Smart City Acclerators, Incubators, startups, incubator ecosystem Europe

10 of the Best Smart City Incubators And Accelerators

Several incubators and accelerators have been established to aid startups to gain traction and become successful, especially in new industries such as those related to smart cities.

1. Kickstart Accelerator

Smart City Acclerator Kickstart, Kickstart Accelerator, Kickstart Zurich

One of Europe’s multi-corporate accelerators, KICKSTART ACCELERATOR accepts applications from startups around the globe. It’s based in Zurich, with some of the other verticals in Basel. Startups from any of the following industries are welcome to send applications: Smart Cities, Food, FinTech, EdTech, Healthcare and Robotics & Smart Systems. In addition, they have a specific list of requirements and a selection criterion that any startup needs to fulfil before they can be considered to join the accelerator. Selection for instance is based on three things;

  • Traction – a working prototype with first user tests including having revenue
  • Potential – the startup must have an innovative idea with the potential to bring major changes across various industries
  • A team with a ‘diverse, innovative and a strong entrepreneurial mindset’

What benefits does Kickstarter offer to startups?

They have an 11-week program where 2 participants or at least one founding member from each startup will be expected to attend. From the experience:

  • Each startup gets a chance to present their ideas to investors for funding during demo day
  • Access to a one-on-one session with a network of industry experts that assist with research and development, marketing, product and business development, raising funds, among others
  • Access to mentors
  • Seed funding of up to 15,000 Swiss Francs, and an opportunity to get a grant of 25,000 Swiss Francs
  • Access to a shared working space in Zurich, and they can support you to find accommodation
  • A chance to work with executives in the industry, among other perks

All these are without any charges and with no equity taken.

Application Deadline: Applications are currently closed. Check out next year as from February 1st Swiss time.

2. IMPACT Growth Smart Cities

A project of Impact Accelerators, it is based in Spain and is one of the top ten accelerators globally. IMPACT Growth Smart Cities has partnered with Ferrovial Servicios to provide startups with the technical know-how and its experience, having been in the industry since the early 50s, to make them successful. They have a list of conditions that every startup must adhere to before they can be accepted to the program. These include:

  • Having or willing to establish yourself in Europe prior to joining the program
  • Interest in venturing into new territories in the short term
  • In search for investments to expand the business, and has an initial investment
  • The startup must have a product that’s already in the market among other requirements

Some of the benefits that a startup will enjoy include training, mentorship, and investments from VCs and partners for the remaining top startups. At the start of the program, startups will receive €100,000, those that succeed to proceed to the next step receive up to €250,000, all equity free. The remaining top 4 startups proceed to the last and final phase where they have the opportunity to get €1.5 million.

Application Deadline: Not accepting applications currently. Last and final call from which 14 startups will be selected will be launched on 5th September 2017.

3. Startupbootcamp (SBC)

SBC is ranked among the top accelerators in Europe. It’s a global network of accelerators, with offices in 21 cities across the globe each with a focus on a specific industry. Smart City & Living, Smart Transportation & Energy are among a list of verticals they specialize in. Others include; Foodtech, Digital Health, and cyber security.

smart city accelerator, startupbootcamp, Smart City & Living, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Their key focus areas include IoT, Open Data, Smart Health, Smart Building, Urban Planning, Waste Management, Smart Home, Smart Mobility, Smart Retail, Smart Government, Smart Grid, Smart Energy, Smart Agriculture and Smart Production.

Benefits of joining the program: A 3-month program where startups can grow their ideas, access to a network of industry experts, executives, alumni and mentors, master classes, an opportunity to participate in industry events, access to investors, working space, and €15,000 for each team to cover living expenses for the duration of the program. In return, they ask for an 8% stake in every startup.

Application Deadline: Applications will be open as from November 15th, 2017 and will close February 10th 2018.

smart city accelerator, startupbootcamp, Smart Transportation & Energy Berlin, Germany

Based in Berlin, Germany, they accept applications from startups across the globe. Their key areas include Energy, Logistics, Information, Transportation, Sharing and Vehicles. They give similar benefits as SBC, Smart City & Living Amsterdam but for a 6% equity stake in the startup.

Application Deadline: Applications will be open as from November 7th, 2017 and will close February 6th, 2018.

4. Pi Labs

smart city accelerator, pi, property innovation, tech startup accelerator, mentoring, UK

With a focus on property tech startups, mainly early stage ventures, they offer a rather intensive 13-week mentor guided program to help accelerate their growth. From the experience, startups gain access to a network of industry leading experts, mentors and speakers, corporate leaders, investors such as VCs and Angels, Property Industry network, and office space, among others. They offer full investments or a £50,000 for 7% equity stake.

They are based in the UK and also accept applications from startups outside the UK. They aim to fund 10 startups in every year.

Application Deadline: Applications are currently closed.

5. Rockstart Accelerator

Smart City Acclerator Rockstart, Amsterdam, smart city startup incubator

Based in Amsterdam in Netherlands, Rockstart Accelerator has partnered with corporates such as Microsoft, Accenture, and Amsterdam smart city among others. Smart Energy Program offers startups access to investors, energy mentors and partners. It is a 150-day intensive acceleration program where startups get funding, access to free office space, personal and team development, and alumni support, among other benefits.

Application Deadline: Applications will open on January 4th, 2018 and close on February 17th, 2018.

6. ProSiebenSat.1 Accelerator

Smart City Accelerator, ProSiebenSat.1, Berlin, Munich, Demo Day

This is a 3-month accelerator program from ProSiebenSat.1 Group offering support to startups located in Berlin and Munich. The program runs twice a year giving thorough coaching & support and a TV media volume of €600,000 in advertising and office space in Berlin to startups and talented entrepreneurs.

The Demo Day marks the end of the program where participants present their companies to carefully chosen investors and multipliers. Applications for support from ProSiebenSat.1 is made through online at their website and thereafter successful applicants will be contacted. Some partners include:

  • Accel Partners
  • b-to-v Partners AG
  • ventures
  • Earlybird
  • Holtzbrinck Ventures
  • Index Ventures
  • Lakestar

Submission of applications for Batch #10 is open until October 2017.

7. Catapult – Future Cities

Future Cities Catapult is a London based accelerator program. They offer extensive collaborative opportunities, series of events and initiatives for start-ups and other running organizations to make the most of their efforts to transform the urban environment. Building your SME capacity and market assertion, you will be kept updated with innovation trends, collaborate on new city projects, connected to potential investors, and tap into abroad markets. Working with SMEs, universities, and businesses, they don’t provide direct financial aid. Application is made through an open call on online events

Application is made through an open call on online events catalogue, where you apply for involvement in any preferred event and you will be contacted if successful in application.

8. Bolt Accelerator

smart city incubator, Bolt accelerator, Málaga, seed stage startups

This is an English-speaking accelerator program running for a 12-week period whereby you will be required to move to Málaga if you are not already there. For an investment ceiling of €20,000 per team, Bolt will deal with you for a 6-9% equity stake in your company.

Bolt accelerator comes into your company at seed stage where you have no traction and no sales, and takes you to the level where you are ready to explore and flourish in the global market, by providing skills and resources to develop your products and sell for profit.

Some partners include Microsoft, PayPal, Amazon, and FIware. 24 startups will be funded per year in two application platforms F6S and

Applications on both platforms are currently closed.

9. Building Global Innovators

smart city accelerator, tech startups, Building Global Innovators, BGI

Building Global Innovators (BGI) accelerator is an American Style, highly ranked tech startup accelerator by MIT Portugal & ISCTE, providing skillful training and availing tools and information to start ups to flourish and grow. The participating startups receive weekly meetings with mentors to deliberate on market plan strategies.

Further, the participants get invitation only meetings with corporate moguls, investors and potential partners. The application period is open once every year and is very competitive where 20 startups are selected globally for expert mentoring per edition. BGI will take a 2-3% equity in your company in exchange for their support.

The application process is made online via the F6S platform which was open on 4th April 2017 for the 8th Acceleration Program. The application closed on 1st June 2017 and the successful applicants announced on 15th June.

10. Level39

The most connected tech community, Level39 is a London based accelerator program aimed at providing support to tech startups in three ways; access to the market, instill skills and provide infrastructure. Level39 has interests in cyber security, retail, finance, and smart-city technologies.

Seminar sessions and weekly mentoring are delivered by experts from various fields including successful tech companies, finance magnets, PR experts, legal professionals and venture capitalists.

Application for membership is open online, where you select the type of membership that best suits you from a selection of 4 categories: hot-desk, fixed-desk, internal and external office space and high growth space memberships.


Startups with a focus on smart cities have access to a number of accelerators and incubators across Europe. All they need is to show the passion and ability to bring to the market an idea that brings about positive transformation within the industry. Subscribe to our newsletter and social media to keep updated on the accelerators/incubators.

It’s important to keep updated on the growing number of accelerators/incubators, find out which ones match to your needs and is suitable for the growth of your new business. Subscribe to our newsletter, visit our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to get the latest info on accelerators and incubators. 

Theresa Kern
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