Halfway Point for the Startup Incubator: Inside a 153-Year-Old Newspaper

26/08/2012 13:55 BST | Updated 22/10/2012 10:12 BST

It's halfway point for the eight week experiment in which five startups take space inside The Irish Times. It's crunch time for several of the startups.

It's also a good time to reflect on what this process is doing that makes it different from the standard startup process. Typically, a startup in an incubator benefits from advice, some level of funding, and access to investors. What The Irish Times Digital Challenge does is surround the startup in similar supports, through the LaunchPad programme, while putting it into close proximity with a major customer/partner. This totally changes the standard model since it means that the startups can seek market validation by speaking to somebody in the same building. As Fortune reported in its coverage on The Irish Times' and on the BBC's startup incubators:

What makes these programs distinctive is that the startups operate just down the hall from the people implementing their products. This proximity to the client is designed to overcome obstacles usually found in interactions between startups and large corporations.

But it also means that the startups can observe a major customer/partner at close hand and understand why deals are being blocked, or whether a certain feature or pricing point needs to be changed. The Irish Times Digital Challenge, by putting the startup in the heart of a 153 year old organisation, totally changes the incubation model for media orientated startups.

So now, at the half way point, lets take a look at where the startups have got to.

Week 4 of The Irish Times Digital Challenge

This week Brian Caulfield of DFJ Esprit works with each startup, exploring their problems, while Anna Scally of KPMG meets the teams and goes through their financial issues.

Previous weeks

Week 3

Week 2

Week 1

Note: these videos are posted several weeks after real events.

The finale of The Digital Challenge will actually be on 6 September, so stay tuned.