Soy emprendedor. He co-creado más de diez compañías de tecnología, algunas de ellas exitosas. Mis logros se lo debo a muchas personas, pero hay una en particular a la que le debo mucho y de la cual no sé su nombre. Cuando yo tenía 14 años, ella me prestó el dinero para comprar mi primera computadora y así fundar mi primera compañía. Así de rápido como ella llegó a mi vida, desapareció de la misma. ¿Me ayudas a encontrarla?
Tl;dr: Instead of earning equity from the businesses they accelerate, accelerators could earn royalties from the revenues of such businesses. This could enable accelerators to help entrepreneurs grow and bootstrap their business instead of forcing them to raise capital.
My wife and I co-founded the Voice123 brand ten years ago. Today, it’s a successful business with 30 employees. Its success didn’t depend on angels, accelerators, or venture capitalists (VCs). In fact, had we listened to any of them, Voice123 would not exist today. There are thousands, maybe millions, of entrepreneurs like us out there. The current model made popular by Silicon Valley is suffocating many of them and killing startups that could also become successful. This article explains how and offers an alternative.
Recently, I snuck into a conference room (at a Kauffman Foundation event, the organization behind Startup Weekend) where I accidentally had the pleasure of listening to a talk given by Robert Metcalfe, the man whose law I actually built my startups upon. Metcalfe is attributed and famous for a law that we know today as the Metcalfe’s Law. The law says that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system.
What this means is that if you come up with a new phone system and only two people are using it, the value of it is X. If you have four people using it, the value is not 2X because you have twice as many people using it, but actually 4X because each person can communicate with each other and the number of unique connections possible. The more people connected to a network, the higher its value, and as the formula shows, it grows exponentially. As you can see in the image, two telephones can make only one connection, five can make 10 connections, and twelve can make 66 connections. Although initially, Metcalfe’s Law was applied to telecommunication networks, it also applies heavily to many things that we do online––like Facebook for example.
This article originally appeared on Mashable.
I first came to the U.S. with my family in 1998 to avoid the violence in my home country, Colombia. But without any way to get visas, much of my family had to return. Fortunately, I was able to stay in America and moved to Miami, where I met many successful Hispanics who demonstrated the great opportunities for entrepreneurs in the U.S.
However, since there isn’t a way for people like me to obtain visas that let us come to this country and start businesses, I struggled with how to legally remain here. My short-term solution was college — I enrolled at Miami Dade College and then at Florida International University.
I knew this was not a long-term solution. In 2000, I founded my first U.S. startup with a Cuban-American citizen I met at school. Within a year, we were successful and employed six other people, but the company was still too small to act as my visa sponsor.
I was stuck and losing hope. Here I was, the co-founder of a successful business and a student at an American university, and I was being told to leave.
This article was originally published on Pando Daily.
“Who are your investors?” “How much have you raised?” I’m asked these questions constantly about my businesses, Bunny Inc., from other entrepreneurs, media, and most tech people I’ve met. The answers are: no one and $0. Eyebrows, and perhaps red flags, rise. I have actually pitched to VCs and had a few offers. But for now, we’ve decided not to raise capital. Yes, there is a sense of pride that comes with being an immigrant entrepreneur and being able to say I’ve come this far on my own (with the support of an amazing team, of course), but it’s not just pride or the mythical “American Dream” that keeps me bootstrapping. I’ve got five solid reasons why bootstrapping is not only possible, but is a logical decision.
By Alexander Torrenegra
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