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As Co-Founder and Chairman of Techstars, David Cohen has spent nearly his entire career focused on helping entrepreneurs succeed. Aspiring founders and early-stage entrepreneurs from around the world apply to Techstars’ startup accelerators to get three months of hands-on mentorship, access to a worldwide network and a check for $20,000 in exchange…
 
Originally from Denmark and now living in the US, Henrik Werdelin has been recognized as one of the “Top 100 Most Creative People In Business” by Fast Company and named to the “Silicon Alley 100” by Business Insider. His path to entrepreneurship took him through the BBC, MTV and Joost before he ended up creating Prehype, a “halfway house” for entre…
 
Fabrice Grinda is one of the world’s leading Internet entrepreneurs and investors, with over 150 exits on 500 angel investments. When I first interviewed him for this podcast, way back in 2005, the then-31-year-old French native was in the process of packing up his office at Zingy, the mobile media start-up he’d founded in 2000. After growing Zingy…
 
Guy Kawasaki’s name has become almost synonymous with tech entrepreneurship and evangelism. Over the past 25 years, he’s had a hand in advising a generation of tech start-ups and innovators, either directly, through stints at Apple and Google, or through his writings, speaking engagements, podcast and numerous books. Guy has started up a few of his…
 
CD Baby founder Derek Sivers made two appearances on Venture Voice in the early days of this podcast. In our first conversation, he described the process of growing the company into one of the largest sellers and distributors of independent music online, with $25 million in revenue and 50 employees at the time. This week we’re revisiting our second…
 
Born into a family of entrepreneurs, LivePerson founder and CEO Robert LoCascio always had the entrepreneurial spirit, going back to his teens when he and a friend started an auto detailing business. After graduating college, he had a brief stint in a “real” job, but that experience — he ended up getting fired via fax — convinced him that he never …
 
This week we’re revisiting my 2007 interview with Tom Perkins, who was one of Silicon Valley’s most successful venture capitalists. The firm Tom co-founded, Kleiner Perkins, is responsible for funding some of the most well-known companies of the past four decades, including Google, AOL, Genentech, Sun Microsystems, Compaq and Tandem Computers. With…
 
Jon Oringer is not a professional photographer. But when he needed images to market his growing internet business, the traditional stock agencies were still stuck in the world of print, so he took the DIY approach. What started as a way to fill a need for his own company turned into a side business that quickly gained traction. So quickly, in fact,…
 
Fred Turner was only 16 when he built his first PCR machine, a tool used to amplify small segments of DNA or RNA. He was interested in sequencing his own genome, but he soon discovered there were others who had a need for these kinds of cheaper, faster testing capabilities. When English pedigree farmers came calling, he pivoted his attention to agr…
 
How do you start a whole new category of beverage — without any experience in the beverage industry? This week, we dip back into the archives for my 2005 interview with Sharelle Klaus, founder and CEO of DRY Soda. A former dot-com entrepreneur with a passion for food and wine, Sharelle was fed up with the lack of sophisticated beverage options avai…
 
It was a real treat to interview Food52 CEO and co-founder Amanda Hesser, who’s an old friend going back to my early days in the New York startup community. Listening to her tell the story of her entrepreneurial journey, you get the sense that she’s lived many lives — from studying food history alongside classmates like Corby Kummer and Sheryl Juli…
 
Sometimes, a big mistake can trigger a big idea. In 2003, Mike McDerment was running a small web design agency when he accidentally saved over an old invoice. Frustrated and looking for a better way to bill clients, he decided to build the better way himself. The solution he came up with would become the foundation for FreshBooks, a cloud-based acc…
 
We’re heading back to the archives, this time revisiting my 2006 interview with Steve Hindy, co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery. Steve’s career journey, both as a foreign correspondent before he took the entrepreneurial leap, and as a brewery owner, is the stuff of blockbuster movie fare. After all, being robbed at gunpoint and being threatened by the …
 
Like most successful entrepreneurs, Mark Wilson, CEO of Chime Solutions, is an ambitious and savvy business person who’s driven by a strong work ethic and desire to make an impact. But when Mark founded his first company, Ryla, he was inspired by more than just the opportunity to build a business. Throughout his life, he had seen how talented peopl…
 
Today, Evan Williams is most well-known for being the billionaire co-founder of Twitter, as well as Blogger and Medium. But back in 2005 when this episode was recorded, Twitter hadn’t even been conceived of yet. When we spoke, Ev had just raised about $2 million in venture capital money for a hot new podcasting company he was about to launch called…
 
It’s a special holiday edition of Venture Voice, and the holiday we’re celebrating is Festivus. You may know it from the hit TV series Seinfeld, where the holiday “for the rest of us” is featured in the episode “The Strike” as an invention of George’s dad, Frank. Festivus was, in fact, invented by someone’s dad, but as you’ll hear in this episode, …
 
Jessica Lessin is founder, CEO, editor-in-chief and sole owner of The Information, the influential subscription-only tech publication that was launched on a simple idea: write deeply reported articles about the technology industry that people won't find elsewhere. As she shares in this episode, like many who work in the news business, she got the j…
 
To an entrepreneur, a corrupt industry with a lot of inefficiencies means one thing: There’s a huge opportunity to innovate. When he founded The Vanguard Group in 1975, John Clifton “Jack” Bogle created the first index mutual fund, an idea that was innovative in its simplicity. By keeping management costs low, he was able to pass the savings on to …
 
I can still remember logging in to PeopleSoft at my first job to see what deductions had come out of my paycheck. Now, all these years later, I’m interviewing the man who wrote that very code. Todd McKinnon, my guest on this episode of Venture Voice, began his career at PeopleSoft before moving on to Salesforce and ultimately founding Okta. Todd’s …
 
LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman was one of my first guests on Venture Voice, back in 2006. Even though LinkedIn had 7.2 million users by then, it was still very much a niche platform and had only 56 employees. Putting your resumé online for all the world to see was pretty uncommon at that time. But Reid was driven by a simple goal: to change the worl…
 
Mark Cuban has built and sold more than one company and invested in plenty of others, but you might be surprised to learn that what he values most is something a lot of entrepreneurs find much more elusive: time. It’s a lesson this natural-born businessman learned from his father and took to heart at an early age. This episode begins with a trip ba…
 
Today’s media executives plotting to charge for their content would do well to hear how Larry Kramer beat Jim Cramer’s TheStreet.com by resisting pressure to put most content behind a pay wall while not relying entirely on advertising. To the average consumer, MarketWatch.com …By Gregory Galant
 
“Dial 1 for sales, dial 2 for support…” Ten years ago it cost over $10,000 to get a phone system with the advanced options we’re used to hearing when we call big companies. Having a professional-sounding phone system was a surprisingly big challenge for small businesses short on cash. …By Gregory Galant
 
Craigslist seems unbeatable. It’s often blamed (or celebrated) for destroying the classifieds business that helped keep American newspapers afloat. Now second-time Venture Voice guest Fabrice Grinda is seeking to dominate online classifieds with OLX, his latest venture. Unlike Craigslist, OLX is translated into many languages and has a global focus…
 
Joel Spolsky first came on Venture Voice over three years ago to discuss his company which he launched in a very different way from most entrepreneurs. Rather than start with the big idea and pay lip service to building a great team, Joel focused on getting great programmers first. …By Gregory Galant
 
Graham Hill started the blog TreeHugger to cover green issues in 2003. After a steady climb in traffic and advertising, Graham sold the company to Discovery Communications in 2007 for $10 million. Since launch and even after the acquisition, Graham ran his business virtually. …By Gregory Galant
 
The title financier conjures images of mahogany desks and million dollar checks for most. But for anyone pitching to David Cohen’s TechStars, the outcome is getting accepted to what’s essentially a summer camp for entrepreneurs in Colorado and being offered a check of $18,000 or less in exchange for 6% of the startup. ……
 
Not to be called a one trick pony, Sam Wyly’s turned himself into a billionaire by starting and growing companies in technology, oil, retail and even in the restaurant industry. Coming from a modest upbringing, Sam worked in sales at IBM and Honeywell before founding University Computing in 1963 at age 29 with just “$1,000 and an idea” as he puts i…
 
Jeff Stewart needed that done yesterday. Jeff became an entrepreneur when he founded the web consultancy Square Earth in 1995. Only three years later he became a serial entrepreneur by starting Mimeo, a service that lets you send a file directly from your computer to be printed, bound and shipped overnight. ……
 
Attention entrepreneurs dealing with the current economic downturn: This interview is for you. After working as a journalist for Jason Calacanis at Silicon Alley Reporter, Rafat Ali ended up broke in a market with a dearth of employment opportunities. To try to find a new job, Rafat created paidContent.org ……
 
Whether working with market trends or against them, Frank Addante has found entrepreneurial success. Before he was 29 years old, one of Frank’s companies went public and two were acquired. At his worse, he returned capital to investors. Suffering from serial entrepreneurship, Frank left the Illinois Institute of Technology just four classes shy of …
 
The name Tom Perkins is now almost synonymous with venture capital, but it’s clear that he cut his teeth as an entrepreneur. Educated at MIT and Harvard, Perkins first made his mark by managing the initial growth of Hewlett-Packard’s computer business while simultaneously inventing the first cheap and reliable laser. ……
 
Jeremy Stoppelman is the co-founder and CEO of Yelp, a site where users can write and share reviews of local businesses. Everyone’s now a restaurant critic. However, local reviews were not the original focus, but just one of several features in the earlier versions of the site. …By Gregory Galant
 
Not many entrepreneurs have a motor like Kevin Ryan’s. Kevin is best known for his work as CEO at the on-line advertising firm DoubleClick, which he grew from a 20 person start-up to the largest Internet company in New York at the height of the dot-com boom. …By Gregory Galant
 
Marketing a startup is tricky business. Every entrepreneur faces the dilemma between allocating time to improving the product and marketing the product. If the two can be mixed just right, then perhaps sterile marketing can go viral. We tackle that issue in part 2 of 3 of our very own Venture Voice Startup Workshop coverage in New York City. ……
 
Before the rise of the Internet, cable TV was the new form of distribution remaking the entertainment business. Life-long entrepreneur and former jazz producer Fred Seibert pioneered that field, and is known in the industry for branding MTV (remember their ever-changing animated logo) and Nickelodeon (remember Nick-at-Nite). ……
 
Premal Shah believes your last name doesn’t need to be Gates or Rockefeller in order to make a real dent in global poverty. After leaving his job as a Principal Product Manager at PayPal, it has taken Premal less then a year to make good on Kiva’s pledge that all it takes to become a micro lender is a credit card and access to a computer. ……
 
Real business networking takes place in the country club, at the chamber of commerce and on the golf course. After all, the Internet is just for friending strangers on MySpace and poking friends on Facebook. If you said all that to Reid Hoffman, he might think twice about adding you as a contact in LinkedIn, the business networking site he started …
 
If technology entrepreneurs have a guru, it surely must be Guy Kawasaki. For about two decades, Guy’s been advising entrepreneurs in one way or another. First as an evangelist for Apple, he courted software entrepreneurs and developers to write code for the Macintosh. …By Gregory Galant
 
There are not many entrepreneurs who have spent their entire 10-year careers starting new ventures in online media, but Jason Calacanis just can’t help himself. Jason rode the dot com wave in New York by starting Silicon Alley Reporter. His publishing company Rising Tide Media grew to $12 million in sales. ……
 
Digg, the news website that uses its own readers rather than editors to decide what stories are most important, has been growing with a fury. While founder Kevin Rose has gotten a lot of attention including a recent cover of BusinessWeek, CEO Jay Adelson has been guiding Digg toward business success. ……
 
If there are best practices in entrepreneurship, you’ll hear the secrets to them in this coverage of the first half of the recent Venture Voice Startup Workshop in New York City. If there are in fact no best practices for entrepreneurs, then you’ll at least enjoy the heated discussion about how entrepreneurs should navigate the startup seas. ……
 
While many restaurants offer dozens of wines, beers and mixed drinks, there are few non-alcoholic options on the menu. Former dot-com entrepreneur and self-described foodie Sharelle Klaus was fed up with her lack of beverage options during the time she was pregnant with her four children. …By Gregory Galant
 
What do you do after building and selling a business for $1.5 billion in the course of only a few years? That’s the question David O. Sacks, one of the co-founders of PayPal, faced after eBay bought his company. It didn’t take him long to find the answer: Go to Hollywood and make movies. …By Gregory Galant
 
Venture Voice has been illuminating entrepreneurship through the podcast for just short of a year. Now, at the Venture Voice Startup Workshop on June 26 in New York, you can interact with top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to find out how to start and grow innovative businesses. …By Gregory Galant
 
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