LouiseLouise Vignau, our Us office manager, takes the floor for a column dedicated to IT ecosystem in Silicon Valley in the aim to give you a lightning about new trends in this market in constant mutation. This opus is didicated to Runway one of the most rising and innovative incubator in San Francisco.

 

HI everybody!

I want to talk about a brand new incubator in SF that opened 4 months ago and already has 36 companies (and does not even have a website yet!). This outstanding incubator is Runway [piste] founded by Allan Young.

 

Runway is a collaboration/innovation space and incubator located in Downtown [expression pour designer le centre de SF] in a neighborhood called Soma [‘SOuth of MArket’, ‘Market stands for ‘Market street’, which is kind of the San Francisco’s ‘Hight street shopping ’!]. This neighborhood used to be one of the poorest of San Francisco but it is now changing, little by little.

 

Runway is in the same building as Twitter, Yammer and One Kings Lane. It is a 30 000 sqft [square feet: 100sqft = 9,3 m2] space with 200 seats for startups’ founders. It is one of the largest SF incubator but, it has the lowest number of seats per sqft. It might be because of this long runway (see photo) where they lose third of their space. Did I say ‘lose’?  I actually meant ‘gain’ because leaving the space very open and not packing startups in it is one of the particular Runway’s characteristic.

 

Allan youngMeeting Allan Young – Runway’s founder – is always awesome: this entrepreneur (with experience in technology, venture capital, private equity, and asset management) has a strong background in business and entrepreneurship. Among other (thousands) things, he is the founder and CEO of CallSocket [http://www.callsocket.com/], and he has co-funded (with Y Combinator, one of the most famous Silicon Valley’s accelerator) the company LauchHear [http://launchhear.com/]

 

As an experienced entrepreneur, Allan Young’s vision of what should be an incubator is very different from many others. He truly aims at serving entrepreneurs’ interests. His dream will come true when Runway will be free for the startups. According to him, the furniture, the appliances and the infrastructure are secondary. The priority is to have amazing people, teams and companies so that everybody truly learns from each other (what is facilitated by this very open space).

 

According to Allan, the actual superstars should be the entrepreneurs, not the VC’s. Indeed, even if VC’s are very often necessary to raise a startup from the ground, they usually do not really care about the product or the startup. Many of them are just interested in quick return on investment and in risk’s diversification. For Allan Young, one should invest in the companies that he really believes and be interested in.

 

Allan Young can be simply defined as ‘the entrepreneurs defender’ and, it works: Runway does not even have any website yet, they already have 36 companies and they receive many others applications every day!

 

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Figure 1 Runway’s runway

 

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Figure 2 The igloo

 

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