Ben Huh is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cheezburger (http://cheezburger.com). The former journalist turned successful entrepreneur has been credited with pioneering Internet culture as entertainment, crowdsourcing, and bringing Internet memes to the mainstream.
Since first acquiring I Can Has Cheezburger? in 2007, Huh has grown the media company to now include more than 50 online humor sites that generate more than 400 million page views monthly. His Internet culture empire includes popular sites such as FAIL Blog, The Daily What, Know Your Meme and Memebase. Cheezburger has also released five books, two of which are New York Times bestsellers, and was the focus of the LOLwork reality television series, which aired on the Bravo network in 2012.
The Internet culture connoisseur has been featured in many high-profile media outlets including The New York Times, WIRED and TIME. He was named one of the “100 Most Creative People in the Business” by Fast Company, and was recognized as one of the “Top 10 Worst Dressed Men in Silicon Valley” by GQ. In 2011, Huh received the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
As a top industry expert, he has been tapped to speak on numerous panels at leading conferences including the Web 2.0 Summit and SXSW, where he was a featured speaker in 2013. He is also a Co-Founder and board member of Circa, on online journalism startup which re-imagines the way people will consume news.
Huh holds a BSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and resides in Seattle with his wife Emily.
Kushal Chakrabarti is the founder and board co-chair of Vittana, a non-profit that fights youth poverty in developing nations. It pioneered the Vittana Loan — a $750 student micro-loan that can triple a girl’s income. An award-winning organization, Vittana works in 13 countries,helps 1,000+ youth escape poverty every month and its impact is regularly highlighted in world press including the Economist, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and many others.
Previously, Kushal ran technology for a $1 billion team at Amazon and is the author of 20+ patents and papers. He was recently named Social Innovator of the Year, one of Seattle’s Top 40 People Under 40 and voted the #1 Game-Changer in Philanthropy by 1.7 million readers on Huffington Post. Kushal is a frequent speaker on youth poverty, education and social entrepreneurship including SOCAP, Pop!Tech and TEDxBrussels.
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.
Oren is currently the CTO, Co founder with Decide.com, leveraging his big data knowledge he has honed with Farecast. Farecast was sold to Microsoft in 2008 after he started it in 2004. He is also a Venture Partner with Madrona and founder or co founder of various startups in the Seattle area. He chairs Madrona’s Technology Advisory Board and is a Professor at the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering. He is the author of more than 100 academic papers on topics including Web search, data mining, agent technology, and various aspects of Artificial Intelligence. He was the Chief Technology Officer and board member of Go2Net Inc. (acquired by InfoSpace) and a founder of Netbot, Inc. (acquired by Excite). He received the NSF Young Investigator Award, was chosen to be an AAAI Fellow, and in 2007 received the Robert S. Engelmore Memorial Award for “long-standing technical and entrepreneurial contributions to Artificial Intelligence”.
At Netbot, Dr. Etzioni helped to conceive and design the web’s first major comparison-shopping agent. In 1995, he and his student Erik Selberg developed MetaCrawler, the Web’s premier Meta-search engine for several years. He also is a co-founder of Clearforest (acquired by Reuters).
He received his undergraduate degree in computer science from Harvard University, and his MS and Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.
Chris DeVore is a founder and General Partner at Founders’ Co-op, the Pacific Northwest’s leading seed-stage venture capital fund. Previously a co-founder of Adjacency (acquired by Sapient, NASDAQ: SAPE) and Judy’s Book (backed by Mobius VC and Ignition Partners), Chris also created outdoor retailer Patagonia’s online retailing channel and led product and business strategy teams at AT&T and McCaw Cellular Communications. Chris holds a BA from Yale and attended the MBA program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
Since 2008, Founder’s Co-op has bankrolled more than a dozen companies on the West Coast. Those include Simply Measured, Estately, Deal Co-op, Appature, BigDoor and others. DeVore said that he still feels like the Pacific Northwest is a hidden gem of startup activity, with Founder’s Co-op positioning to be the “talent scouts” for the best entrepreneurs. “We like to be thought of the guys who find the best stuff in the Northwest,” adding the the firm sees its role as a “catalyst” for the Pacific Northwest technology community.
He is also a frequent blogger at crashdev.com and is on twitter @crashdev
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.
Startup Grind is excited to host Greg Gottesman on April 23 at 6pm. Register here. Greg is the man about town when it comes to VC’s and working with startup at every level. He is the Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group. Greg joined Madrona in 1997 and currently serves on the boards of AdReady, Bocada, BuddyTV, Cheezburger, Decide, Intrepid Learning Solutions, Nimbic, Rover.com, ThinkFire, ThisLife, and WildTangent. Greg serves on the boards of Startup Weekend and the Evergreen Venture Capital Association. He is an advisory board member of the University of Washington Technology Transfer Office. He is the author of three books. Greg is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Washington Business School, where he teaches a class on entrepreneurship. Greg graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors and distinction from StanfordUniversity, with honors and distinction from the Harvard Business School, and with honors from HarvardLawSchool where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
He is a regular visitor of Startup Weekend and even help start a company out of one of those weekends – Rover.com. He has been a fan of all things startup for many years in the Seattle region and continues to be one of the go to guys when it comes to VC financing. He is both a critic and mentor of his portfolio companies and is always looking to meet high quality and interesting founders. He is one of the most respected and well liked VC’s (if that is possible) in the Seattle area and continues to push for improving the startup community at all levels.
If you plan to attend Startup Grinds April 23 event to listen and meet Greg then you should bring your notebook or ipad as you will be able to get answers to some VC questions that others are afraid to answer. Greg is both open and very smart when it comes to financing your startup and is willing to share all he knows in this interesting interview. Register for this next event asap as it will surely be sold out. RSVP
Michael is optimistic, genuine and a problem solver. He is a product guy that focuses on uses and revenue. He loves starting companies and enjoys the collaboration with smart people to figure out how to create value for a customer. He has been lucky enough to start a few companies, raise capital and see the hard work payoff.Michael enjoys the experiences you must go through to get a company into a growth mode and see its first service/product create revenue. Currently he is working on an platform to help the homeless in the US, that has yet to be released to the public and is a partner in a web design/development company CrashShop.com that does some very interesting applications and websites.You can visit his blog at michaelgrabham.com or follow him on twitter @grabmike