Archive for the ‘Polaris Venture Partners’ Category

The secret to a successful startup? A great idea being worked on by people with three characteristics you’ll not find on a resume

11 September 2010

Through the MassChallenge Mentoring Program, I’ve been spending three hours each week advising RelayRides, a company with a great idea – peer-to-peer car sharing – that’s smack in the middle of a strong new movement, Collaborative Consumption as written about in The Economist and by Leigh Buchanan in Inc, Clive Thompson in Wired, and Jenna Wortham in The New York Times.

Late on Tuesday, the founder, Shelby Clark said, “Instead of just advising me, why don’t you just join us to accelerate our growth?” After a handshake agreement, I started that day as part-time interim COO.  By 9 PM I was reminded that what it takes to turn a great idea into a successful company is (more…)

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The Economist: “Why Many USA Companies Now Hire Interim CEOs.”

30 December 2009

The Economist has a great article about the type of work I’ve been doing for ten years, Interim CEO. The piece addresses why many American companies are now adopting a practice that originated in Europe, and why so many top-notch execs are enjoying these temporary CEO jobs.

The Economist postulates that “interim executives may be the wave of the future in all rich countries, as these countries evolve from what Peter Drucker called a ‘society of organizations’ into a ‘society of networks.’”

Why Companies Do It

The article details three reasons why a company might choose to (more…)

Great Polaris Venture / MIT “Triumph in Tech” Event

2 March 2008

180px-wfm_stata_center.jpgLast week’s “Triumph in Tech” event at the R&D Pub in MIT’s Stata Center was a success. Polaris Venture Partners and the MIT VCPE (Venture Capital and Private Equity) Club hosted the ‘round robin’ dinner – we changed tables after each course – with the purpose of bringing together three types of people: Venture Capitalists (looking to meet this year’s top graduates); MIT Sloan School MBA students, most from the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program (looking to find a start-up that’ll hire them); and seasoned CEOs – people like me who Polaris asked to speak directly to the subject of the evening, “How Great Teams Come Together and Break Through to Success.”

Though I enjoyed talking about the teams I’ve pulled together in early-stage start-ups, turn arounds, or ‘growth-phase’ companies both here and in Europe, I enjoyed even more learning new ‘tricks of the trade’ from my contemporaries. Unfortunately I suspect some of the students did not enjoy the advice given by many of the CEOs: since start-ups don’t have the luxury to groom, you’ll not likely find a start-up willing to hire a fresh MBA grad for their executive team. So land a position – preferably in Bus Dev and / or Product Management – at a large, well run company with a strong management training program. Then come back in ten years and seek out your start-up.

This event was one of those win / win situations where all in attendance – the Polaris VCs, the MIT MBA candidates, and the CEOs – benefited.