Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Runway (By Innovation Endeavors)

Today I met with Corey Ford, the Director of Runway, a program from Innovation Endeavors (investment firm backed up by Eric Schmidt). Once you get to the Valley, you start hearing about several different “immersion programs” for entrepreneurs, including YCombinator, 500 Startups, TechStars (which does not have a chapter in California yet), Plug And Play and the list goes on.

All of these have these different details, but in general you apply with a team and with an idea (which many times evolve throughout the program) and if you are selected you receive funding for and a network of mentorship in exchange for equity in your company. Usually, it’s a sweet deal.

In terms of Runway, here are some details with make it unique:

  • It’s pre-team and pre-idea. You apply as an individual.
  • If you are selected for the final round, you are invited for a “networking bootcamp” over a weekend, when you get to meet almost all the other finalists and rank the people you would like to have as co-founders
  • Based on your aptitudes and co-founder choices, Runway selects multi-disciplinary teams. In general, the teams have four members, with a member focused on design, another focused on technology, another focused on business. The fourth member is what they call the “superglue” -- it’s the person who makes sure the team as a whole stays focused.
  • It’s a six-month program, and about 4 months are used to conceptualize and prototype dozens of ideas. In the last two months, the team develops the idea of their choice (which needs to be in a 500mi+ market).
  • Runway provides a convertible note of up to 150K for each team

Runway in its first version, and it’s definitely worth checking it out. More information on how to apply can be found here. If you are interested in grabbing some coffee with Corey Ford, you can sign up for office hours here.


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