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2013

Lessons from Failure: Renting High-end Jewelry

At age 25, Laura Sanko was a founding member of a startup that raised $3.5 Million from some world-famous investors and the Founder’s Fund.  The business model was simple: a website that rented high-end jewelry for special occasions for a fraction of the retail value of each piece.  Three years later, the investment money was all gone and while the site continued to operate, it had failed to meet the investors’ expectations.  I sat down with Laura to figure out what went wrong.

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Diana Kander
on July 25, 2013
Feeding the Entrepreneur in the Workplace

Most people know the benefits of healthy eating. We know the obesity statistics in America, and the age old saying that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" Even with all this knowledge, most days I’m lucky if I make it out the door with some sort of breakfast in one hand, and a cup of coffee in another. 

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Kaitlin Long
on July 18, 2013
'Dream Big America' Increases Startup Exposure

Last week we launched a brand new program for startup companies who had previously presented at 1 Million Cups, the Kauffman Foundation's weekly educational program that features two local startups presenting to the community over coffee. This new effort, launched with the folks at Dream Big America, will continue to put a spotlight on startup companies from throughout the country.

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Nate Olson
on July 17, 2013
Teaching an Entrepreneurial Mindset: Inside the Ice House Program

As an entrepreneur in residence, I'm responsible for a wide variety of projects ranging from program management and storytelling to mentoring and teaching, the latter being the main focus of this and future blog posts.

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Prentiss Earl III
on July 16, 2013
Balancing the Other Side of the Life Equation: Relationships

When we think about the startup life we're often occupied with visions of long days and late nights in the office and the all consuming passion that overtakes a life as someone takes a vision and turns it into reality. An entrepreneur certainly has many things that can easily engulf his or her life as they balance product creation, customer development, hiring, sales and financing, to name but a few. But what about the other side of the life equation? Entrepreneurs have families, friends, spouses, and partners who play an important role.

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Wendy Torrance
on July 12, 2013
Acquisition: Mission Failed or Dream Salvaged?

"If you truly believe in the potential of your company to change the world for the better, there’s no excuse for settling for an acquisition."

I was reading through this month's Inc. magazine earlier when this quote caught my eye. My first thought was to challenge the notion. There are specific occasions when an acquisition is exactly what a company needs to move forward or to move on. This is just how things work, but the bold words sparked my interest enough to turn the page. I flipped to Issie Lapowsky’s feature with Vimeo founder Jake Lodwick. Lodwick was fired a year and a half after selling Connected Ventures, the parent company of Vimeo and College Humor, to InterActive Corp, an Internet company that owns the likes of match.com, Urbanspoon, and dictionary.com. 

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Amanda Schnieders
on July 11, 2013
The Most Pervasive, Pernicious Offense
I was having a beer with a friend the other night when he mentioned a startup in our community that had recently announced a “pivot” in its business model. He said that it was now pursuing a different “value proposition” in an effort to “monetize its client base.” I nearly showered him with beer while admonishing him for being a bad cliché of Valley speak. [More]
Thom Ruhe
on July 11, 2013
My Entrepreneurial Utopia
I was in my element last weekend at the Kansas City Maker Faire. This "Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth” celebrates the things people create and the people who create them. [More]
Thom Ruhe
on July 3, 2013
Three Things Mad Men Can Teach Your Startup

As the sixth season of one of my favorite shows came to a close last weekend, I realized you can actually extract a few important lessons out of the drama of one of television's best shows. And, since we watched the fictitious Sterling Cooper advertising agency grow from a small, boutique firm to a top 30 Madison Avenue agency this season, I thought I would make a few observations about what Mad Men can teach startups.

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Cameron Cushman
on July 02, 2013
Entrepreneurship Hits Global Stage in UN General Assembly

Yesterday, entrepreneurship was given a spotlight panel at the United Nations General Assembly. This was a great sign of the growing belief that entrepreneurship provides a path to economic growth and a decrease in poverty levels around the world. Our VP of Entrepreneurship, Thom Ruhe, was asked to speak on a panel to discuss entrepreneurship education - an exciting opportunity for the Foundation to continue our mission of advancing entrepreneurship on a global scale.

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Amanda Schnieders
on June 28, 2013

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