Startup Cities

  • Posted by on November 23rd, 2014 at 10:53 am

A lot of cities in the Midwest are trying to jumpstart startup ecosystems.  I echo Brad Feld’s sentiments in his book Startup Communities, and prefer when these sorts of things happen organically.  Great startup cities are entrepreneur lead, not financier lead or government lead.

Chicago has an entrepreneurial movement going that I have been active in.  You can see the companies that I have written checks to here.  If you want to participate in a local startup ecosystem without investing a penny, here is what you can do:

  • Become a customer of a startup
  • Make a free introduction to a potential customer (use your rolodex and network)
  • Mentor.  Freely share your expertise with startup teams.
  • Tell your friends about local startups.  Talk about it.  Get them to take action.
  • Actively use local startup apps, and give them constructive feedback

Recently, Jay Swoboda, the CEO of Dabble was quoted in TechCocktail’s Regional Accelerator Report talking about the startup ecosystems in Austin, Detroit, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Denver.   Dabble is active in St. Louis and Denver.  His insight,

The St. Louis accelerator scene isn’t that old, but that’s because the tech entrepreneur scene is pretty young, too. Despite its age, St. Louis’s tech ecosystem has not just grown over the past few years – it actually blew up.

Jay Swoboda, the CEO of Dabble, has been living in St. Louis since 1997, working downtown since 2004. He’s seen transformations, as have the majority of city inhabitants, in the physical environment – from the vacant buildings to a new sculpture garden. Since the launch of Capital Innovators, he’s seen new energy, resources, and funding opportunities develop; this first accelerator (founded in 2012) was the key to success for the city.

Dabble received an Arch Grant for $50,000 and Jay has done a good job of building the Dabble business since he took over.  If you are in a town that has Dabble, give it a try. If you don’t have Dabble in your town, send an email to Jay and he’ll see if he can get you started.

 

 



The Latest

  • Busy Today
    Posted by on November 22nd, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Every morning I paste a new song I found on Soundcloud to my Tumblr blog. This is the one I posted today.


  • The Randomness of Friendship
    Posted by on November 21st, 2014 at 8:24 am

    The photo above is from my bachelor party.  Most of us were 24 or 25.  In it, you see a lot of guys I have […]


  • The Best Way to Talk About Your Company
    Posted by on November 20th, 2014 at 6:23 am

    As an angel investor, I hear a lot of pitches.  I don’t keep track of how many I hear compared to how many I cut […]


  • Who Is The Keeper of Your Brand?
    Posted by on November 19th, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Yesterday I saw this blog post from Spark Capital. It talks about one of their companies 1st Dibs, but delves into something deeper toward the […]


  • What’s Next In Startups?
    Posted by on November 18th, 2014 at 7:33 am

    We have seen the past in startups.  Facebook and all the social networks.  What’s next?  My friend William Mougayer says decentralized Peer to Peer marketplaces. […]


  • What’s A Good Bitcoin Company?
    Posted by on November 17th, 2014 at 9:12 am

    One of the difficulties with either starting, or investing in a Bitcoin company is the uncertainty.  How do you know what has a chance, and […]


  • Can We Afford Entitlements?
    Posted by on November 16th, 2014 at 9:36 am

    In her annual pitch, Mary Meeker pointed out that entitlements are consuming 63% of the federal budget and rising.  That’s unsustainable.  I don’t know when […]


  • The Meat of The Matter
    Posted by on November 15th, 2014 at 10:11 am

    This morning, I was reading a blog post about the travails of a person to find the source of the meat they were consuming at […]


  • Tipping and Risk
    Posted by on November 14th, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Read an article about the difference between tipping in Europe and tipping in the US.  It’s different.  In the US, generally waitstaff in restaurants make […]


  • The Chicago Public School System, And Teacher’s Union Speculate On Swaps
    Posted by on November 13th, 2014 at 10:06 am

    The Chicago Public School (CPS) system lost $100M speculating on the future value of interest rates.  Why did they do this?  Swaps are customized derivative […]


  • Is The Internet A Utility? (Part 2)
    Posted by on November 12th, 2014 at 8:03 am

    What’s the definition of a utility? Wikipedia defines it this way-in terms of economics.   The internet is certainly a circular utility as defined by […]


  • If You Were Governor Elect Rauner, What Would You Do?
    Posted by on November 11th, 2014 at 8:30 am

    There are a fair amount of articles giving opinions on what the Republican Congress should do.  But, in Illinois, we have an interesting situation that […]


  • Is The Internet a Utility?
    Posted by on November 10th, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Today, President Obama said the FCC should reclassify the internet as a utility.  He sees it as a public good, similar to water.  He said, […]


  • Big Data is Really Small Data
    Posted by on November 10th, 2014 at 6:51 am

    It’s awesome that colleges are starting to have big data programs, and big data majors.   Colleges have always had a way to learn about how […]


  • Just Say “Thanks”
    Posted by on November 9th, 2014 at 8:08 am

    It’s Poppy Day in England.   You may have noticed yesterday in some college football games, teams had altered their insignias to reflect the colors […]


  • Touring A Trading Room
    Posted by on November 8th, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Yesterday I had the opportunity to tour a trading room.  It’s not the first time, and won’t be the last.  Pods of computers with people […]


  • You Can’t Do Everything
    Posted by on November 7th, 2014 at 9:04 am

    It goes without saying, but you cannot possibly do everything.  Because of social media, we are way more aware of things than ever.  Fear of […]