The Entrepreneurial University
Carolina Recognized For Its Vibrant Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
UNC Public Health Entrepreneur Eyes His Next Challenge
Inside "Game-Changing" UNC Apprenticeship Program
Ted Zoller Launches Adams Apprenticeship to Pair Students With Alumni Entrepreneur Mentors
Blackstone EIR Jan Davis: The Triangle’s ‘Most Connected Angel’
Angel investor and serial entrepreneur Jan Davis talks investing, marketing and female founders in latest Founders Series interview.
Four years since moving to the Triangle, Jan Davis is one of the most connected people in the startup community. She regularly lends her experience as a serial entre (and intra)preneur in the direct marketing and software industries to aspiring and new entrepreneurs. She also sits on the boards of several startups locally and in her former town of Chicago. She's one of just a handful of active female angel investors in our region, joining Triangle Angel Partners (TAP) when it started in 2010. She's now president of the group. Davis sat down with me recently to share her background in startups and insight into TAP's activities and investments. She also gives some compelling advice on marketing (An area in which she says Triangle startups desperately need to improve) and fundraising. And she has special guidance for female founders with families and companies, having done it all herself and advised plenty of women in similar situations. Enjoy this 34-minute interview, and pay special attention to the startups Davis and TAP are watching in 2015.
Three Journo-Startups Taking On Traditional Media
Funding and revenue are hard, but the founders of these new media companies have visions of reinventing local news and commentary
Most articles on the state of journalism these days take two distinct forms: either a legacy outlet is contracting and laying off writers, or a hotshot upstart is taking in cash for an optimistic new journo-venture. There isn’t much in between.What do you think? Journalism as an industry is at a weird crossroads of concurrent contractions and expansion, growth and shrinking opportunities. On one hand, even the New York Times’s profits continue to fall, and The New Republic is only the latest heritage property to essentially go extinct in its traditional form. On the other hand, journalism ventures like Vox (of Vox Media) and 538 and Grantland (of ESPN/Disney) have lured millions from investment rounds or in-house support, with full-time staffs and rising-star journalists like Ezra Klein and Nate Silver at their helms.What do you think? Operating within this wider context are several local journalism outlets in various stages of the startup phase. Legacy outlets in the area, such as the McClatchy-owned Raleigh News & Observer and Charlotte Observer, or Paxton Media Group’s The Herald-Sun in Durham, have seen contractions and layoffs on pace with local papers nationwide. Filling that vacuum in the media space, or perhaps just adding to it, are new startups in the area aiming to offer a different take on journalism and storytelling.What do you think?
Innovation Begins And Ends In Idealism
To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature.
When we we talk about innovation in business, or economic development, or in regions or countries, we are talking about doing work in the actual, real world. That is, we think of innovation as being about business, and capital and commerce, and growth. And, of course, that is how we find mutual ground to talk about innovation: We wish to do something new, or better, or different in such a way as to create — generally speaking — economic value. The reason we think this way is because economic and business terms are as a rule the only common language we have. So when we want to have a conversation about innovation, we have that conversation in economic terms. And that way of speaking is a distinctly misleading and dangerous way to consider the power of innovation, because it is a dismally incomplete duality. In fact, innovation is found in idealism, in the notion that we all live and work — and prosper — when we are focused on making the world a better place. There is, in fact, a thing out there that we call the economy; but this economy is made up of human beings, not stuff, and it runs on the basis of human relationships, not numbers — even though because of our limitations we default to numbers when we talk about it. But if we are to really understand and harness the power of innovation in systems, we must understand that its purpose should be expressed in terms related to happiness, integrity, fulfillment, and shared responsibilities, as much as ROI, or efficiency, or patents. Because to the degree we focus on the latter elements of innovation — the so-called business measures — we will miss absolutely the very things we need be mindful of in human systems like economies.