A new early-stage startup incubator, sfCube, has launched in San Francisco to seed as many as 12 companies with between $10,000 and $25,000. Its founders, startup veteran and former engineer Dylan Rosario and patent lawyer Ben Bedi, say they are especially interested in funding web-based services, cleantech initiatives and search companies.
The incubator is in the process of raising its fund, with a target between $8 and $20 million. It says the bulk of this money will come from private individuals, including friends and angel investors. In addition to financial support, sfCube will provide its portfolio companies with product development, legal, marketing, advertising and networking help. There is also a major emphasis on tapping the social web for promotional purposes. All of the participating startups are asked to make an inexpensive viral video for the web, and encouraged to take advantage of Twitter, Facebook and other Web 2.0 tools to spread the word.
As with many incubators, office space is also part of the equation. Startups can choose whether to pay between $70 and $300 a month for desk or office space and other resources. Already several companies reside in its 5,000 square-foot complex in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, including LaptopsAnytime, LK Designs and DonateSearch.
The incubator’s real strength lies seemingly with its founders, who have impressive experience and contacts between them. Rosario has helped found several startups, including real estate engine ReaYel.com, search tool fleeQ and ad network ExitExchange. He and Bedi also say they are familiar with government grant and stimulus programs that could give startups an important early leg-up. Otherwise, the firm sounds very familiar to recently-launched Berkeley Ventures, which is also devoted to seed-funding for young startups in the same sectors.