KQED Signs On As Founding Partner in Matter Ventures to Spur Media Innovation for Positive Impact


Northern California’s flagship public media organization joins Knight Foundation and PRX to launch start-up accelerator.

Matter Ventures logo

KQED, the public media organization that serves Northern California, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation have each invested $1.25 million in an initial $2.5 million fund to create Matter Ventures, a Silicon Valley start-up accelerator supporting media entrepreneurs to build a more informed, connected and empowered society. Public Radio Exchange (PRX) will provide strategic and management support to Matter. Please see attached press release for the full details on Matter and application information for the accelerator program.

What is an accelerator? Watch this This Week in Northern California feature to find out.

KQED has been an innovation leader in public media for more than a decade with initiatives ranging from the multimedia QUEST science project to the radio pledge-free stream. The ideas emanating from Matter will complement the innovations coming from KQED and other public media organizations by adding leading edge Silicon Valley entrepreneurship to the mix. The goal is to combine the best of 'inside' and 'outside' innovation to transform public media to meet the dramatically changing needs of the public.

“This investment makes a great deal of sense for KQED for many reasons, but the first is geographic. We are here in Silicon Valley and we want to tap into the entrepreneurial ecosystem here to design a successful model for digital public service media,” said KQED President John L. Boland. “In the 21st century KQED needs to be as effective with social, mobile and Internet media as we are with radio and television. And we need to become as good at engaging, convening and curating as we are at creating and distributing content.


“Our investment in Matter assures that KQED will be actively engaged with creative, entrepreneurial thinkers and we will have a first look at ideas, strategies and technologies that will help us reinvent public media for a new era.”

KQED drew upon its capital investment reserve funds for the investment in Matter Ventures. KQED annually invests in technology, innovation and capital improvements to ensure the future viability and reliability of services to the community.


Fusing Public Media Values with Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship,
KQED, Knight Foundation, and PRX Launch
Matter Ventures, an Accelerator for Media Startups

Based in San Francisco’s SoMa District, Matter will support media entrepreneurs seeking
to create a more informed and connected society; application deadline is January 6th, 2013

San Francisco, CA (December 3, 2012) – Fusing public media values with Silicon Valley entrepreneurship, KQED, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Public Radio Exchange (PRX) today launched Matter Ventures, a start-up accelerator supporting media entrepreneurs building a more informed, connected, and empowered society.

Reflecting their commitment to media innovation and leadership development, founding partners KQED and Knight Foundation have each invested $1.25 million in the initial $2.5 million fund, while PRX will provide strategic and management support to Matter.

The intensive, four-month acceleration program is designed for media startups with multi-disciplinary teams who have early-stage prototypes, such as participatory platforms, mobile applications, B2B media services, and content production engines.  Matter will invest in entrepreneurs who show high potential to create media ventures that make a meaningful, positive impact on society while pursuing a sustainable, scalable, profitable business model.  Over the course of two years, the fund will run four class cycles, each consisting of five startups. Applications for the inaugural class, which will begin in late February 2013, will be accepted starting today through January 6th, 2013.  An online application and guidelines can be found at www.matter.vc.

Startups selected to participate in Matter will receive a $50,000 investment and will work side by side in a creative space in the South Park area of San Francisco’s SoMa district, right around the corner from where Twitter got started.  The structured program will kick off with an intensive design thinking and entrepreneurship bootcamp followed by a regular series of design reviews, mentoring sessions and educational workshops.  The collaborative culture will help teams develop a human-centered and prototype-driven approach.  At the end of the four-month program, teams will pitch at a demo day to the Matter community and potential investors.

Matter Ventures will be led by CEO and Partner Corey Ford, who most recently built and ran Runway, an accelerator for Innovation Endeavors, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s early stage venture capital firm.  Ford has also taught design thinking at Stanford’s d.school and helped produce 17 films for FRONTLINE.  Partner Jake Shapiro is the founding CEO of PRX, an Ashoka Fellow, and a former Associate Director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Jigar Mehta, the co-founder of GroupStream and 18 Days in Egypt, a Knight Fellow, and former New York Times video journalist, will serve as Director of Operations. Executive leadership at Knight Foundation and KQED will also join the Matter Ventures advisory board.

“It is important to remember that everything big started small,” said Ford. “The institutions that create meaningful media today seem like they’ve been around forever. But they were built from scratch by risk takers who started with an experiment and a vision for how they could impact the world through media. Matter is where today’s aspiring entrepreneurs can build the meaningful media institutions of tomorrow.”

“Successful media companies are mission-driven and deeply connected to the needs, values and behaviors of the audiences they serve,” said Shapiro. “We see extraordinary opportunities at the intersection of emerging technology, new business models, and great storytelling that informs us as citizens.”

“The way people make, consume, share, and pay for media has changed drastically in a very short time, and with Matter we hope to leverage the wisdom of our Silicon Valley neighbors to help the public media adapt to those changes,” said John Boland, President of KQED. “The accelerator model will foster entrepreneurial innovation that will revolutionize how organizations like KQED create and distribute content, raise funds, and help our audiences make better sense of a rapidly changing world. Fresh ideas will help ensure that we remain a distinctive, relevant and essential service in the 21st century.”

“An exciting group of leaders both on the national and local level are starting to push the future of media, combining public media values with the best practices of entrepreneurship. Matter can now help them experiment, iterate and have the same avenues for development as other Silicon Valley tech startups,” said Michael Maness, VP for journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation.

Applications for Matter are available today at www.matter.vc and are due by January 6, 2013.  Information sessions for potential applicants will be held on Thursdays at 6:00pm on December 13, December 20, and January 3 at the new Matter space at 421 Bryant St.

Download Matter photos and logo: http://imgur.com/a/lVEZs#1


For information contact:


About KQED

KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. Home to the most listened-to public radio station in the nation, one of the highest rated public television services, and a leader in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration—exposing them to new people, places and ideas. kqed.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more information, please visit knightfoundation.org.


About Public Radio Exchange
PRX is an award-winning public media company, harnessing innovative technology to bring significant stories to millions of people. PRX operates public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use, including signature PRX programs like The Moth Radio Hour. PRX mobile apps for public media include This American Life, KCRW Music Mine and Public Radio Player. For more information, please visit prx.org/about-us/press.