Hopkinton may soon be the home to a new start-up program for entrepreneurs, inviting not at the expected demographic of up-and-coming Millennials, but rather their parents, to join the startup revolution. This bucolic haven, snuggled in a collection of small communities and serene lakes, might not seem like a likely place for business innovation— but it is already home to one of the area’s biggest tech companies, EMC, and start-up accelerator program, TechSandbox. Barb Finer, founder of TechSandbox, is currently in talks with angel investors to gather together the $1 million necessary to get the newest program up and running.
The new program, called Techubator, would target entrepreneurs in their 40s and 50s, rather than the usual crowd of recent college graduates. The structure is loosely based on a similar company, Techstars of Boulder, Colorado. In exchange for a 6% equity, eight startups would be given 3 to 4 months of training, a co-working space, and an investment of $18,000. Employees for each venture are provided with educational programs and mentorship opportunities.
TechSandBox understands the difficulties facing new business creators. Their Piranha Pond concept has already made strides in helping entrepreneurs from the Metrowest area over the past three years. The new Techubator initiative would specifically target middle-aged entrepreneurs in the process developing prototypes for tech products.
Techubator will be designated to help a demographic that may not have the same advantages as the Millennial crowd when it comes to growing up in an entrepreneurial environment. Younger entrepreneurs have the advantage of being more at home with a typically younger crowd of business investors. Some of the older entrepreneurs Techubator will target are launching start-ups late in life because they lost a job in another industry. Some are “reluctant entrepreneurs,”; people who have ideas but delayed pursuing investors because they don’t feel that they “fit in” with the typical innovation crowd. Serial entrepreneurs who have been around the block, but may need that little extra help to get initial momentum are also the perfect candidates for this program.
TechSandBox is working hard to make this exciting idea a reality. The company has set a fundraising goal of $1 million to support its new program, as well as an additional $500,000 to expand Techsandbox’s “makerspace” where entrepreneurs can work on prototypes and hardware. Estimated launch time for the Hopkinton Techubator program is January 2016.