Internet Incubator Lands in New York –

NEW YORK – Given the enormous success of Internet incubators and the recent prominence of Silicon Alley in the IPO market, it was only a matter of time before an Internet incubator was launched in the Big Apple.

Simon Erblich and Edward Greissle have unveiled First Venture.com Inc., an incubator with plans to guide projects through development and then unleash them into the venture community.

“We have conceptualized most of our portfolio companies and brought them to readiness,” said Mr. Erblich, who along with his partner have had entrepreneurial success in the communications industry.

Thus far, the incubator has six portfolio companies, two of which were recruited into the program and four conceived of by First Venture.com. These companies, like CMGI Corp. and idealab!, all are Internet-related plays that target a new service offering within the sector.

Before a concept is presented to the company, the team must first give its thumbs up. Then, Chief Financial Officer James Scott must approve a financial evaluation before First Venture begins to nurture the concept. The incubator has no intention of keeping participant companies in its portfolio after a liquidity event takes place.

“One solution may be strong, but the end game is to be a holding company of a great deal of companies rather than just one or two,”Mr. Greissle said.

First Venture will not take money from the companies it develops, opting to keep a minority equity stake in the business after it has completed incubation. Current plans call for the company to retain as much as 45% of the equity in a company after installing a management team.

First Venture hopes to finance future operations through an initial public offering targeted for the first quarter of 2000.