Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

I/O Ventures Returns to Train Second Class of Start-Ups

With a swarm of start-up accelerators in the mold of Y Combinator all hitting the tech scene last year, it’s inevitable that some will fall by the wayside. But I/O Ventures, based in San Francisco’s Mission District, will be back for another season, co-founder Paul Bragiel tells NetworkEffect.

Bragiel bragged that of the six I/O Ventures companies from last year, one has been acquired (Facebook fan page creator Damntheradio by FanBridge), one is in late-stage acquisition talks (online video monetization platform SocialVision), three have raised funding of at least $400,000 from investors such as Max Levchin and Dave McClure, and the last (experience marketplace Skyara) is closing a funding round.

While I/O Ventures will continue to run with a curriculum quite similar to other start-up programs–soliciting young folks who have an idea but not much else, for a few months of intensive mentorship and events, followed by a “Demo Day” for investors–it has a few characteristics that set it apart. Mainly, the program is located in a building owned by its founders in the happening Mission District, home to a newly opened cafe called The Summit, which has become a bustling space for techie meetings and laptop sessions.

Bragiel said he expects to accept five to six companies once more, rather than swelling to a larger class, as Y Combinator has done. The program pays $25,000 and waives rent in exchange for eight percent of a start-up’s common stock. This year’s edition will include more events and more hand-holding around the initial company formation process, Bragiel said.

I/O Ventures continues to be funded by its four founding partners: Bragiel (who recently sold his forum company, Lefora), as well as BitTorrent co-founder Ashwin Navin, HotorNot co-founder Jim Young and Myspace co-founder Aber Whitcomb. It will accept applications through Feb. 15, with the sessions starting March 1.

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— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo