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I bought a house in Kansas City on Monday. It’s next door to the Homes for Hackers and KC Startup Village. It will have Google Fiber in it. I hope it becomes an integral part of the nation’s first Google Fiberhood.
I’m not going to be living in it. Instead, I’m going to let entrepreneurs live / work in it. Rent free. As part of helping create the Kansas City startup community. And to learn about the dynamics of Google Fiber. And to have some fun.
Here’s how it’s going to work. The Kauffman Foundation and I are running the Feld’s KC Fiber House Competition. Entries can be submitted online starting now. Entries are open through Friday March 22. Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Up to five winners will be selected from among the applications received. They’ll get to live and work in the house for a year rent free. I’m not taking any equity in these companies – I using a “give before you get” philosophy here to experiment, learn, and help the Kansas City startup community.
The judges will be me, Scott Case of Startup America Partnership, David Cohen of TechStars and Lesa Mitchell of the Kauffman Foundation. We’ll be looking for the innovative potential of their startups and their companies’ ability to leverage Google Fiber. We’ll all be informal mentors and friends to the people who win and end up living in the house.
This came about through meeting with Ben Barreth, who created Homes for Hackers, at the Thinc Iowa conference. I loved what Ben was up to and offered to help. I thought about it more over the next month and then wrote him and Lesa Mitchell at Kauffman a note asking if it would be useful for me to buy a house near the Hacker House and open it up to entrepreneurs. This is what resulted.
I have a couple of very specific goals. First, I want to set an example using some of the principles I talk about in Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City. Next, I’m fascinated with Google Fiber and the idea of 1GB Internet access to the home so I want to experiment and see what smart entrepreneurs can come up with. I have a long relationship with Kauffman and Kansas City going back to the mid-1990′s and I want to support the development and growth of the Kansas City startup community. And finally, when Amy and I talked about the idea of it, we agreed it would be a fun thing to do.
If you are an entrepreneur at a startup and want to live rent free for a year in a house with a 1GB Internet connection, apply now!