I first met Steve Hoffman (aka "Captain Hoff") a few years ago when we were both on a panel talking about startup exits. To say the guy is energetic-- nay, manic-- is an understatement; you only need to look at his bio to see how many things he's involved in.
One of the more interesting manifestations of this boundless energy is an accelerator and incubator here in SF. Read on for the details, and check out one of their numerous events if you're in town.
We are pleased to bring you Accelerator of the Week #11: Founders Space.
In just one sentence, what is your accelerator called and what do you do?
Founders Space is the most flexible of the Top 10 accelerators in Silicon Valley with a full 12 months of startup support.
What makes your program different or unique? What’s your primary value-add?
Founders Space works closely with the governments of Korea and Taiwan, as well as accelerators in China, Singapore and India. Roughly 30% of our startups are from Asia, 30% from Europe and 40% from the United States and Canada.
We also have Demo Day at the end of the very first month, and we allow our startups to come to all of our mentoring sessions and workshops for an entire year.
What do you love the most about working with startups?
We started Founders Space for fun. We love startups. The thing we like most is the creativity of entrepreneurs. We get a thrill out of taking their ideas to the next level and connecting the dots between where they are now and where they need to be.
What is the hardest or most surprising part of working with startups?
Selecting the startups is the hardest part. We get so many incredible applications that it's hard to sort out which ones are truly the best. Often we just don't know, and sometimes we miss out on great startups because we simply don't have the room to take them on.
Do you have a success story to share? Who are the most notable or interesting companies to go through your program?
Yes, we have lots of success stories. Grub Market is one of our startups. They bring fresh produce from the farmer to your home. When we saw what they were doing, we thought it was incredible. People want locally grown food, but they often don't want to hassle going to farmer's markets, or there simply isn't a farmer's market that's convenient for them. And the problem is that even if you go to a farmer's market, they won't have everything you need, so you still have to shop at a supermarket.
Grub Market solves this problem, and their founder is incredibly driven. They raised $600k while they were in our program and then $2 million right after they graduated.
How, if in any way, has Foundersuite helped your companies?
Foundersuite is part of our startup kit. It saves entrepreneurs a huge amount of time and money. Getting all your startup docs with the click of a button is a brilliant idea. And Nathan, who runs the company is a wonderful guy. <Ed. Note: aww, blushing :->
Finally, what is your best tip for running a startup?
At the start of any company, you should spend at least 20 hours a week talking to your customers. Seriously. They are all that matter. Don't waste your time on business plans, investor meetings, product development or anything else. For the first few months, that should be your #1 priority.
Sage advice! Thanks "Captain Hoff" and the rest of the Founders Space team.