So we’ve had to keep it under wraps for a while, but now it’s official. We’re proud to announce that Work for Pie will be joining the inaugural Seed Hatchery Cohort! What does all of that mean? Well let’s begin at the beginning…
Five years or so ago, Paul Graham (see the blog post below to hear from him) had a great idea. Web development was getting cheaper by the day, and it was (and is now more than ever) truly possible to build something viable in a relatively short amount of time, throw it out to the masses, and see if it stuck. So Paul thought, “what if we fund a few ideas, give the founders what has been called “ramen noodle money,” give the companies a lot of advice and tough love, and then give them a shot at getting real money after they’ve got something built.” He called it Y Combinator (http://ycombinator.com/), and it’s since become one of the best programs for startups in the world.
Fast forward to 2010/11. Y Combinator is all over the news because of Yuri Milner’s decision to provide EVERY Y Combinator company with $150,000 on very good terms , a former Y Combinator startup called Heroku gets acquired by Salesforce.com for a cool $212 Million, and another “startup accelerator,” called TechStars (http://www.techstars.org/), publishes a best selling book and partners with the government on its revamped Startup Initiative. Startups are hot again, but not just in Silicon Valley…
That’s right, Memphis has got it going on too! Largely due to the efforts of a few key individuals, Eric Mathews (http://www.ericmathews.com/) and Dave Barger (http://blog.lunaweb.com/dave-bio/) among them, the tech scene in Memphis is thriving and growing. There is at least one major tech-related event every month, including events like 48 Hour Launch, Ignite! Memphis, and this weekend’s Business Planning Bootcamp, and there are weekly meetups related to social media and tech in general, as well as several for specific programing languages or interests.
One of the logical extensions of all this activity was the idea that Memphis would be one heck of a place to have a Y Combinator-like startup accelerator of its own. So, with the guidance of TechStars affiliate JumpStart Foundry in Nashville (http://jumpstartfoundry.com/) and the good folks at Solidus (http://www.solidus.com/TNInvestco), Eric Mathews did just that. Enter Seed Hatchery (http://www.seedhatchery.com/), a truly home-grown startup accelerator and investor in early stage companies (including Work for Pie!).
Seed Hatchery starts this weekend, which means that our two man team (@cliffmckinney and @bradmontgomery) are going to be a couple of extremely busy individuals over the next three months. But, we’ll get a lot of help from our advisors and the other five cohort companies, and the end game will truly be an exciting one. In June, we’ll be given the opportunity to pitch to investors and make a real go of Work for Pie. That, my friends, will be a dream come true!
There’s going to be a lot of work between now and then–pitch practice, business modeling, dinners with advisors, and the tiny matter of building our website and community–but it’s going to be a heck of a good time. We can’t wait to get started!