…And thus began week 2 of the Masschallenge Boot Camp. As you might remember, week one rapidly introduced us to the startup universe, introducing us to the skills we’d need to help AltrUHelp win! But even with all that we learned, we had no idea what was in store for us in week two. Masschallenge really kicked it up a notch (or a couple of notches). We saw more CEOs this week than all of CNBC’s anchors combined…except maybe Jim Cramer.
Wednesday started off with David Cancel of Hubspot and Gina Ashe of Krush dishing out executive secrets in a panel moderated by Christopher Austin from Goodwin Procter. They covered every aspect of running a startup: financing, hiring, vision, product, and customers. David and Gina used a lot of powerful personal examples, going so far as to reveal some gory details about their more unfortunate hiring decisions providing us with an unadulterated glimpse into the inner workings of two amazing startups. After another great (and free) Foley and Lardner lunch, we were treated to an interview with David Friend, CEO of Carbonite and prolific serial entrepreneur. David took us on a journey through his past startup success, outlining his winning strategy (sorry, it’s a secret—we can’t put it in this blog post) and explaining the thinking behind Carbonite. One thing we will share with you, however, is the importance of putting yourself in the shoes of the customer to determine exactly which of your products attributes make it desirable.
Before the end of the day, we heard from two more CEO/Founders— Russ Herndon of Hyrda Bioscience and Jim Bull of Brass Monkey. Herndon and Bull, accompanied by Chinh Pham and Steve Adams—shareholders of Greenberg Traurig—provided us with even deeper insight into the startup hiring process. At this point, our CEO “insider information” was snowballing—but this was just the start of what week 2 had in store for us.
Thursday—the final day of bootcamp—brought with it a change in scenery: we spent the day at Fidelity’s Center for Applied Technology (an amazing building located next to South Station). After a quick registration, we settled down to a power-panel: angel investor (and moderator) Jean Hammond, Silicon Valley Bank representative (and debt financing extraordinaire) Dan Allred, TimeTrade CEO Ed Mallen, and VC founder Miguel Granier. Over the course of 90 minutes, these four experts immersed us in the world of startup financing. We learned the ins-and-outs of venture capital, angel investing, government grants, and debt financing. After a short—and networking-filled—lunch, we got a chance to hear from Paul Sweeny of Foley Hoag about negotiating term sheets (and how to avoid getting the bad end of a deal).
Jeff Bussgang, author of “Mastering the VC Game” and founder of UPromise followed Paul with a great Q&A on obtaining VC funding. We finished the day with an incredibly entertaining multimedia presentation by Colin Angle, Founder and CEO of iRobot—and a look inside the success of the ubiquitous Roomba robotic vacuum!
Yes, week two was incredible. We heard from a wildly talented group of executives and specialists. This week gave us a solid insight into the startup world. Now AltrUHelp’s internships begin in earnest, and each of the interns only stand to learn more.
Want to discuss any of the topics above in more detail or pose a question to the AltrUHelp Team? Share your comments or questions in the “Reply comment” box below.