Austin Startup Mentoring Program Launches

“January 30, 2009, Austin, TX – A new Austin-based technology incubator program with a heavy emphasis on mentorship, coined “Capital Factory,” officially launched today. The program, founded by local entrepreneurs including Joshua Baer, Sam Decker and Bryan Menell, will select 10 finalists from a pool of applicants, and eventually three winners. Winning companies will receive a long list of benefits including up to $20,000 in cash, and weekly mentoring sessions with a select group of proven, successful technology entrepreneurs.

The deadline for startups interested in applying to be part of the Capital Factory program is March 30, 2009 (application is online at While the focus is primarily on early stage technology companies, there is no official limitation on the type of company that can apply for consideration. Capital Factory will announce the three winning companies on April 13th, and then kick off a 10-week summer program on May 22nd. During the 10-week summer incubator program, Capital Factory will provide the selected companies the following resources and benefits:

* Up to $20,000 in cash
* Weekly mentoring sessions
* Investor introductions
* Basic IT infrastructure for email, website, version control
* Office space
* Company formation and legal documents
* A logo and coporate identity if needed
* Service provider introductions
* Recruiting support
* Press support

“We see Austin as an ideal place for this type of program because there is so much energy and interest here from great entrepreneurs who want to give back,” said Bryan Menell, co-founder and managing director of Capital Factory. “The access each company in our portfolio will get to our network of mentors, customers, service providers, and other resources will offer immeasurable value above and beyond the money they receive.”

By the program’s end, the goal is ultimately to have enabled the companies to build a solid demo and to be on a clear path toward cash flow. In return, Capital Factory will receive a 5% equity stake in the portfolio companies under founder-friendly terms.

“Fundraising is important, but the best CEOs find advice from those with ‘scar tissue’ to mitigate risks and amplify their work”, said Sam Decker, co-founder and managing director of Capital Factory. “Now, that’s more important than ever. With Capital Factory, the new CEO gets both: $20k of cash and over 20 mentors to help build a successful company.”

Capital Factory’s first annual program will officially come to a close in August when they host “Demo Day” for the companies, which will be streamed live over the Internet. Angel investors, early stage venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, media and more will be invited to come out and see the portfolio companies’ demos as well as help them identify next steps.

“The recent economic turmoil may have changed the landscape of startup fundraising forever. Companies that will be successful in the coming years must be capital efficient and customer focused,” said Joshua Baer, co-founder and managing director of Capital Factory. “Our goal is to help each company graduate from the Capital Factory program with a clear line of sight to sustainable cash flow.”

MENTORS ON BOARD – The first batch of mentors being announced as part of the Capital Factory initiative make up an impressive “who’s who” of successful experienced technology entrepreneurs in the Austin area, including:

* Joshua Baer is the Founder and CEO of OtherInbox, and is a widely recognized email marketing pioneer with a unique combination of technical, business and legal experience. He bootstrapped his first two businesses, SKYLIST and UnsubCentral, and grew them to be market leading solutions before the companies were sold. Joshua has helped many other entrepreneurs get their start-ups off the ground such as Bazaarvoice, Greenling, Lashback and Rackspace Hosting’s Mosso.

* Bryan Menell is an investor and advisor to early stage technology companies, as well as an entrepreneur in his own right. Bryan currently advises Moximity, MomentumSI, and Socialware, and has founded past companies including Fusion Learning Systems, Perficient and Exact Systems. Additionally, he founded and currently heads up, a blog devoted to news from the local Austin startup community.

* Sam Decker is the Chief Marketing Officer at Bazaarvoice, the leader in Software as a Service (SaaS) social commerce technologies. Sam built the company’s current product portfolio and is responsible for leading corporate marketing and PR. Before that, he spent seven years of leadership at Dell, Inc., including leading from 1999-2003 Dell’s consumer website, building into the largest consumer eCommerce site. He is author of two books on word of mouth marketing and has led sales, marketing and business development for three CA-based Series A startups.

* Brian Beard is a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Austin. Brian joined the firm from the Austin office of Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP, which he co-founded in 1997. Brian helped build one of the leading technology practices in Texas, assisting emerging growth companies raise billions of dollars in private and public offerings. He also has handled several billion dollars in mergers and acquisitions transactions and has represented leading venture capital firms in Texas and throughout the country.

* Jeremy Bencken is a serial entrepreneur with expertise in search marketing and consumer Internet monetization. He is currently Chairman of BuzzStream and General Manager of, a site he co-founded in 2000 and sold to Internet Brands in 2007.

* Ian Clarke is a computer scientist and entrepreneur with a track record of both technical and business innovation, and an outspoken activist on issues relating to freedom of speech, intellectual property law, and technology. He is the founder and coordinator of the Freenet Project and has also founded a number of innovative and diverse commercial ventures such as Revver and Thoof.

* Jason Cohen, the founder of Smart Bear, makers of Code Collaborator, the most popular software development peer code review tool. Jason also wrote Best Kept Secrets of Peer Code Review in 2006, which is now the most popular book on the subject.

* Pat Condon is one of the co-founders of Rackspace Hosting (NYSE:RAX). Over the last 10 years, he has lead marketing, sales, customer care and business development as well as helped to champion Rackspace’s unique flavor of customer service, Fanatical Support. Today, Pat guides their product and strategy perspective and is currently working on Rackspace’s cloud computing initiative. Pat is an advisor and early stage investor in a number of startups.

* Ryan Koonce is an internet industry veteran with over a decade of start-up experience building venture-backed and bootstrapped companies. Ryan is currently the founder and CEO of Westlake Products, Inc., and also owns and operates the SuperPoints Network. Additionally, he publishes the Scuba Travel Guide, operates and sits on a number of advisory boards.

* Chris Sherman is one of the world’s foremost experts on the video game industry and virtual worlds. Touting more than 17 years experience, he has been at the intersection of media and technology since the early 1990s, having founded numerous companies during that time. Most recently Chris founded Show Initiative, LLC with the creation of the Austin Game Conference in 2003, which he sold to CMP Technology in 2006.

Capital Factory is still accepting applications from those interested in becoming a Mentor. A link to the mentor application can be found here (

For more information on Capital Factory, or to find out other ways to get involved, visit The application for interested startups can be found at”

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