OpenIncubate: A Call to Arms for Open Source Innovators

ImageToday, along with Austin Ventures and The Valley Fund, and with strong support from the Open Compute Project and Facebook, we launched OpenIncubate.   Our goal is to reach the next generation of entrepreneurs who are leveraging the latest wave of open infrastructure hardware and software including OpenStack, The Open Compute Project and open networking.   After seeing the amount of energy and innovation at the last Open Compute Hackathon I was convinced that an opportunity existed and we should formalize our efforts.  OpenIncubate is the first time this recipe — funding, mentorship and workspace — has been brought together specifically for open source. 

We believe that by working together and leveraging each firm’s networks and ties into leading academic research institutions, we can identify and provide support for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs as they re-shape enterprise infrastructure.   Battery and AV have a long history of working together, including Bazaarvoice (which went public last year), and more recently Calxeda, who is leading the ARM server revolution.  While The Valley Fund is just getting off the ground, I’ve known Steve O’Hara since 2000 when he launched OnFiber; more recently he was instrumental in the early days of OpenStack at Nebula.  All three groups have deep infrastructure expertise and we are excited to be joined by such a great set of mentors and advisors to help emerging businesses get started. 

It’s been a little over two years since I was one of the few VCs attending the first Open Compute Summit in June 2011 on the old Facebook campus.  The excitement around the open source hardware ecosystem continues to grow and expand from mechanicals, racks, and motherboards through networking and systems management, and onto storage. End-customer requirements far beyond Facebook’s own needs are also pushing the market and pace of innovation forward quickly.   In a little over one year from announcement, major financial institutions have brought new OCP compliant servers into production.   As hardware gets cheaper, more flexible and more open, new software innovations on top of it are sure to follow.

Contrary to previous reporting, (Sorry Stacey :)) OpenIncubate isn’t purely hardware focused and will invest in hardware, software, and SaaS business.  We like IP not eyeballs. Our aim is to make 6-8 seed investments in the coming 12-18 months and work closely with young, early stage teams.  If you are interested in submitting a business plan or just want to learn, more check out and follow- us on Twitter @openincubate.


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