Investments have dried up, so founders need to be more creative

It’s no secret that startups are having a tough time. The ideas and the teams’ enthusiasm might be there, but what is missing is the money. Yet there’s still hope at the end of the tunnel. Tehnopol Startup Incubator shares an overview of Tehnopol's accelerators that are accepting new candidates in 2024.

This article was written by Kerti Kulper from Tehnopol.

It’s no secret that startups are having a tough time. The ideas and the teams’ enthusiasm might be 
there, but what’s missing is the money. According to Startup Estonia, the investments into startups have dropped more than 80 percent in Estonia, so it’s no wonder that entrepreneurs have become more cautious when taking their first steps in the startup world.

“The expectations have changed,” said Kadri Tammai, the Head of Tehnopol Startup Incubator, “Founders are used to bootstrapping their business at the earliest stages, but the hope is that at some point, it gets easier. During these turbulent times, this point is shifted a bit further away. Instead of investing only in growth, the investors now want to see how the team is going to reach the break-even point”. Yet there are some sectors that are increasingly drawing the investors’ attention.

“We see rapid growth in investments and interest in deep-tech and dual-use sectors that are also a focus for the government,” Tammai added.

So, do not give up just yet, because even in the darkest of times, there’s still hope at the end of the tunnel. Here’s a brief overview of Tehnopol’s accelerators that are accepting new candidates in 2024.

Startup Accelerator for groundbreaking tech startups

Ever heard the saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”? Well, at Tehnopol Startup Incubator, we’re all about going the distance together on your tech startup journey. Are you the proud owner of a tech startup, armed with a passionate team and a groundbreaking concept that’s already past the idea stage and into the MVP or prototype phase? If your company is registered in Estonia, you’re in luck, because you are just who we are looking for! The countdown has begun, and we’re eagerly waiting for your applications for the next round of Startup accelerator until January 31, 2024.

We’re driven by one goal – your success! We’re offering all our services – training program, mentor pool, access to investors, etc – with zero monthly fees and a mere 2% equity stake. Why? Because when you succeed, we succeed!

Read more: 

NATO DIANA Innovation Accelerator for dual-use solutions

NATO DIANA’s aim is to support deeptech startups that contribute to national security and defense by bringing together talented innovators and end-users of new technologies. Dual-use technologies are developed in the accelerator, i.e. the technologies can be used for both civil and defense purposes. The selected innovators will get access to NATO resources, including grant funding, acceleration services, and pathways to adapt their solutions for defense and security needs. 

The DIANA accelerator program consists of two six-month phases. DIANA will be awarding grants of €100,000 (no equity or IP take) for every selected team. After half a year, the most promising startups continue in each accelerator, receiving additional support worth up to €300,000.

The next application round will open in 2024, keep an eye on the website:

Cyber Accelerator for startups tackling the digital threats 

To stay competitive in the market, companies must embrace digitalization. Utilizing modern solutions is crucial, but it also brings potential risks. Consequently, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to prioritize the security of new technologies, systems, and devices. In the Cyber Accelerator program, we provide support to startups with innovative ideas, enabling them to create products and services that safeguard companies from the cyber threats arising from digitalization and the adoption of new technologies. We welcome teams who are focused on developing services or solutions aimed at protecting companies in cyberspace. The program caters
to early-stage cybersecurity startups and spin-off companies, offering assistance in product and business development.

The next round of Cyber Accelerator opens in the early spring of 2024. If you are interested in the accelerator, visit the link below and leave us your details to be the first to hear about it.

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AI Accelerator for future-oriented founders

Tehnopol Startup Incubator’s AI Accelerator assists in introducing new technology companies based on artificial intelligence to the market. AI Accelerator is open to startup companies and spin-off teams from established companies registered in Estonia, and to teams of researchers and students whose ideas and solutions use artificial intelligence. The accelerator offers a specialist training series focused on AI together with top-notch mentors and experts.

The accelerator is free of monthly fees and we don’t take any participation options. You only need to have an escalating technological AI-based business idea, an existing prototype or the ability to create one during the accelerator, and a motivated team with the necessary skills. We are accepting applications for the new accelerator round in the spring of 2024.

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Green Accelerator for smart tech solutions

Green and Smart tech solutions improve the world around us, making it cleaner, more efficient, sustainable and convenient. But before launching the solutions, these solutions need to be tested, preferably in the actual environment and meeting the need from local municipality. Green Accelerator will open its application round for green and smart tech startups pre-acceleration in March 2024. The program consists of practical and professional trainings, inspiring events and a Demo Day. The main goal of the program is the successful cooperation between local municipalities and startups.

Tehnopol Startup Incubator runs the program together with Sparkup Tartu Science Park, Baltic Innovation Agency and Energex Energy Experts.

Additional information will soon be published at

If you’d like to know more about these accelerators and what Tehnopol has to offer to startups, look them up at the sTARTUp Day demo area!
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