Photo: Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
Paul Bragiel is the kind of guy I wish I had met when I first came to San Francisco.The bearded serial entrepreneur — Paragon5, Meetro, and Lefora — likes hanging out with young startups and is open to sharing contacts and relationships. He treats the entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and tech community like family.
And that’s why he operates his co-working space like it’s a living room.
Today, I stopped by this workspace, i/o Ventures, which is located in a coffee shop (with couches).
Entrepreneurs who are sick of wearing their pjs at home can come in to work or venture capitalists can come to hear a pitch.
Bragiel is anxiously awaiting the deadline to his accelerator program — similar to Y Combinator and TechStars — which runs twice a year. Applications close on Monday at midnight.
“I’m looking for early stage startups with a prototype — in consumer Internet, gaming, and mobile. I’m interested in collaborative consumption (like Airbnb and Uber) and quantified self companies (like Fitbit). Straight-up enterprise companies bore me. I have no interest in energy and biotech stuff,” Bragiel said.
So far, he’s gotten about 500 applications, though he expects 500 more. The applications have come from United States and rest of the world (besides Antarctica).
“Everyone waits until the last minute,” he said.
Five companies will be selected into the program in February, and will get $25,000 in funding and office space. Bragiel said it is a big deal for young entrepreneurs like Ryan Merket, founder of Appstores.com, who comes from Oklahoma and was in the first batch of startups.
After a week in the program, he was meeting with the founders of YouTube and MySpace.
The program is three months long. “Every Tuesday, we have a dinner with me and my partners. It’s an open environment. Every Wednesday, we have a VC come in for dinner here or at a restaurant. Thursdays and Fridays, we do office hours with anyone on our mentor list,” he said.
What about the track record? Three acquisitions, seven rounds of funding, and one self-sustaining business that needs no outside funding. They are 11 for 11, so they must be doing something right.