Atlas Content Cover Photo
Atlas Content Avatar

Encouraging Innovation

A topic by Atlas Content · 222 Cards 0 Followers
Follow

Share this Topic

Topics

Creativity and innovation doesn’t necessarily = success. But those pushing the limits are the ones that inspire me. Even if you are before your time or people aren’t accepting of your vision yet, just want y’all to know you’re appreciated.

Suddenly, there’s a lot of constructive conversation about women in technology and entrepreneurship. I’m glad, as there is a continuous mess of sexism, misogyny, hatred, anger, specious assertions, and general weirdness. This mess is from men to women, from women to women, from men to men, and from women to men. Basically, there’s gender equality in the awful parts of this.

As chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology , I’ve seen all sides of this, including plenty aimed at me. I’m an enormous believer in the power of being a male advocate so I’ll continue to be outspoken, supportive, and thoughtful on the issues and engagement of women in technology.

I was very excited to get a chance to read the book Innovating Women by Vivek Wadhwa and Farai Chideya. It’s an excellent combination of stories from powerful female innovators, along with analysis and research supporting the context. I enjoyed the book a lot, heard some new stories, and got a few new ideas.

As I read through some of the Amazon reviews and threads that spiraled out from them, I once again saw a continuous mess of sexism, misogyny, hatred, anger, specious assertions, and general weirdness. This mess is from men to women, from women to women, from men to men, and from women to men. Basically, there’s gender equality in the awful parts of this.

In my fantasy, humans would learn how to be constructive participants in a conversation. I recognize this is a fantasy, but I’ll keep trying, especially around this issue.

Suddenly, there’s a lot of constructive conversation about women in technology and entrepreneurship. I’m glad, as there is a continuous mess of sexism, misogyny, hatred, anger, specious assertions, and general weirdness. This mess is from men to women, from women to women, from men to men, and from women to men. Basically, there’s gender equality in the awful parts of this. As chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, I’ve seen all sides of this, including plenty aimed at me. I’m an enormous believer in the power of being a male advocate so I’ll continue to be outspoken, supportive, and thoughtful on the issues and engagement of women in technology. I was very excited to get a chance...

Read More
Hide
about 1 year ago
Post

Do You Want To Understand How Accelerators Work?

Accelerate: Founder Insights Into Accelerator Programs FG Press recently released its third book, Accelerate: Founder Insights Into Accelerator Programs .

If you want to understand how an accelerator program works from the inside or are considering applying to an accelerator, this is the book for you. Luke Deering interviewed 150 entrepreneurs who have been through a variety of accelerator programs to get their insights. He originally did this as a Kickstarter campaign which I supported and wrote the foreword for.

When I saw the Kickstarter version, I asked if we could add to it, edit it, and publish it via FG Press. It’s out and I’m really proud of it. It has feedback from entrepreneurs who have gone through accelerators all over the world.

The book is divided into sections that cover topics such how to come up with an idea, advice on applying to an accelerator, tips for marketing and user acquisition early on, approaches to fundraising, and what the accelerator experience is actually like.

There are a number of case studies, longer form essays (but never too long), and lots and lots of short (one to three paragraph) real-life anecdotes. While I acknowledge the case studies are a little Techstars heavy, I think Luke did a nice job of getting a wide variety of examples from many different accelerators.

There’s also an accelerator directory, a good overview from Pat Riley, who runs the Global Accelerator Network , and lots of other goodies.

When we started working on the book, our goal was to make the hardcopy a beautifully designed book that could sit on a coffee table as well as being able to be used as a reference guide. The team at FG Press did a magnificent job.

You can order Accelerate from Amazon . If you run an accelerator or want to support something around accelerators and want to explore a bulk purchase along with a presentation, just .

FG Press recently released its third book, Accelerate: Founder Insights Into Accelerator Programs. If you want to understand how an accelerator program works from the inside or are considering applying to an accelerator, this is the book for you. Luke Deering interviewed 150 entrepreneurs who have been through a variety of accelerator programs to get their insights. He originally did this as a Kickstarter campaign which I supported and wrote the foreword for. When I saw the Kickstarter version, I asked if we could add to it, edit it, and publish it via FG Press. It’s out and I’m really proud of it. It has feedback from entrepreneurs who have gone through accelerators all over the world. The book is divided into...

Read More
Hide
Video

Building Techstars | Brad Feld & David Cohen | Talks at Google

Video

Brad Feld on building startup communities, reconciling anxiety & remembering Tony Hsieh

Richard Florida continues to write amazing stuff about Startup Communities in The Atlantic Online. Two of his latest articles talk about entrepreneurial density and venture capital.

For a long time I’ve suggested that an interesting measure of entrepreneurial density would be ((entrepreneurs + employees of startups) / total population). I asserted in my book Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City that I thought Boulder had the highest entrepreneurial density in the world. I qualified this by staying I had no real empirical data – it was merely an assertion based on my experience.

Richard took this notion a step further in his article High-Tech Challengers to Silicon Valley and actually did some math. In it, he looked at Venture Capital financing (total dollars and number of deals) on a per-capital basis. Boulder came in third, behind “San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA” (what most of us think of as “Silicon Valley”) and “San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA” (what most of us think of as San Francisco.)

Venture Capital investment per capita

The comments are fascinating and generally miss the point. One in particular, called Richard unethical, although it was from “WithheldName” (also known as Anonymous Coward).

“It’s totally unfair to make Boulder separate from Denver. Combine Boulder and Denver. It’s called the Denver-Boulder Metropolitan Statistical Area for a reason. Was Cambridge separated from Boston? Of course not. The author was from Boulder. This data was slanted to Boulder. It was totally unethical.”

This particular person doesn’t understand that Boulder and Denver are separate startup communities. In contrast, Cambridge and Boston are one startup community, consisting of six startup neighborhoods (three in Cambridge, three in Boston, all within a 15 minute drive of each other, even in traffic.)

More importantly, the author of the article wasn’t from Boulder. I’m from Boulder. I didn’t write the article – Richard did. And – he was pretty clear about all of that, so our friend needs to rethink his definition of the word “unethical.”

That said, the more interesting study is by zip code, not by city or MSA. Mixing MSAs and cities creates a comparison that isn’t precise. And Richard acknowledges this:

“I’ll continue to track the evolving geography of start-ups and venture capital in future posts. Next week, I’ll look at the economic, demographic and social characteristics of metros that are associated with venture capital and start-up activity. In future posts, I’ll delve more deeply into all of this, using detailed data by area code and zip code level to tease out the changing geography of venture capital and start-up activity and its distribution across cities and suburban areas.”

I think the real magic in the analysis around entrepreneurial density will happen at the zip code level on a per capita basis. Look for 80302, 02139, and 10003 to show up high on the list along with some starting with 94xxx.

Boulder , per capita , startup communities , the atlantic , Venture Capital , zip code Books

Richard Florida continues to write amazing stuff about Startup Communities in The Atlantic Online. Two of his latest articles talk about entrepreneurial density and venture capital. High-Tech Challengers to Silicon Valley The Connection Between Venture Capital and Diverse, Dense Communities For a long time I’ve suggested that an interesting measure of entrepreneurial density would be ((entrepreneurs + employees of startups) / total population). I asserted in my book Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City that I thought Boulder had the highest entrepreneurial density in the world. I qualified this by staying I had no real empirical data – it was merely an assertion based on my experience. Richard took this notion a step further in his article High-Tech Challengers to...

Read More
Hide

One of my heroes is Jim Collins . Of all books that I’ve ever read about business, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies and Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t are two of the most important ones I’ve ever read. While I read Built to Last first, I didn’t really get how important it was until I read Good to Great. I went back after, read Built to Last again – and slowly – and realized how powerful Collins’ research and thinking was.

So it was an incredible honor to interview Jim for 45 minutes last week at the Startup Phenomenon event about Startup Communities. We spent the time applying the ideas from Jim’s books and research to the idea of Startup Communities .

I learned a lot. I also had a lot of fun. And I came up with a few new ideas as Jim tossed out a few absolute gems during our 45 minutes together.

If you are interested in Startup Communities, or are a Jim Collins fan, I think you’ll like this a lot. Enjoy!

Startup Phenomenon | Brad Feld talks with Jim Collins from 23rd Studios on Vimeo .

One of my heroes is Jim Collins. Of all books that I’ve ever read about business, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies and Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t are two of the most important ones I’ve ever read. While I read Built to Last first, I didn’t really get how important it was until I read Good to Great. I went back after, read Built to Last again – and slowly – and realized how powerful Collins’ research and thinking was. So it was an incredible honor to interview Jim for 45 minutes last week at the Startup Phenomenon event about Startup Communities. We spent the time applying the ideas from Jim’s...

Read More
Hide

Today, Techstars announced a new initiative called Techstars Studio which will allow Techstars to source new company concepts from Techstars alumni founders, community leaders, venture capitalists, mentors, and corporate partners. The Techstars Studio will then build prototypes, test market adoption, and select the most promising concepts for launch. Techstars Studio will then launch new startups and source talent and capital from the Techstars worldwide network to run the new companies.

The goal of each Techstars Studio is to launch four new companies annually. The first Techstars Studio will be in Boulder, just like the first Techstars accelerator was in 2007. As with the expansion of Techstars Accelerators around the world (Techstars will run 41 accelerator programs in 31 cities and 11 countries in 2019), expect Techstars Studios to follow a similar expansion path.

At Foundry, we have a lot of experience with the Studio model. We are investors in PSL (in Seattle) and High Alpha (in Indianapolis). We are also investors in the venture funds associated with the studios ( PSL Ventures and High Alpha Capital ) as well as Techstars Ventures .

Over the past five years, we’ve looked at potentially investing in numerous studios. We think the studio model, while very attractive with the right team, resources, and network, is very difficult to execute well. We’ve been deliberate in our choices and the leaders of both PSL and High Alpha have been helpful with Techstars as they’ve gone through their thought process on how to build out a studio.

We are especially excited about the founding team of Techstars Studios. Along with the leadership of David Cohen (the co-CEO of Techstars) will be Isaac Saldana, founder of SendGrid and Mike Rowan, former VP of SendGrid Labs. We’ve worked closely with Isaac and Mike over the years and are psyched to have another chance to create something with them from the ground floor.

A number of the most successful Techstars accelerator alumni are participating as founders in residence and advisors to Techstars Studio. In addition, more than 25 corporate partners of Techstars are involved in the initiative at launch.

If you are interested in the Techstars Studio, and I’ll route you to the right folks.

Today, Techstars announced a new initiative called Techstars Studio which will allow Techstars to source new company concepts from Techstars alumni founders, community leaders, venture capitalists, mentors, and corporate partners. The Techstars Studio will then build prototypes, test market adoption, and select the most promising concepts for launch. Techstars Studio will then launch new startups and source talent and capital from the Techstars worldwide network to run the new companies. The goal of each Techstars Studio is to launch four new companies annually. The first Techstars Studio will be in Boulder, just like the first Techstars accelerator was in 2007. As with the expansion of Techstars Accelerators around the world (Techstars will run 41 accelerator programs in 31 cities and...

Read More
Hide
about 1 year ago

The first accelerator, YC, was founded in 2005. The second, Techstars, was founded in 2006. Wikipedia has a good summary of the history of accelerators .

Now that we are 13 years into the accelerator journey, an accelerator is a well-established construct that is part of the global startup ecosystem. They have evolved over the years, and many new approaches have been taken.

The question of the efficacy of accelerators has regularly been asked over the past decade. A number of academic papers have appeared in the past few years exploring this. I was asked if any existed the other day by an LP, so following is a list of papers I am familiar with.

If you know of any others, please put links in the comments or send me an email with the info.

Accelerators and Crowd-Funding: Complementarity, Competition, or Convergence in the Earliest Stages of Financing New Ventures? , Smith, Hannigan, and Gasiorowski, 6/13

Accelerating Startups: The Seed Accelerator Phenomenon , Hochberg and Cohen, 3/14

Accelerators and the Regional Supply of Venture Capital Investment , Fehder and Hochberg, 9/14

Swinging for the fences: How do top accelerators impact the trajectories of new ventures? , Winston Smith and Hannigan, 6/15

Investment Accelerators , Bernthal, 8/15

Startup Accelerators and Ecosystems: Complements or Substitutes? , Fehder, 9/15

Do Accelerators Accelerate? If So, How? The Impact of Intensive Learning from Others on New Venture Development , Hallen, Bingham, and Cohen, 7/16

How Do Accelerators Impact the Performance of High-Technology Ventures? , Yu, 8/16

Who Needs Contracts? Generalized Exchange within Investment Accelerators , Bernthal, 11/16

Business Incubators and Accelerators: A Co-Citation Analysis-Based, Systematic Literature Review , Hausberg and Korreck, 3/17

How Do Accelerators Select Startups? Shifting Decision Criteria across Stages , Yin and Lau, 12/17

academic papers , accelerator , Techstars

The first accelerator, YC, was founded in 2005. The second, Techstars, was founded in 2006. Wikipedia has a good summary of the history of accelerators. Now that we are 13 years into the accelerator journey, an accelerator is a well-established construct that is part of the global startup ecosystem. They have evolved over the years, and many new approaches have been taken. The question of the efficacy of accelerators has regularly been asked over the past decade. A number of academic papers have appeared in the past few years exploring this. I was asked if any existed the other day by an LP, so following is a list of papers I am familiar with. If you know of any others,...

Read More
Hide
about 1 year ago

There are two common ways to scale a system – horizontally or vertically . If you are a software engineer, you probably get this instinctively. If you don’t know what this is, let’s work with the simple Wikipedia definition which is pretty good.

  • Scale Vertically (or “scale up”): Add resources to a single node in a system, typically involving the addition of CPUs or memory to a single computer.
  • Scale Horizontally (or “scale out”): Add more nodes to a system, such as adding a new computer to a distributed software application.

Think of vertical scaling as building a bigger monolithic machine and horizontal scaling as add more machines to the system. Or, if you want a business construct, vertically scaling would be adding more people in one location while horizontal scaling would be creating a bunch of new locations, optimally with a similar footprint to the previous locations.

These two concepts are not mutually exclusive. You can scale vertically and horizontally at the same time. But while many contemporary technology approaches embrace scale horizontally, many business approaches are limited to primarily scaling vertically.

If you’ve spent any time with me, you know that scaling horizontally is a huge part of how I think. My entire world functions as a large and wide distributed network. However, for the past eight years, my partners and I at Foundry Group haven’t once scaled vertically (we haven’t added any partners since 2007 when we started) until we added Lindel Eakman as part of Foundry Group Next .

Our reach, network, visibility, and impact has grown significantly since 2007. As part of this, we’ve done many things to scale horizontally. Co-founding and helping build Techstars is an example of that. In addition, embedded in the Techstars growth model is a horizontal scaling strategy.

If you reflect on one part of Techstars – the accelerator programs – we’ve added the following new programs in 2015.

  • Techstars Mobility (Detroit)
  • Techstars Berlin (Berlin)
  • Techstars METRO (Berlin)
  • Techstars IoT (NYC)
  • Barclays (New York, South Africa and Israel)
  • Techstars Healthcare, in partnership with Cedars-Sinai (Los Angeles)
  • Techstars Retail, in partnership with Target (Minneapolis)
  • Virgin Media Accelerator (London)
  • Techstars Atlanta, in partnership with Cox Enterprises (Atlanta)

Each of these accelerators is based on the same model that we use to run all of the Techstars accelerator programs . We feel that we have mastery over an approach to a mentor-driven accelerator, run by a small team, in any geography around the world, that is another node on the ever expanding horizontal network that is Techstars. These programs don’t run in isolation – rather they are part of a horizontal scaling strategy based on a premise that you can build startups, and a startup community, anywhere in the world.

When you ponder Techstars’ acquisition of UP Global, especially if you think about how horizontal scaling and geography intersect, you get a glimpse of another layer of functionality that we just added to the horizontal scaling model. In addition to adding a bunch of new nodes, we also added new functionality to each node.

Remember that horizontal and vertical scaling are not mutually independent. Techstars growth from 55 employees at the end of 2014 to 131 employees as of today is happening on both horizontal and vertical dimensions. But the horizontal leverage that we’ve created, and figured out how to replicate, is as powerful as anything I’ve ever encountered in business.

I’m looking forward to 2016 on both dimensions.

There are two common ways to scale a system – horizontally or vertically. If you are a software engineer, you probably get this instinctively. If you don’t know what this is, let’s work with the simple Wikipedia definition which is pretty good. Scale Vertically (or “scale up”): Add resources to a single node in a system, typically involving the addition of CPUs or memory to a single computer. Scale Horizontally (or “scale out”): Add more nodes to a system, such as adding a new computer to a distributed software application. Think of vertical scaling as building a bigger monolithic machine and horizontal scaling as add more machines to the system. Or, if you want a business construct, vertically scaling would...

Read More
Hide
about 1 year ago
Video

Building a Startup Community | Brad Feld

Video

CHM Live | The Startup Community Way: Investor Brad Feld & NCWIT CEO Lucy Sanders

Video

DSW 2020: Innovation Author Showcase: 'The Startup Community Way' with Brad Feld

about 1 year ago
Video

Global Launchpad: The Importance of Community with Brad Feld & Ian Hathaway

about 1 year ago
Video

Brad Feld on How to Build a Great Entrepreneurial Community! - Kauffman Fellows

about 1 year ago
Video

MAKE Hardware Innovation Workshop Part 26: Brad Feld

about 1 year ago
Video

Building Great Startup Communities with Investor & Author Brad Feld

about 1 year ago
Video

Tech Scenes Boulder with Brad Feld - Founders, Venture Capital, SciFi, and Startup Communities

Video

Brad Feld: Principles for Building Entrepreneurial Communities

I’m in Washington DC again – this time to talk about innovation. I’ve been here three times in the past year – the first time was to hear Bilski at the Supreme Court in November and then I was back in March to talk about and promote the Startup Visa .

Yesterday, Thomas Friedman article wrote another great OpEd about the topic titled A Gift for Grads: Start-Ups . As with many Friedman OpEd’s, rather than just railing against the situation, he suggests several specific things that can be done – in this case by the current administrationb. His premise is that to solve the unemployment issue, especially among recent college graduates, we need three things: more start-ups, more start-ups, and more start-ups. And to do this, Friedman talked to Robert Litan (vice president of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation) and Curtis Carlson, (CEO of SRI International) and came up with the following.

  • Create a cabinet position (Secretary Newco) that is focused on pushing through initiatives that help startups and unleash millions of entrepreneurs
  • Staple a green card to the diploma of every foreign student who graduates from a US university
  • Create a meaningful entrepreneurs visa
  • Cut capital gains taxes to 1% for startups

I strongly agree with each of these. My one small addition to the Secretary Newco idea is that person should be an accomplished entrepreneur rather than a career politician, policy person, academic, or lawyer.

Over the next two days I’ve got a meeting with each of my Colorado Senators ( Michael Bennet and Mark Udall ) as well as a summit at the White House led by Phil Weiser (Director of Technology and Innovation for the National Economic Council), Aneesh Chopra (CTO of the US), and Vivek Kundra (CIO of the US). Our summit includes a small group of VCs from different parts of the US that I’ve helped put together and it’ll focus on the issue of early stage entrepreneurs and innovation throughout the country (specifically – more than just Silicon Valley). I’m also participating in a roundtable titled Implementing The National Broadband Plan and Protecting Consumer Choice: The Venture Capitalist Perspective with fellow VCs Brad Burnham from USV and Santo Politi from Spark Capital. And, as a special bonus, I’m going over the CIA later today for a tour, although I can’t talk about it, so you didn’t just read that.

I don’t spend a lot of time in DC, in politics, or even following politics (I’ve never been a political junkie) so these short immersions are fascinating to me. Hopefully when I look back on the time I’ve spent on this stuff I’ll feel like it’s been a productive effort for the cause of entrepreneurship and innovation in the US which is the thing I spend all my time actually working on by helping create new companies.

I’m in Washington DC again – this time to talk about innovation.  I’ve been here three times in the past year – the first time was to hear Bilski at the Supreme Court in November and then I was back in March to talk about and promote the Startup Visa.  Yesterday, Thomas Friedman article wrote another great OpEd about the topic titled A Gift for Grads: Start-Ups.  As with many Friedman OpEd’s, rather than just railing against the situation, he suggests several specific things that can be done – in this case by the current administrationb.  His premise is that to solve the unemployment issue, especially among recent college graduates, we need three things: more start-ups, more start-ups, and more...

Read More
Hide
Saved to
Encouraging Innovation Brad Feld
about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago