Founder Labs Brings Its Silicon Valley Flair for Fostering Startups to Manhattan
Picking the right team can make all the difference when launching a new venture. Starting on May 21, a group of some 16 designers, engineers, and marketing professionals will gather to form teams aimed at creating startups. Founder Labs, a five week “pre-incubator” program targeting concepts for the mobile sector, is ready for its Manhattan debut.
Shaherose Charania, CEO of Founder Labs and Women 2.0, said her program was created to help teams come together and validate their ideas prior to formally launching startups. While accelerator programs such as TechStars offer existing startups seed funding and the opportunity to pitch to potential investors, Founder Labs brings together individuals who may not have completely formed their ideas yet but are eager to explore entrepreneurship.
Charania said she taps her connections with incubators, accelerators, and seed funds such as TechStars, 500 Startups, and i/o Ventures to refer in the teams from Founder Labs that show potential. The Founder Labs program, started last August in San Francisco, has run three times—twice in San Francisco and once in Menlo Park—helping would-be entrepreneurs find others with the skills and desire to bring new ideas to market.
For example, Spoondate, a company born from last October’s session of Founder Labs, is expected to launch this spring. Spoondate is a dating website for foodies with shared tastes. Charania said the company was accepted in February into the incubator program run by angel fund 500 Startups, which includes seed funding and access to investors.
Founder Labs NYC is the fourth iteration of Charania’s program and its first appearance outside of California. Charania said the 16 participants at Founder Labs NYC, chosen from more than 150 applicants, will meet in the evening Monday through Friday during the coming weeks and on some weekends. In addition to collaborating with each other, participants will present their ideas to investors and veterans of the startup community such as James Robinson, managing partner with RRE Ventures, and Winifred Mitchell Baker, chairman of the Mozilla Foundation.
San Francisco-based Founder Labs is an offshoot of Women 2.0, a venture that encourages women in the technology sector to start their own companies. Charania said Founder Labs picks a 50–50 split of men and women to participate.
Charania, an émigré from Canada, knows a little something about starting from scratch. After she earned her bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Western Ontario and spent one year abroad in Spain, she moved to the U.S. in 2005 with no money, no job, and no idea … Next Page »