Springboard 2.0 – the accidental incubator grows up

Last year, Red Gate ran Springboard. We called it the accidental incubator – we’d offered free desk space to a handful of interesting people and we figured that we might as well formalise it into an incubator.

In true version v 1.0, lean startup fashion we just hacked it together and shipped it as soon as possible. We didn’t bother taking equity in the start-ups (this was about proving it could work, and we didn’t have time to sort out the paperwork), the mentoring was, frankly, a little half-arsed (essentially Simon and myself telling the start-ups ‘to just effing well ship it’ every couple of days). The speakers were fantastic though (Joel Spolsky, Peldi and Ryan Carson came along, among others), and the start-ups were great.

We took on four teams. One team – Tidepowerd – are doing some really interesting work with GPU computing and .net. Pagerduty went off to Y Combinator in the US. Some of the start-ups who inspired Springboard are doing well too: Mixcloud, the online home for on-demand radio, is connecting tens of thousands of DJs to hundreds of thousands of listeners; Rahul, Martin and Sam founded Rapportive and went to Y Combinator.

This year, we decided to do it properly. We’ve spun Springboard out of Red Gate. It’s being funded and supported more widely and is being run out of ideaSpace, part of Cambridge University. Jon Bradford, who ran the Difference Engine incubator in the North East, is running it now. He’s found a ton of mentors, and it’s going to be great.

The deadline is 20th February. You can read more, and apply on the Springboard web site.