Incubators for Digital Health Startups

5 Things Digital Health Startups Need to Know Before Entering an Incubator

More and more emerging companies are relying on business incubators to develop themselves and achieve the desired success in a saturated market. Without them, many small digital health startups would not have the means to grow and to break into the market – despite their great potential. Incubators offer the necessary services, funds, office space, training and guidelines that help small businesses get up and running, and make sure they are ready to face some of the most common difficulties in the market.

A map of the incubator landscape for digital health startups in Europe

In just a couple of years, the incubator and accelerator landscape for startups in eHealth, mobile health or smart health in Europe has exploded – but in a good sense, especially for those numerous startup teams that have been accepted into the incubator programs. For an introduction to the US ecosystem read our articles “Out of the EU Box” and “Digital Health Hubs in the United States“.

Ecosystem for digital health startups

Source: Ecosystem Health | Franziska Seifert

Although they offer useful and sometimes key services, there are five things any digital health start up needs to know before entering an incubator:

Know your business

Digital Health Incubator Programs in Europe

Knowing the micro and macros of your business is as much a key to success in the marketplace as knowing yourself is a key to success in your own life. To join an incubation program for digital health startups you have to know every detail of your businesses project, expectations, potential, and needs that the incubation can fulfil. Incubation companies do not accept all the small businesses, which turn to them, only choosing those that are presented well, and exhibit high organizational values.

Know the incubator

Incubators for Digital Health Startups

Knowing your business will make you more likely to be accepted into an incubation program, but selecting the correct incubation program for digital health startups to begin with is key. The direction and goals of the incubator have to match those that your company can and will achieve, this way they can provide the best and most personal service possible that marries your cause and their direction. If you will be giving 2% to 10% of your business stakes away to them, the company has to provide quality services that match this sacrifice.

Know the Success Rates

Digital Health Accelerators and Incubator Programs

You should be informed about how successful the incubator you want to turn to is and whether they have dealt with any digital health startups before. Open mindedness is need for success as acceleration programs are not guaranteed to work and you will need to put in considerable effort and assist the incubator in any way they request to help develop your startup.

Shop around

Landscape and Map for Incubators in Europe

All the business incubators are different, as they offer a variety of different services for different prices. As we have already said, you have to choose the one incubator that fits your cause, one close to the nature of your business, though you will also have to know the services they offer. Essentially, what they offer is coaching, networking, business assistance, funds and connections but it’s always better to compare the various companies and to spot the incubator which offers more quality services without asking too much from your business. Many incubators also implement programs targeted to specific startups, for example digital health oriented programs which last from 6 up to 12 months and offers assistance directed to a particular market.

Master the dynamics of your target markets

As success is not guaranteed, knowing the market you will be targeting is a must for digital health startups. You need to know what step it takes to enter the market, as well as the basics of economy needed to create a successful business. Being active and dynamic with your business as well as with the incubator will ensure that you will be ready to face any unexpected setbacks or big advancements. A good starting point is to reverse the onboarding process – why not contact one of the incubator managers and ask for their honest opinion?


Business incubators can be key factors when creating your entry into the market, though they may not be necessary for those with a solid foundation in business (or financing). Keeping these 5 tips in mind when choosing an incubator will ensure your start-up has the best foundations and growth potential possible.

This article is part of a series of blog posts in which we take a closer look at the ever-expanding startup ecosystem for digital health entrepreneurs – in Europe and the United States of America. If you would like to read on, we recommend: 

  • Digital Health Hubs in the United States: Petri Dishes of Innovation (Link)
  • Out of the EU Box: the Incubator and Accelerator Ecosystem in the USA (Link)
  • 5 Things Digital Health Startups Need to Know Before Entering an Incubator (Link)
  • The Digital Health Incubator and Accelerator Scene in Europe (Link)

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