10 IoT start-up accelerators and incubators ahead of the curve

18 May 2016

Start-ups often need support. When it comes to internet of things (IoT), the support is perhaps a greater need, with the future of the nascent industry so hard to predict. Luckily, help is at hand.

IoT accelerator incubator

The IoT industry is predicted to contain between 20 and 30 billion connected devices by 2020, with major technology, science and engineering companies hoping to dominate.

What’s more likely, though, is start-ups will pop up with clever, quirky ideas, inventions and services that will help shape the industry’s future.

Just like in the future of banking, though, start-ups need some help. So here are 10 programmes out there to help foster grassroots ideas, and, clearly, bolster up major companies’ armouries.


Seamless is one of the more focused accelerators we’ve some across, looking for IoT startups – special dispensation for applicants who have developed a product – working in areas across smart homes, healthcare, workplace, transport and retail.

“Seamless is seeking IoT start-ups that are are discovering ways to converge the physical and the digital world to make people’s everyday lives more connected and enjoyable,” according to the organisers, with applications welcomed until the end of June.


Vive X: HTC VR accelerator

HTC’s $100m investment in a global VR accelerator (Vive X) makes sense, as the former smartphone giant looks to further monetise its Vive project. “Our goal is to support a healthy and vibrant ecosystem for the Vive,” according to the organisers, which, extrapolated out, means VR in general.

With HTC calling on anyone “as passionate about VR” as it is, Vive X will start out in three cities (Beijing, Taipei and San Fransisco), before a gradual rollout worldwide. The start-ups that get involved will be hosted in one of those cities, with access to funding and a bit of industry know-how.

Ericsson IoT accelerator

Ericsson’s IoT accelerator aims to help start-ups bypass barriers like costs and complexities behind the development and deployment of new IoT ideas. Support for start-ups involved includes areas like data management, billing, device management, connectivity services and analytics. Planned expansion modules, such as a self-service portal, developer environment and software development kit, will also be included.

“We will initially focus on public safety, utilities, transport and smart cities customers, continuously adjusting to their needs and feedback, and improving ease of use and delivery speed through a DevOps approach to software development,” said Ericsson’s Orvar Hurtig.

Startup Scaleup: IoT accelerator

Startup Scaleup, created with the help of Startup Europe and the European Commission, is designed to be largely based online, with start-ups able to access mentorship from across Europe with the added advantage of it being a no-strings-attached, no-cost programme.

However, before the online mentoring with fellow IoT start-ups begins, four IoT weeks will be held towards the end of June, the first two taking place in Vilnius, Lithuania, and Zoetermeer, Netherlands, between 20 and 24 June.

Startup scaleup

US-Pan Asia IoT Superhighway

US-Pan Asia IoT Superhighway is the first Asian IoT accelerator in Hong Kong, which is surprising given it’s in an area where so much innovation has come from in the past.

This new accelerator aims to focus particularly on the consumer side of IoT, with wearables and emerging technologies as its focus, with the Hong Kong government firmly behind the venture.

It closed a funding round of $4.5m, led by Radiant Venture Capital with additional funding from TEEC Angel Fund and Capital.

Startupbootcamp IoT | Connected Devices

London-based Startupbootcamp is a launching new IoT and connected devices accelerator providing up to 10 start-ups with €15,000 in funding for a programme that begins in September.

Applications for start-ups close on 13 June. Whilst start-ups do not need to permanently relocate to London or be incorporated there, they do need to spend the three-month acceleration period in London.

Consumer and industrial IoT ideas are welcome. So, wearables (next-gen wellbeing, quantified self, ingestibles, skin, embedded fabrics), connected homes, smart environments and the likes are encouraged.

The founder of Startupbootcamp IoT, Raph Crouan, also recently shared some advice for start-ups with us.

London skyline, via Shutterstock

London skyline, via Shutterstock


Industrio is an Italian accelerator for “hardware, industry and technology” start-ups, based in Trento. On offer for start-ups is €25,000, up to €125,000 set aside for a stake of up to 15pc, and a bank loan approaching €50,000.

Twice a year (in spring and autumn) a five-month prototype-to-product programme is run, “where we drive selected teams to achieve the most important things a hardware start-up needs to accomplish in the short time”.


Backed by Intel, Cisco and Deutsche Telekom, Challengeup is open to start-ups in the EMEA region. Applications are in the early months of the year, with the actual programme running May to December.

Challengeup start-ups seem awfully happy

Challengeup start-ups seem awfully happy

DCU Ryan Academy

Back in April, the DCU Ryan Academy delved into IoT with a hardware accelerator that saw 16 applicants taken in at Intel’s Ignition Lab in Dublin. In the hardware sphere, all the obvious areas like wearables, 3D printing, internet of things and digital manufacturing were welcome areas of interest.

The four countries that took part were Ireland, Germany (Berlin), Italy (Milan) and Spain (Madrid and Salamanca), with the whole thing free for the chosen start-ups. It was free because of something called the Welcome Project, which is developed under the Startup Europe Initiative and funded by the EU Commission.

Tech All Stars Competition

Tech All Stars is a programme run by the European Commission, taking a dozen European start-ups to various events throughout the EU during the summer. As with any accelerator, there’s the carrot of networking with influencers and connecting with VCs, mentors, potential partners, and other resources.

Last year’s winner was Triprebel, a service to let customers get a little bit more from their travels.

Main road image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic