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Digg Founder Kevin Rose Races to Find the Next Big Hit

Rose's new app incubator, North Technologies, is onto app number two after just three months.

Joi Ito

In the three months since investor Kevin Rose backed off some of his duties at Google Ventures to create another startup, the entrepreneur-turned-VC has been reminded daily just how cushy his life was when he was just investing in new companies, not creating them.

“It is so much work,” laughed Rose, who previously founded startups Digg and Milk. “You get back into it and you realize, ‘Oh yeah, VCs do have an amazing job.'”

Rose’s North Technologies, an app incubator of sorts, has already introduced two apps and has two more potential projects on the horizon. It launched Tiiny, an ephemeral video sharing app in September, and it introduced Watchville on Saturday, a “luxury good” app that aggregates news and offers tools for timepiece enthusiasts.

Rose says his company is also working on an app in the “crypto currency” space, and one that will be a management tool to complement Slack, the popular workplace communication service, although neither has a specified launch date.

The incubator’s five-person team is hurling ideas at the wall (or into the App Store) in the hope that something sticks. Tiiny launched less than a month after Rose left Google Ventures. Already, an update announced Monday actually eliminates the ephemeral element of the app, one of its core features. The team noticed users were often bummed about losing their video creations after just 24 hours.

Radical shifts like that will be a hallmark for a firm that is racing to find a hit. The team vows to keep two or three ideas on their plates at any given time. If they come up with another, one of the previous ideas will be killed off in exchange, Rose says. He doesn’t want to spread the team too thin.

“We’re a [company] in search of our one whale, our one thing that we really want to latch on to,” he said. “Once we find that product, we will spend [the money] and build a team around that one idea.”

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