nReduce – ’12
Building an Online Startup Incubator
What is an online startup incubator? To me, that is a very good question. Is it a filter for startups? Is it a program that guides startups? Is it mentors? Is it your cohort? Is it weekly deadlines? Is it connections to investors?
What is it?
I ask that as that question is the summary of my time working with the awesome Josh Schwartzman on nReduce. It is easy to say that an incubator is all of these things. But it is impossible for the importance of all of these attributes to be of equal value. And I have to say we tried recreating everyone of these aspects in a decentralize / online way, in search of that special combination that would start us on rapid growth curve.
We connected founders with a small network of other founders and had them post weekly video updates so they could get to know each other and create a community. We had crazy online demo days were 8 founders on live streaming video simultainously fielded question in realtime from twitter. We had blind ratings of startups by investors so that when investors passed on a company they could do so anonymously and therefore be able to give very harsh direct feedback. We had a mentor network. I mean man if you can think of it we built it 🙂
I would say the highlight of this whole experience is that Josh and I got on the road. We visited founders who were in our incubator in over a dozen cities everywhere from SF to NY to London to Berlin to Singapore (and a bunch of countries in between). The best part of it was that founders felt a connection with us and would tell us all of their ups and downs. Sometimes we could help them and other times all we could do was listen and buy beers.
To all the founders that have joined nReduce. It was my pleasure to server you in whatever way we did.
For learnings, I will let my future work speak to that.
I will leave you with my favorite memories of this experience.
Blog : The nReduce Blog