Entrepreneurial

Is ‘Occupy Silicon Valley’ next?

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

There it was on Craigslist – an ad for “young, successful professionals living in America’s most emerging area, Silicon Valley,” ostensibly posted by a “major cable network” that’s looking to cast a Silicon Valley reality show.

No wonder. While many Americans are suffering through an abysmal economy, Internet startups seem impervious to bad news of any kind. Valuations have been rising for several years straight; companies like Zynga, Facebook, and Twitter are minting millionaires left and right; and many young outfits can’t hire skilled, highly paid software engineers or salespeople fast enough.

To get the picture, one only need look to the invitation-only, tequila-fueled industry party that entrepreneur-investor Sean Parker hosted two weeks ago. Split-roasted pigs, Dungeness crabs, and sashimi bars were a mere warm-up to nationally known musical acts like The Killers.

Silicon Valley has much to celebrate. It has the most highly educated workforce in the nation and boasts the highest economic productivity – almost twice the U.S. average, according to the Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI). It also deserves kudos for creating the social media tools that have been empowering revolutions around the world.

Making a case for more candor at startups

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

In an age where seemingly everyone in the startup community now blogs, tweets and leaks his or her news, stretching the truth has become de rigueur. But I’d argue that it’s creating distrust; it’s also distorting the way that founders, the real engine of Silicon Valley, see the world.

What can be done about it, if anything? Recently, I asked neuroscientist and best-selling author Sam Harris, whose new Kindle essay, “Lying,” explores our fundamental inclination to lie and self-promote. Our conversation has been edited for length.

VC firm to form “Jedi Council” of entrepreneurs

– Joanna Glasner is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Menlo Ventures’ newest managing director, Shervin Pishevar, is getting off to a fast start.

The serial entrepreneur turned Internet VC announced that his firm has formed a new early stage investment vehicle, the Menlo Talent Fund, which will fund rounds up to $250,000 in promising startups. As part of the effort, Pishevar told attendees at San Francisco’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference this week, the firm will be forming a “Jedi Council of incredible entrepreneurs,” known as the Menlo Founders Council, to work with startups.

Startups run the gamut from the sublime to the mundane

– Mark Boslet is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Investors navigated the halls. Luminaries such as LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman and SoftTech’s Jeff Clavier took the stage.

Demo Fall 2011 was in full swing yesterday. What stood out at the tech conference was an eclectic assortment of startups that varied from the sublime to the silly. Several of the most appealing enterprise-focused companies seemed poised to attract considerable interest. Several developing consumer technologies did not.

Vodafone opens Silicon Valley startup accelerator

– Mark Boslet is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Everyone these days seems to be getting into the startup accelerator business. Why not an international mobile phone giant?

Why not, indeed. Vodafone is the latest institution to open a Silicon Valley accelerator with the aim of sparking innovation, and, according to a press release, providing “potential financial assistance.”

Sittercity founder to launch “social recommendation engine”

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Genevieve Thiers is not a household name in Silicon Valley, but many Chicagoans know her as the founder of Chicago-based Sittercity, a 10-year-old online subscription-service that marries families to caregivers around the country for help with their children, pets, and aging parents.

Thiers is also among a small, but growing number of second-time entrepreneurs beginning to emerge from Chicago’s young, but maturing tech scene. Next month, Thiers officially launches her newest startup, Contact Karma, with co-founder Maureen Wozniak (no relation to Apple co-founder Steve).

Flipboard founder on venture capitalists: “Take their money”

– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This story originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

Many entrepreneurs privately disparage venture capitalists as egoistic, autocratic, and increasingly unnecessary. Not serial entrepreneur Mike McCue. He believes in VC.

Case in point: McCue’s newest startup, Flipboard, a 20-month-old iPad application that transforms social media feeds into an elegant, print-like magazine. Though the Palo Alto, California-based company has yet to develop a business model — McCue is contemplating running full-page ads and allowing publishers to charge subscriptions to their Flipboard-rendered content — Flipboard has already raised $60 million in venture capital from Kleiner Perkins, Index Ventures, and others.

Is Airbnb growing too fast?

– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This story originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

Airbnb is on a tear. Three years after the San Francisco-based company began inviting real people to list for rent their homes and apartments, castles and houseboats, users have booked 1.9 million nights in more than 184 countries; bookings are growing an astonishing 40 percent month over month; and roughly 1,000 new properties are entered into its system each day.

The company is growing so fast, in fact, that it’s reportedly raising $100 million at a whopping $1 billion valuation — a mighty addition to the $8 million in capital it has previously raised from Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, and numerous individuals.

10 marketing lessons for early stage tech startups

– Mark Suster is a former serial entrepreneur and a partner at Los Angeles-based venture capital firm GRP Partners. This article originally appeared on Suster’s blog “Both Sides of the Table”. The views expressed are his own. –

I made every textbook mistake at my first startup, which is why I believe I was much more effective at my second one. I have adopted the motto “good judgment comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgment.” We need to learn from doing, by trial and error.

If I can help you avoid some of my first-time mistakes it would be a victory. The following are some lessons I learned about early-stage startup marketing. Because market is such a broad topic, I’m restricting these lessons to PR marketing (as opposed SEO, SEM, product marketing, etc.).

Silicon Valley recruiter on tech hiring frenzy: “Everyone’s desperate”

Robert Greene, the founder and CEO of Silicon Valley-based GreeneSearch Inc, specializes in recruiting hands-on talent for technology-focused companies, primarily startups. He provided his perspective on the current boom in technology hiring.

Q: How would you characterize the tech hiring market now?
A: It’s very competitive right now. It’s been like that for a while; it’s probably heated up even more of late. You have the bigger companies – Groupon, Zynga, Google, LinkedIn, companies that have been proven and successful – and then you have all these startups.
The supply doesn’t meet the demand.

Q: Is there an advantage to being a small company?
A: The advantage they have over those (big) companies is that they can move really quickly. They’ll do everything in a day and make an offer and hope that person will accept right away before they get into the bigger companies. Those are their selling points. They have to move quickly, they have to be agile, have to have the compelling story, have to give equity, along with competitive salaries.

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