You hear it all the time “It doesn’t matter where you build your startup.”, or “If you don’t build your startup in Silicon Valley, you don’t want to win bad enough”. Either way, Robert Scoble left a very thoughtful answer arguing for the types of things that happen in the valley that definitely gives you an advantage. We agreed with him so much, we wanted to share his opinion with you. Though we could have written our own rendition it wouldn’t have given it the justice Scoble has.
Ben is currently VP Product at GoInstant, a venture-backed startup focused on changing how we share and experience the web with co-browsing technology. GoInstant was recently acquired by Salesforce.com. He is also a Founding Partner at Year One Labs, which is an early stage accelerator in Montreal. They’ve invested in five startups: Localmind, Massive Damage, HighScore House, qidiq and Happy Stuff. Three of those companies have gone on to raise follow on capital.
Prior to that Ben was the CEO and co-founder of Standout Jobs, which sold in 2010. He’s been an entrepreneur in the web space for 15+ years. Ben is also involved in a number of different projects as an advisor, consultant and mentor. His main interests include: Web/mobile startups, game startups, product management, entrepreneurship, customer service and social media. Ben obsess over things like analytics, customer acquisition, viral loops, product/market fit and building great stuff.
Jason previously founded Smart Bear Software and co-founded ITWatchdogs, both of which were bootstrapped to profitability, grew to millions in revenue, and were sold. He is a mentor at Capital Factory (like TechStars or Y-Combinator in Austin) and the co-host of OnStartups Answers along with Dharmesh Shah. Jason podcasts and blogs about startups and marketing on A Smart Bear and also has recently co-founded his newest startup WP Engine.
Brian Wong is the CEO of Kiip (pronounced “keep”), a category-creating mobile rewards network that is redefining mobile advertising through an innovative platform that leverages “moments of achievement” in games and apps to simultaneously benefit users, developers and advertisers. Backed by Hummer Winblad, Relay Ventures, True Ventures, Verizon Ventures, and others, the company has raised $15.4 million in funding to date. Kiip has been listed by Forbes as one of the 4 Hot Online Ad Companies to Put on Your Watch List, and been named to the Dow Jones FasTech50 List.
Called the youngest person to ever receive venture capital funding by TechCrunch and the Wall Street Journal, Brian received his Bachelors of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia at age 18, after skipping four K-12 grades. He has been recognized with many awards for his accomplishments and leadership, including: Forbes’ 30 under 30; the Top 20 Under 20 awards for all of Canada; Business Insider’s Top 25 Under 25 in Silicon Valley and 18 Most Important People in Mobile Advertising; Mashable’s Top 5 Entrepreneurs to Watch; and the AdAge Creativity Top 50.
Before starting Kiip, Brian led key publisher and tech partnerships at the social news website Digg.com, where he accelerated the company’s mobile presence by launching the Digg Android mobile app.
Stuart MacDonald is a digital business guy who loves making customers happy and building great teams. A mentor, investor, consultant and frequent speaker on things digital and entrepreneurial, Stuart is the veteran of several start-ups including starting Expedia.ca in Toronto. Stuart went on from there to become CMO and SVP Packages of Expedia.com in Seattle. He also co-founded mesh, Canada’s web conference discussing how the Internet is impacting how we live and work, and meshmarketing, Canada’s one day digital marketing power conference. Most recently, Stuart joined Freshbooks as the CMO, responsible for marketing, sales, support and revenue.
A startup veteran born and raised in Waterloo, Michael Litt had already tried his hand at day-trading, launched a smartphone teardown blog, started a biodiesel enterprise and started a media company.
Michael went on to co-found Vidyard, a platform designed to solve the problem of implementing video into your landing pages. Vidyard emerged from the Summer 2011 class of Y Combinator and is now serving hundreds of businesses worldwide.
Litt is also co-owner of what is arguably Canada’s most statistically successful home-based entrepreneurial incubator: Batavia House, where he helps startups and up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the Waterloo region.
Patrick Vlaskovits is an entrepreneur, mentor and author. He founded two startups and co-wrote The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development: A Cheat Sheet to The Four Steps to the Epiphany. Affectionately known as the “CustDev book,” it serves as course text for classes at Stanford University, Boston University, University of Minnesota and University of Norway. Patrick is a national speaker and blogger at vlaskovits.com.
On top of his accomplishments, he also enjoys monthly involvement with up and coming startups and serves as a mentor for the 500 Startups seed fund/accelerator as well as for The Lean Startup Machine. Patrick organizes Twiistup, a well-attended tech/startup conference that celebrates the entrepreneurial talent of the Los Angeles startup community. He also organizes the Los Angeles Lean Startup Meetup.
Clarity was lucky to get the chance to sit down with Patrick to gain more insight into his understanding of Lean Startup and Customer Development. Here is our interview: