The Knight News Challenge accelerates media innovation by funding breakthrough ideas in news and information. Winners receive a share of $5 million in funding and support from Knight’s network of influential peers and advisors to help advance their ideas.
Throughout 2012, innovators from all industries and countries are invited to participate in three challenge rounds, each with focused topics on emerging trends.
Round 1 - on networks - is closed, and the winners will be announced June 18.
Round 2 - on data - will be open May 31 - June 21. We’re looking for new ways of collecting, understanding, visualizing and helping the public use the large amounts of information generated each day. Winners will be announced in late September.
Details on Round 3 will available later this year.
Anyone, anywhere can apply for the challenge - whether for-profit start-ups or non-profit ventures. For more information on a variety of topics - from guidelines for for-profits, on intellectual property licensing, open source software and more - visit our FAQ.
Build a new, replicable model for funding/incubating startups based on community, deep collaboration, shared value creation and incentive alignment.
Incubators like TechStars provide top-down funding and incubation. Networks like Facebook and LinkedIn foster community and collaboration. We will tie it all together — from the bottom up.
We are drawing from an existing Facebook group called Accelerating Possibilities, self-organized around the principle of helping one another “connect ideas, people and resources to make good things happen faster.” It’s a meta-network of nearly 800 members from Unreasonable Institute, StartingBloc, TED, Pop!Tech, Summit Series and more.
Only 2.5% of entrepreneurs get funding, yet all job growth is from startups. Angel investing yields over 27% IRR historically, yet most angels are hobbyists, and most citizens are blocked from investing due to antiquated laws. Human catalysts in the startup ecosystem are critical to startup success, yet they can’t make a living by doing what they are best at: connecting the dots for others. There is already tremendous incentive to bring these three groups together into a single community. We will align incentives, create processes, and curate a culture of INTERdependence that’s more profitable for everyone than working independently.
A core team is emerging from within Accelerating Possibilities to flesh out the vision and operationalize it, including: Rafe Furst (entrepreneur, angel investor, catalyst); Orlando Medina (legal and transactional expert); Sarah Tripp Stephan (communications expert); Jason McKinley (operations expert); and Paige Schechtman (getting-things-done expert). We are in the process of rounding out the core team and building consensus within the community. Once we get to 100 members we will begin the beta period (which includes funding/incubation for 30 startups). From there we will scale to 1000 members. From there we will help others replicate our model.
We are in the process of rounding out our core team as well as surveying and running focus groups from the various potential community members. We’ve created a first draft of the model we will implement and refine in the beta period, using lean startup methodology. Rather than attempt to plan everything from the top-down, we will engage the community to co-create the action plan, assuring that the members feel ownership of their own success from the beginning.
Knight’s grant will launch and fund our beta community. Once we’ve hit cashflow-positive, we will empower other communities to replicate our model, much the way TEDx does TED. Whatever amount we receive from Knight, we will “fund-it-forward” to two other communities in the future.