Heyo and DayOne Ventures Featured in Blue Ridge Business Journal

Following is an excerpt from an article by Annie Johnson for the Blue Ridge Business Journal on Heyo, Inc. and DayOne Ventures.  Heyo and DayOne Ventures are housed at VT KnowledgeWorks.  On November 2, 2010, Heyo, Inc. announced the release of its new social planning mobile application. Heyo was founded by Frederick Cook and Rishi Ishairzay with seed funding from DayOne Ventures.

In just three months, Frederick Cook's business model changed twice.

But, according to his mentors, that was the point.

Cook, 25, and his 20-year-old business partner, Rishi Ishairzay, were the lone participants in the inaugural DayOne Ventures incubator program, which is aimed at providing business guidance and financial assistance to startup companies.

The goal of the three-month program is to help entrepreneurs "iterate their business faster and hopefully eliminate some of the mistakes they would make along the way," according to one of the group's mentors, Bill Boebel, founder of Blacksburg-based Webmail.us.

In collaboration with other founders, DayOne spent about $50,000 for the program and gave Cook and his company $15,000. That way, Boebel said, Cook could focus on his company without needing to work a second job.

What has emerged is Heyo, a social media application that allows users to tell friends where they will be hanging out.

The concept is much different from the fitness and nutrition application Cook began the summer with, and even more of a change from his original concept: a hyped-up, high-tech pedometer-type technology for rowers.

Cook said the most valuable part of the program was the advice and support he received from the investors, who will collectively have a 5 percent stake in Heyo, according to Boebel.

The Blacksburg incubator program is the first of its kind in the region. And while entrepreneurs such as Cook often look to join programs in Silicon Valley or elsewhere, Boebel hopes DayOne will help keep some of that talent in the area.

"If they want to go into an incubator program, we don't want them to have to go to NOVA or Raleigh or the West Coast. We want those companies to stay in Blacksburg," he said.

Boebel said the mentor group will try to bring three companies to the program next summer.

via www.bizjournal.com


VT KnowledgeWorks is a unique growth enhancement program open to entrepreneurs in the New River Valley and beyond.  Acceleration center and incubation facilities are located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Programs for Members are divided into two categories according to the evolutionary status of the member company.  Pre-Launch program components are carefully constructed to help market-worthy ventures organize, formulate strategy, obtain outside investment, and launch in an efficient manner.  Enterprise class members benefit from emphasis on strategic support for ongoing growth, continuing intra-preneurship, and professional development for the corporate leader.

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law GroupLeClairRyan, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).

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