Founder Labs Brings Its Silicon Valley Flair for Fostering Startups to Manhattan

5/16/11Follow @jpruth

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what she wanted to do. Charania said she relocated to Silicon Valley, driven by a passion for technology. “I’ve worked with pre-idea startups, funded startups, and worked at a post-acquisition company,” she said. Charania previously worked as director of product management and marketing at Jajah, a communications startup which was acquired in 2009 by Telefonica, and was director of product management at Talenthouse, a social media platform for the creative community. She is currently with Opinno, an incubator network that offers programs for growth and consulting services to early-stage companies.

Charania said she decided to bring Founder Labs to New York City after a conversation in January with Fred Wilson, a partner with Union Square Ventures, who cited the need for the program. Charania said Janet Hanson, CEO of 85 Broads, a network of standout women, also called her attention to the community of former Wall Streeters that includes young women looking to explore entrepreneurship and more experienced women exploring angel investing.

RRE’s Robinson called Founder Labs “practical, hands-on instruction” for those who are new to the complexities of starting a business.

Charania said entrepreneurship may not be in everyone’s blood at the onset, but Founder Labs helps them develop the connections necessary to get started. “We bring together really smart people that we handpicked, help them build their teams, and validate their ideas,” she said. If two or more team members from Founder Labs start a new company together within one year of completing the program, Founder Labs takes a two percent stake in founders stock.

Though Charania is particularly interested in seeing startups in the mobile market, making a run-of-the-mill app is not enough for acceptance into Founder Labs. She wants to see ideas that address real-world problems through mobile devices. “If you are coming in with a social gaming idea, just get the hell out of here,” Charania said. “There are so many parts of the mobile space that need work.”

Such areas include analytics tools for mobile ad networks, health solutions, and mobile security. Charania said she does not expect Founder Labs participants to conquer all the big ideas, but she encourages the growth of smaller ideas to address real-world issues.

The New York City investing ecosystem is evolving, Charania said, along with entrepreneurship. “We saw an opportunity to bring together teams so that investors looking to invest in early stage can see what is happening from our side,” she said.

Founder Labs is aimed at helping entrepreneurs launch prototypes by the end of … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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