Evolving an entrepreneurial ecosystem with Brad Feld and Kartik Varma
Join Brad Feld (Co-Founder of Foundry Group and Techstars, and author of Venture deals) in a fireside chat to discuss his new book, The Startup Community Way: Evolving an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, with Kartik Varma (Managing Director at Techstars London and HBS02). They will uncover what makes a startup community ecosystem “first click, then hum, and in time, excel.”
Entrepreneurial ecosystems are driving innovation, job and wealth creation globally. Brad will share his advice for entrepreneurs, community builders, government officials, and other stakeholders who want to harness the power of entrepreneurship in their city and build a strong community.
Brad has long argued for the democratisation of startups and believes that entrepreneurialism can happen anywhere. He helped pioneer the thriving Boulder, Colorado startup community over the past twenty-five years and co-founded one of the earliest startup accelerators TechStars. Today Techstars has accepted over 1,600 companies into its programs with a combined market capitalisation of $18.2B globally.
Brad will discuss what does it take to build a supportive and thriving entrepreneurial community? What are the fundamental dynamics and pre-conditions of building communities of entrepreneurs who can feed off each other’s talent, creativity, and support? And why is it so important not only for the Tech community but for society at large?
Brad Feld has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for over 30 years.
He lives in Boulder, Colorado and Homer, Alaska with his wife and is on a quest to run a marathon in every state in the US.
Brad has been an early-stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars.
Brad is a writer and speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship. He’s written a number of books as part of the Startup Revolution series and writes the blog Feld Thoughts.
Brad holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brad is also an art collector and long-distance runner. He has completed 25 marathons as part of his mission to finish a marathon in each of the 50 states.
Kartik Varma is a former professional theatre actor and lapsed lawyer who prematurely suffered a mid-life crisis in his mid-20s while in business school when he unsuccessfully attempted to start a Formula 1 racing team which proverbially ended up in a car crash. He has spent over two decades equally, but not chronologically, divided between being an investor and an entrepreneur.
Kartik helped the Ziff family start and build their actively managed multi-billion dollar family office investing in both private and public markets, first based out of New York and then in London. He’s also worked at fundamentals driven equity hedge funds like The Children’s Investment Fund and most recently at Naya Capital Management in London prior to joining Techstars to invest in early stage technology ventures. He co-founded iTrust, the first of its kind digital open architecture platform in India for asset and liability products, financial advice and tax preparation services to the Indian middle-class market, which he successfully exited from. He then co-founded, with the same business partner from iTrust, PropTiger.com, which today is India’s largest digital real estate platform (like Zillow in the US or Rightmove in the UK) funded by Accel and Softbank and now majority owned by News Corp.
Kartik likes to run marathons in his free time (Berlin, Rome and NYC most recently before Covid cancelled races in 2020) but Twitter has made it challenging for him to keep up his vow of only reading books written more than 500 years ago which have stood the test of time. He speaks four languages, but his Excel skills aren’t as good as they used to be. He is writing a rock opera based on time travel into a dystopian future, the Hollywood rights to which are yet to be sold. Kartik holds degrees from the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School.
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