High-profile execs looking for a few good entrepreneurs

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A band of high-profile start-up executives in San Francisco is launching a new venture to help young entrepreneurs.

The four partners in i/o ventures are Aber Whitcomb, former MySpace CTO; Ashwin Navin, former BitTorrent and Yahoo exec; Jim Young, co-founder of HotOrNot; and Paul Bragiel, co-founder of Lefora and Meetro.


They are housing the new venture in a 7,000-square-foot office building in San Francisco that they bought and are outfitting with desks, conference rooms and a 2,000-square-foot cafe that will be open to the public.

The goal is to recruit five companies every four months to participate in an incubator. In exchange for $25,000, four months of advice, office space and access to industry heavyweights, angel investors and venture capitalists who have promised to drop by frequently, start-ups give up about 8% of their equity.

‘In our opinion, it’s an amazing deal,’ Bragiel said.

Those behind i/o ventures have already decided on two companies, so that leaves three slots available for the program, which begins March 1. Bragiel said i/o ventures started accepting applications today.

This is familiar ground for successful outfits like Y Combinator. But while the concept is certainly not a new one, it’s one that continues to gain traction in an industry in which connections can be everything.

And the list of potential mentors is an impressive one: Russ Simmons of Yelp and Aaron Patzer of Mint are just two. And who wouldn’t kill to get feedback from uber technology blogger Michael Arrington?

-- Jessica Guynn