A Man of Many Hats – Rob Dunaway

November 14, 2010

People you will meet at AZEC10

The Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference, AZEC10, is one of the premiere events for entrepreneurs in the Southwest. On November 17th, at the Desert Willow Conference Center will bring together national thought leaders, local CEOs, and entrepreneurs to share ideas, connect, and engage. 

Did you know that AZEC is more than just a conference? It is the primary funding source for OTEF, the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation, an organization that provides entrepreneurial education, mentoring and support to members of our community that are at-risk?  OTEF was founded in 2005 when three friends, Francine Hardaway, Ed Nusbaum, and Rob Dunaway. 

OTEF Co-founder Rob Dunaway

Based upon his books and years of experience in advising Silicon Valley and Phoenix companies,Rob is recognized as a leading corporate, technology and venture capital attorney  with clients spanning the full range of products and services.  He has worked for some of the most successful public companies in the technology industry, including Sun Microsystems, Tandem Computers, S3, NexGen Microsystems, Diamond Multimedia Systems and others. Today Rob’s clients include technology companies, health care products companies,medical software companies, real estate development companies, and investment companies.He has also gained recognition for his work with startup companies, and his experience and counsel was captured in the book Silicon Valley Guide from Microsoft Press, co-authored with Dan Remer. Their second book together, Legal Care For Your Software from Sybex Publishing, was a best-selling reference guide to intellectual property law for engineers and executives in the high technology industry. His expertise covers general corporate, contract and intellectual property law, with emphasis on technology licensing and other technology-related contracts such as OEM, distribution and development agreements; venture capital and other private financings; mergers and acquisitions; protection of intellectual property; and Internet law.

But “lawyer” is just one of Rob’s hats.  He has been an entrepreneur and advisor, a  member of the board of  directors for several companies and a turnaround CEO where he and his team revitalized a food products company, increased sales and successfully sold the company at a premium to an international investment group. He has co-founded three non-profits in the educational field and currently sits on their board of directors, and also sits on the board of directors of a social media company and a corporate jet pilot training company.

I had a chance to chat with Rob about Phoenix, OTEF, and AZEC.  Here is what he had to share…

JKW:  What brought you to Phoenix and ultimately to help create OTEF?

Rob DunawayRD: I was trained in Silicon Valley as a venture capital attorney, worked for many of the famous startups there, and wrote a few books on startup company management and technology law. I was totally immersed in working with entrepreneurs and young companies and brought that entrepreneurial mentality to Phoenix when I moved my family here for quality of life. My role continues to be legal counsel and strategic board level advisor to my clients. I have also started non-profits and companies here in Phoenix, so I have bring an active entrepreneur side to the eco-system as well. I moved to Phoenix in 1994 and commuted to Silicon Valley until 1996, when I opened my legal practice here.  Francine Hardaway and Ed Nusbaum were early friends and we shared a vision of a vibrant, entrepreneurial community here in Phoenix. Together we founded OTEF and I continue to serve on the board of directors.

JKW:  As a leader – did you ever get stuck?  What was your “reset” ?

RD:  Stuck is inevitable; bumps in the road are inevitable. If it was easy, everyone could do it successfully. With the right entrepreneurial mind set, any problem can be resolved successfully. Sometimes, however, the entrepreneur just doesn’t recognize the best solution as the most successful. When I get stuck, I simply put the issue down for a day or two and then revisit with a fresh outlook. Inevitably, that produces a new perspective and often a new set of potential solutions and I am off and running again.  

JKW:  What do you plan to achieve between AZEC10 and AZEC11?

RD:  I  have major projects in the works right now. In the non-profit world, I am leading an effort to start a new, major university here in Phoenix as well as continuing to be on the board of OTEF, the owner and sponsor of AZEC. In the private sector, my law practice continues and I have two companies I have started and one book I am writing. Interns, anyone? 

JKW: Why do you choose to support OTEF and AZEC10?  Why will you be there?

RD:  The entrepreneurial classes given to at-risk populations by OTEF funded by the proceeds of AZEC10 are very important to me. AZEC10 will be another terrific conference with great speakers imparting important advice for entrepreneurs. It is simply the best cutting edge, entrepreneurial conference in the West.

Look for Rob at AZEC10

Rob Dunaway is another of the great community leaders and thought leaders you can meet at AZEC10 on November 17, 2010.   Ask him a question – he is always happy to answer mine.  Don’t forget to register for your seat at the table if you have not all ready.  It is sure to be a sell-out crowd again this year. 

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…there will be more AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and November 17th.  Use discount code PhxBiz to save 10% on your Attendee ticket.

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.


Planning, Preparing, and Presto

November 13, 2010

iStockphoto,teamwork,crossword,marker,highlight,innovation,success,evaluation,development,growth,solution,progress,marketing,plans,business,occupation,concepts,transparent board,writing,academic,arm,peopleWe’ve all heard the stories.  He/She/It was an overnight success.  Yet if you spend time one-on-one with these overnight successes, you  are bound to hear the same thing.  Before the success came months (and often years) of planning and preparation before Presto…Success!  There is no such thing as an overnight success, there is simply a point in time when others may suddenly wake up and see that you are there. 

This Wednesday, November 17, 2010, at AZEC10  an incredible line up of speakers will be sharing their  stories, tips, and secrets with entrepreneurs from across Arizona and across North America.  They are business owners, VC’s and Angels, nationally known experts and innovators.  They are people just like you and me that can tell you that success is a journey, not a destination. 

Like in the picture at right, you start at the bottom and work your way up.  You tell your story, get a little progress, start building solutions and start to grow.  To keep the growth going, it takes a commitment to ongoing development, plus evaluation of what works – and what doesn’t.  This leads to a degree of success which as others recognize the value and accept it as  their own  graduates to true innovation. 

At the center of it all is teamwork.  These “overnight successes” will be the first to tell you, “No one succeeds alone.”  In every case, we met someone, learned a lesson, found a partner, or were buoyed up by the enthusiasm of customers or investors. 

AZEC from the Stealthmode Flickr ArchivesBefore the “Presto” there is always planning and preparing.  AZE10 is a great example.  OTEF and a team of dedicated volunteers have worked for a year to bring together the best collection of speakers to inspire others to Hit the Reset and get things growing again.  Behind the  scenes, team members have been working logistics, driving marketing campaigns, recruiting sponsors, and spreading the word.  Each step in the process from planning to preparing and getting ready for the big “Presto” took hours of time that they donated so that others could benefit from the shared experience of connecting, engaging, and sharing  ideas that will lead to new growth in our community and our economy.

But to benefit from all of this – there is another “P”  that comes into play.  You have to be PRESENT to win in the Great Reset.  Already hundreds of business owners have said “count me in”  and joined their fellow entrepreneurs and business owners at the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences over the last five years.  Wednesday, November 17, 2010, is your opportunity to begin the journey to your overnight success.  Are you ready?

I’ll be looking for you at AZEC10.

… If you have not registered for AZEC10 yet, use discount code PhxBiz and save 10% off the ATTENDEE ticket price.


Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.


Dear President Obama, since you asked…

November 10, 2010

In his recent remarks on the October Jobs Report, President Obama said…

“I am open to any idea, any proposal, any way we can get the economy growing faster…”

(If you can not see the video, you can find it here on YouTube.)

Thank you for asking Mr. President, here is my list:

First and foremost, focus on the sectors that are proven job creators.

Research from the Kauffman Foundation shows that newly created and young companies are the primary drivers of job creation in the United States. Added to this, data from the Edward Lowe Foundation and their research on Second Stage Companies that shows that establishments with 10 – 100 employees and $1 million to $100 million in revenue have created the vast majority of the net new jobs over time.  (Take a look at the data at www.youreconomy.org)

So if you are looking for job growth, focus on providing early stage and second stage companies what they need – and the American people will get what they need – more jobs.

These businesses need access to capital to grow and to create jobs.

The fuel that drives job growth in these growth sectors is capital.  When there is a steady supply of capital, there is a steady supply of new jobs.  It is capital that funds innovation, that purchases resources for manufacturing and supplies the catalyst for future growth.

Where does the money come from?

The capital that fuels growth in  early stage and second stage businesses comes from the following areas – the life savings of the business owner (including IRA’s and 401K’s with penalties), credit cards of the business owner (personal or business issue), F&F (Friends and Family), Angel Investors, Private Equity/Venture Capital, SBA Loans, Traditional Lending, Public Equity Markets and most important of all CUSTOMERS. 

In addition, the capital for growth often comes from operational cut backs and efficiencies inside the business, and more often than many would think, a business owner that is forgoing a paycheck while working 60 – 70 hours a week to keep things growing until the cash flow problem gets fixed.  

So if we need capital to grow these businesses and create jobs here are some suggestions:

Life Savings and 401K’s

Forgive penalties on withdrawals from IRA’s, 401K’s, and the like made by business owners for the business or to feed their families while they personally went without wages to keep the business alive AND allow them to put the money back in when things get better again.

Credit Cards

Extend the protections in the CONSUMER CREDIT PROTECTION ACT to include credit cards and charge cards that are issued to a business IF the card is personally guaranteed by the individual card holder.  These “business cards” are actively marketed to small business owners yet do not carry the same protections as those issued to “consumers”.

Friends, Family, and Angels

After the business owner, the most common form of early stage capital infusion comes from friends, family and Angel investors.  Interestingly these are the same people that will be adversely affected if the Bush Tax cuts are not renewed AND these are often the same people that are paying the lion’s share of taxes already.  It is critically important the that Bush Tax Cuts be made permanent.  The goal should not be to have a few people pay more – the goal needs to be stimulate job growth so that more people can pay something!

Private Equity and Venture Capital

Private Equity and Venture Capital have played major roles in the growth spurts of high growth and high potential companies.  These American businesses and private investors invest in American businesses and can be a supercharger on our growth engine.  Lynn Tilton, chairman  and founder of Patriarch Partners, traveled to Washington with a plan to help companies and spur job growth based on a proven model that she uses in her own companies.  This process is so unique that the US Patent Office issued a patent for it.  (Click to view Lynn Tilton’s patent.)

Administrator Karen Mills and her team at the SBA are making real progress with the expansion of the SBIC program but wouldn’t it be great to have more leaders and investors involved in this effort to create a lasting solution? Perhaps it time to take another look at her proposed SME Rescue Loan Plan or perhaps give her a call.

Tax breaks for small businesses

Mr. President, you often speak of your support of tax breaks for small business. Any tax break that allows businesses of any size to reinvest in the business and create more jobs is a good thing.  BUT, it is important to remember the tax breaks only benefit companies that are making profits to pay taxes on.  Many of the companies that will grow and create jobs now and in the future are investing ahead of the curve and are not yet profitable.  For these companies, a tax break is an empty promise. 

Instead perhaps a good idea would be tax breaks, tax credits, or other incentives for private equity and angel investors to motivate more of them to get out of the “parking lot” they are currently in and put their money to work in businesses that are creating jobs.  The American people have invested in Wall Street Bailouts, Cash for Clunkers, and credits for energy efficient appliances.  Perhaps its time we invested in American investors who are putting their hard earned money into American businesses.

Promoting innovation

Innovation is my personal passion.  My definition of innovation is simple.  Innovation is doing something in a new way that makes life better.  Just as we as business owners, investors and innovators need to focus on changes that make things better – we need you to do the same in Washington.  This includes:

  • Reversing the provision in the Healthcare Bill that will require all businesses to file a 1099 for EVERY supplier over $600.   At a time when you need us to run faster, you are tying our ankles together with red tape.  I know that Congress is the team that needs to fix this problem – but could you whisper in their ear?
  • Cut down on the red tape in general.  From an ever growing list of regulations on how we get things done to a multitude of forms in triplicate or worse when we do business with government agencies, it is getting harder to do business when we need it to get easier. 
  • Work with Congress to fully support the SBIR program on an ongoing basis instead of continually placing Band-Aid on it to keep it going.  According to the NSBA,  “small R&D companies employ 38 percent of all scientists and engineers in America. This is more than all U.S. universities and more than all large businesses. Furthermore, these small companies produce five times as many patents per dollar as large companies and 20 times as many as universities—and more small-business innovations are commercialized. Yet small companies receive only 4.3 percent of the federal government’s R&D dollars. The SBIR program provides more than half of this amount.”  Here’s a suggested innovation – set a permanent requirement to allocate government innovation contacts and  SBIR awards to small business based on the proportionate share of innovators they employ.  If we generate results like these at just over 4%, just imagine what would happen if we had almost 40^% to work with. 
  • Create a fast track program for new technologies and innovations moving from Phase I to Phase II contracts with government agencies.   With today’s backlog, some very promising companies and the technologies they have created could disappear due to delays that in some cases have been more than a year.
  • Drive innovation within the US Patent Office to take the costs out of what we need to do to protect American innovation.  Many small businesses can not afford the cost, time and expense as it is.  And for many of them, a patent is a of little value since most small businesses can not afford the cost to defend it.  (Small business patents are being violated on a regular basis and the response from big business is “sue me” when they well know that the small business could never afford to go the distance or carry the burden hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in legal fees.)

So Mr. President, you asked for suggestions.  These are mine.  I don’t know if you will ever see them, but I truly hope that someone on your team is listening.  We’re all in this together after all.


Joan Koerber-Walker


About the author:

Joan Koerber-Walker, MBA is a small business owner and an angel investor who makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona.  As a blogger she has personally interviewed Lynn Tilton on several occasions and has personally worked with Patriarch Partners and its portfolio companies and seen the results of what the Patriarch process can do first hand.  In addition she is a past CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association and  a past member of the board of trustees for the National Small Business Association. During that time she met with and shared ideas with hundreds of small businesses and second stage companies on key issues including health care, workforce development, regulation, taxation, and access to capital.  She currently serves the small business community as a volunteer ambassador for SCORE in Phoenix, Arizona, as chairman of the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation and as co-chair of the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences (AZEC10) which will gather together over 300 entrepreneurs, small business owners and investors together to share ideas, connect, and hit the “reset” button on their businesses on November 17, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.

To contact Joan Koerber-Walker, click here.

Angels are key players on our economic recovery team

November 7, 2010

People you will meet and hear from at AZEC10

It’s a busy time as we prepare for AZEC10: The Great Reset on November 17th,  As I’ve been chatting  with sponsors, attendees and our fabulous line up of speakers, I have been giving lots of thought to the components needed to get our

Joan Koerber-Walker shares thoughts on the Key role of Angel nvestors (ABC15)

economic engine firing on all cylinders again. On Saturday, I had the opportunity to share some thoughts on what it will take to get our economy growing again with ABC15’s Angie Holdsworth.

Research from both the Kauffman Foundation and the Edward Lowe Foundation supports what many of us in the entrepreneurial community have learned first hand.  The greatest growth in net new jobs comes from early stage and second stage companies.

So if we need early stage companies to create more jobs.  What do they need to get the job done?

The answer in many cases is access to capital.  And a key source of capital for companies in this stage of growth is the Angel Investor community.

You can find Angie Holdsworth’s original story and the video here at ABC15.com. Angie shares her take on our conversation as well as some front-line Angel perspective from  Morris Callaman, a successful angel investor and founder of Callaman Ventures.

Join us at AZEC10 for a Gathering of Angels

The best way to work with angels is to get to know them.  This year at AZEC10 we have some great opportunities with our Angel Panel – always an AZEC10 favorite.  This year’s panel is moderated by Morris Callaman of Callaman Ventures and includes Rick Gibson of Hot Ventures, Paul Winandy, executive director of  ATIF, Curtis Gunn, chairman of the Desert Angels, and Dave Bittner of Beanstalk CFO and Invest Southwest 2010.

In addition, you will not want to miss hearing from Dave McClure, founder of the new SuperAngel/VC fund 500 Startups. Dave travels all over the world looking for ideas and deals.

So if you want to help reset our economy and grow your business, you might want to fly with the angels.  You will find them in he audience and on the stage at AZEC10 on November 17, 2010.  I’ll be there.  Will you?

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

…there will be more entrepreneurial profiles and AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and AZEC10. If you have not registered for AZEC10 yet, use discount code PhxBiz and save 10% off the ATTENDEE ticket price.

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.

After the Bubble Burst It Was Time to Hit the Reset

November 2, 2010

People you will meet and hear from at AZEC10 – Investor and CEO Paul Winandy

PaulWinandyAfter the tech bubble burst in 2000-2001, large scale software implementations at Fortune 500 companies were non-existent. Doing what had worked before was not working.  As AZEC10 Investor Panel participant Paul Winandy shared “My consulting practice hit a wall and I had to retool and redefine myself.”  So Paul switched from services to software and joined an early stage software company here in Phoenix (Khimetrics) which was later acquired by SAP. After another SaaS startup (SkillSurvey) and managing ATIF. Today he is CEO of the fastest growing EMR solution for physical therapists (WebPT). 

WebPT is the first web-based physical therapy documentation system in the world. The system offers a brand new approach to practice management and patient documentation as the application is designed to improve clinic productivity, increase revenue, reduce expenses and enhance a more stress-free clinical environment. The digital documentation system combines an intuitive dashboard user interface with practical physical therapy logic to create a user-friendly documentation solution. WebPT’s goal is to revolutionize the industry utilizing sound technology and innovative methods to provide the strongest, most effective solution to assist with increasing clinic profits and improving the quality of practice.

Paul is an active angel investor focusing on investment opportunities in enterprise software, Internet commerce, technology enabled services and medical devices with 10 different investments in my career. The results: 3 failed, 2 returned 3x, 5 are in process.  He brings a unique perspective to early stage entrepreneurship coming from a family of entrepreneurs.

My grandfather ran a diner in downtown Chicago for 30 years. My father started his own chemical manufacturing firm which was angel funded, made the Inc. 500 list and was sold for a very nice exit. And I’ve been a part of six different startups in my career … 2 bootstrapped; 2 angel funded; and 2 VC funded. The results: 2 failed, 2 made the Inc. 500 list and exited for > $150M, and 2 are still growing and doing well.  (Paul Winandy)

ATIF Invests in Arizona (About ATIF)

http://www.ATIF-AZ.orgThe Arizona Technology Investor Forum (ATIF) is an active community of accredited investors who invest in high-potential technology companies based in Arizona.

ATIF members participate in four investor meetings a year to consider investment opportunities presented by finalists screened by our selection process. Since May 2007, ATIF members have invested over $2.3 million in Arizona-based technology ventures that have presented at ATIF meetings. 

With over 50 members ATIF’s growth is really the result of contributions from all our members. Each of our members is involved in the entrepreneurial community and actively promotes ATIF to other investors.

JKW:  How do you see your role in the AZ Entrepreneurial Eco-system?

PW:  In Addition to the companies I have worked with and led, I’ve also been an active angel investor so I have a lot of experience with startups and investing. I know both success and failure. I’ve made money and I’ve lost money. Through it all I remain steadfast in my belief that the path to truly great wealth is to build successful startups into scalable enterprises.

My role is to pass on my hard earned experience to the next generation of entrepreneurs and to motivate others to invest in them.

JKW:   What do you plan to achieve between AZEC10 and AZEC11?

PW:  I plan to focus heavily on WebPT to help it reach its potential. By AZEC11 we should be the premier EMR solution for the physical therapy industry.

JKW:  WHY did you choose to support OTEF and AZEC10? Why will you be there?

PW:  I actively support local organizations that offer real value to early stage tech entrepreneurs. AZEC has consistently hosted a strong conference with speakers that provide sound advice and counsel. I am honored to be a part of this event.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

…there will be more entrepreneurial profiles and AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and AZEC10. If you have not registered for AZEC10 yet, use discount code PhxBiz and save 10% off the ATTENDEE ticket price.

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.

Going Green in a BIG Way – Debra T Johnson of Eco-Edge

October 28, 2010

People you will meet and hear from at AZEC10

EcoEdge_Debra JohnsonWhen CorePurpose was just getting started in 2002, I made what was, at the time, a BIG investment (at least it was big to me since it was my personal money and we were not making any yet) as a Mentor Sponsor at AVCC (The Arizona Venture Capital Conference which has evolved into Invest Southwest .)

I was standing at the back of the room getting the lay of the land when I struck up a conversation with an entrepreneur with a vision to help preserve our environment and help companies save money at the same time. That CEO was Debra T. Johnson of Eco-Edge. She’ll be sharing her story and what she has learned along the way at AZEC10 this year.  Here is a sneak peek.

Balancing the needs of keeping fleet operations going, making them more cost effective, and trying to do the right thing for the environment can often stress even the strongest management teams. Evaluating the ever increasing array of technologies with claims of “green” is a project that most companies find daunting and many simply pass on incorporating environmental initiatives into their operations. (Source: www.ecoedgeco.com)

Eco-Edge addresses this challenge by:

Taking companies with diesel fleet and industrial operations to new levels of profitability, performance and sustainability:

Eco-efficient Solutions

Unprecedented Credibility

Award-Winning Technologies for

Improved Fuel Economy

Reduced Maintenance Costs

More Efficient & Effective Operations

Reduced Environmental Footprint


JKW:  How do you see your role in AZ’s entrepreneurial eco-system?

DTJ: As a survivor of the Great Recession, a pioneer in the current business push toward sustainability, and a woman operating in male dominated industries, I like to think of myself as a harbinger of change and an example of “it can be done.”

JKW:  How long has Eco-Edge been in Arizona and how has it  grown?

DTJ: We started here in 2002, working out of my house, dealing mostly in Mexico as “Emissions Product International.” We gradually outgrew our name as we expanded our product line and focus. We learned that the technologies we represent are not yet mature enough for international markets, so our primary focus has been on growing domestically since about 2005 or so.

JKW:  Who helped you/Eco-Edge along the growth path?

DTJ: Wow – so many people that I can hardly begin to name them all! We have been really blessed by having a lot of people really believe in what we do. The most significant ones have been our people at Eco-Edge (and spouses who put up with us). Others whose contribution was critical to where we are now: AAAME and Rena Huber, Frank Thomas, Rick Johnson at Renaissance Forum, Greg Mischel, and so many others.

JKW:  What do you plan to achieve between AZEC10 and AZEC11?

DTJ: Return to consistency in our monthly revenues. The Great Recession really took its toll there because of our heavy reliance on construction related businesses through 2008 (almost 70%), but we have clawed our way back and have diversified extensively, which is showing results. We will also launch at least two of our own technologies developed in house;, whereas in the past, we have strictly sold others’ products.

JKW:  As a leader – did you ever get stuck?  What was your “reset” ?

DTJ: Yes. Many times. There are a couple solutions I try when I am stuck:

· The old “Fake it till you make it” philosophy – which to me means that you have to tell yourself affirmations that get you through the moments of doubt.

· Step back and use the Stephen Covey principle of “sharpening the saw.” Do something you enjoy and that completely clears your head of work.

· The Covey planning and prioritization tools are also something I often come back to when I am stuck. Those tools organize my activities into little steps that can be tackled in a logical order, give a sense of direction, and give a sense of accomplishment that feeds my enthusiasm whenever I cross something off the list.

JKW:  WHY did you choose to support OTEF and AZEC10?  Why will you be there?

DTJ: AZEC10 has grown over the year’s into an outstanding resource for entrepreneurs to learn about tools available to us, as well as that we are not alone. Others are facing the same challenges, something which is often not realized as we entrepreneurs try to slay our dragons. I am thrilled that some of the lessons we have learned from issues we have battled through might inspire or help other entrepreneurs in their own quest.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned… there will be more entrepreneurial profiles and AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and AZEC10.

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.

Note:  If you have not registered for AZEC10 yet, use discount code PhxBiz and save 10% off the ATTENDEE ticket price.

What Can One Person Do? Find out from Dave McClure at AZEC10

October 26, 2010

A guest post by Francine Hardaway, PhD, OTEF executive director, co-founder of AZEC, OTEF and Stealthmode Partners

People you will hear from at AZEC10

Dave McClure  - photo by Kris Krug www.staticphotography.com/One man in Silicon Valley is trying to turn  the venture capital industry on its head — by going outside Silicon Valley. Dave McClure, founder of the new SuperAngel/VC fund 500 Startups, travels all over the world looking for ideas and deals. Not only that, but he will do a deal with anyone who pitches him a good idea.
We are fortunate to have Dave coming to Arizona for AZEC10 on Nov.17.
How does he know when he sees a good idea? Well, it’s his history and experience that give him the edge. He’s been in Silicon Valley for twenty years. He was director of Marketing for Paypal in 2004 when it was acquired by EBay.  He has taught a class on Facebook at Stanford. He managed the fund created by Accel Partners, Facebook, and Founders Fund  to incubate Facebook applications. For the past half dozen years, he’s been an active angel investor.

Encouraging Entrepreneurial Exchanges Globally

Dave sees the entire geek world, no matter what continent it is on. And I mean up close and in person.  A few years ago, he organized a series of trip so called Geeks on a Plane, through which American geeks visit other cities and countries and Dave gets to meet not only them, but the geeks at the destinations. He does this by volunteering to speak at tech conferences. I went with him to China, Korea, and Singapore this past spring, and in two weeks we went to four cities in three countries, attending six conferences for startups and web technology. He has also taken trips to Washington DC to lobby for better immigration policies and to Hawaii to “Re-Think Hawaii.” Next year, he plans some new continents. 🙂 

Dave McClure and Francine Hardaway - Geeks On A Plane - Shanghai - China ( photo by Kris Krug www.staticphotography.com)

In Silicon Valley, he organized Startup2Startup, a monthly dinner where entrepreneurs hear from one of their own. And he’s active in a program that’s trying to get the visa rules changed for non-natives who come to the US for an education and would like to stay here to start companies.

As a champion of the “Lean Startup,” a concept that involves getting the product out to the market as quickly as possible to get feedback, iterate, optimize, and get more feedback, McClure is trying to convince engineers to design products quickly, and move on from their failures. It’s a loop, Dave says. He’s all for killing features that “suck,” and keeping what works.

To that end, he’s now going around the world looking for his 500 Startups, to each of whom he gives a small amount of funding to get the loop going. This goes against traditional venture capital models, which typically make larger investments in fewer companies later in their development cycles. But it appears that, in the current age of apps, the ordinary VCs can’t find the right deals for their huge funds. McClure, flying to Asia, holding his dinners, speaking at entrepreneurship conferences in Arizona, and talking about Startup Metrics for Pirates, is sneaking in right between the legs of the most towering VC names.


About Francine Hardaway:

Francine Hardaway, PhD, OTEF executive director, co-founder of AZEC, OTEF and Stealthmode Partners has been an entrepreneurial and social venture catalyst for over 30 years.  She spends her time between Phoenix, the Silicon Valley and London and where ever she goes, you can be sure that she is on the look out for the next great innovation.  To connect with Francine, follow her on Twitter @Hardaway or via Google Voice at 816-WRITTEN (9748836)

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned… there will be more entrepreneurial profiles and AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and AZEC10 on 11/17/2010.

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.