You’ve probably heard of a few newish venture-operator groups out there — Betaworks, Churn Labs and Science, Inc are some examples. They’re basically organizations that take the idea of incubation to the next level, by being professional venture firms that build companies to be run by seasoned entrepreneurs. But Minor Ventures was doing this back in 2005, and quietly won big over the years with hits like GrandCentral (now Google Voice), OpenDNS and Scout Labs.
Today, its namesake, Halsey Minor has become embroiled in various other issues, but Ron Palmeri has been putting together a new firm, called MkII Ventures (“mark 2” meaning new model or variant, such as for military hardware). The word among Minor Ventures CEOs has been that despite Palmeri’s low profile as managing director, he was a major factor in the firm’s success. So, he’s well positioned for this next move.
Details are scant, but there’s already some observable activity. Its first company is out of the gate — and in fact already presented at Disrupt last fall. Called Prism Skylabs, it offers a cloud service that takes unused images from surveillance videos and turns them into actionable information for store owners. This lets owners see the paths that people most commonly walk in a story or heat maps of where bodies go. I understand there are a few more projects in the works already, although I haven’t found out more details about them.
MkII has also been busy with funding. Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel, and the CrunchFund are in (with its biggest bet to date, from my understanding) and more are in the works. So keep your eye on this don’t-call-it-an-incubator, because it’s got the ingredients for some big hits.
[Photo via Erick Schonfeld.]