Almanac

News - September 3, 2014

HelloStartups aims to be incubator, accelerator

by Tiffany Lam

HelloStartups, which opened offices in Menlo Park in June, provides office space for about 15 startups at 68 Willow Road, the company says.

The company is a joint venture between BootUp Ventures, which provides business services and advisers, and SOMAcentral, a company that provides office space, according to Mukul Agarwal and Marco ten Vaanholt, managing partners of BootUp Ventures.

The 23,000-square-foot building has 47 private offices that go for $2,000 to $4,000 a month. Half of the private offices are already full, Mr. Agarwal said.

But the company wants to provide more than just space, according to Mr. Agarwal and Mr. ten Vaanholt.

"We're building an ecosystem — a long lasting network," said Mr. ten Vaanholt, who referred to HelloStartups as not just a startup incubator, but also a full-service "accelerator."

"We want to provide access to talent, services, partners, customers, and capital," he said.

"The best spaces have teams surrounding themselves with other teams of the same caliber," said Mike Dorsey, co-founder of DataFox, a client of HelloStartups and a tenant at 68 Willow Road. "HelloStartups gives us communal space to develop those networks."

HelloStartups is a complement to BootUp Ventures, which didn't previously offer office space for its companies, said Mr. Agarwal.

The company also wants to involve companies from outside Silicon Valley.

"We hope to help foreign companies from outside of the U.S.," said Mr. ten Vaanholt, who referred to the Silicon Valley as a "secret walled garden."

"HelloStartups will play an important role in enhancing Menlo Park's already distinguished business community," said Jim Cogan, economic development manager of Menlo Park. "As we seek to create a diverse and sustainable tax base full of great jobs for Menlo Park residents, these are the types of companies that we need to come here and grow here."

Given its location between Sand Hill Road and Facebook, the city is expecting great things, said Ray Mueller, mayor of Menlo Park.

Willow Garage, a robotics research lab, formerly occupied the building. Property owner Greenheart Land Company, a development and investment firm, brought in HelloStartups to attract growing companies.

Greenheart is currently seeking approvals for a mixed-use project at 1300 El Camino that would include about 210,000 square feet of office space.

All three companies — Greenheart, Willow Garage and HelloStartups — have the financial backing of former high-level Google employee Scott Hassan.

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