Four Athens v2.0: 2013 & Beyond

Four Athens is changing. Read on for all the juicy details. And become a member today!

We started Four Athens with a mission: spark the startup community in Athens by providing the resources necessary to assist in the acceleration of your startup. The traditional way to provide these resources for the past few decades has been through an incubator or an accelerator. We have believed since the beginning that these models were flawed and have made it our driving force to figure out how to do it better. Our team wakes up every morning intent on figuring out a better solution. Sadly, this e-mail isn’t to tell you we’ve figured it out. We haven’t. Yet. But this is the next step in our evolutionary process.

In 2013, we’ll be trying out a new model. Four Athens will become a membership organization offering the following services.

Over the past year, we have adopted a traditional “incubator” model: accept companies into a mentorship and guidance program in exchange for a small stake in their company. Unfortunately, this model is rife with problems. Too often, incubators simply become real estate entities that provide cheap office space and not much else. We looked at the accelerator model for a hot second, but fundamentally don’t believe you can create a sustainable company in such a short period and believe this model cheats founders.

As a member of Four Athens, you’ll pay a $175 annual membership fee and have access to exclusive mentoring, consultation, events and tools created to accelerate your startup. And you’ll get a sweet sticker identifying you as a Four Athens member. Startups that have offices or co-working desks with us get a discount. Established companies can become members as well and enjoy the benefits we provide.

Why are we doing this? The simple answer is that we’re a startup and this is us practicing what we preach: develop a thesis, launch a minimally viable product in the market to test the proposed thesis and refine as necessary. Our thesis is that we can provide better value, events and connectivity to the startup community by codifying our approach Our product will never be perfect and neither will we.

The longer, boring answer is below.

1. Clarity. We confuse everyone. Most people that come to us for help are immediately suspicious that we don’t charge money for our services. It may sound crazy, but it’s true. People value what they pay for. We promise our altruistic nature hasn’t changed – we truly believe that for the startup community to exist in Athens, participants must give without expectation. That is why we settled on a very low cost (one that we believe is low enough for all startups to afford). Many of our events and most of our time is still free. We take meetings without expectation or charge. We love talking to you. Only Jim bites.

2. Exposure. Four Athens is you. While it is ostensibly a business entity, it is really about community. Lots of people have office space at our locations, come to us for services or otherwise participate in the community, but they’re never sure how to talk about their involvement. We’re making it easy. “I’m a part of Four Athens”, “I’m a Four Athens member” or “I’m building the startup community in Athens” are now all acceptable answers. Thanks for being awesome!

3. Parity. Four Athens has some phenomenal resources for you. Want to know how to raise startup capital? Got you covered. Need to hash out your corporate structure, find co-founders, debate your business model or identify initial users or customers? Four Athens is your resource in Athens. Want a private office, a desk or simply a conference room for an hour without the hassle of a long term contract? We’ve got you covered there too. Need to connect with people that have been there and done that? We can do it all. Just want to have a drink and complain about the insanity that is now your life? We hold events all the time for you to meet like-minded masochists. To date, it’s been difficult to articulate or explain what is available to incubator companies, those using office space or just the general community. We believe that when people don’t know what is offered, they’re hesitant to ask. We are removing that hesitation.

4. Revenue. To be sustainable, we have to have a sustainable business model. Sadly (for us), this isn’t it. We won’t be getting wealthy and retiring to an island on $175 per year. That being said, much of what we do costs money and we haven’t figured out how to make money grow on trees. Your membership fees will be used to support the programs and events that continue to make our startup community better every year.

It’s that simple. We’re building a better startup community with your help. And that means inventing and re-inventing our process. Come be part of the most dynamic community in Athens and let’s put Athens on the map for startups in 2013.

Join us.

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