Topic:   Startups

Reflections on entrepreneurship education, learning to code, business validation, finding co-founders, & time management :: A shout-out to - and empathy for - founders diving in and juggling it all

For a bit of background, a couple weeks ago I posted a few thoughts in /r/Entrepreneur from my past couple of decades of building and investing in businesses. Thanks for all the encouraging feedback and thoughtful questions. This article is a summary of the five most common topics/themes/questions that come up from that thread.

COVID-19 response and innovation at University of Washington Medicine. Plus, a call-to-action for medical technology entrepreneurs :: with Danica Little, Dimitry Levin, and Dr. Robert Sweet

In this episode of Ventures we look at the response to COVID-19 by teams involved with emergency preparedness and innovation at University of Washington (UW) Medicine in Seattle. We also discuss the need and options available for startups to collaborate with UW Medicine to help - not only with COVID-19 relief - but with general medtech and telehealth innovation to provide better care for patients in a post-COVID-19 world.

I turned 40 this summer. I spent my 20s building businesses and my 30s investing in early stage founders. Here are a few things I’ve learned thus far.

Greetings to anyone else out there in the Oregon Trail Generation that is crossing (or has recently crossed) the 40 mark. :) We’re old enough to remember an analog world, but young enough to have grown up with the early days of the Internet. It’s been quite a ride thus far.

Finding a technical co-founder, becoming an angel developer, and starting a new golf gear company :: with Gabe Coyne

One of the most common questions in the startup space is how to find a technical co-founder to design and build your product. In this episode of Ventures, we discuss in depth both how to become a great startup CTO and to find one in your network. We also talk about the founding story of Stix (https://stix.golf/), a new golf brand focused on middle-market, stylish clubs for the casual golfer.

New podcast episode on the founding story of Kickstarter & empowering creatives :: Plus, how to think like a (good) epidemiologist

It was fascinating to hear the founding story of Kickstarter and discuss with Charles and Wilson how to best support founders in this COVID-19 era, especially those inventing, creating, and selling tangible goods. Also, let's talk about Bayesian inference machines.

Co-founding Kickstarter, empowering creatives, and starting a tangible goods company in a pandemic :: with Charles Adler and Wilson Fong

In this episode of Ventures we look at the founding story of Kickstarter and discuss how to support and advise founders that are bringing new companies to life. We discuss specifically the challenges facing founders selling tangible goods in the COVID-19 era and how online resources and communities can be leveraged to optimize success in this difficult market landscape.

Startup Branding :: Strategy, Competitive Positioning, Personas, Naming, and Visual Design :: with Elisabeth Hass and Natalie Grummer

Most founders don’t pay enough attention to foundational branding processes, which often results in customer confusion, off-putting names/visuals, and/or an untimely death for new startups. In this episode, we dive into many aspects of branding a startup, from naming and competitive positioning to visual design and personas/values, including specific recommendations for designing a logo, mockups, and prototypes.

Real Escape from the Sex Trade (REST), Fighting Human Trafficking, and Starting a Nonprofit :: with Amanda Hightower and Brent Turner

In this episode of Ventures we dive into the horrors of human trafficking within the sex trade, specifically in and around the greater Seattle area. We look at one group’s efforts (REST - Real Escape from the Sex Trade) to combat the problem by providing a suite of services, working closely with law enforcement, and ensuring all people being trafficked understand they are worthy of love. We also dive deep into how REST got started, and how the relationship between the executive director and board chair is an important story to learn from for any for-profit or nonprofit founder team.

Blockchains, the State of the Crypto Ecosystem, Proof-of-Stake, and Figment Networks :: with Lorien Gabel, Andrew Cronk, and Tony Little

In this episode of Ventures we dive into all-things blockchains, the state of the ecosystem, the evolution of the industry (especially since 2017), the nuances between Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-State, and the suite of services that Figment Networks provides. Guests: Lorien Gabel, Andrew Cronk, and Tony Little.

Introducing Ventures: A new podcast exploring entrepreneurial stories, market landscapes, and opportunities for building new products and services

I’m excited to announce that I’ve launched a new audio/video podcast called Ventures. Now available on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and a ton of other places, the show explores entrepreneurial stories, market landscapes, problem spaces, and opportunities to create for-profit and nonprofit ventures to benefit human beings.

Introducing Satchel: a simplified newsletter and publishing platform for creators and their communities

I’m excited to announce today the launch of Satchel, a newsletter and publishing platform that facilitates direct, topic-specific communication between creators and their communities.

Investor pitch deck and communication strategies: pre-seed and seed

For better or worse, the practice of selling anything of significant value in the world of business involves pitch decks. This includes, of course, “selling” your next funding round to investors. While there is no lack of educational content out there recommending an ideal slide order for your deck (e.g. problem, solution, market size, traction, competitors, team, etc…), this article will guide you - an early stage startup CEO - through the nuances and differences of pre-seed and seed pitches, including tips for how to communicate with investors before and after the close. The more efficiently you can get in front of the appropriate angel investors and venture capitalists, the faster you can finish your round and get back to running your business.

Raising your first outside round: How to navigate accelerators, angel investors, and venture capitalists

As 2020 approaches, the market for raising your first round outside of friends and family - traditionally called a “seed” round - has changed dramatically. There are now a wide variety of financial products to fit early stages of your company (i.e. there are no longer standard amounts for early rounds, and a maddeningly large number of accelerators and venture capitalists (VCs) are competing for your attention. In such an environment, the global noise of books, podcasts, videos, and blogs - i.e. marketing material - often steer founders in the wrong direction; i.e. away from local angel investors and micro-VCs who will most likely fill your round.

How to raise and spend "friends & family" money most efficiently for your startup

There is a reason why the earliest round of capital infusion into a startup is often called the Friends, Family, and Fools round: most founders at this stage usually take money from their own savings and/or inexperienced startup investors, burn through cash haphazardly, mess up their cap table by giving away too much equity (often to too many people), literally break the law by violating securities regulations, and/or fall victim to freelancers and agencies that are happy to work for money but don’t advocate for the best interest of the company.

The five common mistakes founders make after a product launch

Congratulations, you’ve introduced your product to the world! You got media attention and a ton of new users and customers. Now what? Unfortunately, most founding teams become dazed and confused at this point and end up wasting important momentum.