Internet Legend Doug Humphrey and Sid Banerjee, CEO of Clarabridge Featured at Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Fall, 2014 Forum

The next Big Idea CONNECTpreneur FORUM is coming up this Thursday, September 11, 2014 in Tysons Corner, Virginia.
Doug Humphrey, CEO of JETCO Research and Founder of DIGEX and Cidera, will moderate the Panel of Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors.
Sid Banerjee, Founder and CEO of Clarabridge, will talk about his company’s story, growth, and bright prospects for the future.
The Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Forums are quarterly gatherings of 300+ of the DC Region’s TOP Entrepreneurs, Business Leaders, CXOs, Angels, and VCs.

The event is regarded by many as “The Best Networking Event in DC.” InTheCapital calls CONNECTpreneur a “NETWORKING JACKPOT” of the DC Region’s TOP Entrepreneurs, Business Leaders, CXOs, Angels, and VCs.

CONNECTpreneur events are “essentially the be-all-end-all of networking events in the city” 

The “premier networking event in DC tech and investing”, CONNECTpreneur is “networking on steroids”

The Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Forum is a “Networking Jackpot.”

Presented by appnetic, Tech 2000 and LORE Systems, this UNIQUE EVENT is like NONE OTHER in our region, because of the high quality of its attendees, speakers and presenters.

And YES, the networking is unprecedented!

Program Highlights:
  • We expect 300 business leaders, includng 175+ CEOs & Founders, as well as 60+ angels & VCs
  • Conversation with Sid Banerjee, Co-Founder and CEO of CLARABRIDGE
  • All-Star Panel of INVESTORS
  • SHOWCASE of Emerging tech companies
  • Heavy NETWORKING before, during, and after the event
The venue is the Tysons Corner Marriott in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia.  A plated breakfast is included.  CONNECTpreneur is a quarterly networking mashup, which has been attended by over 2500 business leaders in the past 3 years. We expect another SELL OUT crowd, so there will be no on-site registration.
All attendees MUST BE pre-registered.  Register now!
And visit our Website.
8:15 – 8:20 am – WELCOME
8:25 – 9:15 am – FIRESIDE CHAT with SID BANERJEE,Co-Founder and CEO of Clarabridge
9:15 – 10:15 am  –  COMPANY SHOWCASE


Introductions: JEFF REID, Founding Director, Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative
Moderator:  DOUG HUMPHREY, Serial Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Internet Pioneer, President of JETCO Research; Founder and CEO of DIGEX and CIDERA.
JOHN BURKE, General Partner, True Ventures
JIM PASTORIZA, Managing Partner, TDF Ventures
11:15 am – NETWORKING
We expect 65+ angel and VC investors including Core Capital, Grotech, Novak Biddle, New Atlantic Ventures, Revolution Ventures, True Ventures, Edison Ventures, Amplifier Venture Partners, SWaN & Legend Venture Partners, RLMcCall Capital Partners, Multiplier Capital, Updata, Saratoga Investment Corp., DFW Capital Partners, Farragut Capital, NextGen Angels, CIT GAP Funds, New Markets Venture Partners, BluVenture Investors, Leeds Novamark, Maryland Venture Fund, TEDCO, 1776 / K Street Capital, Fortify Ventures, Acceleprise, US Boston, VentureCross Partners, Berman Enterprises, Dingman Center Angels, Neuberger & Co. Ventures, McLean Capital, Angel Venture Forum, Exhilirator, National Capital Companies, Enhanced Capital, MTECH Ventures, Mosaic Capital, Opus8, Starise Ventures, Blue Heron Capital, Duncaster Investments, Private Capital Network, Next-Stage Development Group, Lancaster Angel Network, Harrell Partners, Stanford Venture Advisors, MD Center for Entrepreneurship, Conscious Venture Labs, Great Falls Capital, Hafezi Capital, and Keiretsu Forum.

MindShare Still Pumping Up Washington Tech CEOs

Following is the unedited version of my December 19, 2012 Blog Post in the Washington Business Journal.

News flash:  Contrary to some reports questioning its relevance in the DC Tech community, MindShare is alive and well!  This “exclusive forum” for CEOs of young and emerging tech companies is, in fact, thriving and very active!

Mindshare Organizing Board with Mindshare Class of 2012 Graduates
MindShare Organizing Board with MindShare Class of 2012 Graduates

In early December, I graduated along with 51 other Classmates.  Over 200 people including MindShare alums, Organizing Board members, VIPs and sponsors packed the upstairs dining room for the ceremony at Clyde’s in Tysons Corner.  We now have 665 alums, with notables including Charlie Thomas (Net2000 and now Razorsight), Phillip Merrick (webMethods), Amir Hudda (Entevo and now startup naaya), Rick Rudman (Vocus), Reggie Aggarwal (Cvent), Joe Payne (Eloqua), and Tim O’Shaughnessy (LivingSocial), and Henry Sienkiewicz (DISA and Open Travel Software). Nominations for the Class of 2013 closed in mid-December, and demand was super high.

MindShare History – In 1995, Harry Glazer and Anne Crossman, with the support of Kathy Penny, were chairing the Northerm Virginia Technology Council’s Emerging Business Committee, which sponsored informal “coffee and bagels” meetings for regional entrepreneurs.  They attracted great speakers, and the format was very similar to the format used by MindShare today. At the beginning of each meeting, attendees would introduce themselves and give an “elevator pitch” on themselves and their companies. These intros would be followed by speakers, and then end with further networking.

By 1997, Harry and Anne formalized these meetings into MindShare. The mission, from the start, was to provide a forum for CEOs of emerging technology companies to get to know the leaders of other early-stage companies, to learn from each other, and to interact with experts on subjects that were relevant to their growing businesses. At the end of the first year, the Organizing Board of senior leaders in the community decided that the members of the group would “graduate” and become alumni, and a new “class” of members would be selected for the following year. The organization quickly began to develop serious awareness and cachet as Washington Technology referred to a MindShare invite as “the hottest ticket in town,” and the group had no problem recruiting 40-50 CEOs from the region’s most promising early-stage growth companies. Even as the tech bubble deflated, MindShare continued to grow more prestigious and continued to attract the most promising entrepreneurs in the region.

Fast forward to today – the MindShare alumni network is a thriving “Who’s Who” of tech entrepreneurs and CEOs in the region.  Events and reunions are incredibly well attended, and alums stay connected and help each other through the ListServ, which is one of the most valuable and effective databases of its kind in the region.  At December’s CIT GAP 50 Entrepreneur Awards, 45 of the 93 finalists (and 11 eventual winners) were MindShare alums including several from recent Classes.

So I guess I am saying that MindShare is one of the anchors of our community.  It’s played and will continue to play a critical role in binding together the region’s top tech CEOs, and helping the “next generation” of tech companies succeed.  With 665 alums, the vast majority of whom are still active as CEOs, angels, mentors, and Advisors, MindShare is a force for good, and as one of the cogs in the wheel that is the DC regional tech community.  I am very grateful to benefit from all the great things that have come out of MindShare.

“The Best Networking Event in DC” – Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Summer Forum, June 6, Tysons Corner, VA

LORE SYSTEMS is pleased to host our quarterly Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Forum, one of the most exciting angel and entrepreneurship networking forums in the DC Region on June 6, 2011 at the Tower Club in Tysons Corner, VA.

InTheCapital calls this Forum “The Best Networking Event in DC.”

Please come out!  CLICK HERE to Register via the Eventbrite link.


The Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Summer Forum is a “NETWORKING MASHUP” of 165+ of the DC Region’s TOP Entrepreneurs, Business Leaders, CXOs, Angels, and VCs.  Most of the attendees are “INVITATION ONLY,” and we are limiting service provider participation in order to maximize the experience for our Attendees and Sponsors.

Presented by LORE Systems, this UNIQUE EVENT is like NONE OTHER in our region, due to the high quality of our attendees and participants, as well as our program and unprecedented networking.

Come see what happens when you put a group of “A List” business leaders and entrepreneurs in one room for a few hours!

Program Highlights:
  • “TURBOCHARGING Entrepreneurship” Discussion
  • “ART OF THE PIVOT” with “UBER” technology entrepreneur Reggie Aggarwal of CVENT
  • 9 Emerging tech companies seeking funding will briefly tell their stories
  • Networking sessions before, during, and after the event
The venue is the Tower Club in Tyson’s Corner, Northern Virginia’s premier private business club.  A plated breakfast and unlimited coffee are included.
7:00–8:00 am – ARRIVAL / NETWORKING

8:00 – 8:05 am – WELCOME

8:05 – 8:45 am – SESSION 1 – “TURBOCHARGING ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE DC REGION” with Uber entrepreneur and angel investor Doug Humphrey, CEO and Founder, CIDERA;  Co-Founder, DIGEX

8:45 – 9:20 am  –  SESSION 2 – “THE ART OF THE PIVOT” with Uber entrepreneur Reggie Aggarwal, Founder and CEO of CVENT
9:20 – 9:45 am – NETWORKING BREAK
9:45 – 11:30 am – SESSION 3 – COMPANY PRESENTATIONS (all confirmed)

Persistence and Commitment at HONEST TEA, a guest post by Marissa Levin

Guest Blog Post from Marissa Levin, CEO of Information Experts and Founder of Successful Culture, a new business dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and business leaders build successful cultures within their organizations.

Marissa was a guest at Lore Systems’ Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Spring Forum on March 7, 2012 and Seth Goldman, Co-Founder and TeaEO of Honest Tea, was one of our featured speakers on the “Entrepreneurship with a Higher Purpose” panel.

This post was written on March 13, 2012 and can be found on Marissa’s awesome new Blog, Successful Culture.

Honest Tea CEO Seth Goldman Takes Persistence & A Commitment to Mission to New Heights

Imagine pitching your idea to 1,000 investors. Over and over and over again. A little insane, right? Not if you’re Seth Goldman, TeaEO of Honest Tea. When we think of Honest Tea, we think of a delicious beverage, and a wildly successful business.

Dig a little deeper into the roots of Honest Tea, and you’ll discover an entrepreneur who is forever committed to the mission of “changing the way people eat, drink, think and live.”

Seth shared the struggles of his early days with 300 business leaders at the sold-out ConnectPreneur Event in the DC region, architected by global serial entrepreneur and angel investor Tien Wong, CEO of Lore Systems (

Building an Empire One Brick at a Time

As a bootstrapped entrepreneur who has never sought outside funding, I was amazed at Seth’s relentless quest for angel investments when he launched Honest Tea. “I did over 1,000 pitches and landed 120 angel investors. I took $25,000 at a time,” Goldman said. “There were plenty of times when I was financially out of business. But you need just enough fumes to keep things going.”

The question on everyone’s mind – which was asked – was, “How did you keep going?” All entrepreneurs seek the answer to this question from others that travel the path of business ownership. What is the magic bullet -the secret sauce – that gives us the strength to keep pushing when we are seemingly out of options?

Always Return to the Mission

“What kept me going is I always believed and still believe in my mission. I believe we have to change the way we eat, drink, think, and live. Quitting was never an option.”

In addition to the initial 1,000+ calls, Goldman had to ruthlessly follow up with potential investors. Follow-up apparently is just as important as the initial contact.

“You need to be ruthless with your follow-up. You can’t ever quit. Your follow-up is a good indication of your commitment to what you are trying to build, and to your work ethic. Some we talked to for years before they came on,” he said.

Seth’s tenacity is an inspiration to anyone trying to make their entrepreneurial mark. Equally inspiring is his commitment to his core values, and his refusal to relinquish what matters most to him – providing healthy products that consumers feel good about drinking.

Coca-Cola now owns 40% of Honest Tea. The mammoth company’s management is like a bull in a china shop. This, however, doesn’t sway Goldman from his values. “Coca-Cola wanted me to remove “No High Fructose Corn Syrup!” from our labels. I asked if this was a legal or regulatory requirement, and it wasn’t,” he explained.

Goldman continued, “Because their products contain this ingredient, our label wasn’t a positive reflection of their brand. I refused to remove it it. The discussion made its way to the very top of the executive ladder, and I refused.”

Finally, Coca-Cola relented, and conceded that as a minority owner, they couldn’t force Honest Tea to remove the labeling.

All Natural Ingredients for Successful Entrepreneurship

Goldman boiled successful entrepreneurship down to the two basic tenets that we all inherently know: 1: A steadfast, laser-focused, driven commitment to what we are building, in which we will do whatever we need to succeed, and 2: A passionate belief in the change we are trying to make.

Thanks to Tien Wong (follow him on Twitter: @tienwong, and subscribe to his blog – Winning Ideas at ( for helping to quench the entrepreneurial thirst for learning with a great event!

And thanks to Seth Goldman (@HonestTea) for showing us what happens when you never ever ever ever ever give up.

Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” ~Napoleon Hill

Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Spring Forum, March 7, Tysons Corner, VA

LORE SYSTEMS is pleased to host one of the most exciting angel and entrepreneurship networking forums in the DC Region on March 7, 2011 at the Tower Club in Tysons Corner, VA.

Please come out!  Here’s the Eventbrite link:

The Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Spring Forum is a 1/2 day “NETWORKING MASHUP” of the DC Region’s TOP Entrepreneurs, Business Leaders, CXOs, Angels, and VCs.

Come see what happens when you put a group of “A List” business leaders and entrepreneurs in one room for a few hours!

This UNIQUE EVENT is like NONE OTHER in our region, due to the high quality of our attendees and participants, as well as our programming and unprecedented networking.

The Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Forum is an exclusive “mashup” of 170+ of the DC Region’s top entrepreneurs, business leaders, CXOs, angels and VCs.
Most of the attendees are “INVITATION ONLY,” and we are limiting service provider participation in order to maximize the experience for our Attendees and Sponsors.
Program Highlights:
  • “Hypergrowth – Zero to $500 million in 8 years” discussion
  • “Entrepreneurs with a Higher Purpose” panel
  • 8 Emerging companies seeking funding will briefly tell their stories
  • “Disruption, Disintermediation, and Destruction” luncheon discussion
  • Networking sessions before, during, and after the event
The venue is the Tower Club in Tyson’s Corner, Northern Virginia’s premier private business club.  A plated brealkfast and plated lunch are included.

8:00 – 8:05 am – WELCOME

8:05 – 8:45 am –  “HYPERGROWTH – ZERO TO $500 MILLION IN 8 YEARS!” – a conversation with Tony Jimenez, Founder and CEO of MicroTech
Jim Cheng, Secretary of Commerce, Commonwealth of VA; Founder and CEO, Computer Hi-Tech Mgt, “Entrepreneur Turned Public Servant”
Dr. John Holaday, CEO, QRx Pharma, an ex-Army officer, Professor, and serial entrepreneur who has founded and taken 3 companies public, “Entrepreneur Seeking a Cure for Cancer”
Seth Goldman, Founder and TeaEO, Honest Tea, beverage industry innovator, “Entrepreneur  leading the Green Movement”
9:30 – 9:45 am – NETWORKING BREAK
Fresh Tax
11:30 – 11:45 am – NETWORKING BREAK
Duke Chung, Founder of Parature, CRM industry pioneer
Mark Walsh, Founder and CEO, GeniusRocket;  Chairman, DIngman Center for Entrepreneurship;  Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Union College;  Founder and CEO, VerticalNet
John Backus, Managing Partner of New Atlantic Ventures, Founder of Draper Atlantic Venture Fund, former CEO, InteliData
Over 110 Entrepreneurs and CXOs, plus another 40+ angels and VCs including Core Capital, Novak Biddle, New Atlantic Ventures, CIT, Capital Source, NEA, Maryland Venture Fund, MAVA, MTECH Ventures, Maryland DBED, Ruxton Ventures, Opus8, VentureCross Partners, McLean Capital, National Capital, Starise Ventures, Dingman Center Angels, Blu Venture Partners, Blue Heron, Washingon DC Archangels,, Endeavor DC, Private Capital Network, APPTEL, Stanford Venture Advisors, MD Center for Entrepreneurship, SunWalker Group, Skada Capital, Keiretsu Forum, CADRE.

The Wisdom and Memory of Chris Walker, “from the grave”


My friend and fellow CEO Clubs Lifetime Member, Chris Walker, passed away at the end of August.  Chris was brilliant, super successful in business, humble, generous, and perhaps one of the most intellectually curious people I have ever met.  There are not enough words to describe Chris, but in short, he was a unique and amazing person.

Here is a nice tribute to Chris from the International Dark Sky Association.

Chris was young at heart, and young in age.  He was only 66, but he had the strength and energy of someone 26.  He left the earth too soon, with so much more to do and experience, and so much more influence to have on it.  He wrote a touching farewell letter to his friends, filled with advice and wisdom.”  I took the liberty of highlighting some passages.

“This will be read at my funeral. I’m not sure when it will take place, or where. But you are invited. 


When I’ve gone to funerals, I thought too much time was spent trying to characterize the deceased or to recycle liturgy from the past. Now that it’s my turn, I’m asking your indulgence to explain myself straight from the horse’s mouth. After all, its my party and I’ll cry if I want to. As the song says, you would cry too, if it happened to you.

In saying goodbye to you today, I wanted to dispel some myths.

The first is that you can’t speak from the grave. That may be strictly true, but I always like to have the last word. That’s why I have tried my hand at writing. And here I have it both ways.

Another myth is that I would be late to my funeral. As an advocate for an overscheduled life, I heard this phrase often. However, I would call to your attention that I beat you all to it. For one of the first times in my life, I am early to a gathering. So there. Never be too smug about forecasting the future. 

I hope that this occasion is one for good fellowship. Only a few fleeting tears are allowed. This is a time for joy, to celebrate a life that I feel, looking back, was well spent. I suppose it would have been possible to make a few smarter decisions from time to time, but overall, I am well satisfied at how things turned out. All you can ask out of anyone is to play the cards they have been dealt. We live life forward, and the past is only a guide to what is to come. Like Harry Truman, I don’t regret very much and didn’t spend much time reviewing what-if scenarios. Every experience, whether momentarily pleasant or unpleasant, teaches us, and is valuable for that alone. I’ve learned not to let success or failure bother me too much. And remember, what goes around, comes around.  And in our lifetime typically. No reincarnation apparatus is necessary. Be nice to yourself by being nice to others. 

In truth, my life turned out to be more pleasant, and stimulating, than I ever imagined as a child. The reason for that was that the marvelous progress of our civilization has given capabilities to each of us that we could scarcely conceive when younger.

It was also my good fortune always to have the resources to do what I wanted, at every stage. I was born rich, I lived a rich life, and I died rich. Being rich means being able to spend your time as you please. What more can anyone ask for? Each of you is richer than you think, by the way. 

Now it is true that I didn’t live as many years as I would have liked, but to confess, any amount of time would have been too short. In the context of a 13-billion-year-old universe, any lifetime is immaterial. I learned that the best attitude was to want the right things, but not to want them too much. To stay alive is a desire, but doesn’t last forever. We do not choose to come into this world, and have quite limited control over when we leave. Life is a mixed game of skill and chance, and the chance element can never be eliminated. Death is the price of life, so don’t waste your time. 

For you the living, figure out what you want to accomplish and don’t put it off too long. Even if everything you can think of dying from is miraculously curable, you still don’t have that many more years. Time is passing more quickly as we age, don’t you agree?

I believe in double entry accounting for time. We lead life forward, but we must do a balance sheet measuring time and looking backward. Figure out your goals and how much time you have to accomplish them, and make sure you get started early enough to produce what satisfies your standards. 

As life progressed, I developed some guidelines.

The first is to have fantasies. I believe in them strongly. I also believe in fantasy fulfillment. Then moving on to the next set. I believe in desire, and satisfying desire. I differ from the Buddhists in this regard. The really important ones are internal and self generated. Establishing your own standards, learning more through the years, and raising the bar for the next round, is a good process for everyone. It’s really irrelevant what others are up to. I tried never to let the madding world distract me too much from what I believed in. Following where my mind led me, unfettered by conventional wisdom, was a good strategy. 

My mother said that when she hit 70, she was going to speak her mind regardless of what others thought. I adopted her wisdom earlier, and never regretted that attitude. 

My father’s best advice, which I also adopted, was to deal with people as individuals. Not by titles, nor the age, nor the appearance, nor the group identity. Find out what makes a person tick and deal with that reality. 

The world is composed of distinctive personalities. It takes work to dig out an individuals essence, but it is worth it.. Just what is going on with this person? When I am talking; what is being heard?

I enjoyed this world with a lot of variety built in. It’s endlessly entertaining if you live with the right spirit.  

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Indeed, I wondered all through my adult life whether it is true that our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness. There is much wisdom in that aphorism. Regardless, I felt the best approach in management and dealing with people generally, is to bring out the strengths, and overlook the weaknesses. What good does it do to complain about behavior or attitudes in others when they have so much to offer on the positive side?

We spend too much time in school studying the acquisition of power. We read books about one war after another. Power for what? The only real power we have, or should aspire to, is the power to lead a proper life by our own standards, and the power to help others achieve what is in their own best interest, according to their own standards. This is all. Anything else is hubris. 

Finally, I commend some time on the road. In the course of a lifetime I saw most of the beauty spots on our lovely planet. This took about three years worth of steady travel. Break it into bite sized intervals. But do it, even if it takes time or money you might hesitate to spend. 

It is a long way to the next planet, and so much to see here. I’ve always believed in staying somewhere until I felt at home, and only then moving on. How well do you know your home planet and its many beauty spots?

Mobility is godlike. Imagine the power to go wherever you wish either on your own power, or by taking advantage of the wonderful travel tools at your disposal. Everything you need can be brought along or acquired on the way! Be divine and move around. 

I was treated, as a total stranger, with marvelous care by everyone I met in the course of my journeys. They provided me with lots of precious moments and treasured memories. 

Another useful lifestyle habit was to split my time between the tried and true and the unknown. I use the 80/20 rule. 80% of my time was spent plowing the same fields, bringing in the harvest in predictable ways. The other 20% was devoted to journeys to unknown places with unpredictable outcomes. This constant openness to novelty made every day one I looked forward to.

In terms of material possessions, I decided to live rich and die poor. There are those who say that we arrive with nothing and leave with nothing, but that is not strictly true. In our Second Age civilization, and for those of higher order, every newborn is entitled to a fair start, either by private means or public. Food, basic education, and competent adult supervision are essential for a child. As an adult, though, I believe we must earn our living from the voluntary exchange of goods and services with our fellow man. The state exists only to facilitate this activity, not to replace it. I arrived with a lot, in the form of good parents, and left with nothing. Most of us will make a net contribution to society and that is why I am optimistic that our civilization will progress and that individuals in the future will be able lead more fulfilling lives. I want to publicly thank all those whose past inventions and achievements made the wealth of my life possible.

What is left over should be given away during your lifetime. Money means nothing unless it is properly placed. Giving away money is easier than acquiring it in the first place, but it still requires skill. Use the same skills you used to accumulate wealth when you dispose of it.  

Finally, as we close our time together, take note of your surroundings. Look for something you never noticed before. It is there, just waiting for you to touch it. That is the attitude I tried to bring to every day. 

I learned, not too late, that when doors shut, we see that others are open. In fact they were open all the time! Only I never noticed them! You have more options than you realize. 

Laugh a lot. Laughter is good for your health. The ability to inspire to laugh in others is among your most valuable talents. And laughing at the absurdity of some of life’s inevitabilities is our only practical way to protest. 

Having had a near-death experience in my midlife, I learned to be overjoyed at opening my eyes every morning and finding my senses still working. 

As the saying goes – 

Yesterday was history

Tomorrow is a dream. 

Today is a gift, and that is why we call it “the present.”

Thank you for coming to help me celebrate the end of my adventure. It is with great admiration and affection that I salute you, my friends, for the last time.”

R.I.P Chris.  Thanks for the memories.  You will be missed, my Friend.

Winning Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs – Part 2


As an evangelist of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education, I speak often to groups of students and entrepreneurs.  The last slide in my presentation is always “Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs.”  In my Winning Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs – Part 1 Blog Post, I discussed the first 5 of 9 pieces of advice I give to audiences whom I address. They are:


Do It Now

Great People

Focus on Your Customer

Be Flexible

Here are the final 4 bullets:

Build a Culture EarlyI believe that the Right Culture is one of the 5 keys to building a Hypergrowth company.  And it’s never too early to build the right culture.  The minute you hire employee #1, you have doubled your company headcount.  Your startup is a reflection of you, your values, and your vision.  In order to get your team focused on the mission and how to execute, you need to make sure they all subscribe to YOUR values and vision, i.e. your culture.  Write your mission, vision, and values down, and communicate these constantly, in company meetings, emails, memos, etc.  Give frequent recognition and praise to those who embody aspects of your culture.  If you can have your teammates all living the same culture, you will have a huge competitive advantage over other companies in your space.

Be Persistent – Even the “best” startups fail.  And I bet most fail because the Founder gave up too soon.  It may take you 5 years or more to get to breakeven, so go into your venture knowing that succes will not come easily.  It takes energy, time, effort, sweat, and a little luck.  But if you hang in there and persist, you will get some breaks along the way and you will start to grow.  My company, CyberRep, took 4 years to hit $500k in revenue.  It was a long slog to get to that number.  Countless all-nighters, 85-hour workweeks, and sacrifice.  But we persisted, and by being in business and hanging in there, we started to get some breaks and we leveraged those breaks into little wins.  Then the little wins became bigger and bigger wins.  If we had given up early, we’d have never grown our company to $80 million.

Overcapitalize – When raising money, it’s very important to raise a little more than you need. I have seen so many entrepreneurs spend all their time in capital raise mode, when they should be spending time with their customers and building their team.  Raising money is a big distraction, so you need to make sure you have enough cash to get you to your destination instead of filling up many times along the way.  It’s OK to give up more equity because your payback will be in terms of time saved (and invested with your customers and team) as well as the fact that you’ll reach your destination sooner. This is one of my points in a prior Blog Post about Raising Money.

Have FUN!This is the most important piece of advice.  Life is short, and it flies by quickly….so if you’re not doing something you love, you are basically wasting your time. You have the power to change your situation, and the sooner, the better!  If you’re going to do anything, including starting a business, make sure you enjoy it. Sure, there will be many bad days filled with stress and disappointments, but success is all about doing your best and enjoying the ride.

Thanks very much for reading.  What do you think?  I’d love your feedback and thoughts, so please Comment below…and please sign up for my Blog too!  (See the Signup box on the sidebar of my Home Page)

Featured image courtesy of Robert Scoble licensed via creative commons.