Building World-Class Startup Ecosystems by Focusing on Needs

As the managing partner at Beta Boom, a high-touch seed fund that focuses on emerging tech hubs, I have had the great fortune to speak to scores of entrepreneurs, tech workers, investors, and civic leaders in over a dozen emerging startup ecosystems in the United States as well as in regions such as Indonesia, Uruguay, and Nigeria. Through these conversations and numerous visits, I noticed that some ecosystems that seem replete with resources fail to meet the needs of local startups while others with smaller communities and fewer programs have thriving, successful tech scenes.

After giving this phenomenon considerable thought, I realized that resources don’t directly translate to meeting startups’ needs much in the same way that cramming features into a product doesn’t necessarily make it more useful. Instead of engaging in a race to create more resources, I believe that more effective startup ecosystems can be built by focusing instead on the needs that startups have. Only after truly understanding startups’ needs, should we consider what resources can best meet those needs. We can think of this as need-centered ecosystem design.Read More


WishYourPrice Is Inventing a World Where Everyone Has a Say on Prices

Imagine if you could decide how much you pay for everything you buy. Those shoppers that are willing to pay more for an item–either because they have the means or because they really want it–would pay more, whereas those that are not as keen to pay a lot could offer a lower price for the item. The retailer could then intelligently decide which prices they should accept to give them the greatest profit. By getting rid of one-size-fits-all prices, shoppers would win by being able to buy items at prices that make sense to them, and retailers would likewise gain by increasing the revenue that they earn from each shopper. This is the future that WishYourPrice is building.

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No Plug, No Cord, No Charging Pad: How WiWaves is Revolutionizing Wireless Charging

Imagine having your phone charge while it’s sitting in your pocket or while you hold it in your hand, untethered from the wall. Imagine not having to precisely place your phone on a pad to have it charge. Just imagine not having to even think about charging your phone at all! This is the future that WiWaves’ founders, Halston van der Sluys and Cameron Stuart envisioned, and the one they are making a reality with their first product, the Capsule, which is set to ship in November of this year.

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Good Glucos Is Making Diabetes Management Accessible to All

Many people with diabetes must check their blood sugar up to ten times per day or more, particularly type 1 diabetics like Elliot Gatt, the founder of Good Glucos. Because of the frequency required, treatment compliance is an issue for many. Additionally, consistency in testing as well as accuracy of the test can make the difference between life and death. Good Glucos solves both of these challenges by providing highly accurate testing supplies on subscription. However, this is just the start of Good Glucos’ mission to provide end-to-end diabetes management for all.

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Fiveable Is Enabling College Success for All High School Students

When students take and pass AP courses, they can save as much as $19,000 in college tuition and other costs. Unfortunately, many students lack both access to AP courses as well as support outside of the classroom, which can greatly improve students’ course completion and test outcomes. Amanda DoAmaral, the founder of Fiveable, has intimate knowledge of this reality having taught AP History in Oakland, California as well as from her experience with Teach for America. While this gap is greatest in school districts with fewer resources, this is a wide scale problem across the United States.

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