Tech investors launch new startup incubator The Sandbox for engineers

By By Brittany Meiling, The San Diego Union-Tribune

A couple of tech investors in San Diego have opened a new startup incubator to exploit the city’s bulk of engineering talent, teaming up with technologists to help them build companies around their inventions.

The new incubator, called The Sandbox, is already home to three startups. Co-founder Shayne Skaff says he plans on hunting down three or four more companies to bring under its roof.

Skaff is best known for founding a software company called MaintenanceNet back in 2004, which later sold to tech giant Cisco Systems for $139 million in 2016. Just after, Skaff formed an investment group called Mooring Ventures, which provides startup capital to early stage software-as-a-service companies.

Through his investment group, Skaff said he kept encountering startups — or even solo engineers — who were too early in development (or too inexperienced) to make good investments.

“We came into contact with engineers that could create products, but they didn’t have a business plan, they didn’t understand product development and didn’t know how to optimize commercialization,” Skaff said.

So together with Mooring Ventures co-founder Scott Herron, Skaff founded The Sandbox to help ready promising engineers for primetime. The incubator takes a small equity stake (5-7 percent) in exchange for space and mentorship. Skaff said the company also helps its startups find investment money, if needed. Of course, the accelerator could potentially feed new investments for Skaff’s own investment group Mooring Ventures, but he said The Sandbox also connects startups with other investors who might be a better fit.

Unlike many San Diego accelerators and incubators that serve the region’s science and biotech community, The Sandbox is honing in on technology only. Specifically, Skaff is looking for software-as-a-service, business-to-business plays.

The Sandbox just opened a few weeks ago, Skaff said, and has office space in Torrey Pines. Their new digs will be home base for the opening reception of a local tech conference called 0111 next week, an annual event specifically for chief technology officers put on by seven CTOs. The conference goes from October 24-25.

This article provided by NewsEdge.