Middle school students and entrepreneurship

I just spent the morning alongside David Brown, talking to 115 middle school students about entrepreneurship.  I do this periodically and it’s one of the most fun days of my year.  The amount of unbridled energy and enthusiasm in the room is always palpable, and the kids have wonderfully insightful questions on how to startup a startup.  Questions like:

  • What should I do if someone tells me my idea is stupid?
  • How do I know if my product is a good idea?
  • What happens when you fail?
  • How do I identify my target market?
  • Once I identify my target market, what kinds of questions do I ask them?
  • What is better, a product business or a service business?
  • How do I get the money I need for my startup?

Rewording some of these questions, they sound identical to the same topics we often discuss at Techstars.   I can only imagine that if we really taught entrepreneurship to kids at this age, imagine how much more quickly adult entrepreneurs could move through the stages of a startup.  Maybe they would be less afraid of failure, know more about when they’ve hit product/market fit…

I’m all for teaching kids entrepreneurship and wish more middle schools did it. Consider pushing your local school to add it to their curriculum, or mentoring a young student if they have a program in place already.


Free Event Series: Jan 27th – How (NOT?) to Screw Up Your Company with Jason Mendelson

As a venture capitalist with Foundry Group and a Techstars mentor,  Jason Mendelson has seen lots of companies screw up.  He wants to help you avoid making the same mistakes that can kill your company!   He’s giving one of our favorite Techstars talks on Tuesday January 27th, highly valuable for entrepreneurs looking to sidestep those quagmires you might not see coming.


This is the second event in a series of talks we’re calling 8 Weeks of Awesome, full of advice and ideas for tackling the hardest problems entrepreneurs face (building a team, selling a product, finding funding, and more.)  We’ll also be on hand to answer questions about applying to Techstars.  Applications for Techstars Boulder close on March 15th (but it’s helpful to apply early!)

 RSVP here!


About Jason: he has over 15 years of experience in the venture capital and technology industries in a multitude of investing, operational and engineering roles. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, Jason was a Managing Director and General Counsel for Mobius Venture Capital, where he also acted as its chief administrative partner overseeing all operations of the firm.

Free Event Series: Jan 20th – Howard Diamond and the Art of Selling

Howard Diamond is the CEO of MobileDay, and a beloved Techstars mentor.  He’s coming to Techstars on January 20th to talk with entrepreneurs about the Art of Selling!  This is a favorite talk at Techstars, and you don’t want to miss it.  This is the first event in what we call 8 Weeks of Awesome– each Tuesday at 4:30 we host an event to help entrepreneurs tackle the toughest challenges (marketing, finding a co-founder, finding funding, etc.)   We’re also around to answer questions about applying to Techstars.  Applications for Boulder close on March 15th, but earlier is better!

RSVP here!

About Howard: he has a long history of building companies. He took a startup, Course Technology, from 0 to $75 Million in five years. He built Corporate Software, the largest software reseller for Microsoft and IBM, from $500 Million in revenue to $1.2 Billion in six years. He was subsequently Chairman of the Information Services Group at Level3, where he ran a $2.7 Billion technology group and orchestrated the largest merger ever in the software reseller business. Now, Howard has come out of retirement to be the CEO of MobileDay where he intends to make MobileDay his biggest success yet.

Techstars Boulder applications are now open!

I’m well rested after a long sabbatical and ready to tackle 2015!  And no way to bring in the new year by opening applications for Techstars in Boulder.

So if you’re interested in applying to Techstars in Boulder – here are some important dates you need to know:

Jan 5th – Applications open.  Apply now!
March 15th – Application Deadline
June 15th – Program Starts
Sept 11th – Program Ends

I’m excited to see what the new year brings.

Jason Mendleson Techstars Boulder 23rd Studios Colorado Videography (3)

Free Event Series at Techstars: 8 weeks of awesome events for Techstars Boulder

Applications for Techstars in Boulder are open, and to celebrate, we’re hosting a cadre of events that are valuable and full of tactics for your startup. We love helping entrepreneurs, so it’s free and open to the public. Last year, we called it 7 Weeks of Awesome, and we got such a positive response, we decided to do it again, but more awesome! This year, it’s 8 Weeks of Awesome, every Tuesday for 8 weeks @ Techstars in Boulder. Please RSVP below.

Here is the 8 Weeks of Awesome Schedule:

Tuesday 1/20 @ 4:30 – The Art of Selling with Howard Diamond

Tuesday 1/27 @ 4:30 – 20 Ways to Screw Up Your Company with Jason Mendelson 

Tuesday 2/3 @ 4:30 – Finding Funding with David Cohen

Tuesday 2/10 @ 4:30 – Techstars Open House!!!!!

Tuesday 2/17 @ 4:30 – Building Company Culture with Dr. Natalie Baumgartner

Tuesday 2/24 @ 4:30 – CoFounder Dating with Techstars and CoFounders Lab

Tuesday 3/3 @ 4:30 – The Keys to VCs with Mark Solon

Tuesday 3/10 @ 4:30 – How to Pitch, with Nicole Glaros   (also a CU New Venture Challenge workshop)

Applications for Techstars Boulder open January 5th and final deadline is March 15th!  Why should you apply early?  If you haven’t done so already, apply today for Techstars!

NewCo Boulder: Open House Tour of Innovative Companies in Boulder

Forget those business conferences with long speeches and boring panel discussions. On Nov 18 (new date!), Boulder’s most innovative businesses will open their doors to the public to celebrate Boulder companies who drive the networked economy. NewCo Boulder is a city-wide event that takes you right into the corporate offices of 35 of the most innovative and successful companies around Boulder, offering attendees a tour rather than a company description packet.

At NewCo, attendees will sign up for a free pass to visit any of the participating organizations, from software companies, to restaurants, to non-profits and more. During the event attendees will check out the offices of the some of the most interesting and inventive companies around the city and take part in an interactive presentation about what each organization is doing to make an impact on the global landscape.

I am proud to serve on the Board of Advisors along side Kimbal Musk, Jane Miller, Brad Feld, Seth Levine, Larry Gold, Walter Knapp, and Sean Maher. Boulder’s NewCo team, Rich Maloy and Tim O’Shea, have pulled together an impressive group of organizations across a wide range of industries in the community.

It’s an opportunity to see what Boulder businesses are doing and where it actually takes place: offices, breweries, bakeries etc.  Attendees can learn from their strategies and executions, gain some insights from their successes, maybe even drop off a business card or resume. The event is open to everyone and it’s free for the Boulder community.

For more information on NewCo Boulder including the companies participating, please visit: http://bdr.newco.co

Have questions about NewCo Boulder 2014? Contact Rich Maloy, Engage Colorado: rich@engagecolorado.com

Want to work for a startup? Job fair on 8/27

The companies in the current Techstars class are hiring!  Practically every company is hiring at least one position (hey, do more faster, right?).

On Aug 27th, we’re doing a quick and dirty job fair.  It’s a chance for you to meet 13 great companies that are hiring right now.

Positions available include:

  • Designer (UI/UX)
  • Graphic Designer
  • Business Development
  • Growth Hacker
  • Account Manager
  • Inside Sales Person
  • Sales & Marketing Generalist
  • Sales Executive
  • Sales Manager
  • Marketing Intern
  • Marketing Director
  • Director or VP of Marketing (DOE)
  • Senior Developer
  • Junior Developer
  • Full-Stack Engineer/Generalist
  • Director or VP of Operations (DOE)
  • Operational/Organized Rockstar

If you’re interested in learning more or to RSVP – go here!

Techstars Boulder 2014 ALS Icebucket Challenge to Techstars Austin

Dear Techstars Austin Class of 2014.  Consider yourselves challenged.  That means you have 24 hours to either meet the challenge, or donate to ALS.  In fact, you should just donate anyway. Jason Seats, Brewbot, Burpy, Cloud66, Common Form, Experiment Engine, Fashion Metric, Free Textbooks , LawnStarter, NMRKT, Pivot Freight, & Smart Host!

With Love,

Techstars Boulder 2014

New to Boulder or the Boulder Tech Scene? Come say hi…

I’m often getting emails from people who are either new to Boulder, or just want to connect deeper with the Boulder tech scene.  In an effort to bring everyone closer together, we’re launching a Welcome To Boulder event series.  It’s only 30 minutes long, just long enough to have a quick drink, but you’ll be hosted by some of Boulder’s most connected individuals in tech, including myself, Seth Levine, David Cohen, Brad Feld, Jason Mendelson, Brad Berenthal, Robert Reich, Dan Caruso and others.  There will always be at least one of us there to answer your questions, introduce you to others, and point you towards great local resources.  And you can meet other like-minded people who are also launching their exploration into Boulder.  We want to be your welcoming committee!

If you’re interested in getting more connected to the Boulder tech scene, this is a great jumping off point.  Below is a list of upcoming events:

Monday, August 25th, 2014: 5-5:30pm – RSVP here  (yes! That’s next monday!)

Monday, Nov 17th 2014, 5-5:30pm – RSVP here

Monday, February 16th 2015, 5-5:30 pm – RSVP here

Monday, May 18 2015, 5-5:30pm – RSVP here

Huge shout out to Julie Penner who’s spearheading the organization of this.  If you don’t know Julie, you should.

Also, if you’re new to the scene, check out the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Boulder’s Startup Community. It’s a great resource.