On August 23, 2013, my Harvard Business Review article, The Problem with Incubators and How to Solve Them, was published. At the time, there were 7,500 incubators and accelerators in the market.
There is a very real knowledge gap in the early stage start-up game, on both sides of the table. First-time entrepreneurs lack the seasoning to captain a steady ship through turbulent waters. Inexperienced friends and family (and, increasingly, crowdsourced investors) lack the ability to gauge the viability of a business, or to mentor naïve entrepreneurs.
This knowledge gap, I have come to believe, is best filled by savvy incubators. However, there are over 7,500 business incubators around the world. Most of them fail.
I don’t know what the number is today. I do know that the phenomenon has now spread globally.
I just did a search on LinkedIn for “Business Coach” and found over 175,000 results.
A similar search for “Startup Mentor” yields close to 125,000 results.
Well, if I could have a word with all the mentors and coaches that are out there, this is what I would say.
Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Curtis Feeny was recorded in April 2018.
Curtis Feeny, Managing Director at Silicon Valley Data Capital, talks about his firm’s investment thesis around Big Data and Machine Learning.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s get our audience introduced to you. Tell us about your fund, investing focus, a bit about your background. Let’s get the audience to know you. >>>
Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Vivek Ladsariya was recorded in April 2018.
Vivek Ladsariya, Partner at SineWave Ventures, talks about the firm’s investment thesis, as well as trends in the industry.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to you as well as SineWave. What is your investment focus? How big is the fund? >>>
Humanity.com has operations in San Francisco, Pakistan, and Serbia. The founder lives in Panama. Yet another distributed software company that is scaling nicely.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Ryan Fyfe: I grew up in Canada. I moved around a lot as a child. Both my parents were educators. My mom is a primary school teacher. My dad is a mechanical engineering professor. Through that time, we lived in Belgium, across different parts of Canada, and >>>
Milos Sochor is Managing Partner at Y Soft Ventures, a firm in the Czech Republic. Fascinating conversation about how a small region is gradually becoming a powerhouse of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Indian online classifieds platform Quikr is one of the most heavily funded startups. Despite low revenue and profitability numbers, its valuation was skyrocketing. In recent times, its valuation has been marked down and its profitability has improved. >>>
This feature from TechCrunch covers the winners of the Startup Battlefield at the Disrupt SF 2018 event held in San Francisco held recently. AI-enabled enterprise search engine Forethought was the winner of the $100,000 prize and the Disrupt cup. For this week’s posts, click on paragraph links. >>>
Sramana Mitra: Do you invest only in the Boston area only?
Nilanjana Bhowmik: We invest up and down the East Coast. The big tech hubs on the side are Boston, New York, and surprisingly Toronto.
Sramana Mitra: Great. What are the highlights of your current portfolio? We are probably talking about Longworth as opposed to Converge.
Nilanjana Bhowmik: I’d say a good range of companies spanning all the way from infrastructure to the application layer. We just transacted a company in the crowdsourced application testing that we backed in 2009. This was called Applause. They created this whole concept of on-demand testing of software that truly leveraged cloud so that you need not have your own infrastructure of testers and professionals >>>
Sramana Mitra: Last question, are you chasing unicorns?
Tim Guleri: No. That is something that I’m not a huge fan of. Ultimately, unicorn is an easy term for way late stage investors to say, “I’m going to invest in this company for this valuation.” I feel that that does a disservice to so much of the value creation that happens underneath that top of the pyramid. If you look at the classic and best returns that venture capital has posted, it doesn’t come from these unicorns that are few and far between. A lot of the outcomes happen in billion dollar and south outcomes. These are companies that have fundamentally strong businesses that are >>>