Here comes Kick, an ‘inclusive incubator’ where tuition must be paid via crowdfunding

kickYou might say that there’s a bit of incubator overload these days. After all, this marks our third post of the day on the topic of startup incubators — following news from the Nike+ Accelerator in Portland and the announcement of the new cohort at 9Mile Labs in Seattle.

Now, here comes another incubator, though this one has a few unique twists. Get ready for Kick. The incubator is the brainchild of Michael “Luni” Libes, the Seattle serial entrepreneur who is also in the process of building out another incubator for “conscious companies” under the brand Fledge.

With Kick, Libes wants to fill a gap by catering to those companies that don’t make the cut at Founders Institute, TechStars, 9Mile Labs or, even, his other incubator Fledge. It’s also designed for entrepreneurs emerging from education programs like Startup Weekend, The University of Washington business plan competition or weekend hackathons, those who may have an idea but just need help getting it off the ground.

He describes it as a program for those entrepreneurs who are “diligently working on their plans, but who are not making the cut into the ‘exclusive’ programs.”

Kick has some other unique attributes that sets it apart. For one, it won’t take an equity stake in the companies that move through the program. But even more interesting is that it plans to require that all entrants pay for their $2,000 tuition though a crowdfunding effort on StartSomeGood. Participants must raise funds from at least 10 “supporters” as a proof of “sincerity” and “viability.”

In other words, you’ve got to get into fundraising mode immediately if you want into this incubator. Kick will be housed in the HUB Seattle, where Fledge also is based. (Discounts do apply for those who are HUB members). Members will meet twice per week at the Pioneer Square location from July 1 to August 22, with courses running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Libes expects about a dozen participants, noting that the summer hours could cut down on attendance.

Luni Libes

Luni Libes

The program is open to entrepreneurs of all stripes — hence the tagline of the “inclusive incubator.”

“This program is open to app developers and social entrepreneurs, as well as ideas for new non-profits and those looking to start a small lifestyle company on the side,” said Libes, who previously founded tech startups such as Medio, GroundTruth, 2Way and Nimble Corp.

He also said it differs from programs like NEXT, the new offering from Startup Weekend that is attempting to help entrepreneurs move their ideas beyond the 54-hour coding marathons. Startup Weekend’s Marc Nager has described that new offering as a “pre-accelerator.”

In fact, Libes agrees that Kick could also serve as a feeder system to some of the other accelerators, whether it be TechStars or 9Mile Labs. Or, possibly, not.

“If I do my job well, and the participant spends far more than two days per week on their business, they could skip that step and either go straight to investors or bootstrap via revenues,” he says.

Previously on GeekWireFledge: A startup incubator for socially-conscious startups takes flight with new cash

  • ChetCrunch

    I like the idea of an “inclusive” incubator. I might need to freshen up on the definition of the word “incubator” as it’s being thrown around a lot lately. (SURF “incubator” which is synonymous with SURF office space) I think there are a lot of people out there, including myself, who at some point would greatly benefit from a program like this. I love that there are no equity requirements either. Cool program, looking forward to seeing how it goes!

  • lunarmobiscuit

    I agree the term “incubator” is overloaded, but English has no better term to offer for programs like Kick, or Fledge, or SURF, which differ immensely in operations, but in the end all exist for the same purpose of assisting entrepreneurs.

  • Ryan

    Another great addition to Seattle’s entrepreneurship scene?! Luni’s become an expert ecosystem architect — keep it up!

  • ChuksOnwuneme

    New addition to the Fledge family. Way to go, Luni! Looks like incubator/accelerator is the new buzzword in town.

  • Sanjay Puri

    Congrats Luni, what a unique idea! Love the fact that Seattle entrepreneurs have yet another support resource.

  • Mike Mathieu

    Awesome to connect the ethos of populist Kickstarter with exclusive/competitive Y Combinator.