Posts Tagged ‘venture capital’

12 Lessons Guy Kawasaki Learned from Steve Jobs

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The day after Steve Jobs’ death last year, Silicon Valley VC Guy Kawasaki gave a speech about the two times he worked under Jobs and what he learned. Some highlights from his list: Don’t listen to the experts; all that matters is whether something works or not; and value is different from price. Watch his talk below:

Peter Thiel’s Stanford Course on Startups

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Blake Masters has posted in essay format his detailed notes from Peter Thiel’s Stanford course on startups. Mr. Thiel is the co-founder of PayPal, the first outside investor in Facebook, a venture capitalist, and hedge fund manger. Readers will find lots of great information on the history of startups, the tech startup bubble, the thought processes of founders, and how to begin. For example: “The path from 0 to 1 might start with asking and answering three questions. First, what is valuable? Second, what can I do? And third, what is nobody else doing?”

Read the notes here.

Chicago’s Start-Up Ecosystem

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Funding for Chicago based start-ups from venture capital firms and angel investors is up. The number of collaborative work spaces and social support programs for entrepreneurs are increasing. Chicago is becoming a great place for entrepreneurship.

Read the article at The Wall Street Journal.

“Stop Telling Women to Do Startups”

Monday, December 19th, 2011

We at CEE are guilty as charged and appropriately chastised by TechCrunch’s Penelope Trunk, who is tired of people encouraging women to become entrepreneurs. Read the article here.

Who’s Leading the Entreprenerial Resurgence?

Monday, November 21st, 2011

In an article for Huffington Post, Rieva Lesonsky credits Generation Y, which she dubs “Generation Entrepreneur,” for a major role in the entrepreneurial comeback of the 2010s. She cites Gen Y Capital Partners among organizations seeking to correct the difficulty Generation Y entrepreneurs often have in finding capital. The company donates $10 million to Generation Y startups, and gives some of its proceeds to Kaizen interviewee Steve Mariotti‘s Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

Read more here.

Start-up Chile: A Grand Innovation Experiment

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

It’s easy to understand the importance of innovators and entrepreneurs to the economy, but it’s much harder to figure out the best ways to encourage more entrepreneurship. In an article for TechCrunch, Vivek Wadhwa explores Start-Up Chile, a program that he calls “Chile’s Grand Innovation Experiment.” Most initiatives to create the next Silicon Valley have failed, Wadhwa argues, because they use a top-down approach that fatally leaves out the most important ingredient — the entrepreneurs themselves. Start-up Chile is therefore unique because, rather than building office parks and partnering with VC’s and universities, it focuses on attracting innovators and entrepreneurs from all over the world to Chile, where they will start their own businesses.

Learn more about how Start-up Chile plans to achieve this goal and watch a video about its first crop of participants here.

Kevin O’Connor’s Latest Venture: FindTheBest

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Venture capitalist Kevin O’Connor, interviewed in the April 2009 issue [PDF] of Kaizen, is now co-founder and CEO of FindTheBest, as described by Mr. O’Connor, “was created out of my desire to organize part of the Internet, filter out the excessive junk and present information in a simple, comparable way.”

He explains further: “I could find endless amounts of information on any subject but when I had a complicated decision to make, I found myself wasting hours, or even days, compiling information I could compare. Or, I found sites offering their “top 10” recommendations, only to discover they were secretly getting “kickbacks” from the sites they were recommending.”

His solution, FindTheBest, is now in beta version.  It allows the user to compare search results (similarly to travel websites like Expedia), and to narrow down the results by various criteria (much like browsing Amazon). Like Wikipedia, users can also contribute to the site, updating existing areas or creating new listings in which they have expertise.

Check out

Read Kevin O’Connor’s introduction to FindTheBest.

Read the full-length interview with Kevin O’Connor.

What Have Venture Capitalists Really Done for Innovation?

Monday, September 28th, 2009

MoneyAn article by Vivek Wadhwa at TechCrunch explains why “VCs follow innovation, they don’t lead.”

The National Venture Capital Association claims in their Venture Impact report that companies like Microsoft and Google “…would not exist today without the funding and guidance provided during their early stages by venture capitalists.”

But what about the entrepreneurs who, as Wadhwa puts it, “risk their life savings, max out their credit cards and put their families in the back seat?”

Read the article here.

Interview with Kevin O’Connor

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

oconnor-webKevin O’Connor is co-founder and former CEO of DoubleClick. DoubleClick is the world’s largest Internet advertising technology company and was recently acquired by Google. Prior to DoubleClick, Mr. O’Connor founded and developed several successful Internet businesses and is now the principal of O’Connor Ventures, a venture capital firm that provides funding for startups. For this interview we met with Mr. O’Connor in Santa Barbara, California to explore his thoughts on Internet entrepreneurship, venture capital, and success in life.

Kaizen: Before you went to college, you were a young man with an experimental turn of mind. Some of those experiments went well—and others didn’t?

O’Connor: Well, there was the one when I tried to build a hot air balloon and it was too windy, so I launched it in our garage and it caught on fire. It was about six o’clock on a Sunday morning, and all the hot ashes flew up in the rafters and almost burned the whole house down and killed the family. So I had to put everything out before anyone woke up.

Kaizen: What was your parents’ reaction to that?

O’Connor: My dad actually helped me build a new one, and we went out and launched it, but it was too windy and it burned up again. But it was outside. He was always very good on that. And the other time, I think I was building a rheostat and it was very, very hot and it caught the carpet on fire. I tried to hide it and somehow my dad always found everything I did. He was totally cool with it; he was fine. He liked the story and he was glad I didn’t kill anyone.

Kaizen: So rather than dampening your experimentalism, they took the risks and—maybe keeping an eye on things the way parents do—encouraged you down that road?

O’Connor: Yep. He never even kept an eye on me. I don’t know why. They were fairly conservative people, but I think my dad had a bit of a hidden wild streak in him.

Kaizen: So by the time you went to college you had years of fun experience with technology and great parental support?

O’Connor: Yep. My dad used to go out with me every garbage night. We’d go out and collect TVs and radios and anything with electronics. He used to help me do that.

Watch business pitches on BBC’s Dragons’ Den

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Check out the addictive BBC show Dragons’ Den, in which entrepreneurs make a pitch for investment to five venture capitalists who decide whether to invest their own money in exchange for equity. Aside from the drama, you can learn a lot about presentation skills and what goes into judging whether a business idea will actually work. You can watch several full episodes, such as the one below, online.