This past Friday was Career Day at Ankeny Centennial High School (the high school near me). They invited me to talk about what I do in my career. I gave them several options (software engineer, consulting, entrepreneurship/startups). I was asked to speak on entrepreneurship.
Rather than just talk about me, I thought it’d be more fun (for me, but especially them) to show them how to create their own successful startup businesses.
In one of the three sessions I told the students that I was considering setting up some kind of extra-curricular “create your own startup” class, where I would mentor high-school-level students and help them create a business over the course of a semester. There seemed to be a lot of interest in it, so we’ll see where that goes.
The slides for my entrepreneurship talk are shared for viewing on Google Drive.
Feel free to use that for the basis of your own discussion of startups.
I won’t go further into the content of my talk here because I’d really rather devote several blog posts to the various points in the future.
NestMint is a new “idea-stage” equity fund for startups in Iowa.
I was recently asked about my thoughts on NestMint. Specifically: “Do you think it’s valuable to the community? Why? What impact do you foresee this investment fund having on the overall economic health of our startups in Iowa?”
I’m no expert on the subject, but here are my thoughts:
I definitely think there’s value to the community in NestMint. To me it feels like the money portion of a startup accelerator.
Prior to business validation, most entrepreneurs use their own money and possibly money from friends and family to start building their company.
Before NestMint, the standard advice to startups (in Iowa) thinking about raising money was to “build it first and prove the business (via traction, etc.) and only then seek angel investment”. That’s still good advice (and that’s what I’m doing with Locusic), but doing it that way usually means building the startup part-time. That’s because you still need to keep your day job to earn a living – unless you’re fortunate enough to have three to six months worth of living expenses in the bank. So, because you’re only working on the startup part-time, things take a bit longer. And because you still have a day job there’s less of a sense of urgency to make your startup succeed, so things take a bit longer still.
Contrasting with an accelerator:
I’m interested in or curious about:
- what kind of additional mentoring, if any, that NestMint financing recipients will receive from the people backing the fund.
- which kinds of businesses, besides high growth potential startups, will receive funding.
- what additional burden does taking this funding put on the entrepreneurs (e.g. paperwork, reporting to the partners, a board seat?).
- for the more successful startups that receive NestMint funding, will the people (managers, investors) behind NestMint help those startups secure additional (A round) financing?
- terms – as I write this, the investment terms for entrepreneurs hasn’t been posted to the NestMint site.
- Are there restrictions on how the founders can spend the money?