With fewer than 40,000 residents, Blacksburg is less than half the size of startup hub Boulder, CO, but the city's ties to Virginia Tech make it a fertile spot for its budding startup community. DayOne Ventures is taking advantage of the growing buzz in the area with its highly concentrated experience which will accept just 3 companies to participate this summer.
Those selected will benefit from up to $16,000 in seed funding, free office space, Internet access and hosting, legal assistance with incorporating their company and setting up stock plans, and mentorship from an panel of experienced entrepreneurs. DayOne co-founder and mentor Bill Boebel has prior experience himself with starting a company in Blacksburg; in 1999 he and a pair of co-founders created Webmail.us, an enterprise email solution.
"It was really awesome doing our startup down in Blacksburg because of the low cost of doing it. We were able to fail three times before we figured out the right idea," Boebel told ReadWriteWeb. "The cost of failing in Blacksburg is a lot lower than the cost of failing in Silicon Valley."
Eventually, Boebel and his co-founders molded Webmail.us into a profitable company which was later acquired by Rackspace in 2007. The Rackspace presence in Blacksburg remains to this day and is a reminder of the city's most successful Internet startup. Now as an experienced entrepreneur, Boebel and others are teaming together to provide local startups (or those that choose to relocate for the program) with the mentorship and resources to get started.
TechStars and Y Combinator aren't necessarily everyone's cup of tea; DayOne, one the other hand, brings a bit of small town flavor to the already close-knit startup culture - a flavor that could produce some interesting results with their exclusive incubator. Applications for the 10-week program are open now, so if you're in the Blacksburg area or wouldn't mind relocating for the summer, be sure to look into the DayOne Ventures program.