The second part of the Cascadia Summit was an exclusive breakfast fireside chat with Bill Bryant from DFJ Venture Capital, and Ty and Terry from Heckler Associates. Both speakers left our members speechless, and provided so much insight into the word of entrepreneurship.
Our morning fireside chat started with Bill Bryant from DFJ. Founded in 1985, DFJ Venture Capital has backed more than 400 companies in software, mobile enterprise, health care, energy and other disruptive technologies. Since inception, DFJ has committed more than $7 billion to its companies, and that number is only growing. Companies that comprise DFJ’s hall of fame include: Skype, twitter, Hotmail, Baidu, Gilt Groupe, tumblr, Yammer, Tesla, Feedburner, TicketsNow, Focus Media, Lumenos, Seamicro, admob, and Athena Health.
William K. (Bill) Bryant has had early and instrumental involvement in over twenty five leading software, Internet, mobile and digital media companies, as a founder, senior executive, investor and Board Member. He has had founding roles with Visio (now part of Microsoft), Netbot (acquired by Excite), Qpass (acquired by Amdocs), Medio Systems, Mixxer and Airworks. In these founding capacities, Bill drove definition of the core product and market strategy; raised >$150M in venture capital; recruited senior management teams; and built customer, partner and channel relationships in launching software products, Internet and mobile services.
During our morning fireside chat Bill Bryant shared a lot of wisdom with our entrepreneurs:
“Suspend my disbelief of the negative as a VC by getting subject matter experts to validate your idea”
“Try and understand VC skepticism don’t fight it… That won’t get your anywhere. Be realistic.”
“Pitches are great practice – and remember – there is life after the pitch”
“30 day updates with VCs shows less serious investor. Weekly updates are vital to keep you & your VCs on track”
“The most prolific Seattle investor has 2 deals in Seattle and 2 in yvr at most. Proximity to VCs plays a part”
Big thank you to Bill Bryant from DFJ for taking the time to come and speak to our members!
Our second speakers for the morning fireside chat were Ty and Terry from Heckler Associates. Heckler Associates has a long track record of smart, fresh thinking in the real world of brand building. Their integrated strategy, concept, and design services have been instrumental in helping start-ups and leading global brands resonate commercially from the web to the sales floor. This full service advertising agency has a highly commendable portfolio. From working with Starbucks to New Balance to K2, Heckler Associates has done it all.
The most memorable moment during the morning chat was when Terry spoke about his adventure of crafting the name Starbucks! He is the sole individual behind the brand of the world’s leading coffee producer. It was an honor listening to him speak. Here is a sneak preview of some of his words of wisdom:
“Minimize friction as a startup by having brand equity, and a unique, solid brand name”
“Your Brand name is one small investment, that is your best and biggest marketing tool”
“Brand name and your reference name are two completely different things. Be aware which is which”
“With a unique name add a brief descriptive line to explain your name. Will help your brand”
“Descriptive lines should be no more than 7 words. LESS is better.”
“Best brand names are one word. Gets overly complicated with each word you add”
Thank you so much to our speakers for sharing their inspiring stories and such valuable advice for our members.
Cascadia 2012 has come full circle and has left its lasting impression in Seattle. We look forward to joining forces again with all of our partners, to bring an even better Cascadia Summit next year!