In the startup world, accelerator and incubator are often used interchangeably, but that’s not exactly accurate. Typically, an incubator is a slower-paced environment where more (or total) ownership is held by the incubating group, complete with external management resources such as accounting and marketing, while an accelerator is often shorter terms (anywhere from just a weekend to a few months) with mentors made available, but not generally given any executive power.
Pictured: Afjal Wahidi and other Northeastern students took part in a session on how to pitch an idea to business investors at Idea, the university’s venture accelerator, last year.
Crop Circle Kitchen
This is an incubator of a different kind. Crop Circle Kitchen is the only culinary incubator in the city. The non-profit supports about 40 culinary entrepreneurs. Members included Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Voltage Coffee, Clover, and Cakeology.
Greentown Labs, one of the largest private incubators for energy-related start-ups, fits about 30 companies. Their new 33,000 sq. ft. prototype facility and office will be in Somerville.
Idea is a student-run program that hosted about 80 start-ups last year. Their $10,000 grants are funded by alumni contributions. Unlike many other incubators, Northeastern does not take an ownership stake in the companies it funds. LeanWagon was one of its past start-ups.
OpenIncubate is a network of programs backed by venture capital firms in Massachusetts, California, and Texas. Battery Ventures provides financing and hosts entrepreneurs committed to open source computing in its Waltham office.
PayPal Start Tank
When PayPal moved into its Boston office on the waterfront, it opened its doors to start-ups, too. The incubator offers free co-working space for six months.