About the EMBOLDIA event
We are here tonight for the EMBOLDIA @Generator Burlington event which we happily cosponsor this evening! Here we find entrepreneurs talking to entrepreneurs about startups and technology company best practices. Over 50 people from the area came to the event!
Burlington's Tech ecosystem keeps growing and growing with new energy being added every year. We are so psyched Generator has expanded its capacity in the Burlington, VT area. Can't wait to see the innovation continuing to thrive in the artsy South End.
More and more tech entrepreneurs are coming to Vermont inspired first by our bucolic beauty, quality of life, unparalleled vibe. Ken Merritt, a Burlington based lawyer helping small and large company's grow with his services, he said "LaunchVT continues to grow, with higher quality company's pitching and substantially higher monetary and in kind services awards, as compared to a few years ago."
Tonight, Joe McVicker of the McVicker group, is talking about his experience starting up companies, building impassioned cultures, fails, and roadblocks to startup success, scaling up with more capital, large spaces, larger staff and more. George Schlidge is moderating tonight asking questions of his lifelong friend.
Early on George asked about what to focus on when building a startup. He said, what surprised him the most was the importance of shared culture and finding like minded colleagues, partners, founders all sharing the same values and mission. Finding such collaborators removed the need for operations manuals and procedures, easing front end complexity during startup.
Startup success best practices
First define proof of concept with three key steps:
1. The problem is clear
2. Many people have the problem
3. Willingness to pay for products or services solving the problem. And actually pay, even if it's micro-amounts. But can be scaled up?
New terms I'm hearing about:
Phantom Equity or Stocks = equity based on future sale triggers, counts as income.
Gray money = smart early stage investors complete with real world skills and savvy with money to invest. (Not to be confused with the other gray money relating to PACS and political campaigns)
Deep learning data science = super smart data driven adaptive artificial intelligence and its science.
Perks, perks, perks = Benefits and cool job perks reap high reward which increases Millenial engagement and satisfaction., reduces need for out of sight salaries and stock options, builds culture.
Place matters to startups, but strong culture even more so
Joe said he wasn't really a space guy but he knows the space and place must be able to support a strong culture integral to startup success.
Size matters to culture efforts
Up to fifteen staff or so it's easy to more informally and intrinsically share identity around a collective Brand DNA, procedure and protocols. Growing over 15 begins to get big enough to require employment manuals and other external frameworks to support work processes, people and business personality.
Vermont obstacles to startup success
Joe saw obstacles lying in a lack of risk tolerant culture as compared to larger financing centers like Boston, NYC, LA and Silicon Valley. With large metro areas deeper pockets with greater risk appetite.
Main upside of Vermont lies in its tight knit and small community where it's easy to gain visibility. It's also an attractive place to live and work from a holistic quality of life viewpoint.
We found this evening's event shed light on best practice insights relating to fostering tech oriented startup success which also included being careful to cultivate strong work cultures centered around shared values, a sense of purpose and mission. We learned size does matter in how informal culture can be and when getting to a certain size more formality of processes and procedures become critical to success.
We look forwards to more events like this at GeneratorVT. It's a great space for area artpreneur, makers, and innovators. Glad Generator found a new home and can't wait to see what happens in the future here and throughout the South End.
Events like this marry aspirations for connecting and networking while providing invaluable learning opportunities. We hope to support EMBOLDIA's efforts during this year's 2nd Annual Burlington Innovation Week coming in the Fall of 2017. (More information coming on that soon).
If you would like to learn about high technology companies in Vermont and more about the growing ecosystem contact us to learn more below. We are happy to connect you to like-minded members of the Vermont Technology Alliance (which we're members) ranging from manufacturers, software developers, State and local officials, venture capitalists and more, around our beautiful state of Vermont.