Posts Tagged ‘ startups ’

Entrepreneurship Talent + Opportunity : The Unmet Promise

The TiE Boston Software SIG had a unique networking event last night at a restaurant, with ‘family-style’ appetizers. No hot chai, though.

One engaging topic of conversation (amongst a few of us) was about making the startup market more efficient and effective …  more so around matching talent and opportunity. The Boston region has over 140 organizations catering to startup needs and interests. Yes, that is over 140! I did a market and product analysis involving 14 organizations, and found that most of them tend to overlap in terms of services and promised value-add.

There barely seems to be a month when there is not another startup-facilitation organization brewing.

Yet, you have what essentially is a market with a finite number of players that in the startup ecosystem at any given time. There is bound to be a point in time when we hit the problem of plenty.

So, instead of starting yet another startup oriented group or networking event … how about these 3 ‘obvious ideas’? (everything is obvious … after the fact) …

1) Find a way to identify Top 3 current pain-points and needs within existing funded ventures … and publish those ‘open source’ to invite other ventures / entrepreneurs / people that might have an interest and ability to address those needs. A healthy partnership and alliance strategy can go a longer way in creating synergies than more networking meets and events.

2) Find a way to socialize Top 3 goals and gaps within existing growth companies with over $10M revenue … and offer early stage ventures an opportunity to bid for real business with the potential to generate real revenue. A real customer with a real need met leading to revenue is more valuable than more idea-meets and products being developed without market validation.

3) Make a promise to ourselves that we wont just “talk the endless entrepreneurship talk” with a hue of ideas and promises, hoping to randomly find someone in networking events that could somehow, somewhere, someday add value. Believe me, I believe in the power of networking and mutual value add … yet, there is bound to be a point where you hit the problem of plenty.

This is really about finding focus … what do you think?




Is this my Billion $ idea? Desh Deshpande @ TiE Launchpad

TiE Boston, part of TiE, the world’s largest non-profit dedicated to entrepreneurship hosted Gururaj ‘Desh’ Deshpande last week as part of TiE Launchpad.

TiE Launchpad is a program that I co-chair, dedicated to helping first time entrepreneurs make the journey from an idea to a venture. Through a series of 7 – 10 workshops, TiE Launchpad will help leaders transform promising business ideas and technologies into commercial ventures.

Check out the Billion $ Idea Top 50 Takeaways DESH DESHPANDE file … for a crowd-sourced collection of take-aways collated within 24 hours of the event.

What do you think? How have you transformed an idea into a business venture? What lessons learned are you willing to share? Go ahead, join the conversation …



Startups … not bailouts

You can count on Thomas Friedman to write a punchy piece. In today’s New York Times article, he advocates that startups create more high quality jobs than bailouts of big car companies or road construction projects. Makes total sense. Of course, one could get into a Keynesian argument supporting higher government spending in toto. However, fact remains, that startups are the engines that create economic growth, prosperity and net new jobs. Think Google or Sun Friedman says.

Immigrant founders + free markets = Innovation.

I spend quite a bit of time in the Boston area startup community. Whether its a 15 year old in a TYE Startup competition from TiE-Boston or a first time entrepreneur, or a serial entrepreneuer, the optimism, energy and vision seems boundless. Everyone wants to change the world. One startup or venture at a time. There is no sense of self-pity or entitlement.

Yet, the single biggest roadblock is source of quality funds. I am not talking big numbers. I am talking $50K to $500K to take a shot at starting the next innovative venture. I am talking solid business models with working technology and passionate teams.  Yet they are caught in a bind … unable to access capital at costs and dilution-levels that can continue fueling their passion.

So, here are my …

3 obvious ideas:

a. First-time venture fund: If we can have a first-time homebuyer tax credit, why not a first-time entrepreneur fund? where the government sets aside $50000 per year for 2 years for each first-time founder of a startup. not as a bailout. but as investible angel capital from the government of the usa. why not? If Techstars or Y-Combinator can do it, why not the tax-funded entity called the GOTUS? $50K is enough to feed a family in most cities, while keeping the entrepreneur hungry enough to want to start a company.

b. Tax-cut for entrepreneurs: Why not? In addition to ‘increasing G’ why not ‘cut T’? Mix the left and right here. For the same 2 years, give the entrepreneurs a deep tax cut so that there is incentive and ability to reinvest for growth. Growth that can create real jobs that in turn pay taxes. Neat, eh?

c. Startup-competition: If the GOTUS can fund primary research in leading universities, why not have a true startup competition where funding can be allocated as advocated above? Mix funding with classical financing stage gates, to ensure that even this $50K is allocated based on real outcomes. No vanilla bailouts.

Why not? If innovation means truly socially disruptive practices, and these ideas are disruptive, then so be the spirit of innovation … thoughts? Comments?