i/o Ventures – A Work/Cafe Incubator Launches In San Francisco

A small group of high profile startup executives are preparing to launch their next venture – a workspace incubator and angel investment fund called i/o ventures that aims to help new startups get a start with some initial capital and a cool place to work. The company is located in San Francisco.

The four partners include former Aber Whitcomb (former MySpace CTO), Ashwin Navin (former President and Co-founder of BitTorrent and former corporate development exec at Yahoo), Jim Young (cofounder HotOrNot) and Paul Bragiel (cofounder of Lefora and Meetro).

i/o ventures is a 7,000 square foot office building located at 780 Valencia in San Francisco. Most of the space has been fitted for work, with 40+ desks and conference rooms.

Anyone can pay to work there for a day or longer at a rate of $150/month/desk (a bargain). The catch is the desks are shared, which means you may be at a different one each day. You keep your stuff in a locker. Electricity and Internet is included.

But the real point of i/o ventures is to incubate startups. They’re taking applications for the first class of startups in their accelerator program. You get space at their office for 4 months (plus another two months if you need it) and $25,000 in seed money. Each of the five companies in each class gives up “around 8%” of their equity for the investments and space.

i/o ventures also providing mentoring from a long list of entrepreneurs and investors who have promised to stop by frequently. I’m one of those mentors, and I plan to work from their offices for a few days each month (I’m not being compensated in any way for this).

The cherry on top is the i/o ventures cafe, a 2,000 square foot retail cafe open to the public. The cafe opens its doors around February 1.

The first batch of startups take residence on March 1. Apply here. You must move to the bay area to be part of the program, and your living expense are your problem. The partners tell me that founders absolutely, positively cannot crash out at i/o ventures because the space isn’t zoned for residential use. They also noted that there are showers at the location, and suggested that they may turn a blind eye, unofficially you understand, to the odd sleeping bag in the office.

The team sent over a few pictures of what the space looks like today (taken by Mike Czupryn). It’s not much to look at today, but you can get an idea for how it may look when it’s finished. There’s also a conceptual drawing that we added to their CrunchBase profile.