Italian startup incubator H-Farm Ventures is running a competition with $200,000 prize money to fund the the 10 most original and potentially successful ideas for web shows, interactive formats and what they call “trans-media narration”. Cirkus is a competition that ends on September 5th, 2009, and is open to anyone who can come up with a fresh and engaging web based program. The winners will be awarded on September 17th, where their formats will be pitched to representatives of potential buyers from broadcasters, brands and social networks.
They will begin to work on their projects as part of the Shado team in Treviso, Italy, where they will get support for anything from the production process to marketing to publishing. They will also get a 10% revenue share based on the commercial use of the format.
Cirkus is part of H-Farm’s seed program, a six-monthly competition aimed at finding new ideas to be converted into startups: last year the focus was on iPhone apps, and the winning project, called Mappper [iTunes], has been released lately on Apple’s AppStore, after being developed internally by the digital division named H-art.
H-Farm (in case you’re wondering, “H” stands for “human”) is not an ordinary incubator, at least for the Italian market. Actually, it’s really one of a kind in this country, where venture capital strives to become more common and early stage investments mixed with support and mentoring for enterpreneurs are just a shadow of what they are elsewhere. H-Farm acts both as an investor and an enabler, providing funds up to 600K euros as well as a range of services to take care of red-tape in creating companies. They have offices in Seattle, Mumbai and London (coming soon), while their headquarters are in northern Italy.
On a call with founder and CEO Riccardo Donadon we’ve been given inside previews of a couple of projects that we’ll be probably covering as soon as they exit their private beta stage. Namely, Thounds will be an online recording and sharing platform for musicians to collaborate on the same track, while Shicon will be dedicated to designers and fashion lovers, encouraging them (through a social awarding system) to work on original designs to be featured on t-shirts, furniture, etc.