Zack Mansfield manages the Square Roots program for Square 1 Bank in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic. Zack mentors and advises a number of entrepreneurs and startups, and blogs about technology and venture capital at Runway to Exit.
Two weeks ago, I was in New York and got to catch up with my old colleague Mark Loranger. For several years, Mark covered the NYC and Boston markets for the Square Roots program and did a fantastic job building relationships with some of the best and brightest startups in the Northeast.
About a year ago, Mark decided that he needed to scratch the entrepreneurial itch fully, and left the bank to join one of his startup clients, Updater.
Updater offers a slick and modern free change of address platform while also providing all kinds of extra benefits to its users. The company has been steadily building momentum and, as I discovered while catching up with Mark, it's clear that there are a ton of really cool and valuable things that the company will announce soon.
There's a lot to be excited about with Updater, and clearly Mark is loving startup life. When I asked him to describe what it's been like taking the leap from startup advisor to startup doer, I thought his analogy was enlightening and useful for anyone thinking about taking a similar leap.
“It's like a marathon,“ Mark said.
I nodded and thought I was getting where he was going. In building Square 1 Bank over the last 6 years, we have a regular refrain at the end of all-hands-on company meetings – “It's a marathon, not a sprint.” Building companies is hard work, and takes a long time. --Read On
In my day to day role helping to run the Square Roots program for Square 1 Bank, one of my most important responsibilities is to be involved as a connector. Often, this manifests itself in introductions between a company and a potential investor or service providers. From time to time, I'll meet someone who wants to break into the startup world. I usually try to ask a series of questions to understand exactly what the person wants to do and then attempt to do some mental matching with companies that may be a fit for the profile and talents of the job seeker. If you want to work for a startup, here are a few tips that I hope will help you find a fit:
1. Clearly define your risk profile
The definition of a “startup” is nebulous at best and can mean completely different things to different people. Some think of startups as a couple scrappy founders in a garage who are eating ramen noodles. For others who come from a Fortune 500 background, a startup may be a venture backed company with 100 employees that has raised $20 million. --Read On
The New Year is upon us which means every treadmill at the local gym is occupied by an eager soul hoping to fulfill some sort of resolution. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for resolutions and even went as far last year as going public with them. In my post on Jan 1, 2012, I shared my two goals for 2012: Run 1000 miles and to do 30,000 pushups.
My goals were intentionally set high - I wanted a challenge and I wanted something that would require a full, 365 day commitment. I'm happy to say that I did stick with my resolutions for most of 2012. While I didn't hit my total goals, I did make some great progress and have some reflections as a result, both for personal goals...