Building a startup for startups
In late 2009 a good friend of mine (@HamedBangoura) and I exchanged ideas in a Skype chat. We used to do these kind of talks a lot back then, when we both were at our most productive stage, full of ideas and plans, but without the required capital to fund any of them. One of the ideas was to create an “Angel Incubator” in Zagreb, Croatia. That was in 2009. This month we launched that incubator and named it Core Incubator.
Incubators are not new as neither angel investors are. The combination of both was something that profoundly captivated my imagination due to endless synergy possibilities and knowledge sharing. A space where different startups, all funded by the same angel investor, could work on own projects and share ideas, solutions, problems, difficulties, issues and grow all together. The very basic idea of creating a shared space where programmers from different companies could work together or on their own, a space where you can work in an office or on a terrace or in the park across the road. A space where the incubator culture would spark individual company cultures for each startup as it leaves for the “real world”.
Nothing of this is new. There are countless examples of similar investors that decided not only to invest but to also work daily with startups they funded. One of the most widely known, and a personal inspiration, is Idealab, the brainchild of Bill Gross. The key drive for us was the possibility to develop ideas into projects and young entrepreneurs into future leaders. We knew that we could not build our company by just offering funding and office space. We had to develop entrepreneurs. We had to give them all our knowledge and teach them how to think and how to look at things from a different perspective.
The idea we had required funding. One one hand funding for the incubator itself (office space, employees, running costs) and on the other capital that we could invest in startups. Getting funding for this “off the chart” risky project was impossible via usual paths so we targeted big investors that would share our belief and passion. And that search was a journey that took a great toll on us. Without entering into too much details, we did find an investor that liked our approach. After 3/4 of a year negotiating, in a very hot desert day, the contract was signed in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
We received funding to change the way young entrepreneurs start companies. We are bound to create a deep shift in how startups are treated and what is required in order to succeed on the market. Regardless of the economic climate and obstacles, we will profoundly alter the startup scene in the region. Connecting independent angel investors and venture capital funds, we will enable a great exchange of knowledge and investment opportunities, enabling startups in our incubator to present their products in front of future investors.
But most importantly, we will listen for and invest in ideas. We require no previous experience and provide everything needed to start.
— Core Incubator (@coreincubator) February 27, 2013
I took the position of COO in that company because I love to tinker with engines and streamline processes. The team that we’re building right now is very eager to do good things and I’m extremely happy to be in the position to allow them to do their best.