Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New ‘Groundwork Labs’ to Accelerate Startup Success

Capitol Broadcasting and NC IDEA, the economic development group linked to the IDEA Fund venture capital firm, are teaming up to launch a technology startup accelerator.
Called Groundwork Labs, the accelerator is designed to help grow new technology companies through as three-month program.
Selected companies will receive up to $20,000 in funding as well as mentoring support, office space, legal advice and business consultation.
The first program is expected to launch next spring.
John Austin, who is the director of Joystick Labs which invests in and helps grow videogame companies, will oversee Groundwork Labs as well. He sees the accelerator as a boost for the region's tech sector that will reach far beyond the companies that go through the program.
"Durham and the Triangle as a whole have a rich history of creating and fostering strong tech leaders. An accelerator is one important piece of a region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem," Austin said.
"We have a supportive community with meetups, classes, socials and organizations – all great stuff – but none bring the intensity of an accelerator. 5-10 startups, each with 2-3 advisors and mentors working together for 3 months in one place form a longer term creative cauldron that brings entrepreneurs together with investors and successful founders in a very collaborative way. And that has impact beyond those 5-10 teams."
David Rizzo, a veteran venture capitalist at NC IDEA, agrees.
“Our goal is to launch successive waves of new companies that will grow into job creators and game changers,” Rizzo said. “Groundwork Labs will bring a new degree of expertise and support to an entrepreneurial eco-system in the Research Triangle Park region that is already incredibly promising.”
Target Companies
Groundwork Labs is looking for "innovative tech companies that are laying the groundwork for tech revolutions," it said in a statement. "Software and mobile app creators are great candidates. Information Technology companies and companies where intellectual property is an important asset and source of differentiation are also eligible, as are medical device startups."
The new program is not for biotech or pharmaceutical firms.
"Because of the amount of funding that Groundwork Labs provides and our expertise, we will not fund biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies," Groundwork Labs said in an announcement.
Groundwork Labs will be based in the American Underground, a section of the American Tobacco Historic District.

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