Unfortunately, one great idea does not make a successful company. When it comes to founding a data science startup, a visionary idea is essential, but so is hiring the right team, gaining an in-depth knowledge of your market, and putting in place the best business practices to help your idea flourish. And then of course there’s funding.
Luckily, for the technical genius whose business acumen leaves something to be desired, there’s a new breed of startup accelerators, specifically targeted towards giving your data science innovation the best possible start. Whether you’re looking to take the next step with your million-dollar big data business idea, or just curious to know more about the freshest ideas in data science, our list of the Top 5 Data Science Accelerators is a great guide to current innovation in the field.
1. Data Elite
Data Elite was founded to fill what its founders perceived as a gap in the big data market; according to a company statement, “Despite the plethora of early stage funds & incubators, so far entrepreneurs that are experts in big data have avoided those vehicles; rather, they most often attempt to bootstrap their companies on their own.”
Getting out of bootstrap mode and in to Data Elite is no mean feat; getting in to the programme requires five years big data experience, or a data-related exit amongst the founding team. Data Elite have received hundreds of applications, but for the successful handfull of teams, the benefits are extensive. They receive at least $150,000, office space in San Francisco, and guidance from a crack team of mentors from Facebook, LinkedIn, Couchbase, Actian, Qubole and more. Its first class of startups, announced in May this year, include a “reinvention of the professional address book”, a data visualisation platform which maps personal data, and a consensus opinion aggregator which analyses millions of pieces of content.
2. The Data Incubator
Whereas Data Elite is focused on teams and products, The Data Incubator is focused solely on people. They take engineering PhDs and put them through an intensive 6-week course to flesh out their data science skill set. The course includes bootcamp modules, seminars with mentor data scientists, building a portfolio, and the opportunity to interview with The Data Incubator’s partner companies, including ebay, Etsy, JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft and Palantir.
As their website states, The Data Incubator is looking for people who’ve already mastered 90% of the complex and varied skill set of a top-achieving data scientist, and looks to furnish them with the remaining 10%: “the tools and technology stack that make them self-sufficient, productive contributors.” If you know a data science superstar who might eligible for the programme, it’s worth referring them; their may even be some compensation in it for you too.
Running for the past two years, Incubio is a startup accelator focused solely on big data because, the words of CEO Andres Manso, “we know that [Big Data] will change every area of human activity”.
You provide Incubio with your big idea for big data, and they in turn provide continuous training, mentorship, recruitment, office space, and assistance in legal, design and marketing. They’re currently populating their fifth batch of startups; Incubio-incubated projects include a SaaS solution for Social Media Managers, a tool for turning any internet content into quizzes in real time and a peer-to-peer marketplace for students and private tutors. You can apply for the current batch on their website.
4. StartupBootcamp Internet of Things & Data Barcelona
The Internet of Things is often cited as the next disruptive revolution tech, with 50 billion connected devices expected by 2020. The StartupBootcamp Accelator for the Internet of Things wants to find companies at the cutting edge of this emerging field.
The programme offers extensive mentorship from over 100 mentors, from industry-leading companies like Intel, Yahoo, Cisco, Telefonica, Facebook & Oracle, office space in the Barcelona-based startup hub, €405k+ in partner services, and exposure to over 200 top VCs and Angel Investors. Applications for the first round have currently just closed, but we will be bringing you updates on the chosen teams as they’re announced in the New Year.
5. Stanford’s StartX Accelator
StartX is a non-profit accelerator, founded to fuel Stanford’s top entrepreneurs, with a focus on education. If you’re not affiliated with Stanford, don’t despair- in the summer class, 52% were Stanford alumni and faculty, and 48% were not Stanford-affiliated. However, competition is steep- the average funding raised by teams entering the accelerator in the summer was 1.4 million.
If you make the grade, the benefits are extensive. Their 200-strong mentor network includes Founders and Co-Founders from Facebook, Palantir, LinkedIn, Sun Microsystems and Match.com. They also offer over $100,000 in resources and customised educational programmes to deliver training and expertise where the Founders need it most.
StartX isn’t specifically data science-focused, but companies from the summer class include open-source machine learning server Prediction.io, mobile EdTech platform Score Beyond and Citrine Informatics, who use large-scale data and machiene learning to predictively design new materials. A full list of participating companies can be found here.
Eileen has five years’ experience in journalism and editing for a range of online publications. She has a degree in English Literature from the University of Exeter, and is particularly interested in big data’s application in humanities. She is a native of Shropshire, United Kingdom.
(Image credit: Startup Bootcamp)