1. How much money should one have saved up to be able to build a business via an incubator program as a launching pad?
2. There is an incubator program being run by 1 guy (who has access to a lot of investors). I don't really have a clear idea on the business I want to pursue just yet, as I have been a bit busy with freelance work and trying to survive, but should one just pitch an idea anyway?
3. Why go through an incubator at all? Isn't it better to build a product, validate the idea and THEN approach investors to negotiate things on more favorable terms? Or should one just approach an incubator that takes 5% equity only for providing advice? (and no capital).
4. Currently I don't have a team or a product or a proper idea. What I do have is a network of Freelance contractors I work with and a few clients for my freelance business. Does it make any sense to pitch at an incubator? Or does it make more sense to siimple build relationships at Incubators and investors and open lines of communication at this stage?
Look at your peers and the people involved in the incubator. If networking with them enriches your venture and helps you out, then it's a good idea.
That's the way you decide on an incubator or a coworking space. An acceleration program, though, is a whole different monster.
I don't see what value you offer or will derive from an incubator. It sounds like you either need to decide what you want to do or talk to someone to help you. If you've got something simple that's making money, you probably just need to market it more and don't need anyone else involved. I'd be happy to talk to you about refining your approach and figuring out a plan.
Incubators differ from Accelerators in that they they are not focused on proven businesses looking for next stage of growth. However, it is important to shop around to ensure the incubator meets your needs as a new startup. You can get tunnel vision if you are still in the formulation stages of your idea and not consider wider opportunity. Incubators can also help you pivot as you get the mentorship and access to the local network available to you to bounce your idea, business case and investment planning off experts.
Once you have the idea decided, bounce it off some of your network first and get a wireframe plan together on how you think you should proceed. You will then have a better idea of the type of incubator you need based on the vertical, geographic location and group of mentors available.
If you choose to build the product ahead of time then you should also consider accelerators which help you move to the next stage of growth.
1. A great idea can be started with just S$10000 in hand.
2. If your idea is worth a value today, don't wait for it to be successful. Most idea's fail because the timing is wrong. I suggest you should try to pitch the idea even when you are busy with the freelancing jobs in hand.
3. Incubators help get the idea validated between its peers. It also helps you feel comfortable to share the problems and find solutions together. Remember, incubator is like a great team of founders working together.
4. A good incubator would expect you to come with a team, now the best team size can be 2 people. I believe you can find someone who shares your vision and is able to join you to be part of a incubator.
I recommend going into an incubator or accelerator when you have a team and an idea, or company already started.
My company went through the Capital Factory accelerator in Austin, and having access to the network of investors, mentors, peers, and resources was absolutely worth it.