Tandem Entrepreneurs, an incubator and capital fund founded in 2007, invests both money and time in early-stage startups, but founders Doug Renert and Sunil Bhargava don’t consider themselves VCs. Instead, they’re just a group of entrepreneurs with decades of startup experience between them that have turned their focus to providing resources to their fellow entrepreneurs and startup founders. And today they’re announcing the creation of a new incubator, targeted specifically at early-stage startups in the mobile space. Of course, what’s an incubator without cool digs? Tandem will be establishing the new incubator’s headquarters in a newly-renovated Victorian home in Burlingame, CA, with its doors officially set to open on August 3rd.
Tandem will be accepting applications from mobile startups beginning today, and plans to select eight teams to participate in its fall program, which will continue annually thereafter. (Applications are due by September 1st.) The program will take place over a six-month time frame with Tandem providing a mix of both support and cash investment. This means that the Tandem team will be working hand-in-hand with founders to assist in strategy, product design, architecture, user acquisition, employee recruiting, etc., and each company will receive $200,000 in a convertible note in exchange for 10 percent common equity.
As such, Tandem is looking to find a middle ground between Y Combinator, TechStars, and Sequoia, in an effort to provide start-to-finish experiential guidance for their startups along with a chunk of capital that can really help a product or service get off the ground. Just as Paul Graham of Y Combinator has said that he often chooses to invest in people rather than ideas, the company said that its search will prioritize entrepreneurs with product skills and overall vision — that the passion of candidates is more important than market traction.
Eight of Tandem’s last nine portfolio companies have received positive liquidity or additional funding at stepped-up valuations while working with the incubator. Among those were Attassa’s acquisition by YouSendIt, FlightCaster’s acquisition by Next Jump, and ZumoDrive’s acquisition by Motorola.
While high quality incubators and accelerators are to be found across the U.S., Tandem hopes to distinguish itself from the pack not only by focusing its efforts on the exploding mobile space but by offering highly-involved guidance from strategic down to field tactics. It also helps that the incubator will be offering its eight startups ten times the average investment Y Combinator makes in its startups, though that does come at a price of 10 percent equity.
Check it out, and let us know what you think. For more on Tandem entrepreneurs, click here.