“What do investors look for in a beta? What are the key metrics?” That is the question Omar Tellez poses to Chris Dixon of Founder Collective and Hunch and Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital in this episode of Founder Office Hours (a special format of Founder Stories we are trying out). Tellez is the CEO of Sched.it, a social online calendar app getting ready to launch.
Kopelman notes… → Read More
Today, we are trying a special edition of Founder Stories that we are calling Founder Office Hours. Inspired by Paul Graham’s Office Hours onstage at our last Techcrunch Disrupt, we brought together a group of startup founders in our NYC studio to get feedback and advice. Joining regular host Chris Dixon is Josh Kopelman, managing partner of First Round Capital.
In this first video above, … → Read More
Chris Dixon heads down the homestretch of his Founder Stories interview with Bre Pettis and the two touch on the fact that the barriers to entry for founders foaming at the mouth to launch hardware startups are being washed away.
Pettis says, “we’re seeing this startup culture come into hardware, where normally this was just the realm of the really big companies who could afford to do this kind… → Read More
As Bre Pettis continues his conversation with Founder Stories host, Chris Dixon, the two discuss the challenges of running a business that literally requires nuts and bolts assembly. In this situation, scaling brings a whole new set of challenges unfamiliar to many software start-ups.
Hardware is just a different game. For example, as Pettis tells it, “we ran out of motors, we bought all of… → Read More
If printing 3D objects sounds impressive, think about this. Pettis thinks “it’s early days”—drawing comparisons to early PC’s like the Altair. About the size of a mini-fridge, the Makerbot ships for $1,299 and allows users to create their own objects via… → Read More
Chris Dixon resumes his Founder Stories conversation with Eventbrite’s Kevin and Julia Hartz by asking questions about their strategy for attracting customers. Not surprisingly Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all factor in to the mix.
Julia Hartz says initially Eventbrite positioned itself to be “highly optimized for search engines and discovery.” However, search eventually gave way to… → Read More
Eventbrite, the company that lets anyone organize online events and sell tickets to those events, was founded by the husband and wife team of Kevin and Julia Hartz. Chris Dixon sat down with the power couple to discuss the early days of Eventbrite and some of the disruption that Kevin created along the way. Check it all out in this episode of Founder Stories. → Read More
How did Mike McCue come up with the idea for Flipboard, the iPad reader that’s seeing more than 10 million flips a day? In these final two video clips from his Founder Stories interview with Chris Dixon, McCue says that he had no intention of starting another company after selling TellMe to Microsoft (which he talks about in Part I and Part II of this interview). He was tired after ten years at… → Read More
Before Mike McCue discovered how to flip an iPad into a device that made reading digital magazines a cinch, he himself was discovered by some of the biggest names in the tech world while working away in Silicon Valley Woodstock, New York.
In this episode of Founder Stories with Chris Dixon, you’ll hear them geek out about programming video games for the TI99 in Extended Basic, how McCue went to… → Read More
“Building on someone else’s platform is a good idea, if you have your eyes wide open,” investor Fred Wilson told a packed room of entrepreneurs on Monday night at an Internet Week event in New York City. He was answering a question about whether or not it’s a good idea for startups to build on another company’s platform, and we caught his response in the video above.
Wilson knows a lot about… → Read More
Last night during an Internet Week event at General Assembly, investors Fred Wilson, David Lee, and Chris Dixon took the stage to talk about a range of topics related to startups, including one that’s been a source of angst for many a startup: patents.
Highlights of their chat include Ohanian telling Dixon he considers Paul Newman, “the OG of social enterprise” and that Newman was the inspiration for Breadpig, Ohanian’s organization that creates “geeky things” and donates profits to worthy causes. → Read More
In this episode of Founder Stories with host Chris Dixon, Reddit Founder, Alexis Ohanian takes Dixon back to his college days at the University of Virginia where he and co-founder Steve Huffman bonded over video games and began plotting ways to avoid taking a real job after graduation.
For instance, what convinced Cheever to quit Facebook with co-founder Adam D’Angelo was that tried to “imagine a world where I knew everything that I wanted to know, as long as someone else in the world knew… → Read More
Chris Dixon wraps his Founder Stories interview with Gilt Groupe’s CEO and Founder, Kevin Ryan by discussing the early sales strategy of Gilt – a strategy that was designed to build customer and brand loyalty, but not the bottom line, at least initially.
Revisiting the launch period around four years ago, Ryan says, “we were going to make $4,000 for us on a sale and I spent $7,000 on the… → Read More
Today, at Disrupt NYC, CEO & Co-founder of Hunch Chris Dixon, Ron Conway of SV Angel, CEO of Betaworks John Borthwick, Managing Partner of High Line Ventures Shana Fisher , and former CEO of The Huffington Post Eric Hippeau took to the stage to discuss the current entrepreneurial landscape in New York and how it’s changed in recent years. → Read More
Former DoubleClick CEO, Kevin Ryan led the company through a period of explosive growth in the late ’90′s. He took the ad-targeting company from a handful of employees to more than 2,000 in just 4 years before selling to Google for $3 billion. However, as Ryan discusses in this episode of Founder Stories with Chris Dixon, the dot.com bust threatened to wash it all away.
Ryan says during the… → Read More
Before there was Hashable, there was Tracked, Michael Yavonditte’s attempt to build a better Yahoo Finance. It was little too complicated, and not social. “I felt like I was on the wrong side of history,” he tells Chris Dixon in this episode of Founder Stories.
So Yavonditte (who had previously sold advertising startup Quigo to AOL for $360 million) started from scratch, recruited a new team… → Read More
Like many start-ups, Meebo has been on a recent hiring spree. In this episode of Founder Stories, CEO Seth Sternberg tells Chris Dixon, “for 12 weeks we had to hire a salesperson a week and if we didn’t we would have missed our revenue numbers later this year.”
But it’s not just new salespeople populating Meebo’s workstations. “We started this year at about 130 employees. I think we… → Read More
Should founders innovate based upon customer feedback or is it better to develop from within and let consumer adapt. In this episode of Founder Stories with host Chris Dixon, Meebo’s Seth Sternberg discusses his philosophy: “Users tend to be very good at giving you incremental product suggestions.” But they are not product visionaries. “They may be asking for something that would be… → Read More
All week long we’ve been running clips from the Founder Stories interview with the GroupMe Guys, co-founders Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci. In the video above, they answer some rapid fire questions about how to impress startups during an interview (give great product feedback), what do they look for in “social engineers,” and what is the hardest part of running a startup (delegating and… → Read More
How do you become a startup founder? There are many paths, but often founders grow up at other startups. GroupMe co-founders Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci are still pretty young. Both graduated from college only a few years ago, but both also did stints at other startups before creating group-messaging phenom GroupMe at last year’s Disrupt Hackathon and subsequently raising $10.6 million. … → Read More
We filmed this week’s Ask a VC on Tuesday, and I started out by asking Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital about the danger of venture capitalists investing in competitors. There was no ulterior motive on my part. It’s just a question I’ve seen coming up increasingly as dealmaking heats up and VCs invest across a bigger variety of company stages than ever before. And, I’d recently seen that Sabet did… → Read More
Mike Walrath spent his career at online advertising, first at Doubleclick and then at Right Media, where he was CEO before selling it to Yahoo for $850 million in 2007. Now he’s back in the game, investing his own money in startups and launching new ones. But he as an investor, he’s not putting money into ad tech startups. In the Founder Stories video above, he tells host Chris Dixon, “The… → Read More
One of the largest exits of a venture-backed company based on the East Coast was when Right Media sold to Yahoo for $850 million in 2007. In this episode of Founder Stories, Mike Walrath tells host Chris Dixon how Right Media got started in the middle of the online ad bust, lost its biggest customer and almost went out of business, just before it launched its eventual business idea of an online… → Read More
Mike Walrath “was supposed to write novels.” Instead, he got int digital ad sales, started Right Media, which became an online ad exchange that he sold to Yahoo in 2007 for $850 million. In this Founder Stories video, he answers some rapid fire questions from host Chris Dixon about startup advice, hiring, and investing.
“Don’t try to solve a problem that you don’t fully understand,” he warns… → Read More
One of the biggest startup cliches is that every other startup wants to become a platform for other startups to build on. But to Christopher Poole, the founder of Canvas and 4Chan, that is the wrong approach. “People get caught up in trends—game mechanics, building a platform,” he tells Chris Dixon in the Founder Stories video above. Instead of trying to copy what works for others, founders… → Read More
When Christopher Poole (aka Moot) started 4chan, it was a very basic image board that attracted an incredibly active and vibrant community. But 4chan itself is not a pretty site. It is almost Craisglist-like in its barrenness. That is why Poole is re-imagining the image board with his latest startup, Canvas, which just launched in private beta a couple months ago. Demand to get in is so high… → Read More
If you meet a lot of CEOs and startup founders, you will notice a personality trait that many of them share. No matter how many people tell them they are wrong or stupid, they remain unusually optimistic, almost blindingly so. In the Founder Stories video above, which is an outtake from last week’s interview with Bnter CEO Lauren Leto, host Chris Dixon talks about the importance of rejection. … → Read More