Mike Jones, the former CEO of social network MySpace, has decided to re-enter the start-up world with the launch of a new start-up incubator and accelerator called Science.
Science brings together the best ideas, entrepreneurs, resources and financing to a central platform, Jones said. We are going to build start-ups efficiently and effectively.
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based incubator will focus on advising early-stage start-ups, developing new business ideas and helping companies reinvent themselves on the Internet.
Jones believes Science will be a platform to create and work with start-ups, giving them all of the operational assets and tools they need, as well as distribution channels and basic resources, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on the ins and outs of the business.
This is like a movie studio in that it has centralized resources, Jones said. That's different than an incubator. We're more like Betaworks (which owns bit.ly and ChartBeat), Obvious (created by the founders of Twitter) and Idealab (parent of Citysearch and Picasa).
Science won't kick businesses out once they start becoming successful. Jones envisions his company maintaining a constant connection with the start-ups throughout their entire business cycles. Jones believes the greatest value that Science can provide is the ability to scale small businesses, claiming he has developed a unique process for building digital companies, which involves increasing angel and seed funding and decreasing the cost and time they take to test and launch the business.
We want to be involved in a small set of businesses that we run through the entire gauntlet and get them to success, Jones said. There's art in creation and science in scaling.
The incubator-slash-accelerator has raised $10 million in funding from Google chairman Eric Schmidt's Tomorrow Ventures, Rustic Canyon, Social+Capital, White Star Capital, as well as from a handful of angel investors, including ex-AOL CEO Jonathan Miller, ex-Vivendi CEO Jean-Marie Messier, Lagardere Managing Partner Philippe Camus and Dennis Phelps, a principal with Institutional Venture Partners.
Jones, 37, who once served as MySpace's president with Jason Hirschhorn, was named the CEO of the social network on Oct. 1, 2010, two years after Facebook overtook MySpace in the Alexa rankings. At the time, Jones announced a site redesign and declared that MySpace would no longer compete with Facebook as a general social network, but instead would attempt to target younger people by being a more music-oriented site.
Before MySpace, Jones served as the CEO for Santa Monica-based Internet company Userplane, a chat messaging service he co-founded in 2001. Jones grew the company from a start-up business to an applications provider until it was acquired by AOL in 2006 for $40 million. The purchase effectively made Jones the senior vice president of AOL, where he was able to manage his former company from within the Products division. During his time at AOL, Jones helped coordinate with the company's subsidiaries and internal brands to enable distribution of Web applications to publishers.
Jones opened up his first successful Web consulting business during his junior year of college, which eventually became a 40-person firm called PBJ Digital. His company managed an estimated 200 companies, including well-known brands like Sony and UPN, but eventually sold the company to form Userplane.
Jones graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in international business and marketing, and was named the university's Student Entrepreneur of the year in 1997. Now, Jones advises private start-ups and sits on the boards of several Web companies, including Docstoc, GumGum, MoVoxx, People Media and FreeConference.