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YouWeb Incubator Comes to Hacker Dojo Rescue

MOUNTAINVIEW, CA – Not all alternative office space survives the shifting economic winds and officing trends. Sometimes you have to get creative to keep the alternative workspace trend alive.

Such is the story of Hacker Dojo, a Mountainview community center that’s about one-third coworking space, one-third events venue, and one-third big social living room. And it was in serious danger of vanishing from the alternative office space scene.

The City of Mountain View, Calif. required $250,000 in renovations or it was going to shut down the space. Despite broad community support, Hacker Dojo was still $50,000 short at the September deadline.

“It was certainly a nail-biter finish,” says Hacker Dojo Director of Development Katy Levinson from Mountainview. “We weren’t sure what we were going to do if we didn’t make it. We have hundreds of thousands of dollars of renovations which could not even be started until we could convince the contractors we could cut a check.”

Enter YouWeb, a “cradle to exit” technology incubator whose founder happens to be none other than serial entrepreneur Peter Relan. Relan swooped in and saved the Mountainview coworking facility by donating the last $57,000 to complete the Hacker Dojo fundraising campaign, which also saw contributions from the likes of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Microsoft, Google, AT&T, Palantir and funders on Kickstarter.

Founded in 2007, YouWeb specializes in recruiting driven and technically talented entrepreneurs, without an idea, team or business plan, who have the potential to start a great software company. There were clear synergies. Both Hacker Dojo and YouWeb support technical hackers as they develop their projects and products.

“I started my career as a hacker, and I spend almost all my time today at YouWeb working with other developers and hackers,” Relan says. “The idea that the world’s largest community center of hackers, could be displaced right here in Silicon Valley, was simply not acceptable to me.”

Next challenge: making the renovations to the Mountainview coworking facility by the December deadline. Once basic renovations are completed, the Mountainview center will build an events space and design studio so it can support more aesthetically creative types.

“We’re really excited to be working together,” said Levinson. “Both groups share a love of understanding technology and an unfettered yet directioned creative process. This is going to be awesome, what you’re seeing is only the beginning.”

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About the Author

Jennifer LeClaire

Jennifer LeClaire is a veteran business journalist, editor and new media entrepreneur with a strong niche in real estate and technology. She works from a home office on the beach in South Florida. You can reach her through LinkedIn. www.linkedin.com/in/jleclaire

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