Mountain View, California (EastBayDaily) — The City of Mountain View required $250,000 in renovations, and the situation at Hacker Dojo looked bleak: despite an outpouring of community support the Dojo still had over $50,000 to raise by the September deadline, or it faced being shut down at the end of December.
“It was certainly a nail-biter finish,” said Director of Development Katy Levinson, who has been running the fundraising campaign since late January, “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.”
Fortunately, YouWeb, a “Cradle to Exit” technology incubator, and its founder, serial entrepreneur Peter Relan, stepped in and saved the day, together donating the last $57,000 the Dojo needed to complete its fundraising campaign. Earlier contributors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Microsoft, Google, AT&T, Palantir and funders on Kickstarter, also played an important part to help the hacker community center reach its goal.
YouWeb, founded in 2007, 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. In its short five year history, it has a strong exit record (including OpenFeint, sold to GREE for $104m) and a good history of creating sustainable businesses such as CrowdStar, the leading developer for social mobile social games for female developers and cloud gaming player Agawi. 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,” said Relan. “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. I spoke to Katy on the last Friday night of their campaign goal, and after not sleeping well over it I called the next day to make my pledge. YouWeb and I are dedicated to the mission of supporting hackers and developers all over the globe, because they represent the best chance we have of improving our societies and conserving our planet’s scarce resources.”
Now freed from the daunting threat of being financially unable to complete renovations, Hacker Dojo is working hard to implement the changes necessary by the December deadline. Once basic renovations are completed, the center will build an events space for young conferences to use for free and design studio so it can support more aesthetically creative types.
Meanwhile YouWeb is continuing to roll out more support for hackers and technical founders grappling with business with its new project Founder Quorum, which serves as an ongoing open Q&A for entrepreneurs much like Reddit’s famous AMAs (Ask Me Anything)s. Relan has made himself available to answer all variety of questions, and the entire dialogue is open for other students to learn from.
“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.”
About Hacker Dojo
Hacker Dojo is a community center in Mountain View which is about 1/3rd coworking space, 1/3rd events venue, and 1/3rd a big social living room. In the spirit of SuperHappyDevHouse, we're creating a physical community space for hackers and thinkers on the Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is a location for events, lectures, parties, BarCamps, DevHouses, LAN parties, hackathons, knitting circles, tinkering, brainstorming, coworking, and more. While Hacker Dojo is technically a "members only" private club, we welcome visitors to many of our lectures and classes, and invite people to use the space on a drop-in basis as well. The Dojo is a community space first and foremost – this means that the focus of the layout and activities is to lend itself to be a useful place to throw classes, host parties, brainstorm, and hang out.
YouWeb was created by Peter Relan, a successful serial entrepreneur, Silicon Valley executive, angel investor, and technology veteran for over 25 years. YouWeb invests in helping brilliant developers/engineers who have never founded a start-up. Generally speaking YouWeb's focus is consumer Internet and mobile with an emphasis on social entertainment.