December 21, 2009

Innovating in New York City

Innovating in New York City Last week I wrote about speaking at the NYC Lean Startup Meetup.  One of my other key takeaways from this, which I’ve known for a while and have been meaning to blog about, is just how vibrant the tech startup community is here in New York.  I know others have been blogging about this like mad – Fred has some thoughts here, here, and here, and Charlie has some here and here.  Chris Dixon’s seminal post on this is here. (I even blogged a bit about why NYC is a good place to start a business back in 2006 here.) I’ve had a little more time for networking and speaking in the past year than the prior year, and I’ve been blown away by how many startups there are here.  Like most things, New York City is such a massive and diverse place that it’s easy to “get lost in the crowd,” and there’s a lot going on.  So startups don’t tend to get the same level of social buzz that they do in Silicon Valley.  But Fred’s stat in one of those links above that over 150 startups were founded in NYC this year […]

August 7, 2009

Techstars Roundup: Why I Mentor Other Entrepreneurs

Techstars Roundup:  Why I Mentor Other Entrepreneurs Yesterday was Demo/Investor day at Techstars in Boulder, Colorado.  A lot of people have written about it – Fred, Brad, and a great piece by Don Dodge on TechCrunch listing out all the companies.  My colleague George and I co-mentored two of the companies, SendGrid and Mailana, and we really enjoyed working with Isaac and Pete, the two entrepreneurs. I posted twice earlier this summer on the TechStars experience.  My first post on this, Where do you Start?, was about whether to be methodical in business planning for a startup or dive right […]

June 24, 2009

Techstars: One Pitfall to Avoid

Techstars:  One Pitfall to Avoid George and I met with our Techstars “mentee” companies again yesterday.  As was the case with the last meetings, the sessions were energizing and fun and great to see new companies unfolding. One lesson I was reminded of yesterday with both companies is a timeless one, since at least the beginning of the commercial internet: Don’t create a “solution looking for a problem” I call this the Pointcast problem, after the mid-90s service that pulled headlines into screensavers and clogged corporate networks until the fad passed.  One of the companies we’re working with has this […]

May 29, 2009

First day at Techstars: Where do you start?

First day at Techstars:  Where do you start? I’m a new mentor this year at Techstars, a program in its third or fourth year in Boulder (and this year also in Boston for the first time) that provides a couple dozen companies with seed capital, advice and mentorship, and summer “incubation” services in a really well conceived for-profit venture started by David Cohen in Colorado. Yesterday was my first day up there with my colleague George Bilbrey, and we met with three different companies, two of which we will tag team mentor through the summer.  I won’t get into who […]