New TechStars Network Member MuckerLab Launches In L.A.

MuckerLab, a new startup accelerator and member of the TechStars Network, is launching today in L.A. The three-month program will provide its selected startups with $21,000 in seed funding, plus the typical incubator benefits like shared office space, legal assistance, infrastructure and hosting, and, of course, mentorship from a network of advisors.

The program has two full-time founders, Erik Rannala, formerly of Harrison Metal, and William Hsu, who most recently served as Chief Product Officer at AT&T Interactive. There are also two part-time founders, HauteLook’s Greg Bettinelli and Happiness Engines founder Yan-David Erlich. Collectively, the group has founded, operated, and helped scale many of the most successful Internet companies including eBay, Google, Green Dot, HauteLook, LinkedIn, Live Nation, AT&T, StubHub and TripAdvisor.

MuckerLab, whose name is a reference to Thomas Edison’s original group of researchers and very old-school hackers, offers a large network of mentors including Brett Markinson of HauteLook, Brian Lee of ShoeDazzle and LegalZoom, Hiten Shah of Kissmetrics, Howard Lindzon of StockTwits and Wallstrip, Paige Craig of BetterWorks, Ryan Steelberg of DMarc, and Tyler Goldman of BUZZMEDIA.  The investors serving as mentors include Aileen Lee of Kleiner Perkins, Beau Laskey of Steamboat, Chris Farmer of General Catalyst, Dana Stalder of Matrix Partners, Dana Settle of Greycroft, David Travers of Rustic Canyon, Jeremy Liew of LightSpeed, and Jesse Jacobs of Chernin Group.

“L.A. sees historically great venture returns, second only to Silicon Valley,” explains Rannala, talking about what he calls the “most under-hyped market in the country.” In ticking off L.A.’s pluses, he notes that L.A. has seen many great exits, it’s the center of media and entertainment, it has three of the top ten engineering schools and it has a tech labor force that’s the same size as in the Valley.

“But the ecosystem is not as mature, or well-formed,”  Rannala says. “There’s a gap in the early stage – the seed stage to Series A.” And that’s where MuckerLab will come in.

Despite L.A.’s media and entertainment focus, the accelerator isn’t just looking for startups in those verticals, although Rannala admits that there probably will be more media-related startups forming here. However, ad technology and e-commerce have also thrived in L.A., he notes.

Classes, which will kick off in January, will probably include a selection of 5 to 10 companies, depending on the quality of the applications. There will be a strong bias for fully formed teams who are 100% committed to their startup.

Applications are now being accepted here.