Startup America Summit Brings Entrepreneurs Together
On April 16, 2013, Scott Case, CEO of Startup America Partnership and co-founder of Priceline kicked off the 5th Startup America Summit at Walter Cronkite School at Arizona State University.
Scott broke the ice with a Startup America traditional game of “Half Baked.” This game first asks attendees to come up with words to describe startups, then, everyone is broken up into teams and asked to pick two words from the group list which will become the name of their company. Within minutes, the team must develop a new concept/product and determine target customers to then pitch to the audience. The creativity was flowing and it was the perfect ice-breaker to get everyone going-and definitely added some flavor and laughter to the space.
The day continued with speaker Jamie Kantrowitz discussing “Community Building & Engagement.” Jamie is a partner at accelerator LaunchPad LA. Previously she was at MySpace as the Head of Marketing and Content, and responsible for launching the music and entertainment platform. Recently she co-founded LA-based Gobbler, a software company building simple but powerful cloud collaboration, organization and backup tools for media creators.
Jamie identified six components to an ecosystem: startups, talent, investors, mentors, partners and service providers and how to find the best in each space. When you are considering adding an influencer to your network and help your company, she encouraged entrepreneurs to keep in mind that “the influencer is only as good as the network,” and to be diligent in your research when choosing one; also understand how “the influencer can activate the space.”
She continually emphasized the importance of reaching out to ones’ community when in need of help, guidance or someone to bounce off ideas. “We don’t always have access to capital but we always have access to our communities.”
The spotlight then turned to the entrepreneur panel filled with some of the top software CEOs in Arizona who did a little storytelling and shared some advice for the startup community.
Panel: Clate Mask CEO/Co-Founder of InfusionSoft, Hamid Shojaee, CEO/Founder of Axosoft, Todd Davis, CEO of Lifelock, Heidi Jannenga, COO/Co-founder WebPT, Alan Lobock, Co-Founder of SkyMall, Justin Talbot Stern, CEO/Founder B2GNow.
Since I was moderating, I collected thoughts from the Startup America Team on Twitter. In the near future, AZ Tech Beat will post the video of the panel discussion.
“I hear complaints about talent or about capital. That’s misguided energy.” Clate Mask-@Startupamerica
“Being wrong 9/10 times can come with the territory,” Hamid Shojaee-@Startup_AZ
“Capital will come when you’re ready for the capital,” Clate Mask-@IshaCogborn
“If you have a great mentor, listen-but that doesn’t mean do what they say,” Todd Davis-@IshaCogborn
“Most entrepreneurs underestimate the financial, mental and emotional challenges of a startup,” Clate Mask-@IshaCogborn
“When you do really believe in what you are doing, find a way to get it done,” Heidi Jannenga-@IshaCogborn
“I’ve fired… my neighbor, my nanny’s daughter and my cousin.” Todd Davis-@tscottcase
“Guard yourself against defining yourself as a startup.” Alan Lobock-@IshaCogborn
Justin complimented Phoenix’s community, collaboration and deals that occur at local coffee shops. It’s the ability to walk into any coffee shop in town and literally run into top CEOs of companies and partners at capital firms. “That doesn’t happen in many cities” he said.
The day wrapped up with workshops for entrepreneurs, and an evening event at Terralever. This morning, WebPT hosted a breakfast and provided a tour of their offices located in the Warehouse District. Attendees had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with more Arizona CEOs and get some behind the scenes Shark Tank stories from Sam and Connor from Mistobox.
To learn more about the Startup America Partnership visit: www.s.co/
To learn more about Startup Arizona
Drawing and photo by Autumn Farrell, a Tempe painter and illustrator