Accelerator or incubator? I seriously don’t know, but right now I classify all known open spaces hosting budding startups in Tel Aviv as accelerators. They simply host startup entrepreneurs wanting to accelerate the process of launching and funding.

Getting on investors’ radars, being helped by peers and exploiting networking and hidden marketing channels is exactly what this means. Participation in one of the accelerators’ cycles (or waves) can reduce the time lost fro a year or a year and a half, to 3 and four months.

This is why it is so funny for me to hear from accelerator coordinators that “we don’t like to see ourselves as an accelerator”. Nope, this is a cozy gathering of the techie-tribes for the next several moons where we can all share the mead and listen to the storytelling of the great wizards and masters of the lore of venture capitalism.

For development purposes, accelerators are generally a good thing, as they allow you to accomplish a lot that you cannot do on your own. But if you have a team and the clarity of the road you take, a local coffee shop will do. There are several known cafes scattered around the streets of Tel Aviv, which are known spots for founding team on the verge of seed funding.The main benefit of these accelerators is as an access portal into the network of investors and entrepreneurs. This access is very hard to gain from a local cafe.

The best accelerators are the cheapest ones to enter. At least this is my impression after almost a year wondering around the city, at first with my previous co-founder and currently on my own, They provide space, focus, support and facilities that beat the price and distraction experienced at cafes. But the more expensive offer you nothing that will promote you anywhere. They will provide lectures by other entrepreneurs and possibly some sessions about anything from the spirituality of entrepreneurship to the merits of analyzing yourself to understand how you and your startup idea fit together.

There is a comprehensive list of known accelerators in Israel (page is in Hebrew) that is a must read for any Israeli entrepreneur who wishes to step into this world.

Posted by Samuel Miller