Accelerators and business incubators

Accelerator- and incubation programs are an effective way to give startups support: there are various programs in Hamburg.

Accelerators and business incubators

An accelerator is a fixed-term programme aimed at developing existing, but very young start-up business models in a sustainable way. Businesses that make it through the application process, which is often highly selective, can benefit from seed funding and a solid network of mentors in exchange for a small stake in the company. The focus here lies on scaling the business model.

An incubator is a programme aimed at developing and establishing new enterprises. Many of these programmes have a focus on a particular market, and it is often the case that they emerge from an established company. The focus here is on generating technical innovations.

In terms of contents, “company builder“ programmes are fairly similar to incubator programmes. Company builders provide a type of support in which the investor is actively involved in the design phase and in the birth of a company and continues to provide advisory input beyond the early stage of the business.


next media accelerator (nma)
A six months acceleration programme for start-ups  active in areas related to media, such as content for media, advertising or services. The programme accompanies start-ups with intensive training and counselling, support by mentors and investors (of the accelerator). It also provides an investment of up to 50,000 Euros. Moreover, free workplaces and support in finding follow-up funding is offered.
next media accelerator GmbH

Next Commerce Accelerator (nca)
During the six month programme, the startups will work together with mentors on scalable business models in the field of e-commerce, e.g. Software Services, Marketplaces and Platforms. An investment up to 50,000 Euros and free workplaces are also provided.
Next Commerce Accelerator

Music WorX Accelerator
A programme that helps to evolve business models within the music field during a period of three months. The programme offers free workspace at betahaus Hamburg and weekly workshops on various start-up topics. Moreover, a monthly cost-of-living allowance of 500 Euros per person is granted as well as 5.000 Euros per start-up team.
Music Worx (german)

Airbus BizLab - aerospace accelerator
A global business accelerator with comprehensive support for early-stage start-ups with innovative concepts applicable to the aeronautical sector. During six-month Airbus offers access to experts from various fields and a dedicated mentor as well as free office space and the possibility to use its prototyping and test facilities. Besides, a demo day with Airbus decision makers, partners, subsidiaries, customers and venture capital is also offered.

comdirect Start-up Garage
Three-month support for start-up ideas in the finance industry. comdirect offers 10.000 Euros for i.e. workspace and market research in a very early start-up stage. The direct bank does not request any shares in return. Access to their customers, support by banking experts and infrastructure is also offered. Following the completion of the programme’s duration, there is a possibility of a partnership between the start-up and comdirect.

Social Impact Lab
German support programme for founders with socially innovative ideas (prior to official foundation). The Social Impact Lab grant amounts to the equivalent of 12.500 Euros and includes free workspace, training and coaching as well as matching with relevant contacts and potential funding partners.
Social Impact Lab

Food start-ups receive a workplace in the coworking and/or kitchen area as well as an individual coaching program. For further exchange, there are regular events within the community. At the end of the six-month Accelerator Program, a Demoday will be held to present the results of the productive time to an audience. It starts at the beginning of 2021.

Business Development Accelerator (BDA)
The accelerator supports European digital ventures to scale up their business in Europe and beyond. For up to 24 months start-ups can benefit from tailor made support with a special emphasis on access to market and finance. No equity is taken in return but a support fee incurs.
EIT Digital

German Accelerator
Assistance in entering the US market. Free of charge and without the submission of equity, mentors, office space, a network as well as knowledge and expertise are offered. The New York location is, among other, focussed on media and advertising business models.
German Accelerator

Founder Institute
This pre-seed accelerator focuses on starting and advanced founders. It includes a structured fee-based programm for 3,5 months and offers mentors as well as access to a global network.
Founder Institute

The accelerator invests in young Blockchain-Companies and provides acceleration services up to 2,5 years. It combines an accelerator with a Venture Capital Fund and a Marketing and PR Platform.
BLOCKCHANCE Ventures (german)

Plug and Play Germany
With its European head office for supply chain & logistics, the Plug and Play innovation platform bridges the gap between Hamburg and Silicon Valley. Both an accelerator and one of the world’s most active VC providers, Plug and Play is aimed at fostering cooperation between corporate stakeholders and international startups.
Plug and Play Germany

Business Incubators & Company Builders

Hanse Ventures
Company builder with a focus on business concepts in the field of internet and mobile. Hanse Ventures supports start-ups with relevant resources and a network of investors and business partners. Moreover, start-ups receive support by Hanse Ventures experts in the areas of programming, design, online marketing, public relations and human resources.
Hanse Ventures

The innovation lab of the HASPA group develops new digital products and services with a regional focus beyond the banking business.
HaspaNEXT (german)

Media Lift
The incubator supports innovative business ideas from the contents and tech sectors. Next to an individual mentoring and training programme the incubator offers the provision of rooms and financial support up to 15.000€ per team. The incubator does not ask for company shares.
nextMedia.Hamburg (german)

Games Lift
The incubator "Games Lift" is a program for students, start-ups, and developers that offers start-up financing, workshops, coaching and mentoring for the development of concepts for digital games and other games related services. Up to five teams will be supported for three months. Aside from a financial support of up to € 15,000 and provision of office space in a co-working space, they will receive a workshop program that is tailored to the needs of game developers.
Gamecity Incubator

TruVenturo is a company builder and independent investor with the intention of developing innovative start-ups.  The focus is primarily on international scalable Internet business models. They provide start-ups with a seed investment and if necessary further investment as well as growth financing, if strategically valuable.

Otto Group Digital Solutions (OGDS)
OGDS is the Corporate Company Builder of Otto Group. OGDS together with appropriate teams develop Liquid Labs and into-e business models in the logistics-, FinTech and e-commerce sector. All of these startups can use Otto Group’s network and established themselves on the market.
Otto Group Digital Solutions