In April, Startup Grind Washington DC had the privilege to speak with Dr. Magid Abraham, co-founder of comScore. This event marked Startup Grind DC’s first time hosting a speaker out of 1776, DC’s newest (and very promising) co-working space. The event was certainly an interesting and eventful occasion for all those involved: interesting due to Dr. Abraham’s remarks, and eventful due to an unexpected fire alarm that temporarily moved the event to the building’s lobby, stairwells, and sidewalk (not even kidding, on the street networking definitely happened). It was certainly a Startup Grind first, but in the end, we all came away with some insightful and powerful points provided by comScore’s legendary leader.
Zimride is the largest ridesharing community in the US with over 200 million miles shared. We provide private ridesharing networks for 150 universities and companies across the US. Zimride also partners with hundreds of events each year such as Coachella, Bonaroo, and the Dave Matthews Band tour.
Halle is responsible for building partnerships and overseeing Rock Health’s strategic direction. She previously worked for Intel and Apple, and founded YogaBear.org. She earned a BS at Case Western Reserve University and an MBA at Harvard Business School. Halle was named one of CNN’s “12 Entrepreneurs Reinventing Healthcare” and Forbes “30 under 30″.
Personally the first Startup Grind event I ever attended, complete with Cash Money Records music, free pizza, and great networking. I was lucky enough to see one of the legendary VCs from Silicon Valley, Jeff Clavier. Throughout this interview he goes over a variety of topics any entrepreneur will still find valuable today such as how to get a meeting with SoftTech VC, how to perfect your pitch, and what NOT to do when trying to get a VCs attention.
[00:00:05.20] QUESTION: What about this thing right now, are you seeing, there’s been a lot of talk of, that just there’s all these companies that were funded at the angel level, they’re now coming in for a series A, not able to get that funding. Are you seeing that with your companies that you’re having, or not you specifically but companies in general, that is this a real trend that’s happening that companies raised angel round are now struggling to raise series A, maybe because they shouldn’t have deserved an angel round or some other reason?
One of the first big interviews Startup Grind ever hosted was with Jason Calacanis. Jason was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule during his meetings in Palo Alto to come and speak to small intimate group at the Startup grind offices. Watch and learn more about Jason’s early entrepreneurial ventures during Web 1.0, what catches his eye in an entrepreneur and how to perfect your pitch.
[00:02] DEREK: On that note, let me introduce Jason; he needs no introduction, he’s worldwide.
In one of the earliest Startup Grind interviews, David Cowan from Bessemer Venture Partners joined us to discuss a variety of things going on in Silicon Valley. From what VCs are really looking for, seeing potential in the right entrepreneurs, and being on the board of one of the most successful app developer, Smule.
[02:34] DAVID: OK. I didn’t mean to get involved in the technology industry, it was an accident. I loved computer science and studied it in college. I had some friends that worked with me in the Science Center and we were called Terminal Watchers. They told me when I graduated that I had to interview with a company called Oracle. I didn’t know what it was or care, I was all set to get a job at some investment bank or management consulting firm; that was more glamorous back then. My friends urged me to go to the interview so I did. Back then, Oracle was hiring like crazy and didn’t know who I was, just that I was a computer science major.
Danny O’Neill is the “Bean Baron” of The Roasterie, inc., a specialty coffee roaster that services espresso bars and coffee houses, fine restaurants, high-end grocers, and coffee-lovers all around the world.
Danny was born and raised in Denison, Iowa, and is the middle of ten children. During his senior year of high school he traveled to Costa Rica as a foreign exchange student and spent several weeks picking coffee. It was at this moment that his passion for it ignited. After his return, he received his B.A. from Iowa State University with a double major in International Studies and Political Science, and a structured minor in Economics. In 1993 he received his MBA from the Rockhurst University Executive Fellows Program in Kansas City.
After holding various sales and marketing positions for ten years, he decided to take the leap and start roasting coffee in the basement of his home in Brookside. In 1993 he founded The Roasterie on three basic premises: to find the best coffees in the world, to roast them the best way known to man, and to get them to his customers as fast as humanly possible. In 2001 he was awarded “Super Taster” status on the Specialty Coffee Institute Sensory Aptitude Test.
He serves on a number of advisory boards for various local companies and associations, and is currently on the Board of Regents at Rockhurst University, and the Board of Directors for The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and Missouri Restaurant Association. He is also past President of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
2005 marked the birth of Danny’s son, Terry, as well as the opening of first Roasterie Café in Brookside, just blocks from where The Roasterie began. In 2008 his daughter, Sophia, was born; and in 2010 the second Roasterie Café opened, this time in Leawood, Kansas. The third Café is inside the new roasting factory, underneath their beloved DC3 airplane.
Our Dave McClure interview is easily one of the most memorable Startup Grind interviews ever. Dave came to the stage and talked about everything from farting unicorns to expanding out to international cities with 500 Startups. Watch and learn how to get the right VC’s attention, expand into new markets, build a great product, and get a meeting with the pirate VC himself.
[00:01:22.08] QUESTION: Welcome to the Startup Grind. We like to start these things out by just getting to know you a little bit, hear about your background. Tell us a little bit about where you grew up tell us about –
[00:01:30.26] DAVE: I know I’m really hard to find on the web, so it’s all a big secret.
[00:01:37.25] QUESTION: We’re going to dive deep, man, we got handkerchiefs, we got everything. We expect the tears to flow. So, tell us about West Virginia, tell us about your family and tell us all about it.
Vinod grew up dreaming of being an entrepreneur, despite growing up in an Indian Army household with no business or technology connections. Since the age of 16, when he first heard about Intel starting up, he dreamt of starting his own technology company. Upon graduating with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Vinod failed, at age 20, to start a soy milk company to service the many people in India who did not have refrigerators. He came instead to the U.S. and got his master’s in biomedical engineering at Carnegie-Mellon University. His start-up dreams attracted him to Silicon Valley, where he got an MBA at Stanford University in 1980.
Upon graduation he was one of the three founders of Daisy Systems, which was the first significant computer-aided design system for electrical engineers. The company went on to achieve significant revenue, profits, and an IPO, but Khosla, driven by the frustration of having to design the computer hardware on which the Daisy software needed to be built, started the standards-based Sun Microsystems in 1982 to build workstations for software developers. At Sun he pioneered “open systems” and RISC processors. Sun was funded by longtime friend and board member John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
In 1986 Vinod switched sides and joined Kleiner Perkins, where he was and continues to be a general partner of KPCB funds through KP X. Through the years there, with other partners, he took on Intel’s monopoly with Nexgen/AMD (the only microprocessor to have significant success against Intel, sold to AMD for 28 percent of AMD), incubated the idea and business plan for Juniper to take on Cisco’s dominance of the router market, formulated the very early advertising-based search strategy for Excite, and transformed the moribund telecommunications business and its archaic SONET implementations with Cerent (sold to Cisco for $7B). He helped in creating value, having fun, succeeding, failing (remember Dynabook?), and driving impact in partnership with entrepreneurs and the partners at KPCB.
In 2004, Vinod, driven by the need for flexibility to accommodate four teenaged children and a desire to be more experimental, to fund sometimes imprudent “science experiments,” and to take on both for-profit and for “social impact” ventures, formed khoslaventures, funded entirely with family funds. His goals remain the same: work and learn from fun and knowledgeable entrepreneurs, build impactful companies through the leverage of innovation, and spend time in a partnership that makes a difference.
Daniel is a small business owner in Kansas City, Missouri. He co-owns and operates Cremalab, a web and mobile development company that works alongside startups and entrepreneurs to build online products. He joined in 2010 as Partner and COO, overseeing all of the firm’s day-to-day operations, business strategy, and general management. His previous experience in account management, entrepreneurial spirit, and educational background brought fresh insight, organization, and direction to the company. Since joining in 2010, Daniel has been a key catalyst in the growth, efficiency, and sustainability of the company, leading to year-over-year growth and profitability. Daniel’s key responsibilities include operations, administration, business strategy, and organizational leadership.