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DreamIT Ventures Opens Up Applications For Summer 09 Funding Cycle (dreamitventures.com)
33 points by jasonlbaptiste on Jan 24, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 43 comments

I really like the idea of having lots of YC imitators to open up options, but there's ONE thing that makes me want to stay away from DreamIT.

When you apply, you have to be an "innovator", "strategist", or "hacker."

The implication is you can't be, for instance, both an innovator and a hacker. Either you're calling the shots and designing products, or you're just some code monkey that's hooked up with some people who are.

For me, part of the reason I'm an entrepreneur in the first place is the rejection of this kind of dichotomy.

Agreed. Sounds like they're almost trying to hire douchebags. Innovator? Really? No innovator calls himself an innovator. Nobody who matters uses that word. With the exception of patent law, where it actually is very convenient and legitimate to use this word.

You're right, it's like a creative person calling themselves creative. Or the glaring problem with the everyone is special mentality.

"If you define your personality as creative, it only means you understand what is perceived to be creative by the world at large, so you're really just following a rote creative template. That's the opposite of creativity. Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time." - Chuck Klosterman

So, paradoxically, if you are creative according to whatever definition created by society, you are not actually creative? So if you observe your own creativity it is not creativity? That quote is quite silly.

Creativity is the ability to come up with new ideas. A creative person can certainly recognize that they are good at coming up with new ideas.

This also happens with wisdom; I had a teacher who said that the minute someone said he was wise, he stopped being wise. I don't think creativity or wisdom are like amplitudes in quantum mechanics, though; observing character traits does not destroy them. Rather, I think this is a reflection of the lake Wobegon effect: most everyone thinks he is at a higher percentile than he actually is. Most people think they are above average. The really capable people realize this and figure that they have to say they're in the bottom percentiles in order to fill in those gaps. So that's how you get B performers who think they are A performers, C performers who think they are B performers, and A performers who think they are F performers.

I don't try to be modest or arrogant. I prefer to try to be correct. If I'm good at something, I might miss out on opportunities if I think I'm bad at said thing. For example, I might take too much shit at work and not realize I can call the shots because they need me there.

I see no reason why a young man can't be wiser than an old man. Sure, an old man has lived longer, but the young man might have more experience if he's lived better and faced the truth more often. So I think I'm wiser than most people. Reality bears this out: I think there's going to be a housing bust, and then there's housing bust (I thought this was going to happen early 2006). I take Robert Schiller's word for it when he says this is going to be the worst depression since that Great one, and then it happens (early 2007). I could go on, but the point is, would I be better off by saying I'm a fool? I could have made a lot of money off these this crisis if I trusted my gut.

There are also things I know I suck at. I'm terrible at holding my tongue (4 percentile, I'm guessing). I ramble. I'm also really clumsy in a few kinds of social environments, particularly pregames.

If you have nagging doubts about your creativity, ignore them and look at your work. Is it creative? There's really no need to be bashful, at least in private.

If the quote said it works this way for "most" people then maybe there is an argument.

Some of the greatest minds have remarked at how little we know but those same great minds realized that they were great in the context of their time.

That's not how amplitudes in quantum mechanics work, either ;)

I think he's more talking about people who want to wear berets and live in loft apartments

The quality of a program like YC depends on two intertwined factors:

- who is running it, so they provide real value from real experts

- the reach they have, so that the applicants are top-notch and you benefit from interacting with other rising stars

In the case of DreamIt, it's a bit of a chicken and egg problem. If no one has heard of you, no matter how great your coaching will be, you end up with second rate projects and there's not much you can do to make stupid ideas fly. And once you are known for a batch of mediocre projects, none of the smart entrepreneurs want to join your program, and you are stuck.

I hate cronysm, but who you know matters so much and makes such a big difference, it's scary.

I hope someone in their organization sees this thread and ganders over here to provide some insight.

When developing most products, you must know that your audience is not an engineering student or a hacker and probably don't know how to SSH into your server.

But I wonder if they have a separate perception of hackers, and if that could imply that they're looking for a different type of hacker than the type on news.YC?

... at least their site looks better than it did last year.

... we will offer you a $5,000 DollarshipTM to participate in DreamIt ...


What/Who is DreamIT? Is anyone familiar with these folks?

Taking a glance at the partners / speakers / advisors, there are some seriously smart and successful people in there http://dreamitventures.com/node/2

I think the YC crowd is hating way too quickly, there is plenty of room for more then one seed stage YC style fund... especially on the east coast now that YC is full-time in Palo Alto.

I don't understand why the HN community isn't more supportive of these YC clones. It's simple: the more clones the better your odds of getting money and getting your startup off the ground.

Also, it theoretically could be better to be a "big fish" in a small pond than to be a "little fish" in the big YC pond.

I've never heard of them before today. Looking at the portfolio I couldn't find any startups there that I've heard of before either.

So what is the tally of incubator/Y Combinator like programs out there?

1. Y Combinator 2. TechStars 3. DreamIT 4. ?

Launchbox in DC.

One of the founding partners was just appointed head of the FCC.

From UIUC, http://www.iventures10.com/ < IV10.

Disclaimer: I am not associated with them.

Run, don't walk from IllinoisVENTURES. Read up on them at TheFunded.

They're probably even worse than these Dreamit guys, but they are definitely of the same ilk.

Slightly different ilk, I think, but IllinoisVENTURES will offer the worst valuations out of anyone in this game.

Their valuations are terrible and the program's entire purpose is to try to get lucky and latch onto the next YouTube coming out of UIUC.

It's like YC except without any of the benefits and with terrible terms. There is no value added.

The whole Illinois/Chicago group is a bunch of way-too-late wannabes who are looking to take advantage of people. Startupnomics is 200 bucks with real people; DePaul's startup conference is 600 with no value.

The environment here are these people. This is why I go on and on about "Chicago is the next Detroit".

Seedcamp (Europe)

Did someone make a spreadsheet of available programs on HN earlier? I thought I saw something along those lines back in the day.

I think a few of these YC-inspired funds (to put it politely) have died after just one or two rounds. Example: YEurope, their website still mentions the 2007 cycle.

AlphaLab in Pittsburgh

Shotput in Atlanta

This reads like parody.

They still have the default Drupal favicon up there! hahaha, no wonder they are begging for hackers...

They need to hire a copy editor "We each founded, built and successfully sold one or more business."

Seriously, the videos on this page are all quotes from very very young kids. http://dreamitventures.com/node/16

All those videos talk about how great everyone is and wow, it's so awesome and look around, this is totally terrific,

EXCEPT! They never say WHY! they never talk about anything quantifiable. Sure, it's fun, and exciting and great, but are they going to help you get your product to market? How much of your equity are they going to take for it? Was it worth it?

No one has talked about any of that. These guys seem like marketing scamsters and I'm highly highly skeptical.

I would suggest any young entrepreneur come here to HN first and get help before going to those guys.

Back during the dot-com boom, I saw lots and lots of incubators like this, idealabs, et all and they were largely a big waste of time. They were fun though!

If you're looking to have "fun" these kinds of shops may be the place to go, but if you are looking to be productive and build something valuable that is going to make a lasting impression on the world, I suspect these guys are a massive waste of time.

It seems from the videos and the marketing mumbo-jumbo that they are preying on the young, passionate, and inexperienced minds that would be better served somewhere else.

All the portfolio companies are Web 2.0 me toos, mostly boring, and short lasting "features" -- not real products that improve the world around us in any substantial way.

I can sense a bit of "anger" in my tone here. I feel a big sense of "these guys are not good" when I browse around their site...

But that's just my intuition and intuition can be wrong, so whatever.

http://dreamitventures.com/node/6 anthillz is trying to get out of technology what human relationships are for. Go meet people in the real world.

Beanstockd? It was a blog and they are trying to build a company?

Drop card? Why would I waste my time putting my personal info into a shady startup just so i can text my contact info to someone when i could jsut hand them a business card?

ugh... these guys are so transparent.

Look at the videos! They just got some kids up there to do a presentation on a screen in front of a no one so they could add these vimeos to their site to make it look legit.

Watch the interview best one, there's only one old guy there and the startup is okay, but is it "worth" anything? probably not. Any motivated person isn't going to need them and i can't see anyone paying for it...

There's nothing new or novel about any of their startups...

They're marketing hope. They are behind the times, you want to work with someone /ahead/ of the times.

Look elsewhere first!!

There are not quite as glamorous as the start-ups you may have heard of but they have been around: http://sleep.fm/blog.html

Does that make DreamIt ventures automatically a great option? No. I think everyone who looked at the website noticed the spelling/grammatical errors, nebulous role descriptions, and laughable testimonials. Their 15,000 bucks may not be the same as 15,000 from YC but they seem to be a legitimate option. At the very least they are a "safety" incubator to YC one would think.

There is a difference between them and YC: YC requires you to have an idea, DreamIT just wants ambitious hackers and business people. In a way they have found a way to be even earlier stage than YC.

My impression is that PG et al. require an idea as a way of figuring out who can think of reasonable ideas. They don't require you to stick with it, so primarily they're looking for good people. Requiring an idea is just another way to try and sort out the wheat from the chaff, even if the idea in question isn't the final one used for the startup.

Interview with Mike Levinson discussing starting DreamIT.


This might answer some of the communities questions regarding similarities and differences between YC and DreamIT.

One of the features is "free Microsoft software". How is that a feature?


Are these guys for real?


Extremely real. The founder posts here occasionally.


I meant with that site I linked to. The front page looks pretty slick, but the other pages look like they were made in 1996.

spelling error "devloper"

Overall the quality of their writing is a bit low. This doesn't mean their program is good or bad, but it just leaves a bad first impression for me.

But I would also like to know more info - perhaps someone needs to whip up a a review site for early investment companies.

Lastly I was wondering why they separate 'innovator' vs 'strategist' vs 'hacker'.

Don't worry, once you hit level 20 you can multiclass.

It actually looks like their model is that they find three strangers with different skillsets and put them together in a team. It's an interesting idea, but it seems like interpersonal problems down the line could be a pretty big problem.

Calling All 'Hackers': http://dreamitventures.com/node/12

Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

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