Tim Chen wanted to help his sister find a credit card, today he runs Nerdwallet

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, Finance, Financial Services, free business advice, Marketing

Tim Chen, Co-Founder and President of Nerdwallet joins me on my latest episode of Bay Area Ventures to talk about his journey from Wall Street investment banker to advocate for consumer credit choice and information.

Nerdwallet is a site where one can find the best credit card, bank account, travel rewards plan, mortgage, insurance or other financial needs tailored to their specific needs, goals or tastes. The site walks users through some qualifying questions then draws on thousands of providers in every state for the best solution.

Nerdwallet Logo Tim Chen, CEO of Nerdwallet

 

Nerdwallet was founded in 2009, in Tim’s apartment in New York City, when his sister asked for help finding the “best” credit card for her needs. Nerdwallet moved to San Francisco when Tim’s co-founder came to San Francisco and hired an intern that was 10x more productive than the intern Tim hired in NYC. In this interview Tim expands on that discovery and talks about why the ecosystem and entrepreneurial hires found in the Bay Area are ideal for a growing startup.

Through his work at Nerdwallet, helping millions of consumers, Tim has become Member of the Consumer Advisory Board for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal agency created after the 2008 financial crises to protect consumers. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the National Federation for Credit Counseling. He talks about high credit rates that consumers face and why it’s difficult to make changes.

Tim, is a highly intelligent young entrepreneur who is dedicated to building an open and motivated workforce. Learn about how he and his team communicate to get work done and allow the company to scale rapidly. This is a great interview packed with lots of practical takeaways for your business.

Recorded on February 13, 2017, on SiriusXM Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School.

For a list of upcoming and past guest information click on the Show link above.

Jonathan Swanson on how to build a generational company

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, free business advice, Getting Started, Hiring Contractors, Setting Goals
Jonathan Swanson
Jonathan Swanson, Co-Founder and President of Thumbtack joins me on my latest episode of Bay Area Ventures to talk about his journey from White House economic aide to building a high-growth fast-pace “generational” technology startup.

Thumbtack provides a marketplace for local services allowing one to find providers for just about anything from builders to caterers to tutors to … you name it. Their approach is different from sites which force you to do all the research for choosing the best provider. Thumbtack walks you through a couple questions and then does the research for you, finding you the best match for your project.

 

Founded in 2009, Thumbtack is now a so-called “unicorn”, a privately held company valued at over $1 billion. Jonathan’s goal for Thumbtack is to be the Amazon of the gig-economy by creating the ultimate marketplace for getting things done. More than building just a huge company though, Jonathan is out to improve the lives of millions of people around the world by helping them become independent and successful entrepreneurs in a world where no one can count on an employer or job to support them for life.

With over a million active customers and hundreds of thousands of providers, Jonathan is doing just that. Thumbtack helps independent providers promote their skills and match them with good customers. In doing so, these independent providers increase their confidence and change their lives for the better. In this episode you’ll hear Jonathan provide some solid examples of people who have achieved great personal success on the platform. Thumbtack is so successful it is out performing Yelp and Angie’s List and could be the Yellow Pages for the twenty-first century and beyond.

Jonathan, is a bright and highly motivated entrepreneur. He is building an open organization where he welcomes debate and challenges to the status quo. The company publishes internal information like board meeting notes for all employees to see in order to encourage everyone in the organization to be aware of what’s happening and how they can make an impact.

Jonathan and his co-founders launched Thumbtack in Washington, DC during the height of the financial crisis in 2009. Today Thumbtack has over 1,000 employees in San Francisco, Salt Lake City and the Philippines. Jonathan moved Thumbtack to San Francisco to take advantage of the Bay Area’s ecosystem early-on and in this interview you’ll hear how he compares the Bay Area way of business to other areas.

There is a powerful interview with a brilliant young entrepreneur.

Recorded on February 13, 2017, on SiriusXM Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School.

For a list of upcoming and past guest information click on the Show link above.

First look at M&A for 2017 – Cisco acquires AppDynamics and two health insurance mergers crater

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, M&A, Venture Capital

In this episode of the M&A Moment, Rick Climan of Hogan Lovells, LLP, joins me to look at how the year 2017 is starting off in the Mergers and Acquisitions arena. We discuss the dollar volume for January 2017 and how that compares to the same period in 2016. We then discuss whether or not the January figures are a good indicator of how the whole year will fare.

The year started off with a couple high flying tech companies being purchased for a fraction of their peak valuations and look at how that might portend for the so call “unicorns” – privately held companies valued over $1 billion. January was also a month where the US government blocked two very large deals that were announced in 2015. Rick talks about those deals and how the Trump administration may or may not act in similar situations going forward. We end the conversation by talking about one very large deal just announced where the target company was simultaneously pursuing an IPO and an acquisition.

Rick Climan  Hogan Lovells logo

 

All this plus Rick’s usual analysis of the legal, financial and strategic thinking behind the M&A markets and these specific deals.

This episode was recorded during my Bay Area Ventures show on SiriusXM Channel 111 Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School on February 13, 2017. Be sure to check out my Bay Area Ventures show page by clicking on the show link at the top of this page. For more information on Rick Climan you can go to Rick Climan on HoganLovells.com or go to www.MandAMoment.com.

How to build products that are pulled by the market

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Biotech startups, business advice, Setting Goals, Venture Capital

My latest episode of Bay Area Ventures features Abe Sher, Managing Partner of Energetico Ventures, a Bal Harbor, Florida based venture fund focused on companies that are helping humanity with brilliantly engineered products and services.

Abe Sher
Abe’s portfolio companies include Aqua Sciences, a company that literally creates water out of thin air, SuperEye, a “neural-reality” company bringing advance displays to human-machine interfaces and Zero Phone, a company aimed at freeing users from the high cost of mobile communications.

 

Mr. Sher has won numerous awards for his technology and has been invited to speak at the White House, by the King of Saudi Arabia and to the Conference of Nobel Laureates by the King of Morocco. His companies’ clients include the Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, the US Department of Homeland Security, US Army and FEMA to name a few.

Abe talks about the types of companies and founders he looks for at Energetico. He is typically looking for products and services that are “pulled” by the marketplace as opposed to those that have to be pushed along. For example, with Aqua Sciences, because he is able to create water from air in some of the harshest environments in the world, he has had huge demand for the systems from governments and NGOs or non-governmental agencies. This has built up sales to the point where they have generated economies of scale and can now offer the system for general commercial purposes like stadiums and events.

Abe has traveled the world helping companies and promoting his own. He talks about his recent trips to China and what he’s discerned about the state of their economy just by walking through their factories. And regardless of where your company is located, he provides tips on what to expect from your leadership team.

This is a super interesting interview jam-packed with practical takeaways for your business and career.

Recorded January 23, 2017, on SiriusXM Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School.

For a list of upcoming and past guest information click on the Show link above.

2016 Mergers and Acquisitions Year in Review and 2017 Forecast

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, M&A

In this special extended addition of the M&A Moment we take a look back at the highlights and final numbers for mergers and acquisitions for the year 2016. We will also take a look ahead at what 2017 might hold in store. Rick Climan of Hogan Lovells, LLP joins me to talk about how 2016 compared to 2015 and discusses some of the biggest deals announced, as well as some of the biggest deals to crater in 2016. Not only does Rick tell us the numbers but he gives us tremendous insights into what’s behind all the strategy, negotiation and legal decisions that led to the results.

Rick Climan
2016 was a stellar year but, was it as strong as 2016? Will 2017 be stronger still? What sectors had the most activity? How did US activity compare to global M&A. Were US companies an attractive target for foreign investment and, if so, what countries were the biggest investors? How will the Donald Trump administration impact US and foreign M&A transactions going forward? Will CFIUS reviews be stepped up and will cyber-crime or information leaks impact any major deals?

 

Rick and I cover all of this and take calls from listeners, as well. It’s a jam packed episode that will be invaluable for your understanding of M&A and your decision making going forward.

This episode was recorded during my Bay Area Ventures show on SiriusXM Channel 111 Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School on January 23, 2017. Be sure to check out my Bay Area Ventures show page here on Spreaker. For more information on Rick Climan you can go to Hogan Lovells, LLP.

San Francisco vs. Atlanta as a place to run your startup company

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On this episode of Bay Area Ventures we speak with Paul Judge, Co-Founder and CEO of Luma. Paul, is an inventor, investor and serial entrepreneur. He is a cybersecurity expert and has had extensive experience in the field through many of his roles. In addition to Luma, Paul was a co-founder of Pindrop Security, Looklive, Tech Square Labs and PureWire, a web security service acquired by Barracuda Networks where he stayed on to be their Chief Research Officer and VP for over five years and through to their $2B IPO.

Luma logoPaul Judge, CEO Luma

Before all that, Paul was the Chief Technology Officer of CipherTrust and Secure Computing. CipherTrust was acquired by Secure Computing for $273M in 2006 and Secure Computing was subsequently acquired by McAfee in 2008 for $465M.

In addition to almost 30 patents under his belt, Paul is an author and lecturer and holds MS and PhDs in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS in computer science from Morehouse College. You can find videos of some of Paul’s lectures on his website at www.pjudge.com.

Paul tells us about his latest company Luma, makers of a new Surround WiFi system that brings the type of WiFi service typically found in large commercial spaces to the home. Luma is a scalable system that allows one to place multiple access points throughout a home, overcoming the limitations of typical home Wifi routers which only have antennas in one location. Luma also employs sophisticated software to make configuration a snap and to protect your home from cyber intrusions.

Luma in living room

Paul also shares his advice on building and running a startup company talking about his transition from a Ph. D. student and early employee at a startup company to becoming a serial entrepreneur on his own. Having homes and offices in both San Francisco and Atlanta, he compares the differences between running startups in the Bay Area versus other locations. The good and the bad.

Paul is an engaging speaker offering great advice for any entrepreneur.

Recorded December 19, 2016 on SiriusXM Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School. Bay Area Ventures airs live on Mondays at 4:00pm Pacific Time, 7:00pm Eastern Time.

For a list of upcoming and past guest information click on the Show link above.

Artificial intelligence and deep machine learning are here

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NBC Universal, Hallmark, Facebook and other large enterprise companies are creating new personalized offerings that resonate with customers on a deep emotional level with artificial intelligence and deep machine learning.

They are working with GlimpzIt, a San Francisco based company to host conversations where customers and other audiences can express their opinions and share pictures and videos to illustrate their views. Parry Bedi is the Co-Founder and CEO of GlimpzIt and talks about his company and how they do it in this interview on Bay Area Ventures From SiriusXM Channel 111 Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School recorded November 14, 2016.

M&A Moment December 2016 – Golden Gate Capital and Neustar Merger

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, Finance, M&A

In this, the final M&A Moment for 2016 Rick Climan of www.weil.com joins me to talk about the recent Golden Gate Capital acquisition of Neustar Inc. (NYSE: NSR) signaling a continued resurgence of private equity firms making financial acquisitions in 2016. This deal is interesting because of some of the foreign capital involved in the deal, as well, which will mandate careful review by US’ Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). CFIUS also comes into play as Rick discusses President Obama’s veto of a proposed merger of the German semiconductor company Aixtron by a Chinese company Fujian Grand Chip based on national security concerns. It an unusual reach for a US president to get involved in a CFIUS matter.

We also take a brief look at 2016 as a whole but will be doing a full review of M&A Activity for 2016 and will be taking a look ahead at trends and prospects for 2017 on our next episode which will be an extend addition.

Here is a direct link to Rick Climan

Why entrepreneurs must understand the sales function

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My latest podcast of Bay Area Ventures is an interview with Jim Fowler, Founder and CEO of Owler.com. Jim is a serial entrepreneur who launched Jigsaw.com in 2003 and sold it to Salesforce.com in 2010 for $175M.

Jim Fowler - Founder and CEO of Owler

Jim’s leadership skills have evolved over time and build on his experience as a Naval officer, Co-Owner of a ski resort, a VP of Sales and two-time tech entrepreneur.

The Owler team includes several of Jim’s friends and colleagues who have worked with him before which is a testament to his ability to foster and congeal teams. In this interview he shares his experiences in building and running companies, discusses some mistakes he’s made along the way and explains why he thinks the most important skill for an entrepreneur is to fully understand the sales process including how and why customers are going to pay for your company’s products or services.

Jim’s motivation for working and speaking is to help others. He is not drawing a salary from Owler and plans to donate his profits to charity. He is most concerned with setting a good example as a father rather than to sit back and live off of his prior gains.

I guarantee this podcast will be a great use of your time.

PPCIan shares the latest advice on SEM

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Advertising, business advice, Marketing

Ian Lopuch, VP, Search Marketing of eHealthInsurance and author of PPCIan returns to The Free COO to offer incredible advice for entrepreneurs.

Learn about online marketing technologies, search engine trends for 2012 and 2013, careers in online marketing and top 3 tips for online marketers.

Ian is The Free COO’s first repeat guest and for good reason. He is always an exciting speaker and in this 90 minute interview you’ll get so many great actionable takeaways for your company that it will more than compensate you for your time spent listening. This is a must hear interview.

Be sure to follow Ian’s frequent posts on www.PPCIan.com

And be sure to catch The Free COO Thursdays at 4:00pm Pacific Time live on Spreaker, Facebook and right here.