SSE Labs' Blog

Stanford's Student Startup Accelerator

5/18 – Management/HR Workshop with Brian Helmick, Founder/Managing Partner of Algentis

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Brian leads the firm’s efforts in new business development.  Prior to founding Algentis, Brian focused on high tech and biotech sales at ProService, an HR services firm.  Previously, he worked in business development and sales at Xoom, an online money transfer startup in San Francisco.  Brian also spent time as a private equity investor with Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and General Atlantic.  At General Atlantic, he focused on IT services businesses and had oversight responsibility for the investment in ProPay, an HR services firm.  Brian began his career as an investment banker with Salomon Smith Barney.  He is a certified PHR (Professional in Human Resources) and a former CPA (Certified Public Accountant).

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Brian Helmick, founder of employee administration service Algentis, ran a Management and HR workshop for our companies. Brian gave very useful advice on the hiring and firing process, as well as knowledge regarding performance evaluations and management.  A couple of the key takeaways can be found below:

1. Hire slowly in identifying and interviewing good candidates, but fire quickly in performance evaluations, determining when to coach vs. when to fire, and termination discussion/process.

2. Use a quarterly review process and score people accordingly – determine when to coach vs. when to fire.  Know that nobody ever complains about firing somebody too quickly, and an underperformer is incredibly costly.

Written by ahzietsman

May 18, 2011 at 12:55 am

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5/17 – Office Hours with Jason Putorti

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We had a great office hour session with Jason Putorti today who came in to help our companies with UI and UX issues.

From his CrunchBase profile:

“Jason Putorti is the Co-Founder of Votizen, a company bringing the authenticity of registered voters to social networks. He was the first Designer in Residence at Bessemer Venture Partners, which he joined in late November of 2009. It was through BVP partner David Cowan that he met his co-founder David Binetti.

Jason is best known as the Lead Designer of Mint.com from March 2007. He was responsible for the user experience, visual design, and user interface for the product, as well as the brand image. He briefly stayed on as the Lead on Creative Direction for the Personal Finance division after Mint was acquired by Intuit.”

Written by ahzietsman

May 17, 2011 at 12:50 am

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5/16 – Biz. Development in Enterprise Sales Workshop with Professor Kirk Bowman, Stanford Business School

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Kirk Bowman is a Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he teaches a course in sales organization. He also serves on the boards of five private companies, including Coverity (software integrity), PanoLogic (desktop virtualization), Zetta (cloud storage), Nimble Storage (next generation storage technology), and Librato (cloud and application management). Kirk also advises several other private companies in sales strategy.

Kirk’s most recent operational experience was as sales executive at Equallogic, a storage system company, which was acquired by Dell, Inc. in early 2008. In the 20 years prior to Equallogic, Kirk held executive sales and general management positions at VMware, Inktomi, Model N, Object Design, and Parametric Technology Corporation. This diverse background has allowed Kirk to develop extensive industry experience with multiple technologies and associated sales strategies, including: enterprise software, embedded database software, enterprise search software, internet search, storage systems, internet infrastructure, and virtualization software.

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Professor Kirk Bowman of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business visited us today to advise our companies in a biz. development in enterprise sales workshop.  Kirk’s expansive experience in sales and business development was evident in the useful advice he gave to our ambitious entrepreneurs.  We appreciate Kirk’s time, and look forward to seeing him again in the future.  Below are some of the highlights of the workshop:

1. The first step of the enterprise sales process is understanding what your market is, what companies you need to target, and who specifically within the company you need to target.

2. There is no typical sales cycle, but ideally the initial transaction should be as low as possible and the product as viral as possible, with a low cost initial deal that allows them to come back and expand upon the deal. Make it easy for the enterprises to see/test/buy your product.

3. Entrepreneurs need to have the mindset that their products won’t merely be an add-on to an existing product – they must have the ambition in creating their company as a sustainable, independent corporation.

Written by ahzietsman

May 16, 2011 at 12:42 am

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5/13 – Seed Funding Workshop

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This evening, we had a great panel about institutional seed financing for our entrepreneurs. We brought in a rockstar group consisting of Kevin Gao (our EIR), Richard Kline (Partner from Goodwin Procter), and Liliana Nordbakk (an investor from Band of Angels) to provide a variety of perspectives on this topic. Free Thai food for dinner was provided as well!

Written by ahzietsman

May 13, 2011 at 12:40 am

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4/26 – NSF Funding Workshop with Greg Baxter, Director of the National Science Foundation

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), we are the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing. (From the NSF Website)

We were fortunate enough to have Greg Baxter, director of the National Science Foundation, come in to our workspace and give a presentation on early stage funding.  We appreciate Greg’s valuable insights and experience with startups, and look forward to working with the NSF further.

Written by ahzietsman

April 26, 2011 at 12:25 am

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4/24 106 Startup Applications for Summer Session, 9 Accepted

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We are thrilled to announce 106 Stanford startups have applied for our summer session, a record number of applications for SSE Labs which speaks of the high quality of the student body.  Of the applicants, we are happy to announce 9 new companies that will be participating in our summer session. Stay tuned for our upcoming Demo Day on June 1st, where we will be unveiling the amazing companies that have been accepted.

Written by ahzietsman

April 24, 2011 at 1:24 am

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4/14 – Meeting with Benny Xian

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Benny Xian has given our companies a lot of feedback during the Midway Milestone, and we would just like to give a shout out for his help. Following him @bxian3.

“Benny Xian is a seed investor and formerly the COO and co-founder of Beyondcore. BeyondCore is an advanced analytics software company based on the disruptive innovative principles identified and analyzed by Clayton Christensen.  Xian is passionate about taking innovative technology and products into new markets.  He has done business internationally including China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and US.  He helped to put together and drive a $15 million technology purchasing and licensing negotiation with Transmeta.  In his previous role, Xian served as the COO for Midori Linux, with offices in China and Silicon Valley, focusing on consumer applications in China market.  Midori was originally developed by Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux.  Previously, Xian was one of the key members responsible for strategic marketing and product management atTransmeta. Transmeta achieved one of the most successful IPOs reaching over $3 billion in market valuation.  Prior to Transmeta, Xian held engineering, operations, applications, and sales positions at Actel and Lightspeed.”

Written by ahzietsman

April 14, 2011 at 11:58 pm

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