IESE Meets The Valley day 5: Accelerating, failing and the afterparty

I am writing this post while recovering from a nice jetlag. Friday was the last day of our trip. We visited 2 more “real startups” and an accelerator. We closed our day with a Mixer event. Again this day was filled with lessons learned that will stick with me.

Accelerating

We started our day with a visit to Plug And Play Techcenter. For those of you who don’t know. This center holds 300+ startups that all spend some portion of their lives there. It rents out office space, offers recruiting help, a data center, mentoring and host of other services. But most of all it offers community and exposure. Some of us were wondering if it would be worthwhile to rent office space there vs a garage in someone’s home. But after having seen the exposure that startups get, I feel it would definitely be worth it.

Plug and Play related successful exits

Plug and Play related successful exits

Plug and Play workspaces

Plug and Play workspaces

After Plug And Play we went on to Piazza. They have developed a social component to class room learning. We met their entire team and had a 1 hour Q&A session. It was a very open meeting where we learned a lot about the growth of a firm from a 1 person to a 13 person venture and all the things that come along with that. We asked their first employee for example how they scaled their development organization from just 2 to over 6.

Arpit handing over our "El Bulli" gift to Piazza founder Pooja Sankar

Arpit handing over our “El Bulli” gift to Piazza founder Pooja Sankar

Our final visit that day was with Lemon, a personal finance and expense tracking app. Basically Lemon allows you to scan / photograph your wallet and take it into the digital space. There again we heard a great number of stories about the starting and scaling of a company

Failing

Lemon was one of the most open visits we had. They talked to us about failing as well. We learned that when you fail correctly this can earn you a lot of respect as well. I asked them what “failing right” was. This means really taking care of the failing business meaning: timely communication with your shareholders and also assuring that all your staff finds a new job. This can earn you almost as much respect as a success story.

The Afterparty

We ended our week in a Mixer event at Nexenta Systems. Piazza joined us again together with their VC: Bessemer Venture partners. We had a panel discussion where Bessemer explained why they invested in Piazza: their user engagement (4 hrs per user per day) and their potential. We shared a great set of Tapas and Valduero sponsored us with a nice collection of wine. After our Mixer, our friends from Cisco invited us to a spontaneous afterparty.

We then went to the hotel, slept a few hours, and went on to the airport very, very early in the morning. So I am writing this last trip post from my home in Barcelona while trying to fight the jetlag. We had an amazing trip and met amazing people. Next year I look forward to doing it again.

Our Mixer panel setup

Our Mixer panel setup

Our Mixer Panel: Piazza (left) and Bessemer Venture partners (right)

Our Mixer Panel: Piazza (left) and Bessemer Venture partners (right)

Our audience enjoying tapas and genuine Spanish wine

Our audience enjoying tapas and genuine Spanish wine

Great genuine Spanish wine sponsored by Valduero

Great genuine Spanish wine sponsored by Valduero

A shot of our Mixer audience during the panel discussion

A shot of our Mixer audience during the panel discussion in the Nexenta “Bean Bag” room