54 episodes

In the startup world, Give First means simply trying to help anyone—especially entrepreneurs—with no expectation of getting anything back. It's the pay-it-forward principle that builds strong startup networks. Hosts David Cohen and Brad Feld—Techstars cofounders, lifelong entrepreneurs, and startup investors—talk with mentors and founders about what giving first looks like in action, and how it makes great entrepreneurship possible.
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Give First Techstars

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 32 Ratings

In the startup world, Give First means simply trying to help anyone—especially entrepreneurs—with no expectation of getting anything back. It's the pay-it-forward principle that builds strong startup networks. Hosts David Cohen and Brad Feld—Techstars cofounders, lifelong entrepreneurs, and startup investors—talk with mentors and founders about what giving first looks like in action, and how it makes great entrepreneurship possible.
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    Ep 52: Fraudmarc’s Keith Coleman on the Value of Give First as a Founder

    Ep 52: Fraudmarc’s Keith Coleman on the Value of Give First as a Founder

    If you’ve ever wondered just where Give First came from, or how it became such a central philosophy at Techstars, this episode is for you. Or if you’ve ever wanted to push back and say: does Give First really work? What’s in it for me? This is also the episode for you. 
    A few months ago, Keith Coleman, Founder of Fraudmarc (Techstars Atlanta 2017) emailed David and Brad with the subject “give first, finish last.” In it, he explained his reservations with Give First. Basically, he asked: Is Give First right for new founders who are super focused on the survival of their company? Or is Give First for people who have already met with success, and who have the time and resources to be able to give? 
    David and Brad’s response was to invite Keith on the show to talk about what Give First is, where it came from, and why it’s absolutely not just for the already successful. Give First is for every stage in your company, and in your entrepreneurial journey.

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    • 38 min
    Ep 51: Bain Capital Ventures’ Matt Harris on supporting entrepreneurs through 25+ years as an investor

    Ep 51: Bain Capital Ventures’ Matt Harris on supporting entrepreneurs through 25+ years as an investor

    There are some people whose lives are perfect expressions of the zeitgeist. Matt Harris is one of them. 
    In 1995, Matt’s college roommate at Williams started a company out of their dorm room. It was called Tripod, and it was one of the first dot com companies. By 1997, when Matt was 24, Williams invited him back to Williamstown, a rural community with a population of 6,000, to run an investing firm. 
    When that was a success, Matt and that same college roommate, Bo Peabody, started Village Ventures to bring VC to secondary and tertiary cities around the U.S., with a focus on college towns with intellectual capital, but no venture capital. 
    Fun fact: Matt’s first hire at Village Ventures was Gina Raimondo, who is now the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In 2012, Village Ventures wound down, and Matt moved to Bain Capital Ventures, where he continues to invest in startups.
    Basically, Matt’s journey has paralleled, and shaped, that of venture capital in the age of the internet. Listen for insights into that rocky road, and how Matt has learned, over time, how to best support the entrepreneurs he’s invested in.


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    • 33 min
    Ep 50: Sustainability and economic opportunity with Cody Simms of Techstars Climate Tech Podcast

    Ep 50: Sustainability and economic opportunity with Cody Simms of Techstars Climate Tech Podcast

    People want their capital to be used for good, and whether it’s clean energy or sustainable agriculture, there is ample economic opportunity in efforts to decarbonize the planet. In this special podcast crossover episode, Techstars’ own David Cohen and Cody Simms discuss how the entrepreneurial ecosystem is rallying around climate change. If you haven't yet checked out the Techstars Climate Tech podcast, you can find it on all major podcast platforms.
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    • 28 min
    Ep 49: The Community Fund’s Lolita Taub on investing in community-driven companies

    Ep 49: The Community Fund’s Lolita Taub on investing in community-driven companies

    Lolita Taub has always been about community, from her upbringing in South Central LA to now at The Community Fund, which is a venture capital fund that invests in community-driven companies, “connecting people to people and resources to achieve results.” 
    By day, Lolita is the Corporate Development VP at Catalyte, but on breaks or weekends, she is an operator-investor, looking for those unicorns of the future. She believes these companies will “have customers that identify as members where members have a space to create value for each other, and then start this marketing sales flywheel.”
    Listen for Lolita’s ideas of the expensive side of building a customer base and how “only good things can come out of” involving customers into building a company, such as lifetime value, retention, sales leads, and talent acquisition, among other benefits.
    Also, don’t miss Lolita and David discussing the startup investor matching tool that began last year right on Twitter, and how COVID has changed how we build relationships.


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    • 22 min
    Ep 48: Academy Investor Network’s Sherman Williams on going from military service to VC

    Ep 48: Academy Investor Network’s Sherman Williams on going from military service to VC

    From his service as a Naval Intelligence Officer to an MBA from the University of Chicago to becoming an investor in early-stage startups in healthcare tech, frontier tech, logistics, and marketplaces, Sherman Williams has had an interesting career. 
    Now he’s also helping other U.S. Service Academy (USNA, USMA, USAFA, USCGA and USMMA) grads to invest as well. Many veterans want to get into entrepreneurship, but don’t know how to access a network to help them learn and grow. The Academy Investor Network invests in veteran-led startups (as well as civilian-led startups) that focus on “dual-use technology,” or tech that has both commercial and government purposes. Or as Sherman puts it, “technologies that help make our country safer, operate more efficiently, and have a strong commercial use case.”
    Listen for Sherman’s take on how technologies like this can have both civilian and military use cases, and how veterans can thrive in entrepreneurship. 
    Oh, and definitely listen for David and Sherman’s brief but delightful discussion of reggae. 
    Follow Sherman Williams on Twitter @vc_sherman

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    • 18 min
    Ep 47: FemTech Focus’ Brittany Barreto, Ph.D. on creating a new category: FemTech

    Ep 47: FemTech Focus’ Brittany Barreto, Ph.D. on creating a new category: FemTech

    Brittany Barreto, Ph.D., started as an entrepreneur, transitioned to VC, and now is building a whole new category: FemTech. Yes, she invented the term, and you are encouraged to use it and spread it. 
    Brittany realized that women’s health and wellness companies didn’t have the community that helps an industry thrive, so she set out to build it. She cofounded FemTech Focus, and started hosting the FemTech Focus Podcast to talk about “the innovative technology, services, and products (collectively known as femtech) that are improving women’s health and wellness.” FemTech focus is working to provide essentials like market research, industry awareness, founder training, and more that FemTech founders need in order to succeed. 
    That was 2020. Now in 2021, Brittany is expanding to providing capital to the FemTech community, with her new firm, Coyote Ventures, which will fund seed stage FemTech startups. 
    Does FemTech really need a category of its own? Here are Brittany’s stats on the size of FemTech: “Our current company database is 636 active FemTech startups in the world. We have found over 50 exits in the last 20 years. The average exit value is $480 million, which is significant because the average tech startup exit is $200 million.” So yes, it’s significant. 
    This is how you coin a term, create a category, and grow a community. 

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    • 22 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
32 Ratings

32 Ratings

RubyJoy2020 ,

First Timer

This was my first time listening to this podcast because of James Oliver Jr. and ParentPreneurs Foundation and I am glad I landed here. I love podcasts for my morning walks and this one has been added to my rotation and I recommend you doing the same. Great information and awesome people plus inspiration to Give, you can’t beat that.

ChrysKey ,

Techstars walks the walk

Things changed after startup weekend. I only wish we found it sooner. We lived the experiences described in these startup lessons and the insight could have saved us a few detours. We are grateful for Techstars' #givefirst mantra and all their amazing team. 💚 Thank you!

KaceyRae88 ,

Great stories & advice

Great personal stories and advice from experienced entrepreneurs. Love the practical yet "feel good" stories demonstrated from the startup world and what people have learned.

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