Women 2.0 announced today that, thanks to its success, its Founder Labs pre-incubator program will become its own, separate organization. Moreover, the program will expand from its current San Francisco location to New York City, with the first East Coast program set to begin in May.
Founder Labs has been a core piece of the Women 2.0 mission: that is, to increase the number of female founders of tech startups. The pre-incubator program lets participants keep their day jobs, with its sessions held on nights and weekends. It's a fast-paced, five-week program, focused on building mobile apps, giving participants hands-on experience validating an idea, and working with others.
It's all about establishing a "founder history," in the words of Women 2.0 co-founder Shaherose Charania, helping prospective entrepreneurs move from idea, to team, to prototype.
Founder Labs boasts a great list of mentors and guest speakers, and the expansion to New York will add to that. Venture capitalist Fred Wilson will be serving as a mentor, along with his wife Joanne Wilson, both of whom penned blog posts this morning announcing the new program: "There is a lot coming together in NYC right now. We've got startup fever in addition to spring fever. And Founder Labs is a great addition to the landscape. If you are a woman with an idea for a mobile application/business and need some help developing it, you should really consider Founder Labs."
Applications for the first NYC program open April 20, and applications for the next San Francisco Founder Labs will open on June 24.