Austin Ventures is partnering with two other venture firms to create an accelerator program that will back startups developing open source technology.
Called OpenIncubate, the program is being launched with an initial $3 million investment by Austin Ventures, Battery Ventures of Boston and the Valley Fund of Menlo Park, Calif.
The accelerator will fund teams, individuals or early-stage companies that are using open source technology to make data centers more efficient, more flexible and more powerful.
Open source software is free and accessible to anyone through the Internet, and advocates say it allows for faster, cheaper development than proprietary software.
The goal behind OpenIncubate is to spur efforts to build new software, hardware and networking products for next-generation data centers, said Chris Pacitti, general partner at Austin Ventures.
“We’re raising a flag and saying we’re interested in this segment and in backing new ideas, and hopefully that will result in new company formation,” Pacitti said. “If you want to headquarter in Austin or Boston or Silicon Valley we’ve got all those options, and we think that’s unique and attractive.”
OpenIncubate will provide seed funding, work space and mentorship and will receive an equity stake in each company if it goes on to raise additional capital.
The accelerator will accept applications from entrepreneurial teams based anywhere. If accepted, they must relocate to one of the three locations of the venture firms. The Austin Ventures program will be based at the Capital Factory tech incubator in downtown Austin.
OpenIncubate plans to finance a concept or prototype until it is in a position to secure funding. Applications are currently open at OpenIncubate.com with a rolling admissions process throughout the year.
Alex Benik, principal at Battery Ventures, said data centers are the next wave of opportunity for open source developers.
“Open source software and technologies have made a radical impact on enterprise computing in the past decade and are now poised to reinvent the data center,” said Alex Benik, principal at Battery Ventures. “Large end user customers in early adopter markets like financial services are demanding more control to build how and what they want in their data centers.”
OpenIncubate hopes to eventually expand to other technology centers in the U.S. and worldwide.