startup programs

Should Startups Work on Global Problems? Is the Pope Catholic?

Pope Francis drives an old Ford Focus. He wears cheap orthopedic shoes. He took the bulletproof glass off the famous popemobile, saying it was better to be close to the people and take his chances. He never moved into the official Papal quarters in the Vatican and instead lives in a small apartment. The pontiff, […]

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Investment Thesis for a University Incubator

Recently I was hired by USC, specifically USC’s Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Marshall School of Business, to build a USC Incubator program, open to any USC student or alum. As I started to survey needs of potential participants, I wrote an investment thesis. You might ask why have an investment thesis for a university program […]

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USC Incubator Description

Working with early-stage founders has been my focus for the past three years. After running a startup in New York, I started holding a roundtable series that grew into a bootcamp and then a funded accelerator program in Hong Kong. I’ve advised or had as clients that are startups from early-stage revenue to millions of […]

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Accelerators and their discontents

Breaking my own rule I wrote about a related issue a few weeks ago, but now find myself pulled back to this topic sooner than I thought. Yesterday, in a TechCrunch article called “The Startup Accelerator Trend Is Finally Slowing Down,” the author says that the overcrowded market for early-stage funding destines most accelerators to […]

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Please stop trying to build another Y Combinator

There are lots of venture-backed startup accelerators and increasingly, corporate startup accelerators out there. I believe that most of them add value to the startups they work with, as measured against the equity and time they take. In spite of that, most accelerators will not last long-term and could be adding much more value. Here I […]

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Eradicate the startup pitch event

I posted this recently on Medium. Reposting the link here to share the reasons why I think startup pitch events are awful. Hope you like it. Eradicate the startup pitch event.

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You’re So Vain

While we talk about lean startup and vanity metrics we also often send conflicting signals. Here are some examples that startup ecosystems create or enable. From what I’ve seen, vanity is the major culprit. The Events Problem Speaker Events. You don’t get any closer to your goal by going to hear a speaker, famous or […]

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When Does a Startup Accelerator Succeed?

There’s a lot written about startup accelerators. At least, there’s a lot written by outside casual observers; very little is written about them from the inside. There are reasons for that. In my experience running an accelerator, I wouldn’t share much about the startups until after demo day (more about why in a later post).  […]

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Four simple things that make a better accelerator experience

With a growing number of startup accelerators, bootcamps and incubators out there, here are some tips for having a good experience once you’re in a program. This comes from running two startup accelerators (three-month full-time programs) and three bootcamps (three-month part-time programs). Be Coachable. Disagreeing with feedback is fine and necessary at times but be […]

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How I Tried To Be a Better Startup Weekend Judge

Working with early-stage startups through the Lean Startup Bootcamp and AcceleratorHK, I get to see how lots of people test ideas and build their startups. I also get to see how lots of people want to rush off and build in the beginning, before they know whether their ideas are any good. I’ve also seen […]

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