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Media Innovators, Prepare Your Pitches For Matter Ventures

With a vast array of technological gizmos at our disposal, it’s easier than ever to take an idea for a new media tool and run with it.

But what if you had a support group to work around for 100 days, the cash to experiment with your endeavor and Silicon Valley entrepreneurial expertise?

That’s what Matter Ventures wants to give people with fresh media venture ideas. Their team wants to help you scale your startup and give you $50,000 for the design (both front and back ends), hacking and whatever else needs to be done for your media company. Partially funded by the Knight Foundation, Matter says its association with various news organizations gives entrepreneurs access to an audience for product testing and works as a media accelerator.

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon Matter (not to be confused with the Web-based science and tech mag, Matter magazine), but my timing is a little off for this year’s Matter applicants (deadline was July 28). All the more time, though, for you to polish your pitch and develop your idea for the next round of applications.

Matter, led by the partnership of former PBS Frontline producer/duPont Award winner Corey Ford and Jake Shapiro, who started the public media network PRX, is all about embracing the vision of creative, forward-thinking minds — but it still holds the startups they choose to traditional journalistic standards.

Its chief goal to facilitate the development of a more “informed, connected, and empowered society” through its program, Matter’s leadership believes that a fully immersive, incubated experience is necessary for entrepreneurs to assert permanent change in the news industry.

Once selected, the six entrepreneurial teams gather at Matter’s San Francisco offices and get to work. Matter brings in speakers weekly and fosters an environment where feedback is welcome — and imperative — to get each venture off the ground at the end of the four-month period. The whole thing culminates with a “Demo Day” and media previews on both the East and West coasts.

Take SpokenLayer, a standout in Matter One’s class of startups. They translated the concept of audio books to the magazine platform and are now working with The New Republic, The Atlantic and others to “unmute” publications. SpokenLayer insists that offering the story in another way — audibly — can significantly expand a journalist’s audience.

You’re going to want to keep an eye on the inaugural class’ progress and follow along as Matter chooses its second batch of startups. I’m confident we’ll get to reap the benefits of Matter’s venture capital investments on our tablets, phones and laptops while consuming news in the years to come.

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