All Articles Tagged "tech incubators"
(Time) — On the top floor of an ugly office building in Mountain View, Calif., a dozen entrepreneurial dreams are taking flight. Raissa Nebie, a 31-year-old former investment banker from Ivory Coast, is putting the finishing touches on Spoondate, her top-secret dating site for food lovers. Andrew Maguire, a recent Columbia University grad (who talks really fast), is racking up listings for InternMatch, a Web service that pairs college students with paid internships. The airy space, with few walls, a panoramic view of Silicon Valley and a gaggle of first-time CEOs like Maguire and Nebie, is home to 500 Startups Accelerator, the latest high-tech incubator.
If all this seems a bit 1999, it is. Technology incubators, which invest in and nurture new tech businesses, proliferated during the last dotcom boom but then got a bad reputation in the bust, when firms like CMGI and eCompanies lost billions of dollars on countless start-up failures whose names have long been forgotten. That’s one reason new incubators like 500 Startups call their businesses accelerators instead. These new accelerators tend to invest less money in each start-up and receive a smaller stake of the company in exchange. For example, 500 Startups trades office space, mentoring and up to $100,000 in capital for 5% of each new venture it backs. TechStars, which was founded in Boulder, Colo., gives companies just $18,000 over a three-month period before showing entrepreneurs the door. The old-school incubator Idealab (founded by serial entrepreneur Bill Gross back in 1996), on the other hand, invests a minimum of $250,000 and keeps a 70% share of each firm.