Blog

By Brian Park

For many startups venture capitalism is critical in order to take their innovations to the next level. True Ventures who portfolio includes well known entities like Fit Bit, about.me, and Automattic are at the forefront of entrepreneurial investing. John Burke, a founding member of TV, recently discussed what it means to be a VC as well as what it took to obtain one. Acquiring an interest in startups during his college years Burke worked for various firms before leaving his home state of California to move east and pursue his entrepreneurial dream. For eight years Burke ran his first business BMI Software which provided technical assistance to major conglomerates such as American Red Cross and FedEx. After selling BMI in the late 1990′s Burke enrolled in business school thus familiarizing himself with the term venture capital. After graduation Burke became a VC and founded firms ABS Ventures and Blacksmith Capital before eventually ending with True Ventures. During the chat Burke discussed topics ranging from his first investments (about.me, Giga.Om) to his take on technology’s future climate. A key highlight was when Burke spoke on what it took to become a TV client. According to Burke a potential firm should not …

By Brian Park

 In the world of consulting no name screams louder than Deloitte. For over 100 years Deloitte has been at the forefront when it comes to providing strategic and comprehensive services to clients worldwide. One of the people at the helm of the Deloitte powerhouse is Cheif Technology Officer Mark White. Mr. White graciously shared his insight in a recent fireside chat.   A native of Georgia and proud graduate of UGA White grew up with a business mindset thanx to his entrepreneurial parents. After college he worked at May & Company-a family business- before landing a job with Arther Anderson Consulting. During his 14 year tenure White became a partner while also creating apps on his own such as Realiem which managed investment trust for various real estate agencies. Unfortunately when Anderson collapsed White had to seek out other employment. Eventually Deloitte reached out to White forming a successful partnership.    As the overseer of Deloitte’ s tech division White has 3 rules that he applies before placing a trend in the company’s Tech trend report: 1. Must be business led technology enabled 2. Have an expectancy to manifest within the next 18-24 months 3. Must have 3 general market companies obliging …

By Brian Park

This May DC’s Startup Grind chapter joined forces with Google’s 40Foward in dedicating the month exclusively for women entrepreneurs around the world. In our case, we had the distinct privilege to host Congresswoman Suzane Delbene. (Actually, this was our second female in a row, and second congressperson.) Congresswoman Debene represents the 1st district of the state of Washington, but her career began in 1989 at Microsoft.   After ten years building Microsoft’s marketing she went on to help found Drugstore.com. She was CEO for Nimble Technology, overseeing its acquisition to Actuate in 2003. She then returned to Microsoft before beginning a new career in nonprofits, and now public service.   Female Role Models Start at Home   Delbene’s life was ripe with female entrepreneurship potential. Her story hit a personal note with me, as the daughter of a working mother.  She was from middle America background: the youngest of five, born in Selma, Alabama, her parents divorced when she was young. Delbene was lucky in that her “single mother” was a leader, and able to support her family: She was a pilot and became a university professor. Delbene calls her mother a “pioneer”, with a STEM background and drive that inspired her daughter. …

By Brian Park

                                      Last Thursday, Startup Grind Washington DC in collaboration with DC Chamber of Commerce and DigitalDC had the extreme honor of hosting the legendary Daymond John, the creator of FUBU (For Us By Us) one of the key components to the highly successful show Shark Tank!  Mr. John provided the crowd with plenty of insight, and a lot of cheeky humor for good measure. Before becoming a world revered business man Mr. John was just a young lad finding his way around his hometown of Queens, NY. The product of a single mother John had an entrepreneurial spirit early on. In 1989 he came up with the concept to create a fashion line. Using the $100,000 mortgaged from his mother’s house he turned his place into a makeshift clothing factory. Soon fellow Queens natives and musical luminaries such as MC Lyte and LL Cool J started wearing the apparel and before you know it FUBU became a phenomenon and made Daymond John as force to be reckoned with in the fashion world with $6 billion in global sales. After over a decade …

By Brian Park

  Startup Grind’s Washington DC chapter was pleased to host at 1776′s campus a local legend to the DC scene, both in the political realm and in the entrepreneurial community: Ellen Miller, founder of the Sunlight Foundation. We were honored to have Ellen as our first female speaker, and especially someone who represents the true disrupters of the DC region.   Ellen’s story is very humbling, being a woman from rural Kentucky who had ambitions that led her to seek greater opportunities. She never thought that she would ever be a social entrepreneur, but had a “political awakening” in the 60s through mentors and the current events that “shaped the vision for the work that [she] did for [her] whole life.” After working for Ralph Nader during the peak of his political career, she learned a lot as a 22 year old intern, like “what not to do.” She learned to treat employees with respect and to recognize their work and effort. She used this experience to drive her career on Capital Hill for over seven years, and began to become exposed to the inner workings of politics as she raised through the ranks at the Senate for Responsive Politics. …

By Brian Park

  The Ted Leonsis event blew out Startup Grind DC’s event capacity as one of the most popular speakers interviewed yet. Ted is a local hero in DC, a Georgetown graduate affectionately referred to as “Uncle Ted” by many of the young people who grew up with his kids. As the billionaire owner of the Verizon Center, he also owns the Caps and Wizards, making him one of the most popular DC residents.

By Brian Park

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrYmX37mEmw] In February, Startup Grind DC had the honor of hosting Congressman Jared Polis (cofounder of TechStars, ProFlowers, BlueMountainArts.com). Often the tech and entrepreneurship community can feel overshadowed by the power and influence emanating from The Hill. While “Hill people” cloister in elegant Senate offices and old-style bars bowing off of K street, the area’s entrepreneurs coalesce in warehouses converted to coworking spaces and dive bars papered with stickers from former next-big-things. It’s a seismic event, then, when the DC tech and Hill communities can come crashing together over a double-threat like they did last February with Congressman Polis. Rep. Polis has been serving Colorado’s 2nd district since 2009. Prior to becoming a politico, Polis founded and successfully sold three technology companies. He is now a mentor with TechStars, a startup accelerator. Similar to our January speaker Alex Hawkinson, Polis grew up in an entrepreneurial family, learning sales from a young age. His first sell was BlueMountainArts.com, which he started with his parents using his father’s artwork to create online greeting cards. His second sell, American Information Systems, an internet access provider, went for $32 million. He immediately used the capital to found ProFlowers, an online florist. It was at that …

By Brian Park

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCzD96EOcmw&w=640&h=460]   There’s this thing that tech is talking about, this “Internet of Things”, this idea where suddenly everything we touch and use and see and turn on is connected. This “Internet of Things” is supposed to be the next wave, and surfing high on that wave was our January speaker at nClud, Alex Hawkinson. SmartThings is billed as a “smarter home” solution. Imagine this: You are laying in bed and as you awaken, your Jawbone wristlet sends a signal to your home center. The blinds open gently. You’re greeted by a voice letting you know your coffee is brewing, the towel warmer is heated, and but your kids are still curled up asleep. At $55 million Bill Gates spared no cost for his smarter home. Smart Things is revolutionizing the market charging only $300 for a DIY version.   SmartThings connect the everyday objects in your life The SmartThings kit isn’t a “smart home” plug-in – it’s more like a kit that turns your home into a computer. “There is a hub device, like a Babblefish”, explained Alex. “There are all these ‘things’ in your home, that can somehow talk to our platform. There’s about a thousand things …

By Brian Park

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYFKB-O3DHY&w=630&h=360]   For Startup Grind Washington DC’s 12th event at 1776, we had the pleasure of hosting Gary Shapiro, CEO of Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) just three weeks before CES 2014 in Las Vegas. With CES boasting to be the largest event in the United States (if not the world) with 300,000+ attendees, we were honored to host Gary for our anniversary event to close out 2013 (and yes, cake was served).   So, how did Gary come to lead the largest electronics showcase known to Earth? Like most entrepreneurs, Gary’s journey to tech titan was humble. Born into a family of teachers on Long Island, Gary learned how to make the most of a dollar through working various odd jobs as he grew up.   While at Georgetown University studying law, he needed a job to support his studies. After dabbling in politics, he started working at a law firm that introduced him to CEA and his first CES event. Gary worked closely with CEA, who was a client of the firm he worked for, which introduced him to newer electronics and advancements in technologies. He quickly fell in love with the vast exposure of tech and electronics in …

By Brian Park

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUhb47QbBXs&w=640&h=360] Startup Grind DC had the pleasure of hosting Tige Savage of Revolution Ventures at nClud. Tige’s event was a smashing success with almost 110 guests in attendance and Derek Andersen, the founder of Startup Grind, flew in from Palo Alto to do the interview.Revolution Ventures was started by Steve Case, David Golden and Tige in 2005 and just recently closed $200 million to focus on early stage venture capital investments in technology-enabled businesses that disrupt existing, multi-billion dollar industries. Tige grew up both on the east and west coast as a military brat, eventually landing in the DC area for high school where his father took a post in the Air Force as an Astro Physicist. Tige’s first job as a 14 year old teenager was at a computer store, and eventually he tried his hand at being an tech entrepreneur by writing software for the Atari computer and selling it. Apprenticeship – Find someone who will give you your big break Tige graduated from JMU, got married, and embarked on his first quest into “business” at a bank. In 1990 during the recession, Tige jumped onboard at a small regional bank which is now know as Riggs …