Blog

By Brian Park

  Branching from our usual for-profit entrepreneurs, Startup Grind DC was privileged to host Jean Case this month. Jean founded The Case Foundation with her husband, serial entrepreneur and Startup Grind regular, Steve Case. Jean was also a former AOL marketing power player, GE info services marketer and technology company board member. The Case Foundation invests in social entrepreneurs, and is founded on principles of entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology.   What’s Expected When You’ve Made It   Where did this extraordinary woman come from? Normal, Illinois of course! “I had a corn field in my back yard, so it wasn’t really a setting that was aspirational”, she said of Normal. Raised by a single mother of four, it’s not surprising Jean grew into a strong and ambitious career woman. Answering her own question, “What took you into philanthropy?”, she shared her experiences “benefitting from the generosity of others” in her childhood, including attending private school on scholarship. “Too whom much is given, much is expected” is a feeling she shares in common with her husband Steve.   “Bad Words” Nonprofits Need to Learn   How important is marketing for a startup or a nonprofit? “I think marketing is important no …

By Brian Park

  In October, Startup Grind DC had the utmost honor to host Dr. Vint Cerf who is also widely known as the “Father of the Internet”.  The former DARPA scientist worked on data packet technologies which led to the internet as we know it. His led internet architecting at Verizon for eleven years and and spent fourteen years with NASA taking the internet to space. Vint serves as an evangelist for our October host and Startup Grind sponsor, Google. There he continues to push the bounds of the internet as we know it, into unconnected communities and new iterations in the internet of things.   Vint defied the portrait of a geeky scientist: Tall, and impeccably dressed, he took over the stage at our fireside chat, lobbing a joke at Brian. “You shouldn’t clap before people speak – you don’t know what they’re going to say yet.”   The Primordial Internet and the Cabana Hotel   Vint’s life story didn’t let us down there: Growing up in San Fernando in the Valley, his high school boasts Marilyn Monroe, Robert Redford, Steve Crawford, Jon Postel, who managed the domain name system, and Richard Carp who wrote the first implementation of TCP. …

By Brian Park

  It’s been a big summer for the DC community with the arrival of the much anticipated 2U IPO. Startup Grind DC was lucky to host one of the company’s founders, Chip Paucek just after the IPO and hear his experience in taking a technology start-up from a few guys with an idea, to a publicly traded company.   Like many DCites, Chip arrived in DC as a student at George Washington University. Born and raised in South Florida, he was the first person in his family to go to college, and consequently supported himself through his undergrad. Of education he says, “GWU fundamentally changed my life in every way. I wouldn’t be here without [my education].”   Bleeding Entrepreneurship   His first entrepreneurial experience was at 12, selling comic books he earned working in a store to neighborhood kids. In 1993 he founded Cerebellum Corporation, an educational tv production company, which he ran in between doing political work. He went on to be the CEO of Hooked on Phonics, while founding and running the Sylvan Learning Center with his wife.   Surprisingly, he says of 2U, “Of all my entrepreneurial experiences, 2U is the only one that’s worked.” He …

By Brian Park

Startup Grind is launching into Public Beta today of Startup Grind Mentor, a new initiative focusing on engaging mentors with relevant domain expertise to help startups anywhere in the world. Startup Grind Mentor intends to connect thousands of startups to the right mentor at the right time via online and in-person mentorships. Early stage startups can ask help from a mentor with specific domain expertise who have skillsets that are relevant within their industry.  As they mature through the process, their needs change and require different mentors with other specialties who know how to navigate through the trenches.  The platform will match early stage startups to early stage mentors appropriately and allow entrepreneurs to graduate to the next level and enable access to higher mentors.   Startup Grind Mentor’s 3Ms – Matches you with startups – Manages the startups you advise – Motivates your mentees     ***Apply to Become a Mentor NOW!*** Startup Grind Mentor Application http://ow.ly/BwQzd                                       The official launch of Startup Grind Mentor to the general public will come later next year, likely in the February timeframe. The public beta …

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.