Tandem Opens Mobile-Focused Incubator

Tandem has opened a mobile industry incubator program in Burlingame, Calif., the fund and incubator announced Tuesday. Tandem, which was formed in June 2007, plans to invite eight teams per year into the program, which will provide funding and support. Tandem will initially invest $200,000 in each business through a convertible note.


Tandem, a mobile industry capital fund and incubator, believes the future billion-dollar ideas in mobile need more “Muscle Capital” than traditional venture capital. The 4-year-old incubator is putting its money where its mouth is and launching Silicon Valley’s first mobile industry incubator out of a newly renovated Victorian home in downtown Burlingame, Calif. Tandem will open the doors to its new home on August 3 and each year invite eight entrepreneurial teams to receive funding and focused support in their efforts to disrupt the mobile industry.

What is Muscle Capital?
Muscle capital is a mix of focused support and cash investment that Tandem contributes to its select group of mobile industry entrepreneurs. The Tandem team of seasoned tech entrepreneurs and operators works hand-in-hand with the founders of each startup to drive growth, assisting in areas such as strategy, product design, technology architecture, user acquisition, employee recruiting and channel development. Tandem will initially invest $200,000 in each business through a convertible note and will invest millions more in some of them as they grow.

“Tandem knows how to identify large, untapped market opportunities and quickly codify them into cogent product and marketing strategies,” says Andy Yang, CEO of Tandem portfolio company PlayHaven. “They truly understand startups and know how to add real value, from strategic planning all the way down to field tactics, to help drive our company’s growth and success.”

The incubator, started in June 2007 by veteran technology entrepreneurs Doug Renert and Sunil Bhargava, has driven some of the best returns in technology investing, with eight ofits last nine portfolio companies receiving positive liquidity or additional funding at stepped-up valuations. Some of the liquidity events include Attassa (acquired by YouSendIt), FlightCaster (acquired by Next Jump) and ZumoDrive (acquired by Motorola).

“Tandem’s muscle capital model worked out very well for us,” said ZumoDrive founder David Zhao. “After completing the Y Combinator program, it was critical to have an investment partner who could add value beyond writing checks, and Tandem provided that ideal blend of financial and human capital for our business.”

Other Tandem portfolio companies include PlayHaven and Juice in the City. PlayHaven is a real-time mobile game marketing platform with a reach of 35 million unique users driving 100 million monthly game sessions. PlayHaven’s Series B funding round was led by BV Capital. Juice in the City, a trusted community of moms helping local merchants grow their businesses, raised $6 million in its June 2011 funding round led by HU Investments and Tandem.

Call for Mobile Startups
Tandem is looking for eight entrepreneurial teams this year that aim to create the next disruptive mobile businesses. Because Tandem focuses on helping great entrepreneurs at the earliest stages of their businesses, the product skills and overall vision and passion of candidates are more important than current market traction. Interested entrepreneurs can apply to Tandem for consideration by visiting: http://www.tandementrepreneurs.com/html/apply.html.
The application deadline is September 1, 2011.

About Tandem
Started in June 2007, Tandem utilizes its ‘muscle capital’ to champion the next billion dollar ideas in mobile tech. Innovators are freed to be founders with a unique mix of cash investments and sweat equity in areas such as strategy, product design, technology architecture, user acquisition, employee recruiting and channel development.

In August, Tandem is opening Silicon Valley’s first Muscle Capital Startup Lab, an incubator geared toward attracting a select group of entrepreneurial teams looking to alter the world with disruptive mobile technology.