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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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik