I recently saw a video that essentially said that we don’t need incubators anymore; that they don’t really give people what they need; that people can work from their kitchen because they have broadband at home.
I’ve worked for a number of startups, most in places where incubators didn’t have a good foothold, but a couple have gone that route.
I don’t think this is necessarily true that incubators are unneeded anymore. While anyone can get broadband pretty much anywhere, this is not the only thing that an incubator can provide.
An incubator should be providing support, access to potential investors, access to expertise among other things. The absence of any of these things at the right time will reduce the chances of a successful business growing out of your startup. They can increase the chance of success, how much depends on the incubator.
Growing without an ecosystem around you is certainly possible, but you are going to need to search for these needs yourself when you require them.
So is it worth it?
As with all things; it depends. Are you going to benefit from the tech heavy expertise that you will find in an incubator? Do the costs differences between space there and cheaper elsewhere justify the price? From what I have seen, often yes. Is it for everybody? Nope. If you rely on cheaper workers then an incubator heavy area (just like a tech heavy area) will often push the costs up quite markedly. Greater demand but not a massive amount of extra supply.