Brad Feld and David Cohen, two of the most well known entrepreneurs and investors in the country, came in on Monday to talk with our teams over lunch. Their day was mainly Q&A based with both group and one on one sessions with LaunchBox companies, other players in the region and a kick-butt, food & beer event with over 300+ entrepreneurs. Here are a few nuggets from Brad’s and David’s answers:
- How can I get the most out of potential investors? Ask them for feedback on 1 or 2 specific things instead of a list of your 20 unknowns. If they are truly interested in your idea or business, they will continue to engage with you.
- What are your thoughts on building a product vs. building a sustainable company? The two work hand in hand and we don’t know of any great company that wasn’t obsessed about the product. There are a only a few different ways to make money so focus on what people care about and the product you can make to meet their needs.
- Where should I start my company? You can start a company all over the country, so base it on where you want to be. It is easy to be seduced by the financings in the bay area and if you make the move without an already established network, it will be an uphill battle to get through the noise.
- What are your opinions on a full fledge product launch vs. multiple versions and iterations? Recently, a new web browser launched called RockMelt. It came out of the womb fully featured with hype from the New York Times that it could be the next best browser. This type of launch is extremely high-risk with a long road to recovery if expectations are not surpassed, let alone met. We prefer the opposite. Get your product out there, collect feedback, iterate, and rerelease.
Next, came our Entrepreneur Night featuring Brad and David from 6-9pm. Along with Square 1 bank, LaunchBox hosted this event in Bay 7 on the American Tobacco Campus for Brad and David to discuss their new book, “Do More Faster” and take questions from local entrepreneurs. Over 300 entrepreneurs came out.
Durham is quickly becoming the startup hub of the southeast and much of what Brad and David spoke about hit home for both new and experienced entrepreneurs in the area. Building an entrepreneurship-driven community requires long-term vision. A community needs 10-12 leaders (like the founders of LaunchBox, and other initiatives), a thirst for making a difference, an attitude of pay-it-forward, and an infrastructure that supports the entrepreneurs. Both commented that Durham clearly has it and is ready to explode.