i/o Ventures – A Work/Cafe Incubator Launches In San Francisco

A small group of high profile startup executives are preparing to launch their next venture – a workspace incubator and angel investment fund called i/o ventures that aims to help new startups get a start with some initial capital and a cool place to work. The company is located in San Francisco.

The four partners include former Aber Whitcomb (former MySpace CTO), Ashwin Navin (former President and Co-founder of BitTorrent and former corporate development exec at Yahoo), Jim Young (cofounder HotOrNot) and Paul Bragiel (cofounder of Lefora and Meetro).

i/o ventures is a 7,000 square foot office building located at 780 Valencia is San Francisco. Most of the space has been fitted for work, with 40+ desks and conference rooms.

Anyone can pay to work there for a day or longer at a rate of $150/month/desk (a bargain). The catch is the desks are shared, which means you may be at a different one each day. You keep your stuff in a locker. Electricity and Internet is included.

But the real point of i/o ventures is to incubate startups. They’re taking applications for the first class of startups in their accelerator program. You get space at their office for 4 months (plus another two months if you need it) and $25,000 in seed money. Each of the five companies in each class gives up “around 8%” of their equity for the investments and space.

i/o ventures also providing mentoring from a long list of entrepreneurs and investors who have promised to stop by frequently. I’m one of those mentors, and I plan to work from their offices for a few days each month (I’m not being compensated in any way for this).

The cherry on top is the i/o ventures cafe, a 2,000 square foot retail cafe open to the public. The cafe opens its doors around February 1.

The first batch of startups take residence on March 1. Apply here. You must move to the bay area to be part of the program, and your living expense are your problem. The partners tell me that founders absolutely, positively cannot crash out at i/o ventures because the space isn’t zoned for residential use. They also noted that there are showers at the location, and suggested that they may turn a blind eye, unofficially you understand, to the odd sleeping bag in the office.

The team sent over a few pictures of what the space looks like today (taken by Mike Czupryn). It’s not much to look at today, but you can get an idea for how it may look when it’s finished. There’s also a conceptual drawing that we added to their CrunchBase profile.


i/o Ventures image

Website: ventures.io
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
Founded: January, 2010

i/o ventures is an early stage startup program that focuses heavily on its mentorship.

We work closely with founders from product launch through the next stage of company development, sharing what has proven to work for product scaling, revenue… Learn More

Aber Whitcomb image

Companies: MySpace, i/o Ventures

Aber Whitcomb (born 1977) is the CTO and a founder of MySpace. He graduated from the University of Washington and was born and raised in Bellingham. He has the third account ever created on MySpace. Learn More

Ashwin Navin image

Companies: BitTorrent, Crunchyroll, Mochi Media, Yahoo!, Goldman Sachs, i/o Ventures, OpenDNS

Ashwin Navin was the President and Co-founder of BitTorrent until August 2008. He hails from Yahoo where he was an influential member of the company’s Corporate Development group. He possesses extensive experience in structuring and negotiating… Learn More

Jim Young image

Website: jimy.org
Companies: HOT or NOT, i/o Ventures

Jim Young co-founded HOTorNOT with James Hong in 2000, and is now an angel investor. Learn More

Paul Bragiel image

Companies: Meetro, Lefora, Paragon Five, i/o Ventures

Paul Bragiel is the co-founder chief executive of Lefora, a product bringing forums into the 21st century.

Previously he co-founded and served as CEO of Meetro, the first location based social network. Before that he was the of CEO of Paragon… Learn More

Information provided by CrunchBase

this should be fun!

The Essential Startup Reader: 10 Lessons In Entrepreneurship – GigaOM

As a blogger, I spend most of my time writing. But it is time spent on reading that is most satisfying. Here is a short (and by no means a complete) list of ten articles that encapsulate the art of the start-up. Most were published during 2009 and I found them educational and full of practical tips that we have applied to our business. They have also helped me think differently about start-ups and entrepreneurship. Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

  1. What Startups Are Really Like by Paul Graham: This has to be single best essay I read during 2009. Every entrepreneur should begin the startup journey with this essay. It bottles the every essence of entrepreneurship and startups, and is chockfull of practical advise and tips that are applicable to anyone who dares to dream.

  2. Milestones to Startup Success by Sean Ellis: Sean Ellis explains the need for minimum viable product, aka MVP and then outlines how start-ups can go up his start-up pyramid to find success.

  3. Myth: Entrepreneurship will make you rich by Eric Ries: “One of the unfortunate side effects of all the publicity and hype surrounding startups is the idea that entrepreneurship is a guaranteed path to fame and riches. It isn’t,” writes Eric in this no holds barred essay about the challenges and pitfalls of being a start-up founder.

  4. What is the minimum viable product? By Venture Hacks: A great audio conversation on Venturehacks blog including a slide show.

  5. The power of continuous improvement by Mike Speiser: In a guest post for us, Mike talks about the importance of metrics, feedback and how they can drive continuous improvement. Mike’s rules have found eager takers amongst our team.

  6. Getting comfortable with People who make you uncomfortable by Mike Speiser: In this article Mike addresses the need for people who challenge conventional wisdom and make everyone around them uncomfortable. Which is why every company needs them.

  7. The Funnel Principle: Software & Making Money by Tony Wright: It is good to build great products, but in order to build great companies one needs to have more — clear path of monetization, an attention magnet and in general excellence at things beyond product development.

  8. Does every start-up need a Steve Jobs? by Andrew Chen: A dissection of how insanely great products are built by combining desirability, feasibility and viability. Read this post after reading Wright’s Funnel principle.

  9. Designing for Social Traction by Josh Porter

10: Startup Killer: the cost of customer acquisition by David Skok: A definitive essay on start-up business models, perils of over optimism and the importance of cost of customer acquisition. Skok is a three time entrepreneur with lifetime of experience.

Bonus Links:

must read stuff for entrepreneurs