Network Updates, 16 Feb. 2017

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Fellows: Interviewers Still Needed for Class 22

We ask for your help in the next 2 months to interview the great candidates that have been nominated by our Society for Class 22. Interviewers’ feedback strongly influences admission decisions, and each Fellow who interviews a candidate provides an important perspective. Please complete this form if you are able to assist, letting us know your availability during February–March. Your prompt response is much appreciated and will help us schedule candidates efficiently.


  • Crossing the Arctic Ocean in a rowboat? Collin West (Class 17) has done it, in record time.
  • Miguel Marshall (Class 19) writes “Immigrants Are Welcome to Tijuana” in HuffPost …
  • Vinnie Lauria (Class 17) interviewed by CNBC and writes in Forbes …
  • Andrew Farquharson (Class 9) advises medtech startups to bootstrap it first …
  • Jennifer Fried’s (Class 20) ExplORer Surgical leading the way for efficiency in the OR …
  • Katherine Townshend (Class 18) featured in Ventureburn as Endeavor releases annual report …
  • Portfolio happenings: StartX Fund joins latest $8M Series B round for (Suzanne Fletcher, Class 21)
  • Podcasts, videos, & presentations: Rob Coneybeer (Class 2) interviews prominent tech leaders on his SiriusXM channel • Marlon Nichols (Class 18) on BlackEnterprise radio: “hustlers make the best entrepreneurs” • Claire England (Class 21) contributes to a video library to educate startup founders • Mamoon Hamid (Class 11, KF BOD) has posted his SaaStr deck on SlideShare
  • This week’s blog selections: Mark Suster (Mentor Class 21) has a post accompanying Upright Ventures’ annual “State of the Industry” report • Rob Kornblum (Class 4) lays out the myths that sabotage mid-life entrepreneurs • Samir Kaji (Class 20) evaluates the Nano-VC landscape
  • Job openings:NEW: Savano Capital PartnersAmasiaCONTINUING: White Star CapitalSapphire VenturesGates Foundation Venture CapitalBurberry

Crossing the Arctic Ocean in a rowboat? Collin West (Class 17) has done it, in record time.

Hear about Collin West’s (Class 17) Guinness-record-setting Arctic row in this Entrepreneur video. In 2012, Collin and 3 friends crossed the Arctic in a 29-foot-long open rowboat—without any support crew alongisde—in 41 days to set a world record. The title of the video and accompanying article is “What Crossing the Arctic Ocean Taught This VC about Entrepreneurship,” and Collin parallels the lessons he took away from that experience to what many startup founders go through in regards to teamwork, preparation, fundraising, and overcoming the fear of failure. Read the full story.

Collin West Arctic Row

Miguel Marshall (Class 19) Writes “Immigrants Are Welcome to Tijuana” in HuffPost

Huffington Post LogoMiguel Marshall (Class 19) wrote “Immigrants are Welcome to Tijuana” in the Huffington Post, in which he proposes an out-of-the-box idea for Silicon Valley tech firms that are squeezed by the new immigration restrictions: set up a satellite location in Tijuana, where incoming employees can live and work while waiting for their U.S. immigration paperwork to be handled. The benefits include being in the same time zone as Silicon Valley, being one flight away for in-person meetings, and being able to attend immigration meetings in person at the border. Miguel also outlines the specific infrastructure needed in Tijuana to support the development of “this cross-border live-work environment,” arguing that effective implementation of this model would actually bypass the need for NAFTA renegotiation. [Full story]

Vinnie Lauria (Class 17) Interviewed by CNBC and Writes in Forbes

CNBC LogoAppropriately titled “Avoid These Mistakes that Doom Many Startups,” a recent CNBC article features an interview with Vinnie Lauria (Class 17) for a review of the recent Golden Gate Ventures–INSEAD report on “why success eludes so many founders.” The five reasons listed in the report are operational inefficiency, poor product–market fit, lack of understanding of the market, poor product development and competition, and misvaluation. [Full story]

Forbes LogoVinnie also authored an article for Forbes, titled “Why We Need to Stop Thinking of Singapore as the ‘Delaware’ of Asia,” in which he argues that Singapore offers tech companies much more than “a US state so nondescript its official bird is a chicken.” Singapore does have business-friendly tax laws, but it also offers a number of additional benefits that Delaware does not, Vinnie argues: access to VC funding, access to government funding, credibility, the presence of other successful startups, access to the SEA market, and access to talent. He concludes that Singapore is “unique among the tax havens of the world” because it’s also “a great place to run your business.”

Andrew Farquharson (Class 9) Advises Medtech Startups to Bootstrap It First

Xconomy logoAndrew Farquharson (Class 9) was featured in the Xconomy story “Starting a Medtech Company? Try Skipping Venture Capital, VCs Say,” about startups that bootstrapped in lieu of venture funding. Before his tenure at InCube Ventures, Andrew was COO at Operon Technologies when it was acquired in an all-stock deal in 2000 for $110M. Speaking to an group of would-be entrepreneurs at the end of a 5-week series on “developing and pitching a sellable product,” Andrew and his co-panelists discussed the dangers of dilution, and the non-dilutive resources that are available through government sources, such as the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs. Andrew and his co-panelists didn’t say that there was no value in venture funding, but rather that firms should hang on to as much of their equity as possible. On the flip side, they referenced the aphorism “there’s more value in owning a small percentage of something real, than there is in owning 100 percent of nothing”—that is, take the venture funding when you need it.

Jennifer Fried’s (Class 20) ExplORer Surgical Leading the Way for Efficiency in the OR

Forbes LogoJennifer Fried (Class 20) and her firm, ExplORer Surgical, were profiled the Crain’s Chicago Business article, “In This Startup’s Case, It Actually Is Brain Surgery.” ExplORer Surgical’s product is an app that manages the all of the activities and supplies in a hospital operating room. Good technology for handling pre-operative and post-operative care already exists, but the app sector for OR activities themselves was lacking. With ExplORer’s product, the surgeon establishes ahead of time what instruments and supply quantities will be needed, reducing waste; since each surgeon does things a little differently, without this step hospitals tend to over-supply the OR in order to cover the possible needs of all surgeons. During the surgical procedure, each person in the room has a tablet with their own personalized set of instructions; when the procedure moves to the next step, all tablets move in unison to the next task.

Katherine Townshend (Class 18) Featured in Ventureburn as Endeavor Releases Annual Report

Endeavor LogoKatherine Townshend (Class 18), Managing Director of Endeavor South Africa, was the subject of the Ventureburn article “Endeavor South Africa’s High-Impact Entrepreneurs Affecting Job Creation”; the article coincides with Endeavor Global’s release of its annual Impact Report. Katherine remarks on the effects that the organization has had since its inception: “Our results show a decade of phenomenal financial and job growth with approximately 21,000 jobs created by Endeavor South Africa companies since 2004. … [This is] a community that is growing and gaining momentum, and we are excited to see Endeavor South Africa fast becoming an enabler of positive change.” Endeavor SA also started an accelerator program in 2007 aimed specifically at Black-owned startups with the potential to scale. Katherine also notes: “In South Africa, where both venture capital and high-level mentorship have been notoriously tough to access for emerging business leaders, organisations such as Endeavor can have an immediate and incredibly transformative impact.”

We are proud to have many Fellows working at Endeavor across the globe today, making an impact.

  • Fernando Fabre, President, Endeavor Global (Class 14)
  • International: Sati Rasuanto (Indonesia, Class 18), Tarek Sadi (Lebanon, Class 17), Catherine Townshend (South Africa, Class 18), Aslihan Kurul Turkmen (Turkey, Class 18)
  • Endeavor Global (US): Joanna Harries (Class 17), Bianca Martinelli (Class 21), and Allen Taylor (Class 16)
  • Alumni: Carmen Saad Hanna (Jordan, Class 16), Baily Kempner (Global, Class 18), Rodrigo Teles (Mexico, Class 14)

Portfolio happenings:

  • Suzanne Fletcher (Class 21) reports that StartX Fund has joined the recent $8M Series B round of funding for the “virtual nurse” app The firm’s product combines a smartphone app, artificial intelligence, data from wearable devices, and speech recognition technology that allows it to assess patients’ emotional states during their 5-minute daily check-ins and respond in kind. The app then integrates the patient check-in data with their electronic medical record. Get the whole story in the TechCrunch article.

Podcasts, videos, and presentations:

  • Rob Coneybeer (Class 2) has a conducted a series of interviews with prominent tech leaders on SiriusXM 111 that are available now on SoundCloud: Jim Cantrell of Vector Space, Neil Grimmer of Habit, and Alex Salkever of Mozilla. Find them all on Rob’s SoundCloud page.
  • Marlon Nichols (Class 18) was featured on the BlackEnterprise radio program “BE: The Code.” Marlon touches on the idea that hustlers make the best entrepreneurs. He asks startup leaders: “Do you have to have tenacity, fortitude, a certain level of scrappiness, and most importantly, hustle? Are you ready to make those hard decisions like fire your best friend that you started this company with?” Listen now on SoundCloud.
  • Claire England (Class 21) was a speaker at the 2016 “Bits and Pretzels” startup event in Munich, Germany, and her talk has been added to the “Bits and Pretzels Startup Academy” library of videos with others from the event. In the video, Claire teaches startups about what angel investors do and outlines ways to connect with them, drawing on her work as head of the Central Texas Angel Network.
  • Mamoon Hamid (Class 11, KF BOD) has posted his SaaStr deck on LinkedIn, entitled “SaaStr 2017: Numbers that Actually Matter.” Mamoon says, “This presentation uncovers a common misconception in fast growing SaaS.”

This week’s blog selections:

  • Mark Suster (Mentor Class 21) wrote “Why Was Winter in Venture Capital Funding So Short?”, an extensive blog post to go along with Upfront Ventures’ release of its 2017 “State of the VC & Tech Industry” report.
  • Rob Kornblum (Class 4) wrote “6 Myths that Sabotage Mid-Life Entrepreneurs,” using facts about entrepreneurship to rebut ideas like “startups are for young people,” “startups are too risky,” “I’m not technical,” and the like. In short, don’t let all of those “30 under 30” articles deceive you: entrepreneurs are more likely to be in their 50s than their 20s.
  • Samir Kaji (Class 20) has a new post, “Nano-Venture Funds Are All the Rage.” Samir has been focused on the Micro-VC market for some time, and here examines the Nano-VC market, defined as seed-stage funds under $15M, generally run by first-time fund managers, and often used as proof-of-concept for an investment hypothesis.

Job opportunities:

If you are a Fellow or Mentor and would like to post a job at your firm or portfolio company, please email us. Jobs are removed from this list after 4 weeks.

  • (NEW): Bion Ludwig (Class 18) has put the word out that Savano Capital Partners is looking to fill two positions: an Analyst/Associate and a Principal. The Associate would be supporting the firm’s partners in Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland. A minimum of 2 years relevant work experience and a deep understanding and passion for the technology field are required. See the firm’s complete job description and qualifications requirements. • While the Principal position does not have a specified job description, Bion writes that this Partner-track position requires significant deal/investment experience, a passion for technology/growth companies, a desire to live in the Washington, DC area and, ultimately, a good fit with the existing team. Savano raised its second fund last year, and is looking for people who can hit the ground running. Email Bion with questions:
  • (NEW): John Kim (Class 20) reports that Amasia is looking to hire Associates in both its Singapore and Silicon Valley offices. Amasia focuses on cross-border tech investing and has a startup, entrepreneurial-feel to their firm. Interested candidates must be comfortable operating with only basic instructions in a multi-country envitonment. Exceptional writing and financial modeling skills are required. Read the full job description. Questions? Contact John:
  • White Star Capital is looking to hire an Associate to grow its Montreal team. This person will wear many hats: financial modeling, due diligence, and competitive analysis; supporting overall Fund operations, including portfolio monitoring and financial reporting; and generating deal flow and maintaining relationships with key players in the ecosystem. 2 years of relevant work experience required and bilingual English/French a plus; travel to tech hubs is expected. Read their post for full details and application information. (This job posting was sent in from Lylan Masterman, Class 19.)
  • Nino Marakovic (Mentor Class 13) posted on LinkedIn that Sapphire Ventures is looking for a Vice President, Talent Network. This individual will help the place executives in firm’s IT startup portfolio companies as part of the firm’s Market Development Group. This exceptional networker will understand the needs of the firm’s portfolio companies in order to develop the relationship necessary to be the go-to person for talent needs. 8+ years experience required. See the full job description and application information on LinkedIn.
  • Charlotte Hubbert (Class 14), Partner at Gates Foundation Venture Capital (the investment arm of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), is looking to hire a Principal, primarily focused on early-stage biotechnology, to join her 10-person investment team. Working with the Foundation’s program teams, the Principal will help source investment opportunities that have the potential to significantly advance the Foundation’s goals and then lead deal teams on the negotiation, execution, and portfolio management of venture investments, including serving as the Foundation’s board representative or observer for certain investee companies. Read the full job description and apply online on the Foundation’s website.
  • Daniel Heaf (Class 15), SVP Digital Commerce & Digital Marketing at Burberry, has announced on LinkedIn that their firm is searching for a Senior Digital Marketing Manager, based in London. This manager is responsible for perfecting the firm’s long-term digital content strategy; deliver a consistent, seamless experience across touch-points; and monitor the digital landscape for new opportunities. Extensive digital marketing experience with a background in leading digital platforms strategies is required for this mid-senior level position. Read the full job description, including application information, on LinkedIn.

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