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A San Francisco Incubator Blends Foodie and Startup Culture The Summit SF is helping entrepreneurs brew the next big idea.

By Jennifer Wang

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Coffeehouses have always been great for doing business. Lloyd's of London insurance market, for instance, was so named for its start in the late 1600s at Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, one of hundreds of "penny universities" where stimulating conversation could be had for the price of a cup of coffee.

Fast-forward a few centuries to The Summit SF, a grand, 5,000-square-foot café housed in the incubation space of venture capital firm i/o Ventures that opened in San Francisco last year. The café-and-tech incubator hybrid offers all the things expected of a legit foodie spot: farm-to-table menu, craft beers, local wines and Blue Bottle coffee. There's even an art gallery featuring, appropriately, a futurism exhibit and QR codes on placards.

Then there's the other half: a co-working space for more than 40 telecommuters and 10-plus startups that each receive seed money and mentorship from tech industry leaders, including i/o. A couple earlier tenants already have closed million-dollar deals, and it's become a popular place for beta testing new services, like an online jukebox and the pilot program for the location-based Meet Gatsby app.

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