scribetribe accepted to hot new incubator – the Founder Institute

We found out last night that scribetribe has been accepted into the hot new startup incubator from The Funded founder Adeo Ressi, called the Founder Institute. It’s based in Silicon Valley and is being supported by “rock star” mentors like Michael Arrington from TechCrunch and Jason Calacanis from Mahalo.

This program is going to shake things up. It is designed to be founder-friendly, and change the ground rules for how early-stage startup and incubator programs work, and features some real innovations. It’s had coverage in the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch and many other places and will get a lot more.

This is the inaugural year, and it’s a huge honor to be part of the first intake.

I’ve heard a lot of influential folks say that this program is going to have a big impact in Silicon Valley, and that its approach is going to change the ground rules.

Not only did we get accepted out of hundreds of applications, but we’ve been told we’re part of the top tier of applicants, the “best of the best”. All three founders on the scribetribe team (myself, @mediamum and @dazwal) completed the final application tests and interviews, and have been invited to complete the formal program that’s run as part of the incubator.

I could try to sound all reserved about this. But stuff it – I’m so excited about this I could just burst. I met Adeo for the first time earlier this year at MIT in Boston, and his passion, energy and belief in the importance of startups and sticking up for the rights of founders is inspirational.

Plus he’s just one of the nicest darned guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to drink too many beers with.

We were really happy to make the finalist shortlist for TechStars last month, and I know some great guys who were/are in Y Combinator last year and this year, and we also put together applications for some of the others that are still open.

I’m a big fan of what these early stage accelerators and incubators are doing, and what guys like David Cohen and Paul Graham have achieved. And I’m also a fan of what they’re doing outside of the incubators themselves to support entrepreneurial activity and build community.

Paul Graham has done Startup School, Hacker News and AngelConf, and is one of my favorite essayists.

David and the other TechStars founders, including the hyperpresent Brad Feld, have helped to create and foster a thriving entrepreneurial community away from the Valley in Boulder, CO. That community is all colors of awesome, and a lot of it has been driven by Andrew Hyde, the welcoming, encouraging and uber-connected community director from TechStars, and creator of Startup Weekend.

But I think Adeo — with his passion, his founder-friendly focus, connectedness in the Valley, championship of transparency and startup-advocacy, and the genuine innovations in incubatorship that he’s creating — has the potential to kick this sector up a gear to a new level. And I’m buzzed like a squirrel on a case of Red Bull to be involved in the Institute’s first year.


Why isn’t there more investment in new media startups?

There is clearly a mini boom taking place in early-stage high-tech startups at the moment.

That’s what I’m building, so it’s a topic close to my heart. I’ve got some thoughts on that boom that will keep for another post.

But I’ve always been interested in new media businesses too, and it surprises me there isn’t more investment interest and activity around new media-driven startups at the moment.

The conventional wisdom is that media startups and content businesses aren’t attractive, so VCs and angels aren’t interested. I can see how businesses that are built around just putting new content online aren’t going to be appealing.

However, as Clay Shirky’s great recent post outlines, we are going through the greatest period of creative destruction in the history of media.

Existing media businesses are getting smashed. At the same time, there is a lag between that smashing up of what exists today, and the creation of the new businesses that will replace them.

This has been accelerated by the downturn, but it is actually bigger than any single swing of the economic cycle.

Shirky points out that when you look at the introduction of the printing press, the media industry landscapes before and after bear little resemblence. There was no smooth transition or evolution from the old to the new.

The same thing is happening here. The great media businesses of the next century – the News Corps and Disneys – have yet to be created. They will make use of new media technologies that haven’t even been dreamed about yet but many will be driven by ideas around content and audiences. That is, there will be successful companies that are media businesses first, rather than only those that are technology businesses first.

Let me use Facebook as an example. Facebook is a social media business. But I would argue that it was a technology-driven startup not a media-driven startup. Its core competence is providing technology the helps people connect with each other and share stuff that matters to them. That is a business that sits at the intersection of technology and media. But it’s approach, I would argue, is technology first. So it is the sort of sexy company that attracts investment.

I think there will also be great businesses created that are media first.

It’s unlikely today that they would be able to get funding from the venture sector, and are likely to be created in spite of the venture capital model rather than because of it. It may take a few years before we even become aware of what they will look like.

They are out there, however. In the protozoic ooze of a million blogs and micro media businesses, I think there is the early DNA that will turn into the big media beasts of the next century.

My feeling is that they would struggle to attract investment in the way that an interesting technology-driven startup in the media space might, and there will be opportunities missed because of that.