This has been a big year for Matter.
We had our first exit. We expanded our base of media partners from three to seven and launched a parallel program to help them drive innovation within their own organizations using the Matter process. And, most importantly, we had the privilege of supporting the growth and transformation of six companies and 17 entrepreneurs changing media for good through our 20-week accelerator program that culminates today at Demo Day.
But we are just getting started. Today, I’m excited to announce our first technology partner — Google.
Through partnerships with both the News Lab at Google and Google for Entrepreneurs, Google is going to help Matter with what the world’s most powerful tech company does best — technology and scale.
This partnership empowers Matter and Google to significantly increase our collective impact on the media startup ecosystem by continuing to build the community of media entrepreneurs, and supporting these entrepreneurs with the resources they need to launch and grow innovative new media products and businesses.
I’m excited about this partnership because the team at News Lab believes in our mission, brings world-class technology mentorship and talent to our entrepreneurs, and provides the expertise, resources, and networks that will help Matter scale its impact.
A Mission-Aligned Team
Above all else, Matter is about people. And the people behind News Lab are both deeply aligned with our mission and have serious street cred driving innovation within media.
When we first made the announcement that we were launching Matter, it was like sending out a “bat signal” for media innovators around the world to unite around our mission of changing media for good.
One of the first to pick up that signal was Steve Grove. A former journalist for the Boston Globe and ABC News, Steve joined YouTube in the early days and built the News & Politics team, bringing the first media organizations and political campaigns onto the platform. He launched projects such as the CNN/YouTube Debates, CitizenTube, and a series of YouTube Interviews with the President. (Check out his latest interview with President Obama here.)
When Steve first heard about what we were building at Matter, he was all in. And he’s backed up that enthusiasm by being an exemplary mentor to the entrepreneurs in each of our four Matter cohorts to date.
Steve now leads a new team at Google focused on innovation in the media industry called the News Lab, and I’m excited that we have the chance to join forces, build a more formal partnership between Matter and Google, and scale our impact.
He’s built a solid team that has already been adding significant value to our community, led by the efforts and enthusiasm of News Lab’s head of emerging partnerships, Ryan Bruno.
In addition to working with the News Lab team, Matter is also joining the Google for Entrepreneurs partner network — where we’ll have access to a community of 42 partners, spanning physical co-working spaces, startup incubators, and education programs around the world.
So what does this partnership mean for Matter? Technology and scale.
While Matter’s mentorship network has always been strong in design, media, venture capital, entrepreneurship, and business, we’ve been seeking ways to deepen our bench in technology mentorship.
Google brings this all, at once, in spades.
As Matter’s first technology partner, Google will help give Matter startups access to Google’s technology and talent. “Starting with the next Matter class we’ll be bringing all of the startups to Google for mentorship from engineers and developers to help the startups hone their technology,” says Steve.
These connections to the top networks of engineers and developers will also help our entrepreneurs be more effective in finding mission-aligned technical talent to join their teams as their companies grow.
Scaling Our Impact
A big reason why I’m excited about this partnership is how the News Lab team has helped accelerate my thinking on how we can scale the impact of Matter.
The first way they are helping Matter unleash it’s full potential is by identifying and removing the biggest bottleneck holding us back from all we can do — the size of our team.
Believe it or not, we’ve pulled everything off with just two full-time team members in our first two and a half years. I’m proud of what our scrappy team has pulled off, but it’s time to move from scrappy to sustainable. And we are now able to start building our team to do that. We’ve just hired our third team member and are quickly hiring more to help expand our efforts.
With a larger team in place, we’ll begin to expand the scope of our efforts, including:
- Leveraging tech platforms like Slack to unite Matter entrepreneurs across our portfolio to help each other in a scalable way
- Leveraging tech platforms like AngelList to unite and lead a global community of investors specifically focused on media
- Deepening our support of media institutions seeking to transform themselves through Matter’s parallel program for partners
- Preparing to expand geographically to New York City and beyond
- Developing media content to distribute the insights, educational tools, and inspiration of Matter outside of the walls of our accelerator program
- Partnering with Google to launch additional initiatives and events around the world that grow and strengthen the media entrepreneurship community
Not only will these initiatives help the growing portfolio of Matter entrepreneurs and media partners during and after their experience at Matter, but our hope is that it will also increase the overall quality of entrepreneurs before they even start Matter.
“We want to help Matter develop initiatives designed to help startups earlier in their development begin to hone their ideas to the point where they might be eligible to join Matter,” says Steve.
Like Steve, I’d love to help more media start-ups test and iterate on their ventures earlier in the process and help them identify the right problems to be solving. As we like to say, “Fail Fast. Fail Forward.” These initiatives will be a more scalable way to do that.
Blowing it up
When I was talking to Steve and Ryan about what “winning” and “success” looked like in this partnership, they reflected for a moment, and then said, “You know, we’ve looked all over the world to identify the people and organizations doing great, innovative work in this space, and what you’ve built at Matter is truly unique and powerful. We hope we can look back on this moment two years from now and say, ‘Wow, that’s the moment when Matter really starting blowing up and scaling its impact and Google was able to play a part in that.”
I hope to make good on that vision. And by leveraging Google’s world-class team, technology, and scale, I think Matter will blow up.
Now the Matter entrepreneurs are off to Matter Demo Day in NYC. And where will it be held? At Google NYC of course. See you there!