Es ist nicht eine der schlechtesten Forderungen, die sich ein junger Unternehmer vorstellen kann: Wer die Unterstützung des neu gegründeten VC i/o ventures (www.ventures.io) aus San Francisco sucht, wird geradezu genötigt, für vier Monate in die Bay Area umzuziehen.
Paul Bragiel über Mentorship und Investmentkriterien
Denn das von Aber Whitcomb (CTO und Gründer von MySpace), Ashwin Navin (Gründer BitTorrent), Jim Young (CEO und Gründer HotorNot) und Paul Bragiel (Gründer Lefora) etablierte Konsortium setzt auf starkes Mentoring seiner Schützlinge. Neben den 25.000 US-Dollar erhalten Teilnehmer des StartUp-Programms – so sie denn wollen – auch einen Stuhl und Schreibtisch bei i/o ventures.
Mitgründer Paul Bragiel denkt im Gründerszene-Interview bereits über einen Ableger in Europa nach:
You offer a startup program that focuses „heavily on mentorship“ – what can you do better than other VCs out there?
Every single one of our partners and our mentors are currently running their own companies in addition to their involvement with i/o. We see ourselves as in the trenches with the companies we have go through our program. I think thats our strongest differentiating factor.
Who got the initial idea to start i/o? Will you accept more partners in your team in the future?
The way it worked out is that we purchased the building first and then started brainstorming what we should do with it. After months of talking the idea of i/o was finally settled on. Not sure what the future holds when it comes to partners, but we’re always looking for top notch mentors to help us out.
Attendees have to move to the bay area. Sounds like close collaboration. Will there be a mentor dropping by every single day?
Mentors will be coming in and out all the time. Some of them might even take up residence at the i/o space periodically. We’re also going to have formal office hours every week where our companies will have open access to ask any questions they want.
There are a lot of questions on your application form. What level do you need to achieve in order to meet your criteria for an investment?
The more fully formed an idea is the better ;-). Since we’re getting tons of applications the more questions we can get answered early on, the better we can ask followup questions if we like the application. Having a demoable prototype is ideal.
How likely is it for European startups to join your program?
I hope we get at least one every session. I have spent a lot of time in europe and have a lot of ties there. I guess the biggest thing will be if they can arrange visas to hang out during that period.
Could you already imagine another Europe-based hub?
In the back of my head we’re always thinking how we can grow this concept. Right now the laser focus is to do it really well here in the heart of San Francisco. Then after we learn what works and what doesn’t we’ll explore the idea of expanding.