PBS NewsHour Features Xconomy in Report on Startup Accelerators

In a segment featured Tuesday night on the PBS NewsHour, correspondent Hari Sreenivasan brings an outsider’s curiosity to the strange, wonderful world of startup accelerators. The eight-minute report features Sreenivasan’s interviews with entrepreneurs and mentors at TechStars, AngelPad, and Y Combinator—archetypes of the venture incubator wave (or is it a bubble?) that we’ve been chronicling here at Xconomy for the last four and a half years.

This is a must-watch piece, for at least four reasons:

1) It’s the best short summary of the startup accelerator concept you’re likely to find—and a great example of mainstream media interest in what’s long been a fringe phenomenon, unknown to middle America.

2) Sreenivasan talked with celebrities of the startup world like AngelPad’s Thomas Korte, TechStars’ David Cohen, Blackbox Ventures’ Max Marmer, and Duke University’s Vivek Wadhwa. It’s fun to see them all on camera.

3) The piece featured a bunch of cool startups that you may not have heard of yet but probably will, including Order.In, LendFriend, and Tapviva.

4) There’s a one-minute segment featuring me. It starts at 4:45 mark in the video; in the clip Sreenivisan used, I’m talking about the technological changes that have made it so much cheaper for mobile and Internet startups to get off the ground, and the bubbly conditions this change seems to be fostering in the Silicon Valley startup scene.

PBS NewsHour Shoot at Xconomy San Francisco

Sreenivasan does a thorough job of explaining why startup accelerators exist and how they work, and he conveys authentic flavor by talking to real entrepreneurs. It’s all framed in a way that will make the accelerator phenomenon clear to TV audiences in Idaho or Vermont who’ve never heard of Y Combinator. But there’s also a savvy to the reporting that’s a clear legacy of Sreenivasan’s days as an anchor and correspondent for CNET during the first Internet boom, from 1996 to 2002.

My only role in the NewsHour report was to spend an hour talking on tape with Sreenivasan, here at Xconomy San Francisco back in early October (the photo above shows the KQED crew setting up for the shoot). Another couple of minutes from our conversation made it into a supplement to the broadcast report, published on the PBS NewsHour website under the title “What is a Startup Accelerator?” Both the main report and the supplemental clip are embedded below.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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