Startup

VC Corner Q&A: Mark Goldberg

Mark Goldberg is a partner at Index Ventures where he focuses on investments in financial services, insurance, real estate, and enterprise software. With both an operating and VC background, he specializes in working with entrepreneurs to scale their businesses. Mark joined Index from Dropbox, where he led a variety of leadership positions across the business and finance organizations, helping the company grow tenfold during his tenure there.

Before that, Mark was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, where he worked on the IPO for Tesla Motors. He also spent time with Hudson Clean Energy Partners, a cleantech-focused VC Fund, where he focused on investments in solar energy. Mark is a graduate of Brown University with a B.A. in International Relations. He lives in Berkley with his wife and young son. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, playing tennis, and exploring the Bay Area.

— What is your / your fund’s mission?

Index invests in people. From seed to venture to explosive growth, we work with entrepreneurs and their companies at every stage, across every sector. We are personal, long-term, global, and our conviction runs deep. We are the partners for pioneers; we share their vision and help them realize their ambition for their company. Together, we are transforming the way we live and work today.

— What is one thing you are excited about right now?

There’s a big trend happening right now where software companies are becoming fintech businesses to provide their customers with more choices. We see many examples of this in our portfolio companies, like ServiceTitan which started selling software to field service technicians, but now has a large payments business attached to it. This trend will create huge opportunities for founders.

— Who is one founder you think we should watch?

Amanda Peyton from Compound. She is smart, charismatic, and precise — many people will be talking about her in the coming years.

— What are the 3 top qualities of every great leader?

  • Grit
  • Hustle
  • Intelligence.

— What was your very first investment/when? And what struck you about them?

Nova Credit was my first investment. The company created an international credit score that allows immigrants to access financial products in the U.S. From the first moment I met them, I was struck by the incredible product/founder fit. The company’s founders Misha Esipov and Nicky Goulimis are immigrants who experienced the pain point they were solving first hand. Having a personal connection is very important to me.

— What is one question you ask yourself before investing in a company?

Is this business playing in an enormous market?

— What is one thing every founder should ask themselves before walking into a meeting with a potential investor?

Why did I start my company? Think about why you cast aside an easier career path to go all-in on your startup. That passion and conviction will come through to prospective investors.

— What do you think should be in a CEO’s top 3 company priorities?

Focus, team, and strategy — in that order.

— Favorite business book, blog or podcast?

Margin of Safety by Seth Klarman.

— What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

Surfing at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, or spending time with my family in Berkeley.

— Who is one leader you admire?

Barack Obama.

— What is one interesting thing most people won’t know about you?

I have an identical twin brother, outside of the tech world, who people are regularly confusing me for.

— What is one piece of advice you’d give every founder?

Start building a small stable of trusted advisors around you early on. Being a CEO can be a lonely endeavor, and you can counteract this by surrounding yourself with great people who know and care about you.


VC Corner Q&A: Mark Goldberg was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Jeremy Webb Startup Grind - Medium https://medium.com/startup-grind/vc-corner-q-a-mark-goldberg-4fc8649ac0c4

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The Benefits of Self-Organizing Teams

Teamwork is a hot topic these days. Managers are always searching for ways to improve teamwork and function for better productivity and better cohesiveness. After all, a strong team not only gets more done but has less turnover. 

Is your team leaning Lean or adjusting to Agile? We’re not here to argue for one or the other (or explain the difference), but we do believe in the power of Agil’s self-organized teams in some work settings — including ours! The problem is, the definition of a “self-organizing team” varies depending on the company.

What is a Self-Organizing Team?

A self-organizing team has some decision-making power. They also take ownership of their work and are continuously working to improve themselves and the process. Many people get hung up on the decision-making power part, leading to the myths that:

  • A manager cannot direct or redirect the team.
  • No one can tell the team what to do.

As The Great ScrumMaster puts it, “The self-organized team is a living organism, and every team member affects how strong or weak this organism will be. Team members who take responsibility and start to be accountable for the self-organized team entity instead of themselves as individuals are one step closer to being part of a great team. The ScrumMaster’s role is to support team rather than individual behavior. He must create such a team from individuals by reminding them that the team is an entity and is more important than individuals. He must always encourage team members to help others, rather than hide behind their own tasks.”[1]

There are other terms tossed around, including self-directed teams and self-managed teams, which leads to confusion. One blogger explains it this way:

  • “A self-organizing team is a team where team members get to decide among themselves who does what; the team gets to work on problems and have some power to remove their own blockages. Clearly, there are teams who are more self-organizing than others and teams which have more authority than others.
  • In a self-managing team, there is no active day-to-day management of the team. The team are [sic] effectively left to manage their own work. To my mind, this is a stronger form of self-organizing.
  • A self-directed team is a team which sets its own goals, decides its own objectives and determines its own priorities.”

Some companies attempt to create self-organizing teams and find that the team is not held accountable, or management is still telling everyone what to do. Finding that balance is not easy, and requires the right company culture and employees who are ready to take ownership.

Self-organizing teams are a different working approach than most people are used to. In most environments, transitioning to a self-organized team takes effort and time — and hits a few bumps along the way. However, this move is worth the investment.

The Benefits of Self-Organizing Teams

  1. Speed. Self-organized teams decide how to meet deadlines in a way that works for everyone and can turn around a product much faster.
  2. Agility. Priorities can change. Self-organized teams can quickly shift gears. Values that suddenly take higher priority can be moved up in the queue without interrupting people in the middle of other tasks or leaving questions about what must be done and when.
  3. Quality/customer focus. Self-organized teams are built to focus on what the customer wants or needs, and uses such feedback to improve the product and process. Instead of just “doing what the manager says,” the team is working to make the end goal better for the sake of the buyer/user. 
  4. Less time on team management. Assigning work, checking statuses, verifying that everything is done — all this management takes time. A self-organized team tracks and reports its own progress.
  5. A true team. Many teams have a “main person” or the “go-to guy.” What if that guy quits tomorrow? Self-organized teams understand each other’s roles and tasks far more and rely less on one particular person as “owner” of something. That means it’s easier to handle losing employees, and it takes less time to train new ones. (However, it is a misconception that Agile teams can handle frequent turnover without problems.)
  6. Employee satisfaction. Employees each have a purpose and know what it is. Instead of blindly following orders, team members are invested, choosing how best to accomplish a goal and then moving the project forward together.

What do you think about Agile teams? Contact us so we can put our self-organizing skills to work on your project.

[1] The Great ScrumMaster: #ScrumMasterWay. Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn). Jan 9, 2017 by Zuzana Sochova.

Lucky Kumar Blog | Startup Grind https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/the-benefits-of-self-organizing-teams/

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Startup Spotlight Q&A: Lexical Labs

Liam Gilchrist is the CEO of Lexical Labs, which he co-founded with Will Becker and Simon Black. Before Lexical Labs, Liam practiced law and legal consulting in London, Australia, the Middle East and Tokyo. He has years of experience in banking and commercial law, including stints at top-tier “old-law” firms, innovative “new-law” firms, and in-house.

Liam was inspired to found Lexical Labs — which helps their customers negotiate high-volume contracts by automating the review of contracts against their business — after being frustrated by the day-to-day inefficiencies of being a lawyer.

— In a sentence, what does your company do?

Lexical Labs is a cloud-based platform that reviews and guides our customers through negotiating their contracts, so our customers can understand and amend them in a fraction of the time they would otherwise spend.

— What makes Lexical Labs different in this market?

I’d say we differentiate ourselves in three ways.

To start off, we are an “out of the box” solution, so customers can use us straight away. Many other solutions require expensive and time-consuming training before they can be used on customers data set.

Secondly, the way we analysis contracts is unique, which enables us to provide our customers with extremely detailed and relevant advice.

Thirdly, the issues that we analyze are highly customizable, which means we can train the system to review contracts for the same issues that their own lawyers would be looking for.

— Describe how Lexical Labs came to be. In other words, what was the problem you found and the ‘aha’ moment?

As a lawyer, I always found the process of reviewing contracts incredibly frustrating, as I expect most lawyers do. I would spend hours reading documents for straightforward issues that I could do in my sleep. Every contract was different, but the issues were always the same, and they stopped me doing the interesting, high value work I really wanted to be spending my time on. I realized that with a bit of guidance, anyone could do this work. So what if you could automate this guidance?

I teamed up with an old high school friend of mine, Will Becker, who has a PhD in AI and worked in the tech startup space in London. We used to spend hours in the evening working on a solution to build an automated lawyer that could do bits of my job I hated the most! Simon Black joined us soon after, and his many years of experience in the legal industry have been invaluable for designing solutions that really go to the heart of our customer’s pain points.

— What milestone are you most proud of so far?

There’s nothing like that first moment when the product you have been dreaming about becomes a reality. When it is used by a real customer in a real world situation, and you see it solves their problem that no one else has been able to solve. It’s certainly something that makes you very proud. And it is a huge relief as well!

— What are people most excited by when it comes to using Lexical Labs?

People get very excited by the idea that you don’t need a lawyer for two parties to agree on a deal. That you can empower people to understand their own deals, so that once they agree what they want, the deal is done. No one likes the huge “legal tax” that is applied to deals — the time and money that needs to be spent to paper a deal. And — contrary to popular opinion — even lawyers hate it!

— Have you pursued funding and if so, what steps did you take?

We completed our seed round in early 2019. We focused on speaking with individuals who would add real value to the business, believed in what we were building, and would be able to help us to develop and commercialize the product.

— What KPIs are you tracking that you think will lead to revenue generation or growth?

Number of contracts uploaded monthly is a key metric for us. We also track engagement with each new feature to make sure customers value it as much as we do. Customer engagement is really important to us — we want the customer to not only use the product, but love it!

— How do you build and develop talent on your team?

Just like with investors and clients, in the early stages we rely on people who believe in our vision for the company and who are excited by what we are trying to build. We have found the most important thing is people’s attitude — the lift off for a startup is not easy! We have found that it’s really important to give people space to make the most of the responsibility they are given. At the end of the day, people need to enjoy what they are doing and they need to have a passion for it. It’s so important to have a strong team. A culture of respect and appreciation is critical.

— How do you manage growth vs sustainability?

This is always a challenge, but for us the focus has to be on making customers as happy as possible. We need to grow, but keeping existing customers happy is the most important thing. It’s also very important to carefully select which opportunities we take on. They have to be projects that deliver value to our clients as early as possible. Making customers love what you are doing is critical.

— What are the biggest challenges for the team?

I think the most challenging thing is knowing when to say “no.” It’s so easy as a founder to want to say “yes” to everything, but then you end up drowning in technical development and spreading the team too thinly. We get lots of feedback from our customers which is fantastic for developing the product, but it’s so easy to be pulled off track by what a customer is asking for. Managing and prioritizing the list of requests is critical.

— What’s been the biggest success for the team?

Our biggest success is that we are finding that our solution is not just being used by our customers, but is changing our customer’s workflows. We are getting a lot of demand from customers to expand the solution more widely in their businesses.

— What advice would you give to other founders?

The best piece of advice I ever received was the importance of really understanding what customers want. It’s obvious, but even if you think you know, you don’t know until you have data and metrics behind it.

— Have you been or are you part of a corporate startup program or accelerator? If so, which ones and what have been the benefits?

Momentum and PwC Scale. They were great opportunities, both to meet customers as well as to learn things that the founding team didn’t previously have a lot of experience in from their previous lives, like marketing and sales strategies.


Startup Spotlight Q&A: Lexical Labs was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Jeremy Webb Startup Grind - Medium https://medium.com/startup-grind/startup-spotlight-q-a-lexical-labs-db2c64990473

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How To Have Transformational 1-on-1 Meetings With Your Employees

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Did you know employees are three times more likely to be engaged at work if they have managers who hold regular meetings with them? While many managers do hold 1-on-1 meetings with their direct reports, it’s far too common that they are rushed, tactical, and transactional. When organizations are able to conduct transformational 1-on-1s, performance, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement are significantly boosted.

The purpose of transformational 1-on-1 meetings is to help someone be and become their best self through positive and meaningful conversations. This type of meeting is designed to be more strategic in nature so each person is making the best use of their time and maximizing impact.

Here are six steps to conducting effective 1-on-1 meetings so that you can help to deepen the bond between you and your employees and to boost your overall organizational culture.

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare

It’s important for the foundations of trust between an employee and manager to be established from the get-go. Doing so opens the door for more transparent communication in subsequent 1-on-1s. Here are three helpful preparation tips for both managers and employees going into a 1-on-1 meeting:

  • Review data and past 1-on-1s.

The number one goal of 1-on-1s is continuous improvement, according to Kim Cameron, Ph.D. and Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Managers must take continuous action for there to be continued improvement. To help with this progression, be sure to take notes, record action items, and prioritize talking points to cover the most important topics first.

  • Pay attention to what makes this person great.

Take a step back and reflect on this person’s individual strengths. Since your last 1-on-1, how did they leverage their strengths? How have they overcome roadblocks and obstacles getting in the way of performance? What wins did they have? Prime yourself with examples so you can acknowledge and discuss them in the next 1-on-1.

  • Understand their goals and priorities.

Take this opportunity to practice true empathy — embody their experience and attempt to understand what they’re thinking, feeling, and saying to themselves that they may not already be saying to you. What’s top of mind for them? What are their goals, objectives, and priorities? This will help level-set your own agenda with theirs.

2. Be present

Before you begin your 1-on-1, first check in with yourself and ask, “Am I fully present?” Having a positive and strong presence is a conscious choice, and if you’re multitasking the other person will be able to tell. Taking the time to be present will show your awareness and respect for their time, but it will show that you genuinely care. This is important for establishing a sense of psychological safety, which is defined as being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career.

3. Don’t underestimate the power of positivity

Don’t forget to celebrate even the small wins. Each individual experience of receiving thanks or appreciation is a brief moment of emotion that will contribute to a sustained sense of positivity.

Harvard professor, Teresa Amabile, found that the key to motivating high performance is ensuring employees make progress on meaningful work. In her interview by Daniel Pink, Amabile says that “of all the events that have the power to excite people and engage them in their work, the single most important is making progress — even if that progress is a small win. That’s the progress principle. And, because people are more creatively productive when they are excited and engaged, small wins are a very big deal for organizations.”

Lastly, encourage the person. Acknowledge the moments you noticed when the person felt most excited, inspired, and engaged. Reflecting on how our emotions relate to our work reveals what academics call inner-work life. When inner-work life is positive, employees are more productive and find deeper meaning in their work.

4. Ask the right questions

Any effective conversation is a two-way collaborative discussion. Asking questions is key to generating dialogue and is an impactful way to keep up with your employee’s current state and wellbeing. You can also work to create further psychological safety by asking the right questions on a regular basis. The answers become conversations about what is most essential and meaningful for the team and the organization, and those conversations transform into action.

Questions increase learning and the exchange of ideas, according to research from Harvard professors Alison Wood Brooks and Leslie John. They also fuel innovation, performance improvements, and help to build a better rapport.

You can also use this space to gather feedback about your own performance as a manager. It demonstrates that you’re willing to face the truth, invite radical transparency, and can help you understand the needs of your employees and the condition of your organization.

5. Offer to help

“How can I help you” is a deeply underrated question. By offering a helping hand, or seizing and opportunity to coach them you are helping your employees to develop and grow. These important moments of collaboration help your organization to flourish. But offering help manifests in different forms: partner together to hold each other accountable, maintain open feedback loops, and take ownership of any next steps.

6. Follow up

Close the loop by following up at the beginning of your 1-on-1 meetings and before the next 1-on-1 meeting. Treat the outputs of 1-on-1s as a responsibility; these meetings are crucial, but only work when they are held regularly and consistently. Honor this commitment and you will create a cadence of feedback and a culture of trust and accountability.

Regular 1-on-1s are more than just meetings, they are one of your most important productivity tools. Through these six keys to more effective 1-on-1s, you can create a safe space for self-reflection and perceptive questioning. The net result is a deliberate shift from transactional 1-on-1 meetings to transformational by ushering in healthier overarching habits at work.

For more information, check out 15Five’s library of resources on 15Five.com/resources, our popular blog, or you can tune into the Best-Self Management podcast, where 15Five co-founders, David Hassell and Shane Metcalf explore the brave new world of bringing your whole self to work.


How To Have Transformational 1-on-1 Meetings With Your Employees was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Jeremy Webb Startup Grind - Medium https://medium.com/startup-grind/how-to-have-transformational-1-on-1-meetings-with-your-employees-1133bffe3b78

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And That’s a Wrap! Our Favorite Highlights from Global 2020

It’s official! We can add another successful Global to the books. Just a little over a week ago, more than 8,000+ global attendees & 150 speakers came together in Redwood City to celebrate entrepreneurship, form connections, and sharpen their skills at Global 2020.

It was a massive undertaking that required all-hands-on-deck from the Startup Grind crew and 70+ volunteers. Leading up to the event, long nights turned into early mornings for our team, some of whom had traveled everywhere from England to South Africa. But, as has been the case every year, the end result was well worth the grind.

Missed Global 2020? Or just want to relive the magic? Here were some of our favorite highlights and memories.

1. Global 2020 by the #s

We were incredibly pleased to welcome startups, attendees, and Chapter Directors from all over the world. Over 96 countries were represented this year, illustrating the magnitude & reach of what our community members are accomplishing globally. And that’s just one stat highlighting the power of this global gathering. Check out a few other numbers that made Global 2020 the event that it was above.

2. 100+ Incredible Sessions with Industry Experts

With over 100 engaging talks & workshops, there were honestly too many good sessions to choose favorites. But we got great feedback from you, the attendees, on which sessions stood out as extra special via our Global app. Have a look at some of the top Mainstage session recordings below.

— The Power of Community, with Reddit:

— Essential Startup Advice: Founding & Funding Outside of Silicon Valley:

— The Next Generation of Cultural Influencers in Tech:

— Pioneering an Industry — Allowing for Others to Follow:

— Startup Grind: What I’ve Learned, Ten Years Later:

— Tackling Hard Work on the Way to a Big Idea:

3. Incredible Insights from 150+ Leaders

A cornerstone of Global is creating a space where we can learn from one another, with one another. This year, with over 150 speakers , there were plenty of leaders to connect with and get inspired by. Here’s a look at a few quotes that resonated during the sessions.

Austen Allred, Co-Founder and CEO of Lambda School in “Reduce Risk, Succeed Together: A New Business Model”:

“One of the most important moments of being a founder is when someone you respect like crazy tells you something that you know to be wrong. And you have to turn towards your own judgement and make the call you know you need to make. At the end of the day, building a company is about learning how to manage your own psychology…. what you have to learn is not outsource your judgement making to other people.”

Annie Jean-Baptiste, Head of Product Inclusion at Google, in “The Business Case for Inclusion: For Products and People”:

“If you don’t proactively include, you will unintentionally exclude. Build products for everyone, with everyone.”

Jennifer Hyman, Co-founder + CEO at Rent the Runway in “Pioneering an Industry — Allowing for Others to Follow”:

“When the team gets bigger, the team is looking to you — the CEO, the leader — for full inspiration and they’re taking every single word you say literally. They’re looking at your body language. Take that seriously. This happens way faster than we give it credit for. If you have a team of 10 people this will start to happen where people will start to take you way more seriously than you even take yourself. Being conscious of the impact that you’re having on those aware you is your job as the CEO.”

Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer @Adobe, in “Tackling Hard Work on the Way to a Big Idea”:

“My argument to you is that a decision made gives you data. A decision not-made gives you nothing. And sometimes making a bad decision and knowing what not to do in the future — the value of that is better than making no decision. And so decisiveness, decisiveness, decisiveness.”

Janine Pelosi, CMO of Zoom, in “Standing Out in a Crowded Market: Early Marketing Must-Haves”:

“Have strong networks and leverage them. Make sure your early customers become a reference for you and make sure people can find you (have a website with clear call to action, etc.). Balance your brand and be frequent, so they will not forget about you.”

Steve Huffman, CEO of Reddit, in “The Power of Community”

“What helps a small community survive? One of the things we’ve learned [at Reddit] is that the creators of the community, the first moderators, the founders, have a disproportionate influence. It may be the only thing that matters. There might be some “right place, right time in there” but really it’s the creators… the people who are taking that idea from zero to one.”

Derek Andersen CEO @Startup Grind, in “Startup Grind: What I’ve Learned, Ten Years Later”

“There’s no point, I’ve learned, in gaining the world if you lose your soul in the process. The true unicorns are not the companies that have big valuations. The true unicorns are the people who successfully scale their business and their lives at the same time. What Startup Grind is actually about is about improving yourself every single day. It’s about creating a better future for the world. It’s about taking care of your family and the families of the people on this earth journey with you.”

4. A Truly Stellar Startup Showing

It was a complete pleasure to see the hard work of over 300+ startups inside the packed Startup Program tents. From fintech to edutech to healthtech, we had startups of all growth stages showcasing how they’re problem-solving for the future. In addition to making organic connections in the tents, we’re happy to report there were 303 pitches and 186 meetings with investors. Want in? Learn more about the Startup Program here.

5. Plus Countless Memorable Moments

Global was filled to the brim with learning & opportunities, from in-depth expert panels to meeting new friends on our annual pub crawl. A few notables included:

— The Breakout Stages

We featured over 75 breakout sessions ranging from expert Q&As to insightful panels. These targeted breakouts covered everything from marketing to branding to fundraising. Also new — we added a “Workshop Stage” this year for action-based sessions. The workshops were some of our highest attended sessions, so they’ll be back next year!

— The Quickfire Pitches & Pitch Stage

We got to see multiple rounds of pulse-quickening, quickfire pitches from 55 startups on the Mainstage. Lots of talent. Lots of energy. And lots of brave entrepreneurs taking center stage to pitch their passion. On top of that, Global’s Pitch Stage allowed the startups to pitch to an audience in a more intimate setting while also gathering immediate crowd feedback.

— The “Start a Chapter in Your City” Meetups

Our community team hosted two meetups over the course of the conference to share more info on our Startup Grind community. These helped connect people who want to start a chapter of their own, and lay the foundation for more chapters to come. If you left Global feeling inspired and interested in starting a chapter of your own, check out the details here.

Startup Awards Announced

Startup Grind awarded two coveted awards to two well-deserving startups this year. Evolve Energy took home the “Startup of the Year” award and Swit.io won “Growth Startup of the Year.” A huge congratulations to these hardworking teams! Definitely be sure to check them both out and give them kudos.

— New Connections (and Friends!)

One of the best things about Global is connecting with others. Sometimes it happens when you’re waiting to fill up your water bottle and other times it happens as you listen to a leader onstage talking through the highs and lows of running a company. This year was no different and entrepreneurs from all over the world made connections that led to conversations that led to possibilities. We can’t wait to see what all those connections bring to light over the next year!

A Huge Thanks to Our Sponsors

We couldn’t have put on Global without our sponsors. A big shout out to the companies & individuals who gave us the support we needed. It takes a village to keep a community running. Thanks to everyone who made it possible: Google for Startups, Chase Ink, CBRE, Oracle for Startups, AWS, Mailchimp, among many more.

Want to Join In On the Fun Next Year, Too? Snag Your Tix to Global 2021

Global is an annual event which means it’s never too early to start planning for next year! You can pre-order your Global 2021 tickets now to get an awesome discounted price.

We’ve also got Startup Grind’s Europe Conference 2020 coming up in September. Will you be there? Our past speakers include Eric Schmidt (Google/Alphabet), Cal Henderson (Slack), Luciana Lixandru (Accel Partners), John Collison (Stripe), Julia Hartz (Eventbrite), and many more. Got you feeling excited? Learn more about Startup Grind’s Europe Conference 2020 here.


And That’s a Wrap! Our Favorite Highlights from Global 2020 was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Jeremy Webb Startup Grind - Medium https://medium.com/startup-grind/and-thats-a-wrap-our-favorite-highlights-from-global-2020-9e86cb122dbe

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Startup Spotlight Q&A: Deepzen

Taylan Kamis is the CEO and co-founder of DeepZen, an artificial intelligence company focused on publishing and producing audiobooks.
He is an experienced tech leader and entrepreneur. He has consulted with private equity and venture capital-backed tech companies as their CFO and was part of the international online media division leadership team at Microsoft where he led strategy, FP&A and business planning for 50 plus markets.

He is curious about exploring the limits of deep tech and excited by the challenge of applying it in real-life scenarios to make life better for all humans. In his limited free time, he enjoys reading and listening to contemporary politics and economics commentary and supports several education and research charities.

DeepZen is a British company comprised of technical, language and business experts who are bringing a new generation of AI driven voice technology to businesses and individuals.

— In a sentence, what does your company do?

We have developed exclusive AI technology which synthesizes the human voice in order to replicate emotions and intonations. The technology, which is being applied across multiple verticals including book publishing, gaming, podcasting, voiceovers, Apps and education, is revolutionising the way audiobooks and other forms of content, are produced.

— What makes your company/product different in this market?

Our core differentiators are the level of technical and NLP expertise we bring to bear, which results in a more advanced quality of product and therefore a superior listening experience for customers and a more authentic brand representation for clients. We have emphasis and intonation control overlaid with emotion control and additionally pronunciation control through our editing suite, which allows us to adapt our technology to fit our clients’ specific needs. No other player in the market provides this level of a complete technological solution. Our key focus is on simultaneously delivering quality, speed, simplicity and scalability.

— Describe how and when your company came to be. In other words, what was the problem you found and the ‘aha’ moment?

We could see the developing importance of voice across many different sectors, however the ability to create emotion in the human speech wasn’t possible, technically, before 2017 when deep neural networks became more advanced. The aha moment was the realisation that a deep learning based system could generate complete human sounding audio recordings which would overcome the time and financial constraints of doing so at scale through current processes.

— What milestone are you most proud of so far?

We have built our deep learning based end to end technology which identifies the emotions within text and synthesizes the text based on those emotions. We built our editorial tool which gives us the ability to control the synthetic voice in any way we want. We also introduced a library of voices both male and female with different accents. All these things happened in the last 12 months. Additionally, we have signed 4 co-publishing deals in the UK, signed a Worldwide distribution deal and digitally produced tens of books with hundreds more in the pipeline to be delivered this year.

— What are people most excited by?

People are very excited by the product itself and the fact that we have built a system which can read any text as a human would do. Also, the financial and temporal savings have been very exciting for the publishing community; we can significantly reduce the process and complexity of creating audiobooks from an average of 4 weeks to a few days and at a significant cost reduction versus traditional studio production methods.

— Have you pursued funding and if so, what steps did you take?

We have pursued funding yes.

— What KPIs are you tracking that you think will lead to revenue generation/growth?

  • Sales KPIs: # of new contracts signed both publishing and non-publishing, the $ value of these contracts; the # of engaged qualified leads in the sales funnel and the average time to conversion on net sales
  • Financial KPIs: Revenue growth and net profit margin
  • Customer KPIs: # of customers gained and retained, market share %, net promoter score

— How do you build and develop talent?

As a small business you need to be very clear on what your key goals are in the upcoming three year window. You then need to recruit in to your company the talent with which you need to build it, whilst ensuring you provide an environment where you can continually develop the talent you have. Employees need to understand the aspirations the company has, the part they play in that success story, i.e. how their role helps to achieve those aspirations and what the development plan is for them within the company. People don’t want to stand still; they want to learn and improve their own skills and knowledge and you need to show them that your company is the right place for them to achieve that.

— How do you manage growth vs sustainability?

We think of our sustainable growth rate as the “ceiling” for sales growth or the most our sales can grow without new financing and without exhausting our cash flow. It is a balance we are very conscious of maintaining at this stage in our lifecycle. Our focus is on choosing the right target verticals with whom to work in order to manage the returns on investment of time and money in an optimal way.

— What are the biggest challenges for the team?

Developing the technology fast enough to meet the demand and to meet our own exacting standards in terms of what we deliver to our clients.

— What’s been the biggest success for the team?

After eighteen months of development of the platform itself, the first range of books are now ready for release, comprising of original and digital narration and produced by DeepZen in collaboration with publishers including Endeavour and Legend Press.

— What advice would you give to other founders?

Increasing areas of our lives are being touched by technology, so to be successful in this space you need to identify a key problem and then believe you can build a solution to that problem in a way which is superior to any other options out there for that customer base. Then it is all in the planning. Your business plan needs to be rock solid and built for sustainable growth. Protect your downsides, quickly identify potential added value and execute.

— Have you been or are you part of a corporate startup program or accelerator? If so, which ones and what have been the benefits?

We are in the Oracle for Startups program. (DeepZen will be one of the startups featured at Oracle OpenWorld Europe taking place Feb. 12 and 13 in London.) We are also in the start-up programs of Google, Amazon, NVIDIA and IBM. The main benefits are the support, advice, engagement and contacts derived from these associations.


Startup Spotlight Q&A: Deepzen was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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VC Corner Q&A: Tess Hatch

Tess is a vice president at Bessemer Venture Partners primarily focused on frontier tech, specifically commercial space, drones, and autonomous vehicles. She currently serves as board director for Phantom Auto and Spire Global and board observer for DroneDeploy, Impossible Aerospace, Iris Automation, Rocket Lab, Velo3D, Forever Oceans, Crosschq, and Smule. Previously, she was a mission manager at SpaceX where she worked with the government on integrating its payloads with the Falcon9 rocket. She also worked at Fictiv, a startup using 3D printing and CNC machining to democratize access to manufacturing. Tess earned a Bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics engineering from Stanford. She is passionate about space exploration and imagines a future where we all travel to space. She hopes to make the trip herself soon.

— What is your / your fund’s mission?

Bessemer helps visionary entrepreneurs lay strong foundations to create companies that matter, and supports them through every stage of their growth. As for my personal mission in investing, I believe we need to be a multi-planet species in order to survive. When I say this I am not giving up on Earth, rather, I believe that space exploration and development will help us fix Earth’s problems. For example, the development of MRI and CT scanning technologies, which save lives every day, were an unintended side benefit of the Apollo Mission.

I want to invest in technology and people who believe as strongly as I do that deep tech will help society in ways (perhaps some unbeknownst) such as this. Imagine drones delivering emergency medical supplies like AED devices or EpiPens that can save a person’s life during a heart attack or allergic reaction. Imagine clean meat decreasing carbon emissions dramatically and allow us to sustainably feed our population using a fraction of the water that we now use. Imagine all of the other deeply technical industries that we need to invest in to develop solutions for societal problems.

— What is one thing you are excited about right now?

The stratosphere. We have airplanes and drones in our airspace and satellites in space, but what about the space in between: the Stratosphere? Imagine if one wants to loiter over a single point on the Earth for an extended period of time, either to maintain situational awareness and consistent surveillance over an area of interest or to maintain communications with that particular area, for example, during or after a natural disaster. Drones and satellites aren’t optimized for this particular mission. I believe that platforms like balloons, blimps and high-altitude-long-endurance (HALE) fixed wing aircraft are more capable of being able to loiter at 60,000 feet over an area of interest, and if outfitted with various sensors, they can accomplish these important missions in a more effective and efficient manner than airplanes, drones, or satellites.

— Who is one founder you think we should watch?

Peter Beck, CEO/founder of Rocket Lab, is opening space for business with the Electron Rocket, a small rocket designed to take CubeSat satellites to low-earth orbit. He has successfully launched 10 (out of 10) rockets to space deploying 47 satellites and expects to launch at a weekly, if not more, cadence in the near-term future.

— What are the 3 top qualities of every great leader?

1. Passion
2. Growth mindset
3. Grit/Resilience

— What was your very first investment/when? And what struck you about them?

Iris Automation in 2015. The current bottleneck in the drone industry is flying beyond the pilot’s visual line of sight. Imagine if you want to inspect hundreds of miles of oil pipeline or railroad tracks, or hundreds of acres of agriculture. It defeats the point of the drone if the drone pilot has to run after the drone during its mission. Iris has invented a detect and avoid system, analogous to a pilot’s eyes, that helps the drone avoid other objects in the airspace and making evasive maneuvers when needed. I believe Iris’s technology will release the inhibitor of the industry, which is restricting the industry from growing into the massive market some analysts forecast. This catalyst technology is a good illustration of how technology can change and improve society.

— What is one question you ask yourself before investing in a company?

I ask myself a lot of questions before an investment. Why now? Why this team? What are the future exits for the company? But the most important question that I ask (and that the company should be asking) is why Tess? I believe an entrepreneur should do as much due diligence on the VC as I am doing in the company (which is a lot). Please call up every CEO/founder/person with whom I have worked (I usually give a long list of names and encourage the entrepreneur to find people who are not on that list) and ask how it is working with me and whether I support founders and companies through the highs and especially the lows.

— What is one thing every founder should ask themselves before walking into a meeting with a potential investor?

Why am I meeting with this specific person, not firm, and what can she do to help me? I love when entrepreneurs have done their homework and researched more about me so that we can have a deeper level of conversation. I write about and publish my thoughts on my sectors (space, drones, AV) and am humbled and delighted when they have read the articles about their industry and have opinions or questions about what I have written, especially when they disagree with me. Furthermore, I like when an entrepreneur has a question or request for me to follow-up on after the meeting, it shows a sign that she is doing her due diligence on me to see how I would be as a board member and partner and I surely follow through on my homework!

— What do you think should be in a CEO’s top 3 company priorities?

1. Culture/Diversity
2. Building a Competitive Moat
3. Knowing your north star but being lean enough to pivot and change paths when needed

— Favorite business book, blog or podcast?

I love reading Heidi Roizen’s “Help Me Heidi” blog where she answers VC101 questions in a tongue and cheek way like “Dear Prudence.” I shamelessly sent her a ton of questions when she was first getting it started and love reading her responses. They are very informative but also entertaining, a hard combination to have when answering questions involving stock options and data rooms.

—What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

Biking. I am training for a team half ironman with two of my Bessemer colleagues and I am doing the biking portion. I also hope to bike from Carmel to Hearst Castle (100 miles) in September for the Best Buddies bike ride, a great organization that promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities.

— Who is one leader you admire?

Gwynne Shotwell, the president of SpaceX, is an excellent role model for everyone, but especially young females in engineering. When I was working as a mission manager at SpaceX, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to her on a number of occasions. I loved when she would walk down the main rocket aisle floor in her red sole Louboutin heels, proving that style and substance are not mutually exclusive concepts.

— What is one interesting thing most people won’t know about you?

I didn’t know that venture capital was a career when I was an undergrad studying aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan. My younger self would have been shocked but delighted that this career exists where I’m able to use my passion for engineering and partner with a variety of deeply technical founders with brilliant ideas and help them grow into market leading businesses.

— What is one piece of advice you’d give every founder?

Diversity is incredibly important and should always be top of mind from the very creation of the company.


VC Corner Q&A: Tess Hatch was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Is it possible to pursue business ambitions whilst maintaining personal health?

Start-up founders are often viewed as the epitome of creativity and hard work. The blood, sweat and more-than-occasional tears it takes to successfully set up, maintain and grow a start-up business are well-documented and rightly venerated. However, this commitment can come with a flip side. Sometimes start-ups are so busy grappling with the challenges of building their business, that they neglect to look after their own health.

Start-up health on the line

We worked with global start-up community, Startup Grind, to survey 504 start-up leaders and found that 67% are suffering from personal health issues as a direct result of their professional lives. This becomes less surprising when viewed alongside the fact that almost half (49%) work over 50 hours per week, with one in four (28%) putting in over 60 hours. This is much higher than the 37.1 hours the average UK worker spends at their job. [i]

The results suggest that these long hours, combined with the stress of starting a business are having a detrimental effect on start-up leaders’ health. Over a third (38%) complain of insomnia or poor sleep, whilst one in four (26%) suffer from poor mental health conditions, including stress, anxiety and depression.

These issues are frequently associated with stressful lifestyles and indicate that, unless start-up leaders can access greater levels of useful support, they could end up on a fast track towards burnout, which would also be detrimental to their business’ success.

The greatest irony is that the majority (78%) of start-up leaders were inspired to launch their business by a wish to improve people’s lives, with one in five (22%) motivated by the condition or health of a loved one. I know from experience working with start-ups and within the consumer health sector more generally that this passion can be an incredibly powerful motivator. It’s imperative that we work with start-ups to help them capitalise on this, rather than it act as a detractor to their success.

Sources of start-up stress

When asked what business activities were contributing to their stress levels, almost three quarters of start-up leaders (74%) named funding, investment and/or cashflow in their top three. This was closely followed by access to talent and recruitment, cited by over a third (39%) and product/service innovation and R&D (33%).

These are issues for business leaders universally, no matter the size of their enterprise. However, they’re also likely to be felt more acutely by start-up leaders, who may not have access to expertise in each of these areas.

The desire to bridge this knowledge gap is one of the reasons why we’re seeing more and more start-ups partnering with larger organisations. At RB, for example, we partner with health focused businesses with a promising concept or viable consumer health solution and work on a bespoke partnership basis to develop the offering and bring it to market.

Our partners gain access to the resources within our organisation, including legal and regulatory support, PR and marketing advice and a wealth of global market insight.

However, the benefits also flow both ways. We’re fully aware that we can learn a lot from start-ups and can improve our own business exponentially by taking their agility on board and learning from their approach. We also recognise that the best ideas don’t always come from within. Bringing the outside into RB drives diversity of thought, which is critical to innovation.

Making the most of start-up life

It’s certainly not all doom and gloom for start-up leaders though, as our survey found many experience an improvement in their personal lives as a result of starting out on their own. A large number (41%) say that launching their own business has improved their relationships with family members, whilst one in three (38%) report being in a better position financially.

If start-up founders want to continue their positive journey whilst improving their personal health and making their venture a success, it’s imperative that they reduce sources of stress where possible. Finding a partner able to offer the right level of support in areas where this is needed most can be a great first step.

To give start-ups an opportunity to find out more about partnering with RB, this weekend we will be hosting our annual #RBInnovationHack at Startup Grind Global 2020. The event will see RB convene healthcare/healthtech start-ups together with RBs R&D and Marketing teams, to ideate potential solutions to a health challenge. Watch this space for news following the event and please do get in touch here if you want to find out more about partnering with RB.

[i] https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/timeseries/ybuy/lms


Is it possible to pursue business ambitions whilst maintaining personal health? was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Startups to Watch — Global 2020

Startups to Watch — Global 2020

While you can expect to meet over 300 exhibitors on February 11–12 at our 2020 Global Conference in Silicon Valley, we thought we’d give you a closer look into some of this year’s Accelerate cohort. Below we highlight 7 fantastic startups whose groundbreaking solutions are already disrupting their respective industries.

Have you purchased your ticket to Global?

DUCKT — Grind Accelerate
Logistics/Transport
Istanbul, Turkey
www.duckt.app

Micromobility is booming: since 2017 last mile solutions have been disrupting urban life. According to McKinsey, in 2030 it will become a $400 billion industry with 30 million new vehicles looking for charging and parking solutions. DUCKT is a micromobility solutions company dedicated to building the largest network of electric charging, storage, and service stations for EVERY e-bike and e-scooter. The company’s docking stations will be installed in dedicated micromobility areas, parking spaces, and privately held businesses throughout major cities and markets around the world.

DUCKT’s solution consists of a patented plug and play docking device and connecting adapter that fits almost all e-scooter models in the market today with charging stations. This enables smart cities and businesses to better connect with the on-demand micromobility economy. They’re also developing a proprietary mobile application that will interface with docking stations and provide available locations as well as real-time e-vehicle availability of not only partnered rideshare, but all platforms. DUCKT provides: dashboard & reporting UI, MDS compliant data, seamless cloud platform with API connectivity.

GIMI — Growth
Finance
Stockholm, Sweden
www.gimitheapp.com

Gimi is a neo-bank for children, teens, and their parents (imagine Snapchat of finance, but with a financial literacy twist). It’s fintech with a mix of gamification, social and education, aiming to equip children with financial literacy. Gimi wants to equip the next generation with financial superskills. Gimi’s vision is widespread financial wellbeing, thriving individuals, and prospering societies.

Gimi has one app for children and one for their supporters. Both come in either a free version or a premium version. The free app is not connected to real money (it’s a digital piggy bank that cannot be used to pay with), and the premium app has real money. Gimi Premium also comes with the Gimi Card, a prepaid Mastercard, designed for children.

70% of their card users are children under the age of 11! In the app, children can also chat with Piggy, their pixel mascot, the smart financial advisor. Every month, Piggy does more than 30,000 chat sessions with children. Today, Gimi has been downloaded more than 1.2M times all over the world and is visited by more than 120,000 users every month.

MY PERSONAL THERAPEUTICS — Grind Accelerate
Biotech
London, United Kingdom
mypersonaltherapeutics.com

At least one out of three people reading this summary have or will have cancer. Current treatments will help only 50% of them to reach ten years survival after diagnosis. Every tumour has unique genetic origins, ergo, to develop efficient cancer treatments for every person is crucial to look at them as individual cases. My Personal Therapeutics designs a personalized solution for each patient by analyzing their tumours and creating an analogous genetic copy of them inside fruit flies. These flies, which develop the patient’s tumour and serve as their avatars, are then used to explore therapeutic options.

To accomplish this, they first employ up-to-date deep DNA sequencing technology to identify all the oncogenic mutations driving the individual cancer. Next, they use unique genetic tools to engineer in the fly’s genomes the same mutations leading to tumor formation. Finally, they create an army of 400K avatars for every patient and using robotic platforms they treat them with thousands of drugs and drug combinations until they find the most effective treatment targeting each specific tumour.

Their Personal Discovery Process identifies highly precise combinations of FDA-approved drugs to target an individual patient’s tumour. All recommended treatment combinations will include a cancer drug and one or more non cancer drugs, making treatments less toxic and more affordable. They are integrating AI and predictive modeling to enable rapid personalized drug treatment recommendations.

CLIMATE TRADE — Grind Accelerate
Environmental Services
Valencia, Spain
www.climatetrade.com

ClimateTrade is a Blockchain platform for carbon footprint offset, green financing, and sustainable investment and has been created to disrupt the traditional carbon markets.

Thanks to the blockchain technology, their platform allows them to eliminate intermediaries and therefore save up to 30% of the offsetting costs. It has fully automated performance permits to reduce the transaction process time by more than 300%. As these are peer-to-peer transactions, they ensure that the original developer of the mitigation project receives the money directly, tracing the entire process and making transparency one of our most distinctive features.

They aim to create an ecosystem where all people and companies can easily and safely offset their carbon footprint by investing in sustainable projects with the highest certified quality standards.

INDORSE — Growth Accelerate
HR & Employee Engagement
Singapore, Singapore
https://indorse.io

Indorse is a skills validation platform which helps candidates validate their tech skills and helps companies match with better candidates. They’ve built, from the ground up, a distributed community of expert software developers who conduct code review on candidates’ code. This is done in an anonymous and randomized fashion, which reduces the unconscious bias associated with hiring and recruiting processes. Each of these experts gets rewarded for their activity on the platform.

As of Jan 2020, more than 5,500 candidates have been evaluated on Indorse, and the expert community has finished ~25,000 code reviews in total. In return, they have disbursed more than USD 100k in rewards to these experts.

EVOLVE ENERGY — Grind Accelerate

Utilities
San Francisco, United States
www.evolvemyenergy.com

Evolve Energy uses AI and ML to enable their customers to actively reduce their carbon footprint while also saving up to 40% off of their electricity costs.

They monitor the type of electricity (wind, solar, gas, coal, diesel) that powers the grid in real time and know the emissions intensity of the grid as it changes. Through their app, they’re able to connect the grid to their customer’s smart devices (such as smart thermostats) and simply shift their customers use to cleaner times of the day, enabling true carbon reduction. Because renewable energy bids into wholesale markets at low prices, this also means that the cheapest hours of the day are now also the cleanest. They help their customers automatically use less electricity when “dirty” fuels are powering the grid and consequently help them save money!

Spraoi — Grind Accelerate
Finance
Philadelphia, USA
https://spraoi.ai

The insurance industry has spent decades and billions of dollars focused on policy and claims administration transformation. However, these investments have merely automated process and not optimized outcomes or better engaged customers (e.g. agents, policyholders). Early applications of machine learning were initially focused in the Property and Casualty space, but Spraoi’s focus has been on the Life and Annuities and Voluntary Benefits providers.

Spraoi’s insurance specific machine learning platform, Barrel, incorporates model building, ETL and data pipeline capabilities to enable carriers to automate the handling of the data issues confronting them in building and managing models (e.g. missing, erroneously entered data) to generate insights in a scalable fashion. Spraoi offers a growing catalogue of machine learning solutions across the value chain. For example, Kwikcover is Spraoi’s customer experience portal platform. It offers a plug and play digital experience with microservices integration architecture that enables interoperability to legacy infrastructure and delivery speed.

We’re super proud to have these types of companies exhibiting at Global 2020 and honored to see them disrupting impactful industries like sustainable energy, carbon offsetting, and cancer treatment. Be sure to check them all out, along with the other 46 amazing Accelerate companies you can meet at Global 2020 on February 11–12 in Redwood City.


Startups to Watch — Global 2020 was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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The Cure for Entrepreneurial Loneliness

EO members at Mt. Everest Base Camp 2017
“When I could share with other entrepreneurs, without judgment, the walls came down. I was able to get perspective and insight from their experiences.”

Two experienced entrepreneurs share how to overcome the feeling of isolation that comes with launching a startup.

Ask Pramod Raheja, founder of Airgility, what the most significant oversight of his startup days was, and his answer might surprise you. Making a wrong hire? No. Mismanaging cashflow? No.

Raheja considers his biggest startup mistake to be not joining a peer group sooner.

“I didn’t understand the value I could have gained if I had joined a network of entrepreneurs early on. Had I tapped into the right network, I would’ve grown and scaled faster. I would have become a better CEO faster.”

A member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) since 2011, Pramod says, “my network of peers has been key to my success.”

“Many times,” he adds, “I might’ve given up or gone in a different direction without trustworthy peers to bounce ideas off of and to share my sadness, frustration and even happiness with.”

Adrienne Palmer, founder of Insite and an EO member since 2000, agrees. She describes the loneliness that many entrepreneurs can relate to. “As a founder, there was no one I could really talk to about the challenges and fears that emerged. Friends often questioned why I was so obsessed with my business — why I had nothing else to talk about! Even family couldn’t truly relate. Many of them thought I was being irresponsible by not accepting offers for stable jobs.

“As an entrepreneur, you worry about your business all the time because it boils down to this: Clients (no matter how great the relationship) must always feel like the business is solid and everything is thriving. Likewise, with vendors and suppliers. And employees. And the bank. And the landlord.”

However, Palmer says, “When I could share with other entrepreneurs, without judgment, the walls came down. I was able to get perspective and insight from their experiences, knowing that they were sharing freely, with no agenda or vested interest. I was able to feel heard and understood. It gave me strength and confidence, knowing that I wasn’t the first to go through this, nor would I be the last.”

Raheja and Palmer agree that emotional support is an important reason to join a network of entrepreneurs. What other benefits can you expect from joining a peer group?

Learning

Most peer groups provide executive education that’s tailored to founders across a variety of industries.

“At my very first EO event, I was blown away,” Pramod says. “Warren Rustand put on an all-day workshop. I showed up at noon because — well, I’m a busy entrepreneur and had things to do. I spent the afternoon thinking, ‘What could have been more important than this? I should’ve made the time to be here all day.’ I still reference takeaways from that one lecture nearly ten years ago.”

Beyond structured learning events, peer-based entrepreneurial organizations offer a built-in network of mentors and advisers. Pramod explains, “Issues crop up that you can’t necessarily talk to your executive team about because it may have to do with them. Having other CEOs that I can call, confidentially, and say, ‘Hey, here’s what’s going on with my company. Any thoughts or suggestions? Do you know anyone who can help me?’ More than likely, they’ve been through a similar situation and can share experiences that may benefit me.”

Interested in hearing more from Raheja and Palmer? They’ll be participating in the panel, “Benefits for Business: Build a Diverse Network of Entrepreneurs,” during Startup Grind on Feb. 11 at 1:30 pm on the Community Stage in Cinema 2.

Leadership

Palmer appreciates the leadership opportunities provided by her peer group.

“EO gives me an opportunity to develop my leadership skills through volunteer leadership positions. Depending on your background, these opportunities might hone your ability to lead others, allow you to gain a more global perspective, or challenge you to think completely differently.”

Raheja is part of EO’s United Nations team working to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He recently had the opportunity to participate in a focus group around gender inequality at the UN. “It was life-changing,” he shares. “Being on the floor of the UN and knowing that the actions of this group you’re a part of could be the spark that significantly transforms the lives of others? That’s the entrepreneurial mindset in action.”

Inspiration

As part of a global network of entrepreneurs, you’ll meet business owners at every stage of growth. For many individuals — particularly more established entrepreneurs — interacting with that fresh, unbridled energy can be exhilarating and provide them with new ideas for their own organizations.

“I enjoy being inspired by the startup entrepreneurs and their exciting new ideas and businesses,” says Palmer. “It gives me a spark of energy and new perspectives. Also, learning about many new social impact businesses being formed feeds my optimism about the future.”

Pramod concurs. “I get energy from other people — from helping other people, specifically. When I walk into a room of people, I want to impart my energetic passion and have them walk out of the room psyched up and inspired to make something of their business or connect with other peers! That’s why I coach people and mentor them.

“There’s so much value in this community — we need as many people as possible to develop and share the entrepreneurial mindset. It can help make us all better versions of ourselves.”

Connect with EO at Startup Grind

Register today for Startup Grind in Silicon Valley and stop by booth 11 to connect with delegates from EO.


The Cure for Entrepreneurial Loneliness was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Jeremy Webb Startup Grind - Medium https://medium.com/startup-grind/the-cure-for-entrepreneurial-loneliness-68e596e64a?source=rss----f5c95cc981bd---4

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