We had the fortune and the pleasure to sit down with Patrick Llewellyn from 99designs, CEO of the worlds premier design marketplace.
As with all Startup Grind events it is custom to listen to the story of the entrepreneur and their company, but tonight was a little different, you see instead Patrick wanted to take over our customary introduction. Usually we welcome the speaker to the floor but tonight Patrick shared the story of our relationship with 99designs. Read more →
Jordan is an internationally sought after thought leader in early-stage investing. He is an experienced engineer, entrepreneur, executive, venture capitalist and Angel investor. He has over thirty years of experience in growing and advising technology oriented companies in Australia, USA, Asia and Europe.
A Silicon Valley software veteran, Jordan was a founding partner of one of the best performing venture capital fund managers in Australia; he is co-founder and Chairman of the Australian Association of Angel Investors (AAAI) and Founder/President of Angel investor group, Melbourne Angels Inc.
Jordan is an invited speaker on Angel investing at international conferences, is a featured speaker at business events and he has been an invited lecturer at Universities in Australia, Asia, Europe and North America. A frequent judge for entrepreneurial events, Jordan also advises governments on policy and programmes for the early-stage investment and entrepreneurial space. He delivers training on Angel investing and early-stage business development and is a Case Manager for Commercialisation Australia, the primary Australian government grant program for commercialising innovation and is active in a variety of community organisations.
A Fellow of the AAAI and Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Jordan has a degree in Electronics Engineering from RMIT, a MBA from the Melbourne Business School and post-graduate qualifications in Marketing, Strategy, Innovation and Product Development with experience as a postgraduate research fellow in biomedical engineering at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. He has been director, CEO, executive, or engineer for over a dozen technology and engineering companies since starting his career with IBM. Jordan remains an optimist and a collaborator.
I think it was Gary Vanderchuck that said that nothing really has changed in this digital world in terms of social networking, only now we are all in the middle of a dinner party and you need to work the room. Anyone that reaches out to you on social media, make sure you say hello, you wouldn’t ignore them in that room. A conversation is needed to start a dialogue with your customers, charm and a personal touch helps turn that dialogue into relationships.
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.
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.
Patrick Llewellyn joined 99designs, the world’s largest graphic design marketplace, in 2009 after a decade advising Australian technology and media companies at NexTec Strategic Capital. In 2010 he moved to San Francisco to open a U.S. office and oversee U.S. and international expansion. Shortly after being appointed CEO in January 2011, Llewellyn guided 99designs to a $35 million first-round capital investment led by Accel Partners (Facebook, Dropbox, Etsy). He has since launched 99designs’ European headquarters in Berlin as well as localized-language sites in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Latin America, and has grown the company from a handful of staff to more than 80 in San Francisco, Melbourne, Berlin, Paris and London. To date, 99designs has hosted more than 210,000 graphic design contests and paid out more than $50 million to its community of 220,000 designers around the world.
99designs is the world’s largest online graphic design marketplace, connecting businesses looking for design work with more than 220,000 graphic designers from 192 countries around the world. Businesses can source graphic design work quickly and affordably by launching design contests to the community, working 1-on-1 with individual designers, or purchasing design templates from 99designs’ readymade logo store. The company was co-founded by serial entrepreneurs Mark Harbottle and Matt Mickiewicz (SitePoint, Flippa), and is backed by Accel Partners and angel investors Michael Dearing (eBay, Harrison Metal), Dave Goldberg (Survey Monkey), Stewart Butterfield (Flickr, Tiny Speck) and Anthony Casalena (Squarespace). To learn more about 99designs visit 99designs.com.au.
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.
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.