AWS Startups Blog

Coffee Shop or Incubator? Build Your Next Startup in the Right Place

A chart that helps us determine if we should work in a coffee shop or an incubator.It’s not that the days of the apocryphal garage startup are completely over. But let’s be honest: who even has a garage anymore? You are far more likely to find the next wave of startup entrepreneurs building out world-changing ideas in a co-working space, or within the supportive arms of an incubator or accelerator.

The question for founders becomes: what’s the best fit for me? As Steve Kuyan and Craig Wilson from New York City’s Future Lab pointed out at AWS Startup Day in NYC, it’s finding the right balance of funding, mentorship, time, and resources for you as an entrepreneur and the stage at which both you and your entrepreneurial career stand. Are you on your fifth startup? Maybe a co-working space is all you need. Do you need a lot of mentoring? Welcome to the accelerator world. Do you need specific expertise in hardware or artificial intelligence? If so, you should start looking at incubators.

The point is, not every startup program is a fit for every startup (or every funding round). Instead, think about what you really need—maybe it’s customers, mentors, or funding—and what you don’t. Also, what is the timeline that you are on? Weigh all of these factors, and then go out and find the right place to build your company. And don’t rule out the good old coffee shop. It’s like a garage, but with better snacks.