This weekend I spent a day with Rebecca Lovell (on right in photo) and a group of 60+ University of Washington Technology Management MBA students who were doing their final project prior to graduating – a venture capital investment competition. The Tech Management MBA is designed specifically for technology industry professionals and the venture capital competition (with Rebecca teaching) was a component added recently to give them some exposure to entrepreneurs in fund-raising mode and to give them a better understanding of the issues early stage tech investors consider. Although the students were only playing at being VCs, they did so with four real startups, giving the entrepreneurs a half day of practice pitching their companies and answering questions a potential investor might ask. UW TMMBA VCIC June 2012 TVA.jpg

The four companies that took time out of their busy startup schedules to present to the students were:

  • Relaborate, makers of software to simplify the process of creating quality content for business blogs;
  • SkyFu, with tools and data to assist a business with online reputation management;
  • Saltbox, creators of a sales force communication and learning application; and
  • Booktrope, with a book publishing model that offers more support than self-publishing.

Continue Reading UW Tech MBA Venture Capital Investment Competition

Rebecca Lovell (subject of our past interview/VentureSpotlight) has a post on GeekWire this morning announcing that the tech news site and online community has acquired Seattle 2.0, a site dedicated to assisting tech entrepreneurs build their companies.  GeekWire plans to continue hosting the Seattle 2.0 Awards event and StartupDay conference, in addition to combining the job postings from both sites as well as other elements.  Marcelo Calbucci, founder and driving force behind Seattle 2.0, will advise GeekWire through the integration but is now dedicating his time
Continue Reading GeekWire & Seattle 2.0 – Marriage Made in Heaven

Here is the second half of The Venture SpotLight interview with Rebecca Lovell, the Chief Business Officer of GeekWire, the tech news site based in Seattle.  You can find the first installment of our talk with Rebecca here.

Biggest mistake you have made in your career/business?  Staying in a comfortable job for too long back in my corporate days.

What did you study as an undergraduate at Carleton College?  I designed my own American Studies Major: sort of history-based with a little English and religion and women’s studies all mashed up.  I was absolutely set to go into a non-profit.  That was my game plan.

What did you do instead?  Great big companies would come to Carleton, this little liberal arts college, because they wanted to hire smart people and train them to do whatever it was they needed.  I ended up filling a slot at an informational session to take notes for someone else.  The recruiter convinced me to come meet with him.  I borrowed a suit, interviewed and the next thing I know, I am in a management development program for an industrial supply distribution company in Chicago.  So that’s what I did with my liberal arts degree.  I went and learned everything there is to learn about logistics and socket head cap screws and marketing and finance and accounts receivable and inventory management along the way and six years later I woke up in Cleveland.Continue Reading The Venture Spotlight: Rebecca Lovell, GeekWire (Part II)

lovelletters.JPGThe Venture SpotLight turns to Rebecca Lovell today, with the first installment of our interview with her.  Among the many hats she wears, Rebecca is the Chief Business Officer of GeekWire, the tech news site based in Seattle.  In that role, she oversees advertising, sponsorship, planning GeekWire events and generally helping GeekWire connect with the Pacific Northwest technology community.  Some the other roles Rebecca fills: mentor for TechStars and The Founder Institute; community advisor to Startup Weekend; professor of a class on venture capital investing at the University of Washington Foster School of Business; board member of the Northwest Entrepreneur Network; classically trained flutist; self-described “karaoke junkie”; National Merit Scholar; valedictorian of Garfield High School; and former mathlete (ask her about having 75 students create a human mobius strip).

What are the best and worst aspects of your job at GeekWire?  

Best:  I get to work with smart, motivated, passionate geeks and meet with them every day.  I love evangelizing our mission – putting our region on the global map of innovation, where it belongs.  Shining a light on innovation wherever it happens.  Celebrating and supporting geekdom.

Worst:  I am not a patient woman.  I can see where our business can go 6, 12, 18 months from now and can’t wait for rolling out some amazing stuff that I could tell you about, but would have to kill you.  Ordering is important and I don’t want to screw it up.  Along those lines, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes, keeping-the-lights on stuff that is the prelude to greatness.

What advice would you give to someone applying for a job at a startup?  Embrace uncertainty.  You may be applying for a specific job but you will need to be a generalist – a real team player.  That provides huge opportunity but is a big responsibility – you’ve got to call for the ball.  If you see a problem, present a solution, or just fix it.  You’ve got to be nimble and move at the speed of startups.Continue Reading The Venture Spotlight: Rebecca Lovell, GeekWire (Part I)