DreamIt Ventures, a Philadelphia-based local incubator that targets Northeastern population centers such as New York, DC and Philadelphia, is gearing up for another session of funding. Applications close March 22nd for the incubator’s summer program, which runs from mid-May to August and culminates in an investor demo day.
DreamIt is not unlike other localized incubators, such as Mountain View (CA) based Y Combinator and Boulder(CO)’s Techstars, which provide funding and essential services for early stage startups. Teams aren’t expected to have a business plan — only a great idea and a solid team. The program provides a team with up to $30,000 in startup capital, coaching from top mentors, complimentary legal and accounting services, connections to the startup community and office space in Philadelphia. At the end of the program, DreamIt hosts a Demo Day at which participating companies pitch to potential investors.
Although young — DreamIt funded its first class in 2008, with some graduates already achieving notable success. SCVNGR, a location-based gaming company, raised $4 million from Google Ventures and is already cash-flow positive after only a year; NoteHall, an online marketplace for college notes, was featured on ABC’s show ‘Shark Tank’ and received funding as a result; and SeatGeek, which forecasts sports and concert tickets, was a finalist at TechCrunch 50 and secured $500,000 in Series A funding.
“Our first two classes of DreamIt companies were exceptional,” said Mike Levinson, one of DreamIt’s founding partners. “We expect this year to be our best class yet. We will have more applicants than ever before, impressive new mentors and a more vibrant community of investors keeping an eye on our companies.”
Since the notable success of Y Combinator, incubators fitting the small seed funding, mentorship- and community-driven model are starting up all over the country. There are funds in San Francisco, Boulder, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, Austin, and Salt Lake City, Utah to name just a few. This is an important step forward for the startup community. New incubators, increase the opportunity for startups to get funded and succeed, by providing a vital ingredient: connections. If the current trend holds, we should see a lot more of these popping up in other population centers over the next few years — and it’s only a matter of time before one appears in your backyard.
Logan Leger is an engineer, entrepreneur and technologist based in Baton Rouge, LA. Having been involved in multiple startups, Logan is currently working on his own company, NewAperio, and building really awesome products. You can read his short quips on Twitter, longer rants and polemics on his blog or learn more about his company’s ventures at NewAperio’s website.