An offer and an ask

Hey all, this is a somewhat irreverent post on my end!

I’ve been supporting early-stage startups for close to 2 decades with strategy, fundraising, co-founder, execution, leadership, problem-solving, decisions, and much more. I’m a 3x entrepreneur and helped grow Techstars from 10 companies in the portfolio to over 3K when I left. I’ve seen more failures than I care to count, and a handful of spectacular successes, and I’m left wondering how to more systematically reduce the failure rate, increase the success rate, speed up time to profitability, lower the capital required to get there, all while keeping founders (and employees) sane and sustainable.

So, in an effort to do some discovery, I’d love to trade 30 minutes of a free help session with any founder, on any topic you’re struggling with, in exchange for 30 minutes to answer some questions about your process and resources (or lack thereof) for getting your company from idea to growth.

The whole meeting would be over Zoom and would take 1 hour (30 min helping you, and 30 min you answering questions).

Ideally, you fit these requirements:

  • You have a technology product (hardware or software) with global reach and applicability. Local-type businesses, while wonderful, don’t qualify.
  • Ideally, you’re based in Colorado or are planning on moving your business headquarters here.
  • You’re somewhere between the I have an idea, should I quit my job stage and I have a rough prototype in market, but I’m doing less than $250K in revenue and I need a sh*tload of help stage.
  • This can be your first or third startup, I don’t care how many you’ve done in the past.

I’m trying to get out of my immediate peer circle to avoid some biases, hence the public post. If this fits you, or you know someone who meets this description, I’d love to talk! Reach out to me here.

PS. If the only reason you’re doing this is to pitch me to invest, please… don’t. I know it’s rough out there, I’m happy to commiserate with you and help you think through your strategy and options, but don’t show up hoping I’ll invest. It will be a waste of both of our times.

Congrats to Simple Energy

I’ve known the founders of Simple Energy, Yoav Lurie & Justin Segall since 2011, when they accepted my offer to go through the Techstars program in Boulder.  Back then, they were driven, focused, intelligent, and passionate about changing the face of the energy industry.  I was hooked.  Over the years, I stayed in touch with the founders, watching them evolve from a startup to a well-run company whose customer base features some of the country’s largest energy utility companies.  They had raised a bunch of capital from investors like us (Techstars), Vision Ridge, and Westley Group.

Read More »

An entrepreneur loving on strangers

A friend of mine (and a Techstars company), Jackie Ros from Revolar, emailed me a few days ago with a fantastic offer.  Revolar makes a personal security device – it’s like a little button that you can ‘wear’, and if you feel unsafe, it will call for help on your behalf.

Jackie’s email said “My Muslim friends are telling me they are having their hijabs ripped off, one was told to hang herself with it because it is no longer allowed here. My Latino friends are being yelled at to stop speaking in Spanish and told to go back where they came from. One of my female friends on Facebook was told to “shut up (b word I won’t type)” because she is a woman and “our country has spoken.”

To combat this hate, Jackie & Revolar are offering the Revolar device for $59 – which is normally $99, to anyone that currently feels unsafe.  If you feel like you’re at risk because of the election, Revolar wants to get it’s device in your hands to help keep you safe.  Enter discount code #givefirst in the shopping cart, and if you’re REALLY broke and can’t afford the $59, and you really are in danger, please email and she’ll find a way to get you a device.

Thanks Jackie for loving on people that need it right now.



Meet the Techstars Boulder Class of 2015

This is a bitter sweet post for me.  The 2014 Techstars class was my last.  After 8 programs it was time to tackle new challenges at Techstars.  But I left the program in the great and capable hands of Zach Nies & Natty Zola, two people I’ve known for a long time that were made for this role.

Well yesterday, they announced the class of 2015!  If feels weird not to be at the helm of it anymore, but at the same time, it’s freeing.  Now I get to work with the startups and not have all the associated distractions of running a program.  Anyway, please join me in welcoming the class of 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.37.04 AM adHawk: A mobile app that provides a bird’s eye view of all your digital marketing data in one place.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.37.21 AM Blazing DB: An SQL database at supercomputer speeds that’s incredibly easy to use.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.37.31 AM Borrowing Magnolia: Bringing the sharing economy to the wedding industry by enabling brides to rent and resell their used wedding dresses.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.37.38 AM Edify: Empower every kid in the world to make their own music.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.37.56 AM Flytedesk: A platform for buying and selling uncollected media, starting with college newspapers.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.38.01 AM HobbyDB:  The definitive database for collectors and hobbyists to manage and monetize their collections.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.38.07 AM MadKudu: Data science that helps sales and support teams fight customer churn.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.38.14 AM Revolar: The world’s smartest personal safety wearable device keeps you safe anytime, anywhere.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.38.21 AM Stryd: The world’s first running power meter that helps runners improve their performance.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.38.26 AM TRELORA: A commission-free real estate company, replacing percentage-based commissions with one flat fee.

NewCo Boulder: Open House Tour of Innovative Companies in Boulder

Forget those business conferences with long speeches and boring panel discussions. On Nov 18 (new date!), Boulder’s most innovative businesses will open their doors to the public to celebrate Boulder companies who drive the networked economy. NewCo Boulder is a city-wide event that takes you right into the corporate offices of 35 of the most innovative and successful companies around Boulder, offering attendees a tour rather than a company description packet.

At NewCo, attendees will sign up for a free pass to visit any of the participating organizations, from software companies, to restaurants, to non-profits and more. During the event attendees will check out the offices of the some of the most interesting and inventive companies around the city and take part in an interactive presentation about what each organization is doing to make an impact on the global landscape.

I am proud to serve on the Board of Advisors along side Kimbal Musk, Jane Miller, Brad Feld, Seth Levine, Larry Gold, Walter Knapp, and Sean Maher. Boulder’s NewCo team, Rich Maloy and Tim O’Shea, have pulled together an impressive group of organizations across a wide range of industries in the community.

It’s an opportunity to see what Boulder businesses are doing and where it actually takes place: offices, breweries, bakeries etc.  Attendees can learn from their strategies and executions, gain some insights from their successes, maybe even drop off a business card or resume. The event is open to everyone and it’s free for the Boulder community.

For more information on NewCo Boulder including the companies participating, please visit:

Have questions about NewCo Boulder 2014? Contact Rich Maloy, Engage Colorado:

Getting Colorado back on its feet

If you’re an entrepreneur or a startup, and want to help get Colorado back on it’s feet after the flood last week, consider donating to EFCO, the Entrepreneur’s Foundation of Colorado.

Many have already joined in, including Foundry Group, GoodApril (recent Techstars grad acquired by Intuit), the Defrag Conference, Silicon Valley Bank, Galvanize, Uber, Techstars, and more.

As a startup, you’re largely supported by your community.  Now’s the time to return the support.

If you’re interested in contributing, donate here, choose “Flood Relief” and dedicate to EFCO, so we can track the impact.


Startup Phenomenon Women is September 3rd, and it’s going to rock


If you want better bottom lines – you put women at the helm.  Women make such amazing entrepreneurs, and I LOVE to see this movement taking hold.  On September 3rd, Startup Phenomenon Women is taking place.  It’s a conference geared for both women AND men to understand how to better support women into more startups.

Join myself and some other amazing women at this great conference in Boulder.  Get your tickets today, they’re going fast.


Good at naming stuff? Want to win $500?

One of the TechStars Boulder 2012 portfolio companies, Palmling, is going through a re-branding exercise, and they need your help!

First off, Palmling is an awesome service that I wish I had years ago.  They provide access to language translators, from any phone, at any time.  Say you’re sick in Thailand and desperately need Immodium (this happened to me!), but how the hell do you say “I’m having major bowel issues and desperately need something to help!” to a pharmacist?  Now, it’s easy.  You whip out your phone, you call a number, you put the call on speakerphone, and you get a live translator that will help you communicate with the pharmacist.  BRILLIANT!  They’re literally breaking down the language barriers in every single corner of the world (that has a phone or cell signal…)

Anyway, we all agree that the Palmling name sucks (sorry Ryan & Kunal, but it does!).  So they need a new name!  Submit your name idea here, and if that name ultimately gets chosen, you’ll win $500.  Sweet!

Go yee and name.