Published March 21, 2000
Volume 8, Number 3

WingSpring Helps e-Commerce Fledglings
Company Creates Business-to-Business Web Incubator in Hacienda

By Jay Hipps
Network Editor


WingSpring, a new business consisting of an incubator for web startups and a venture capital arm, has opened its Tech Center in 35,000 square feet of space on Hacienda Drive. 

"We're an incubator for B2B (business-to-business) startups and our goal is to accelerate the time to get to market, because that's really the name of the game right now: speeding time to market," says Dianne Snedaker, one of the company's five founding partners. 

WingSpringSpecifically, their goal is to cut six to nine months off the time typically spent building a company's staff and infrastructure before the company's product or service can be marketed. In an Internet economy where ideas turn into businesses in record time, this can translate into an important advantage for a new company. 

Their target is the burgeoning Internet B2B market, estimated by industry analysts at the Gartner Group to be a $7.29 trillion market by 2004. 

Infrastructure and More 
The WingSpring Tech Center offers space, furniture, and a network of computers for basic operations, as is typical of all incubators. What sets WingSpring apart is their on-site staff, which offers assistance in a wide variety of areas. 

"We will have human resources people as well as financial, legal, marketing, and business development staff," explains Snedaker. "The goal is virtually anything they need to do as a business, we can assist them with it, whether it's telephones or a marketing plan." 

The company's extensive technical staff is also unusual. 

"We will have tech staff on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, because once you have your businesses up and running online they need to be monitored to make sure that they're running flawlessly," she adds.

Three and Growing 
WingSpring is currently working with three start-ups in the new facility, with a goal to increase that number to six as soon as possible. 

"We estimate that the companies will stay there for four to six months, so there will always be a turnover," she says. "The companies grow so quickly, as soon as they get to a certain size, we will help them find their permanent space and we'll move someone else in." 

In return for WingSpring's incubator resources as well as a financial investment, WingSpring gets a substantial piece of the equity of the new company. 

"Beyond that, the people working at the incubator -- the founding partners as well as our wonderful staff -- just get a kick out of it, the thrill of helping some other business start," adds Snedaker. "We've all started our own businesses and have been successful, and now above and beyond the investment and the potential payout is just the extra kick of helping someone else do it successfully." 

The Gang of Five
Snedaker, former president of Ketchum Advertising, is one of the founding partners jokingly referred to as the "Gang of Five." Her comrades include Ofir Kedar, former CEO of SQRIBE and chairman of BrioTechnology; Alan Fisher, co-founder and former CTO of Onsale (now Egghead.com); Timothy Taich, Silicon Valley attorney and principal in Palo Alto Ventures; and Avrami Tzur, co-founder and former CEO of ProSight. 


Also in this issue ...