we seeing too many low-rent clones that mistake the model for the magic?

I've had private conversations with a number of investors, entrepreneurs and executives who are worried about the potential damage this might cause. But is this really a problem? Will the ship correct its course? And is it a European issue, or a wider one?

Thoughts please!
Ben Metcalfe's profile photojoan lockwood's profile photo
I think it is a double-edged sword. Aside from lack of investment opportunities (back in 2006, when I left London anyway), the other problem in the London startup scene is a real lack of experience and mentorship. The Michael Birch's pack up and leave for Silicon Valley and the Niklas Zennstrom's are never accessible (thinking about perhaps the two biggest startups out of London - Bebo and Skype).

So if accelerators offer much-needed advice and mentorship, that is great, welcomed and much needed.

(However I just question the value of some of the people providing said mentorship (esp when the startups are paying for it in terms how the funding of the accelerator program is reflected in the size of their investment). VP's at marketing agencies who never really had their own startup is hardly qualified - but a different story perhaps)

However on the flip-side I also wonder why any startup embarking on a short 1-3 month accelerator program would want to stay at home in London, Berlin or wherever to do this. From my own experience one would be far better advantaged to attend such a program in Silicon Valley if possible, as to build any venture backed internet fund in isolation of Silicon Valley is naive, even if your startup's market is a locally focused to Europe.
Wait until you read next month's Wired Magazine....Stardoll was interviewed as a successful tech start-ups OUTSIDE the Valley with no dev or people in SF...a sales office in LA that's it for US presence. The London office, I'm proud to say is where we run our global efforts!! Woot woo!
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