Startup Interviews #data2

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Martin Hack President, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, Skytree.  Mr. Hack has 20 years of experience, creating game changing technology products, services and strategies. His experience includes the management of product lines with revenues totaling $1.8B/year. He has launched ground-breaking products, driven world wide strategies and helped set de-facto industry standards. As an expert on Trusted Computing, Virtualization and High Performance environments he became a sought-after advisor to many Fortune 500 companies and government organizations including the FBI, CIA and DIA. In his past roles he was involved in all aspects of the product life cycle including engineering, product management, marketing, business development and sales. He also developed and introduced products and services into virtually every commercial and government, channel and market segment.

Martin tells me a bit about Skytree which was bootstrapped for a couple of years. Last year they raised $1.5 from Javelin Venture Partners.  He also gives some tips for raising venture.  He told me that big data is the hottest thing for the last 15 years for venture capital.

Do your homework, do your research!  Is this an investor that is familar with this area?  Do they have some background?  Maybe there is someone in your network that can help you reach out there?

Hooman Radfar Executive Chairman & Co-Founder, Clearspring Technologies  Hooman is executive chairman and co-founder of Clearspring responsible for product and service solutions and marketing. Based in McLean, VA he was recently named one of Tech’s Best Entrepreneurs in BusinessWeek and was nominated for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Economics and Computer Science. He also holds a Masters of Science from Carnegie Mellon University where he researched Social Networking Theory. He is a popular speaker at major industry events such as ad:tech, OMMA events, SXSW, Digital Hollywood, Digital Media Conference, Web 2.0 Expo and CES.

Hooman tells me a bit about Clearspring Technologies services which includes Add This.  He also talks about how they’ve raised over $7m in venture capital from Novak Biddle, IVP, NEA & a bunch of prominent angels such as Ron Conway, Steve Case, Ted Leonsis & Nigel Morris, CoFounder of Capital One (a great group of advisors).  Hooman also offers some tips for raising venture dependent on the stage of your business.

Try to frame your business in the context of a trend where a venture person can understand the opportunity in the context of a larger market is important!  Series A investors need to know that the team is really good & the market is really big because the product & execution often change so much.

He also spoke about what not to do: don’t wear suits when meeting with vcs if you are a developer & feel uncomfortable – you have to sell the assets you have!  Don’t overcompensate on areas where you’re weak, rather than double down on areas where you are strong.

Tell them what you don’t know & how you plan to fill in those gaps!

Chris Van Pelt, Founder and CTO Crowdflower.  Studio artist, computer scientist, Web engineer, and CrowdFlower co-founder, Chris pours his diverse background into his role as Chief Technology Officer (though he prefers Chief Awesome Officer). Of Chris’s work, one former colleague said, “Chris combines deep design insight with crisp, minimalist coding abilities that enables him to produce anything — soup-to-nuts applications — sometimes within minutes. And of course the impossible takes a little longer.” As Chris puts it, “Every project presents an opportunity for innovation.”

Chris spoke about Crowdflower which is a crowd sourcing company which works around micro tasks.  He told me the story around why they created this type of business.  Their revenue model is a plus cost model.

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Pemo Theodore

Pemo Theodore is a Media Publisher and a great people connector. She was Founder Silicon Valley TV which served the San Francisco Bay Area for 10 years! She has produced Silicon Valley Events for Investors & Startups for 10 years. Pemo loves to video interview venture capitalists & founders to engage the human behind the success stories.. She has been Executive Producer of FinTech Silicon Valley for 6 years, organizing twice monthly FinTech talks & panels in San Francisco & Palo Alto and audio podcasts. She believes in learning through a great discussion with experts in the domains. Pemo has a talent to bring the right people together and is an incredible networker. Pemo's events have been seen as supporting Venture Capitalists & Angels in sourcing great deal flow from startups who attend her events. Many founders have received funding through meeting investors at her events. Her favored medium is audio & visual media and she has built up a great body of work of videos of panels & interviews and podcasts in Silicon Valley startup ecosystem. She has lived & worked in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, London, Northern Ireland & Silicon Valley. Bio

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Written by Pemo Theodore