Startup Fundraising: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

One year ago today, Smart Office Energy Solutions closed a $1.3M angel round of funding. We’ve accomplished a great deal since then – expanded the team, finished gen-1 product development, obtained all the requisite certifications for our hardware, and built a large sales pipeline – but I find anniversaries to be a good time toContinue reading “Startup Fundraising: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”

Entrepreneurial Leadership

Last week I was invited to give a talk on a topic of my choice to the team of a high-growth startup in Durham. Because leadership challenges often cause friction during times of high growth, I chose to address the topic of entrepreneurial leadership. Check out my video below and let me know what youContinue reading “Entrepreneurial Leadership”

When to Listen to Investors

One of the best – and worst – aspects of being a startup founder is being inundated with a nearly constant stream of advice. Advice comes from everyone – friends, business partners, professors, customers, competitors, journalists, employees – but especially from investors. This makes sense as investors have a lot riding on the outcome ofContinue reading “When to Listen to Investors”

Startups Should Never Pay to Pitch

Several times a week my startup is solicited to participate in pay-to-pitch events at which we are promised access to a smorgasbord of wealthy, capable investors who are just chomping at the bit to invest in companies like mine. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it is. This has been covered by manyContinue reading “Startups Should Never Pay to Pitch”

Entrepreneurship Advice: Growing a Consumer Web Business

A friend of mine who recently took the entrepreneurial plunge and launched a consumer web business recently asked me for some advice. Aiming to serve more people than just him with what is hopefully useful advice, I am posting my response here. This was my friend’s request: “I believe the greatest challenge my company willContinue reading “Entrepreneurship Advice: Growing a Consumer Web Business”

Swiss Dairy

Last night was fantastic. The entrepreneurs behind my spring startup project, deskNet, took my group out for a celebration dinner. This was something we intended to do back in May when the project finished, but final exams, Kenya, and vacation interfered. It was nice to take a break, though, as this way they could updateContinue reading “Swiss Dairy”

Carmen

Yesterday we made our final presentation for our startup project. After four months of working to add value to our client company, we are enthusiastic about its prospects so had no trouble presenting it positively to our jury of VCs and entrepreneurs. They asked tough questions which made for a challenging, valuable experience. To celebrate,Continue reading “Carmen”

Beach Volleyball in the Rain

After an incredibly productive several days of work for deskNET, my group’s startup client, I was chomping at the bit to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Most of the class gathered in the auditorium to watch The Constant Gardener, one of 10 movies we must see in preparation for our Discovery Trip toContinue reading “Beach Volleyball in the Rain”

Living the Startup Dream

A major component of our IMD entrepreneurship education is the Startup Project. 18 startup companies have come to IMD asking for “help.” “Help” means anything from business strategy to market research to marketing to manufacturing and production optimization to HR to . . . any other aspect of business. Frequently they need help with severalContinue reading “Living the Startup Dream”