Glen Hellman has a knack for making blood boil.This was on full display in a Facebook message Hellman posted in June, jabbing at the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s new board roster. The lineup, Hellman suggested, was inordinately packed with representatives of Fortune 500 companies — not startups.
WashingtonExec spoke with Glen Hellman, a Principle at Driven Forward LLC, about the role D.C. plays in the technology industry. Hellman also reflects on the potential for start up businesses in the D.C. area. WashingtonExec: In what ways is D.C. poised to be the next hub of technology? Glen Hellman: The next hub is probably a misnomer for a couple of reasons. A) There is room for, and there are many, technology hubs today and B) The Washington Region has always been one of those hubs. At one time, in the late 70s during the mainframe revolution, DC was Silicon Valley before there was a Silicon Valley. Mainframe software companies like VM Software, Morino Associates, and Landmark Systems, were DC’s contribution to the first software companies on the planet. We currently have more early stage companies, many of high quality, than I’ve seen in my 30 years as a DC-Techie. The ecosystem is heating up with more networking, cross-pollination, and education resources. There’s density, energy and support. And there are some companies in our 3rd tech wave that have come off successful IPOs like Living Social and Millennial Media. There are private companies like Opower that are appearing to be achieving impressive scale. (Read...
“You have very few CEOs who can take a company from a start-up based on the force of his personality and vision, and drive it to a billion-plus company and 10,000 employees and still run that company,” said Glen Hellman, the “chief entrepreneureator” at a company-building consultancy called Driven Forward.Hellman has parachuted into four start-ups at the request of investors. In most cases, investors had lost confidence in the executive’s ability to lead or willingness to tell the truth, Hellman said.“The combination of the fact that [tech stocks] are on sale, and the fact that they’re much more liquid than an angel investment, makes them much more attractive compared to how they were three months ago,” said Glen Hellman, an angel investor and principal at Driven Forward LLC.
“The combination of the fact that [tech stocks] are on sale, and the fact that they’re much more liquid than an angel investment, makes them much more attractive compared to how they were three months ago,” said Glen Hellman, an angel investor and principal at Driven Forward LLC.
The new fund will not find any shortage of potential portfolio companies, said Glen Hellman, an angel investor and chairman of Driven Forward LLC, a District-based strategic adviser to entrepreneurs.“That part of their premise is right on,” Hellman said. “They come down to the angel level, because the [New Enterprise Associates] and the Grotechs of the world just won’t give that little amount of money.”But Hellman said the surge in entrepreneurial activity at that level comes with a pronounced need for subject matter expertise, to discern the true gems.
New, unconventional channels that entrepreneurs can use to find investors are beginning to crop up in the Washington area, part of a burgeoning shift in the traditional venture capital pitch“It’s a Herculean effort to get CEOs to constantly focus their story and drill it down and crystallize it into something that’s easy to understand,” Hellman said. “We’re constantly coaching them on less, less, less — less is more.”
The elevator pitch has a found a new home on Twitter.Entrepreneurs who registered in advance are invited to pitch venture capitalists and angel investors today via Twitter on the opportunity to invest in their businesses. Participants can submit up to 10 tweets, each of which is limited to 140 characters or less. What’s more, the person who submits the best Twitter pitch will receive a $2,000 prize.