O2 Incubator Project performs U-Turn – more than one startup to get support

[UK] We didn’t exactly heap praise on O2’s Incubator Project, describing aspects of the scheme as ‘pretty dumb’. However, in what appears to be a U-Turn, the mobile operator has, at least to some degree, addressed one of our main criticisms.

Rather than a single startup receiving support, O2 will now sponsor a number of start-ups for an initial period, one of which will then receive extended funding in return for giving the operator the right to acquire them.

Here’s a quick re-cap of how the O2 Incubator Project will work.

Teams of 2-3 developers are being invited to submit ideas for “a network for small businesses” which will help them “sell services to each other and build reputations.” It’s to be a web app not mobile specific and must deliver an “outstanding online experience.” As we noted before, that’s the brief in its entirety.

The eventual winner will then be given a monthly allowance in consideration for O2 having the option to buy the business for up to £1 million at the end of 12 months.

Confusingly, O2 doesn’t appear to be ruling out an IP-only acquisition – founders won’t necessarily be required to stay with the company after any buyout.

And we still stand by our reasoning that should O2 exercise its right to make a purchase at the end of the 12 months, what they’ll be acquiring could be worth more than £1 million.

Applications are open till the 31st of January and you’ll need to be eligible to live and work in the UK.