KOCHI: Their expertise - Different incubators have different expertise. And although they might accept startups from different backgrounds there are only certain businesses that will really get the thrust from the incubators. This is because the incubator’s knowledge would be of a certain industry and even though they would want, they might not be able to give you the right direction. They may give you suicidal targets and have impossible expectations. They may not look at different start-ups with different lenses. For instance, they may end up giving high revenue targets to a content startup and high volume target to an electric vehicle startup – both of which are detrimental to entrepreneurs.
Their mentors and network –A good way will be to look at the board of the incubator and the previous mentors. As an entrepreneur said - “A man is the sum of his network.” And so is the incubator. The incubator can connect you with only certain individuals. Imagine if you are a wireless connectivity startup and get into an incubator that gives you connections only with coal and mining industry professionals, it might not be the right fit for you!
Expectations from both side – Before you join an incubator, ask yourself. What is it that you are joining it for? Is it for the funding? Or is it for the mentorship? Or a free office space? Or something else? A wrong expectation can land you both in trouble. What if you join an incubator expecting it to fund you and then realize that it funds only biotechnology startups?
Support Structure – Another thing you should check before joining an incubator is the portfolio of startups that it has previously incubated. Sometimes this portfolio of businesses might be a good ecosystem for you too. You may get your first clients, your first connect and your first vendors.
(The views expressed by the author are his own)