Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

03TH October 2013

Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Mojiva - Portfolio - Social - Timely - Uncategorized - Venture Capital

Start Up Choate- West Coast Swing ’13

LA Panel

LA Panel- Start Up Choate

The jet lag is just clearing up from our most recent Start Up Choate events on the West Coast. Nearly 100 alumni showed up to network, exchange pitches, and listen to our panels. Special thanks to Bob Vanech ’86, Steven Posner ’86, Brett Johnson ’88 , DJ (researching year) and Michael Fitzpatrick ’93 for sharing their wisdom- and their pizza.

One thing that was new this time was the Elevator Pitches: we had a total of ten people spontaneously stand up and reel off a 60 second summaries of their ideas. Madness ensued. Some skipped the problem, some were hazy about their solution, some rambled about the market. But all of them gained valuable insight and cycles on how to capture people’s imagination and deliver an impactful pitch that makes people want to learn more. Thanks to Chris Clouten for the suggestion in the first place, and to the entrepreneurs for standing up. There will be more.

Funny note: our first speed pitch was actually a Taftie! He had been following the group on twitter and wanted to come network. We were extra tough on him, we thought any less would be poor form! We’re discussing whether to open up the events a little, or keep them 100% Choate on Choate. Choaties- see the poll here.

The panel is Santa Monica was representative of the diverse community that is forming there: DJ had an entertainment business, Brett made a mark in the consumer product world. Steven was (is) a marketing guru focussed on kids entertainment, and Bobby V… is Bobby V. One of my favorite lines of the night came from DJ, who had exited one business and was looking for something he loved as his next gig, and said “I guess I was not afraid of poverty. I was afraid of boredom”.

BTW, huge kudos to the folks from Cross Campus, who know how to host and produce and event. First class, and tip of the hat from Bobby V. for the connection.

San Fran was more informal, but no less cool. The Elevator pitches took on a life of their own, and the audience chimed in with their advice as well. Winner was the Dang CoConut guy who was elegant and precise… and passed around the goods which were mad good! Michael Fitzpatrick shared his experiences starting Connect Solutions… after Adobe had passed on it. And how he handled the peaks and valleys of being an entrepreneur along the ways.

One interesting note from the panel: almost everyone, including myself, had hired, partnered, or been funded by a Choate alumni sometime in the journey. We’d like that to continue- and perhaps improve.

We’re setting up our East Coast swing shortly, including a visit to Wallingford.


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