Former Myspace CEO Mike Jones Brings the Science of Start-Ups to Los Angeles

Published on November 16, 2011
by Liz Gannes

Many Web entrepreneurs hoping for a big next act have started a labs company so they can incubate many ideas rather than pick just one — examples include Twitter founder Evan Williams’s Obvious, Digg founder Kevin Rose’s Milk and former Hulu CTO Eric Feng’s Erly. Sure, they’re hedging, but they’re also using their resources to more fully try ideas to see how they work.

Former Myspace CEO Mike Jones is doing something similar — but he’s not stopping there.

Jones’s new Santa Monica, Calif.-based “technology studio,” called Science, will incubate ideas in-house, invest in other people’s start-ups, advise Silicon Valley companies on breaking into Hollywood, and maybe even look into reworking later-stage Internet companies like Yahoo.

To start, Jones has raised $10 million from investors including Rustic Canyon, White Star Capital, the Social+Capital Partnership and Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures. He has also lined up three private equity partners for potential larger deals.

Why call it “Science”? Jones told AllThingsD this week: “I’m choosing to build a series of successful businesses with talent that I’m familiar with, and a method that we’ve proven works.” He added, “We’re at a point in our industry where it’s a little more science than art.”

Science will start with three verticals: The intersection of content and commerce, social systems, and mobile and location.

Prior to Myspace — which he joined in 2009 and wasn’t able to revive before selling it to Specific Media earlier this year — Jones had founded companies such as Userplane (sold to AOL) and Tsavo Media (sold to Cyberplex).

Also in the L.A. start-up scene, a new accelerator called Start Engine debuted earlier this week, promising it will focus on mentorship and accept 120 start-ups per year. The first class kicks off in January.

First photo by Flickr user Discover Science & Engineering.

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