ReadwriteWeb had a relevant post about incubators.
As the infrastructure costs of “starting up” become lower, the barrier to get “funded” gets higher. Used to be you could get away with prototype. These days every investor wants traction. Traction is easier when you have help from an incubator.
You need not go to college to get a job, but there’s a correlation between higher degrees and higher pay. Similarly in 5-10 years
I can totally see a situation where 70% or greater of startups go through an incubator rather than go it alone.
It will increase the chances of getting funded and highly increase the chances of success.
I do think most companies will go through an incubator even if the founders are experienced folks in a few years. The current batch of incubators favor (either by design or natural fit) younger, fresh out of college grads.
The key part of this equation is that not all incubators are equal. If your incubator does not provide value (raising funding, getting customers or helping hire key employees), then its not worth wasting your time with them.