Knight Foundation, KQED, PRX Launch Startup Accelerator for Media Entrepreneurs

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, public radio station KQED, and Public Radio Exchange have announced the launch of Matter Ventures, a startup accelerator for media entrepreneurs.

KQED and Knight have each invested $1.25 million in the initial Matter Ventures fund, while PRX will provide it with strategic and management support. Teams selected to participate in the four-month program will receive a $50,000 investment and go through an intensive design thinking and entrepreneurship boot camp, followed by a series of design reviews, mentoring sessions, and educational workshops — at the end of which they will pitch their startups to the Matter Ventures community and potential investors.

The program is designed for startups with early stage prototypes of participatory platforms, mobile applications, B2B media services, content production engines, and other media innovations. The fund will support four complete rounds over two years, with five startups in each round. Applications for the inaugural cycle, which will begin in February 2013, will be accepted through January 6, 2013.

"Successful media companies are mission-driven and deeply connected to the needs, values, and behaviors of the audiences they serve," said Matter Ventures partner Jake Shapiro, founding CEO of PRX, an Ashoka Fellow, and a former associate director of Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. "We see extraordinary opportunities at the intersection of emerging technology, new business models, and great storytelling that informs us as citizens."