1. What do you propose to do? [20 words]
Build a new, replicable model for funding/incubating startups based on community, deep collaboration, shared value creation and incentive alignment.
2. Is anyone doing something like this now and how is your project different? [30 words]
Incubators like TechStars provide top-down funding and incubation. Networks like Facebook and LinkedIn foster community and collaboration. We will tie it all together — from the bottom up.
3. Describe the network with which you intend to build or work. [50 words]
We are drawing from an existing Facebook group called Accelerating Possibilities, self-organized around the principle of helping one another “connect ideas, people and resources to make good things happen faster.” It’s a meta-network of nearly 800 members from Unreasonable Institute, StartingBloc, TED, Pop!Tech, Summit Series and more.
4. Why will it work? [100 words]
Only 2.5% of entrepreneurs get funding, yet all job growth is from startups. Angel investing yields over 27% IRR historically, yet most angels are hobbyists, and most citizens are blocked from investing due to antiquated laws. Human catalysts in the startup ecosystem are critical to startup success, yet they can’t make a living by doing what they are best at: connecting the dots for others. There is already tremendous incentive to bring these three groups together into a single community. We will align incentives, create processes, and curate a culture of INTERdependence that’s more profitable for everyone than working independently.
5. Who is working on it? [100 words]
A core team is emerging from within Accelerating Possibilities to flesh out the vision and operationalize it, including: Rafe Furst (entrepreneur, angel investor, catalyst); Orlando Medina (legal and transactional expert); Sarah Tripp Stephan (communications expert); Jason McKinley (operations expert); and Paige Schechtman (getting-things-done expert). We are in the process of rounding out the core team and building consensus within the community. Once we get to 100 members we will begin the beta period (which includes funding/incubation for 30 startups). From there we will scale to 1000 members. From there we will help others replicate our model.
6. What part of the project have you already built? [100 words]
We are in the process of rounding out our core team as well as surveying and running focus groups from the various potential community members. We’ve created a first draft of the model we will implement and refine in the beta period, using lean startup methodology. Rather than attempt to plan everything from the top-down, we will engage the community to co-create the action plan, assuring that the members feel ownership of their own success from the beginning.
7. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires? [50 words]
Knight’s grant will launch and fund our beta community. Once we’ve hit cashflow-positive, we will empower other communities to replicate our model, much the way TEDx does TED. Whatever amount we receive from Knight, we will “fund-it-forward” to two other communities in the future.
Requested amount from Knight News Challenge: $1 Million
Expected amount of time required to complete project: 1 year for completed beta.
Total Project Cost: $50M
Name: Crowdsource Startup Community
Twitter: (none) https://www.facebook.com/groups/acceleratingpossibilities/
Organization: Accelerating Possibilities
Country: U.S. / World
This group is competing for a million dollars for the above project. I’ve been a part of Accelerating Possibilities for the past year and seen it do some great work matching up entrepreneurs, investors, and skilled people. Check out the link and like/reblog!