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GroupMe founder on his $80M exit (and why he’s building his new company differently)

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Dec 6, 2017
I’m so excited about today’s guest. Years ago he created a software that allowed a group of people to talk to one another over text. It was called GroupMe and it felt like as soon as I even heard about the company it was sold in a life-changing exit. I always admired how they did it....

Chat bots: How to get clients

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Oct 13, 2017
I’m so freaking obsessed with chat bots because I think it’s the future of online engagement. We’re spending more time in chat apps than we are in email and even social media. The guest I have for you today was running a successful businesses but he too became so obsessed with chat bots...

How Testlio brought the power of a marketplace to the product testing space

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Sep 25, 2017
You’d think after 1,500 interviews I’d understand where all the interesting businesses are, where all the revenue is, but I still don’t. I’m still surprised by pockets of opportunity. Today’s guest is a perfect example. Joining me is Kristel Kruustuk. She’s...

How a partner at Sequoia thinks about startups

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Aug 16, 2017
This is what I love about San Francisco: I was out with my son and I met another father who was a founder. He was telling me about his new startup but what amazed me was the way he thought about it and how he thought about entrepreneurship in general. Today’s guest is a guy who thinks the...

Jason Calacanis, Angel

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Jul 24, 2017
For years, I've wanted to ask Jason Calacanis a few things. Like, how is it that after his company, Mahalo, took a ton of painful hits he still kept acting like each new idea he had was sure to be the one? Was it an act?

How a former Amazon employee launched an aromatherapy company

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Mar 29, 2017
Today’s guest is a Mixergy listener who sent me an email saying he had built his business and was ready to come on to tell his story. Peter Friis is the founder of ESSIO, which makes the world’s first aromatherapy diffuser for the shower. We’ll talk about what that means and how he did...

“How I took on $100s of millions of VC-funded competitors & won”

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Mar 17, 2017
A few years ago it seemed like every venture capitalist tried to create the “Uber of cleaning services.” Why did so many of them fail? Why did Michael Scharf’s MyClean service continue to grow? Catch the interview to find out.

Alex Blumberg, Startup Podcast, Gimlet, Chris Sacca

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Mar 13, 2017
At one point I snuck the keywords “Alex Blumberg” & “Startup Podcast” into the title tags of my interviews. I wanted people to find my podcast when they searched for Alex’s. The guy had a top business show, so I was trying to appeal to his audience. It worked,...

How Diego Saez Gil built a smart luggage company into a multi-million dollar company

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Mar 6, 2017
Imagine you’re a venture capitalist looking at investments all day long and this guy from Argentina walks into your office and says, “I’ve got this great idea. It’s luggage.” Luggage? Really? Well, if you continued that conversation–and didn’t run...

Shark Tank’s Daymond John

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Feb 17, 2017
Joining me is Daymond John. He’s one of the stars of Shark Tank, the incredibly popular show where entrepreneurs try to raise money from him and other investors. I heard of Daymond back when I worked for my dad’s store as kid in Brooklynn. One day this guy walked into the store wearing a...

Andy Rachleff on founding Benchmark & Wealthfront

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Feb 15, 2017
Joining me today is a man who founded one of the legendary firms in all of tech. He is the cofounder of Benchmark, the venture capital firm that has invested in companies such as Uber and Snap. Historically they’ve been known to have successes that go back to Ebay and here he is on Mixergy....

Sam Altman on Y Combinator, Loopt & Work Habits

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Oct 24, 2016
Sam Altman is the President of YC Group, which oversees Y Combinator, the seed investment firm that has funded 1,500 startups with a combined value of $80 billion. (Late applications accepted here.) Before that, Sam founded Loopt, a location-based software company. My goals for this interview...

Would you refuse to launch with venture capital?

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Dec 21, 2015
I first discovered today's guest because he was doing something that just seemed crazy to me...

Why is Dave McClure throwing balls at founders’ heads?

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Apr 24, 2015
The first question I asked Dave McClure was about why he throws balls at entrepreneurs. The initial 33 words of his answer might make you...

Danielle Morrill opens up about how she built Mattermark

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Sep 26, 2014
I've been trying to do this interview for a long time because frankly I've been hearing a lot about...

Don’t drink the VC Kool-Aid–You don’t need funding to be an entrepreneur

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Jun 20, 2014
Everyone says, "Do what you love and don't give up." In this interview, you'll meet a guest who says, "Well, maybe not." She gave it everything she had, including a house. She listened to venture capitalists...

Torrenegra Labs: How To Get The Attention Of A Venture Capitalist

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Nov 4, 2013
Wait till you see what today's guest did to a venture capitalist to get his attention.

LearnBoost: Can You Really Build A Business “Selling” Free Software?

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Jul 15, 2013
What obstacles do you run into when trying to "sell" free software and is it possible to build a business based on free software?

Chateau Mcely: Find A Balance Between Life And Business

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May 8, 2013
How does an idea that Exxon didn't want turn into nearly a billion dollar business?

SoftTech: A Single Observation Leads To A Successful Business

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Mar 26, 2012
How does an interest in "intellectually interesting problems" turn a founder into a successful entrepreneur, venture capitalist and a thought leader? Charles Hudson founded 3rd Power LLC, a conference business which he sold to WebMediaBrands (and I'll ask him to share the finances there). He also wrote industry-influencing reports at Inside Network. And today, he's...

How Do You Grow A Hard-To-Explain Business?

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Dec 1, 2011
This is the story of a woman who launched multiple successful tech companies and a venture capital firm. In 1997, Maria Cirino co-founded i-Cube, which (2 years later) sold to Razorfish for $677 million. She followed that up in 2000 with Guardent, which (3 years after that) sold to VeriSign for $135 million. In 2006, she...

Fortify.vc: Founders Funding Founders

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Nov 7, 2011
How does an employee turn himself into a hit-making entrepreneur and investor? After spending years in sales and engineering at UUNET and other companies, Jonathon Perrelli founded Plesk, The Shadow Group, eTantrum, SecureSoftware, & SecureForce. As an investor, he backed Plaxo, FormSpring, FormStack, and other companies. Then he launched Fortify.vc, where founders fund founders.

AdVentures: Failure Leads To Success

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Sep 27, 2011
How does a 28-year-old who looks like he's 17 build one of the fastest growing private companies in the country? Brent Beshore is the founder of AdVentures, which creates and acquires companies. His holdings include...

AngelList: The Right Way To Use It To Raise Funding

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Sep 19, 2011
How can an entrepreneur use AngelList to raise money for a startup? Many founders who are in my audience are raising money using AngelList RIGHT NOW. Others have seen my interviews with entrepreneurs like Gagan Biyani who raised funding within a few weeks on AngelList. They asked me to do a session on how to...
Master Class Course

Raising Capital

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Aug 30, 2011
Oren Klaff saw that entrepreneurs who make lame pitches can’t raise capital, so he used his experience helping to place over $400 million in capital to write a book about how to pitch. It was all done with effective pitching strategies, so we invited him to teach you how to do it.
Master Class Course

Mixergy How-To Guide: How to Raise $1 Million from Investors [Premium Access]

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Jun 15, 2011
Regular site visitors get this on a “pay with a tweet” basis, but I wanted to make sure you had instant access. Thanks for being a member.

Looking for Success Patterns with Founder of DoubleClick & FindTheBest

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May 17, 2011
I started this interview with the kind of focus you've come to expect from me, but then I found out what book Kevin O'Connor was reading and I ended up having a more philosophical discussion. So you'll get the "how he did it" story in this interview and find out how Kevin launched a company in his basement that ended up leading an industry. In...

The Iranian Exile Who Made It Big In Silicon Valley

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Mar 8, 2011
Imagine leaving your country to go to school and suddenly there's a revolution that prevents you from going back home. How would you rebuild your life? That's what happened to Saeed Amidi after the Iranian revolution. This is the story of how he hustled and built himself up, and how he went on to help hundreds of tech startups grow, including PayPal, which leased office space from him and became one of his first angel investments.

Venture Hacks & The Angel Who Gives Founders The Upper-Hand

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Dec 28, 2010
How does Naval Ravikant, co-founder of Venture Hacks and AngelList, help first-time entrepreneurs turn the funding process upside down so they gain the upper-hand over investors? And why would he, an angel who invested in hits like Twitter, bother helping them? And, most curiously, why would he ...

LearnBoost: The “Party Round” Funding Case Study

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Nov 5, 2010
Rafael Corrales coined the term "Party Round," to describe the way he raised money for his company from multiple venture capital firms and multiple angels. I invited him to Mixergy to teach how he did it. Rafael is the co-founder of LearnBoost, a free online gradebook and classroom management tool for teachers.

Founding Mondus, Truephone, Empora And More

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Oct 19, 2010
After years of persevering through rejection when he called on customers and investors Alexander Straub funded his company, Mondus, a business to business marketplace, by winning an entrepreneurship contest. A year later, he exited after selling 40.7% of the company. Alexander went on to invest and launch other businesses, including, most recently, Truphone, which uses VoIP technology to revolutionize mobile communication, Empora, a fashion search engine and Straub Ventures, a venture capital firm.

“Unjargoning” The Investment Process

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Oct 6, 2010
When you're building a new business, "it is hard enough to fight an IBM or a Google or a Microsoft or a YouTube" says Fred Destin. You shouldn't also have to "fight the jargon of the people who are funding you. So what I'm trying to do is help entrepreneurs get inside the mind of the VC so they understand how funds are managed, what investors look for, and how not to get screwed." That's exactly what he did in this interview. Fred is a venture capitalist with Atlas Venture.

Mastering The VC Game

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Oct 4, 2010
My aim with this program is to cover the basics of venture capital, including questions like "How does a VC earn money?" and "What are the different roles inside a VC firm?" Joining me is Jeffrey Bussgang, a VC with Flybridge Capital Partners and the author of Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms. Previously, Jeff was an entrepreneur whose accomplishments include co-founding Upromise, which was acquired by Sallie Mae.

How Udemy’s First-Time Founder Raised $1 Million For His Startup

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Sep 15, 2010
Even if you have zero interest in raising money, you'll want to hear this interview for the same reason chess masters like to watch each other play. If you listen to this interview, you'll hear how a methodical thinker systematically knocks obstacles out his way and creates opportunities. Gagan Biyan had a lot working against him. He was a nobody in the startup scene who didn't know any investors and couldn't program. It didn't stop him. He...

Getting Measurable Growth In Sales By Understanding Your Customer

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Sep 9, 2010
David Skok tells a story about how rethinking his sales cycle helped him generate sales of $3.5 million in one day, after doing $4 million the whole previous year. Of course that's not a typical result, but as you listen to him explain how he did it, you'll see how the methodical way that he thinks about the customer acquisition process can be applied to your company. You'll hear several stories like that in this interview as I ask David about the companies he launched when he was an entrepreneur and the ones he helps grow now that he's a venture capitalist.

What Seedcamp Learned From Sprouting Startups In Europe

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Jul 29, 2010
I get a lot of requests for interviews with companies outside the US. Reshma Sohoni, Seedcamp’s CEO, has helped launch 22 of them. I invited her to teach what she learned from the hits and misses

VC Discusses His Many Hits, Plus One Miss

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Jul 27, 2010
Back when Starbucks was just a startup, Steven Dietz’s firm invested in it and helped it grow. It also backed Costco, PetSmart, Office Depot, Zany Brainy, Egghead, a number of other well-known brands. In this interview you’ll hear how he co-founded his firm, GRP Partners, and some of...

The Buddhist Monk Who Invested In Google

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Jul 7, 2010
I did this interview in 2 parts. Part 1 is about Chrisine Comaford's biography. How she became a monk in the early part of her life and how she went on to launch a few internet companies and invest in others. Part 2 features her business advice based on her experiences with Steve Jobs, Andy Grove, Bill Gates and others.

The Contagious Energy Of The Man Who Invested In Evite, Stubhub & Other Pioneers

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Jun 15, 2010
Spend a few minutes listening to Jon Staenberg in this interview and see if you're not ready to go out and invent the future. He has a contagious energy. The other thing you'll hear in this interview is how he...

Innovation From The Author of Crossing The Chasm & Dealing With Darwin

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May 28, 2010
How did one company that I interviewed change the invitation and ticketing world through innovation, while another company I interviewed in the same space find itself unable to push out even the most basic new ideas?! That's one of the big questions I came to this interview with. Behind all my questions is this clear motivation: to find out how you can grasp the methods of the companies that innovate well and bring them back to your business.

When You’re Ready To Get Past Clichés Like “Never Give Up,” Listen To This

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Apr 26, 2010
Listen around minute 9 of this interview and you'll understand why I think talking about failure is so important. You'll hear how one entrepreneur Brad invested in could have been a salve to the "never give up" cliché, but instead decided to build a successful business. And, since Brad is one of the most admired tech startup investors (Zynga, Return Path, Service Metrics, etc), we spent a lot of time talking about what it takes to build a hit company.

How The Author Of “Founders At Work” Helps Y Combinator Discover And Mentor Startups

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Apr 19, 2010
How does Jessica Livingston do it? How does she look at new, (usually) unproven entrepreneurs and figure out which of them are worth banking Y Combinator's money, reputation and mentorship on? When I asked her co-founder at Y Combinator, Paul Graham, he said she has a "social radar." "She is very rarely wrong," he told me....

The Making Of A Clearstone Venture Capitalist

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Apr 15, 2010
I've known Clearstone Venture Partners for about 5 years and watched them help entrepreneurs think through and launch their businesses. Like Rahul Sonnad, who I met when he worked out of Clearstone's offices while he launched Geodelic, the location discovery app. I invited Sumant Mandal to talk about how he went from being an entrepreneur who never heard of venture capital, to becoming the firm's Managing Director. And to ask him about how Clearstone helps new tech companies launch and grow.

The Biography Of Union Square Ventures

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Apr 12, 2010
- You'll hear how he researched the thesis that Union Square was built on. - You'll see why he "dumbed down" his ideas when he raised money. - You'll learn how he found his partners. - You'll see how he finds the companies he backed. - And more.

Understanding The Investor Who Backed Rent.com, StockTwits, LifeLock And More

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Apr 5, 2010
Howard Lindzon is a mensch. He felt bad that the connection in his Mixergy interview wasn't clear, so he offered to do a second interview. In this interview, you'll hear how he finds the entrepreneurs he backs, how he thinks about the companies he invests in, what size investments he likes to make, and more.

The Making Of A Venrock Venture Capitalist

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Mar 25, 2010
Venrock is the pioneering venture capital firm that backed Apple, Intel, DoubleClick and other well-known success stories. I invited one of its newer partners, David Pakman, to find out how he went from working for Apple, to launching and running his own companies to becoming an investor. I also wanted to hear how a new venture capitalist gets to know people like you, the entrepreneurs and investors who read Mixergy.

How DreamIt Ventures Helps Launch 10 Startups A Year From Philadelphia -with Steven Welch

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Mar 18, 2010
DreamIt Ventures gives 10 startups a year a little money ($10,000 - $25,000) and a lot of mentoring to help them launch their businesses. I invited one of the seed fund's co-founders, Steven Welch, to talk about how they pick the 10 startups and how they help turn ideas into businesses. I also asked him to tell us a little bit about the business he bootstrapped in his 20s and his recent run for Congress.

How A Stress Balloon Led To Ownership Stakes In Bit.ly, TweetDeck, StockTwits, LifeLock And Other Companies

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Mar 1, 2010
When I asked Howard Lindzon to go back in time and tell us how he came to own stakes in companies like Bit.ly, StockTwits, and Rent.com, he showed me a ball called "The Grip." It's a balloon full of seeds that users squeeze to relieve tension. How does that lead to a portfolio of internet companies? Read on.

How A Kid Who Sold Snails Grew Up To Be A Successful Entrepreneur, Then Angel Investor

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Feb 23, 2010
Before I tell you about Boris Wertz's successful startup and how he's investing in other startups, I want to point you to a spot in the interview that starts around minute 18. That's when he talks about how he always wanted to be an entrepreneur and even launched small businesses as a kid -- like the one where he sold snails. Watch that spot and you'll see why...

Law 101 For Startups

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Feb 1, 2010
I've gotten a lot of requests for a program about the legal issues that entrepreneurs like you need to be prepared for, so I invited Bill Schreiber of Fenwick & West to Mixergy. Fenwick is one of the most trusted firms among tech startups. They incorporated Apple, when it was just a startup, and their current client list includes young companies like Twitter and Facebook, as well as bigger companies like Cisco and Symantec.

“When I Invest In Entrepreneurs, I Want Entrepreneurs Who Are Willing To Walk Through Walls”

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Nov 30, 2009
Andy Liu is the guy that past Mixergy guests recommended I interview because he helped them build their businesses. When I interviewed Ben Huh, he said that Andy recommended that he buy ICanHazCheeseBurger.com, and that Andy both invested in the business and helped him strategize. Neil Patel told me that Andy isn't just his business advisor, but a life mentor too. In this interview, you'll...

What Does It Take To Be A Successful Entrepreneur?

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Nov 24, 2009
This interview is full of stories of successful entrepreneurs because Jerry Colonna has invested in or worked with some of the best of them. As I listened to Jerry tell stories of the people he worked with, I kept noticing that the founders who made it big were building companies that were a...

When Harvard Teaches Networking, They Use Her As A Role Model

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Nov 19, 2009
The Harvard Business School Case Study on Heidi Roizen talks about the dinner parties she hosts for tech leaders like her personal friend, Bill Gates, and how people skills helped her build one of the most admired careers in Silicon Valley. I invited Heidi to Mixergy so we can learn how she builds relationships. I know you guys like specifics and examples, so this program is full of lessons you can use.

Turnaround

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Nov 11, 2009
If you’ve been to Mixergy before and I’ve earned your trust, then don’t waste your time reading anything I wrote on this post. Just listen to my interview with Mark Suster and get fired up by his stories and his lessons for entrepreneurs. Then go out for a good run so you can...

A Seed Investor’s Tips For Building A Startup

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Feb 3, 2009
The full program This is an audio program. Listen and/or download it here. A few lessons from this program What can you learn about building a startup from an investor who helps launch multiple companies at once? Matthew Jacobson is a partner at Launch Box Digital, a seed investment and accelerator program that helped launch […]

“Almost Everyone I Counciled Got Funding”

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Dec 8, 2008
Adeo Ressi is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of TheFunded.com, an exclusive web site where startups talk about investors and help each other get funding. In my interview, I asked him to teach us how to get funding. Here’s some of what I learned:

Launch in Phases

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Aug 5, 2008
When Roger Ehrenberg’s company, Monitor110, closed down, he wrote a post mortem for it. After reading his reflections, I called him up to for an interview to get more insight. My biggest takeaway from the conversation is the importance of releasing a site in phases. Roger told me that...

Startup Funding Interview with Bill Reichert of Garage

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Jun 10, 2008
Bill Reichert, Managing Director at Garage Technology Ventures, didn’t speak at the Funding Forum that I organized, but I think he’s an investor that startups need to hear, so we scheduled a phone call–which you can listen to below.

How to Pitch an Investor

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May 30, 2008
To prepare for the Mixergy Funding Forum, I did a pre-interview with William Quigley, the Managing Director at Clearstone Venture Partners. He allowed me to record the conversation for anyone who can’t make it to the Forum.

Investor Interview with David Cremin of DFJ Frontier

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May 28, 2008
To prepare for the Mixergy Forum on Funding for Startups, I called David Cremin, a founder and Managing Director of DFJ Frontier. We talked about how he went from being a musician to a startup founder to an investor. One of the interesting stories he shared in my interview is how a DFJ Frontier...

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.