July 24, 2014

Update on ‘TEN’ my Mentoring Program

Back in April I announced my mentorship experiment I called ‘TEN’. The plan was simple, find ten entrepreneurs and spend a year working with them on their businesses. The idea was that by spending MORE time with FEWER entrepreneurs I could make a more significant impact AND have more time to work on my own [...]

Announcing ‘TEN’

For more than five years I’ve been actively involved in the Dallas startup community. During that time I have advised scores of entrepreneurs; however, I’ve often wondered how valuable my advice really was. For example, in the last thirty days I have ‘touched’ almost 100 different entrepreneurs. Touches include emails, voicemails, texts and face-to-face meetings [...]

Investor Referrals – HELP ME HELP YOU!

Remember that scene from Jerry Maguire where he tells his client, “HELP ME HELP YOU!” Each day I get a message from an entrepreneur asking for help finding an investor for his or her startup. The message goes something like this, “Working on the next big thing, can you refer me to a few local [...]

Should you share your idea?

You’ve got an idea for the next big thing, a new iPhone application that could change the world, and you’re looking for developers and/or looking to raise capital. You are not entirely certain where to turn so you reach out to local entrepreneurs who have ‘been there and done that’. I get calls like these [...]

Please quit asking me to sign your NDA!

Everyone in Dallas seems to be doing a startup and lots of these people call or email me to share their ideas with me. More than a few of these entrepreneurs ask me to sign an NDA before they are willing to ask for my feedback and/or advice. The quick answer is that I don’t [...]

When should you raise money? NOW! [updated]

Garrett Camp, the co-founder of Stumbleupon, recommends, “Stay self-funded as long as possible.” I think I have been quoted saying the same thing, but over the past few years I have come to realize that you can wait too long to raise outside capital. When I founded LayerOne I raised money first and then built [...]

Are Accelerators Derailing Entrepreneurs?

What if the advice entrepreneurs are getting from mentors/investors who participate in accelerators is wrong? How is an entrepreneur to know which advice to follow and which advice to ignore? Fred Wilson is talking about mentor/investor whiplash in context to accelerator programs in his latest blog post. In it he answers the age old question [...]

The Dallas Startup Scene is on Fire!

Back in 2005 I read about other startups in Dallas, but I didn’t really know anyone else actually starting anything. What was missing? I think we simply didn’t have the people and places to connect the community. Fast forward eight years and one could argue that Dallas is a lot more connected than the Bay [...]

Startup Mistakes: Building Everything Yourself

One of the biggest challenges startups face is deciding what is core to their business. For example, at ShopSavvy we spent a LOT of time developing technology around barcode scanning. We assumed that developing and owning our own intellectual property would make our company more attractive to potential acquirers or investors. Turns out this assumption [...]

Startup Mistakes: Starving your Startup

The biggest mistake we made at ShopSavvy was waiting three years to raise outside capital. Instead, my partner and I invested more than $2 million dollars in cash and services into the company over the first three years – a lot of money for us – but using our own money might have cost us [...]