Execution Matters. Join the Agility First! Community.
Agility First! Convenes C-Level Executives of Disruptive, Advanced Early- and Mid-Stage Companies and VCs Who Fund Them to Collaborate On and Advance More Powerful Execution Strategies.
Never has strong execution—or, as recent events have shown, lack thereof—come into greater focus in the startup world. Notable execution failings of late by high-profile startups range from epic (Theranos), to cultural (Uber), to financial (Lily Robotics), to regulatory (Zenefits). If nothing else, the varying degrees of execution missteps by these startup companies—all too often preoccupied with rapidly achieving Unicorn status, putting them on pace to then go public—reinforce what veterans of the startup world already know: that disruption without consistent execution isn’t a sustainable growth strategy, or a path to profitability, no matter how big your brand.
In 2016, startup funding saw a pull back by venture capital firms, with total investment hitting $67.8 billion—a 15 percent decline from the prior year, according to PitchBook data. The total number of deals struck also dropped, by 25 percent, to 7,841 deals, as did initial public offerings, 105 of which occurred, marking a drop of 38 percent from the prior year.
But given the enthusiasm for Snap’s IPO (the biggest since Alibaba in 2014), more offerings expected from Uber, Airbnb, WeWork and Palantir, and the market’s rise since Donald Trump was elected, 2017 could very well prompt a bump up in VC funding. The availability of money for startups is not the issue—there’s plenty to go around; funding this year comes with a much bigger caveat for startup executives than in prior years: growth matters, but so do the economics.
Whether you call it a reality check or a reset, startup executives and the VCs behind them are looking more closely at what it takes to execute across all areas of their companies, effectively scaling their businesses and generating more revenue and, ultimately, profits. Union Squares Ventures managing partner Fred Wilson uses a compelling basketball metaphor—playing small ball, a “style of play that sacrifices size/height for speed and shooting”—to make the case for how entrepreneurs and VCs should look at their business: “In an era when VCs and entrepreneurs are going for bulk, I really like the opposite approach which favors speed and agility over pounding it inside.”
It’s hard to argue with Wilson’s approach. For fast-growing, highly disruptive companies, success is, in the end, less about timing and more about consistent execution by management in product development and innovation, sales and marketing, customer retention, finance and M&As, talent recruitment and management, corporate culture and legal/regulation.
Agility First! is a peer community and forum that’s solely dedicated to sharing and developing powerful, proven execution and operational best practices for founders and C-level executives of highly disruptive advanced early- and mid-stage companies and the venture capitalists who fund them.
In its first two years, speakers at Agility First! included:
- Jet.com CEO Marc Lore
- FirstMark Capital managing director Matt Turck
- Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck
- First Round Capital founding partner Howard Morgan
- Symphony CEO David Gurle
- Greycroft Partners managing director Alan Patricof
- Sidewalk Labs chairman and CEO Dan Doctoroff
- SeatGeek CEO Russell D'Souza
- Bessemer Venture Partners’ Alex Ferrara
- Conductor CEO Seth Besmertnik
- Venrock partner David Pakman
- Casper co-founder and CEO Philip Krum
- POPSUGAR EVP of Marketing Anna Fieler
- Fortune business writer Erin Griffith
- Union Square Ventures general manager Nick Grossman
- Facebook head of global creative strategy Ricky Van Veen
- Hummer Winblad Venture Partner co-founder Ann Winblad
- The New Yorker columnist Ken Auletta
- AlphaPrime Ventures managing partner Alessandro Piol
- Blippar chief commercial officer Ariff Quli
- IDG Ventures managing director Pat Kenealy
- Vida Health CEO Stephanie Tilenius
- EDventure Holdings and HICCup chairman Esther Dyson
- Inc. editor James Ledbetter
- Milestone Venture Partners co-founder Edwin Goodman
- Keep.com president MaryAnn Bekkedahl
- Milestone Venture Partners’ Richard Dumler
- Pixability Chief Revenue Officer Art Zeidman
- NYC Seed founder Owen Davis
- Reuters Breakingviews columnist Jeffrey Goldfarb
- Yahoo Finance correspondent Nicole Sinclair
- ff Venture Capital partner David Teten
- Lyft director of government affairs Robert Grant
- Mashable senior business reporter Seth Fiegerman
- Hantman Strategies founder and CEO David Hantman
- DJI VP of public policy Brendan Schulman
- Fast Company senior writer Daniel Terdiman
- SBA Associate Administrator Office of Investment and Innovation Mark Walsh
- Attitude LLC president John Patrick
- Sketchfab co-founder and CEO Alban Denoyel
- NextNews Ventures partner Gordon Crovitz
- dB Omnimedia founder Diane Brady
- Spanfeller Media Group CEO Jim Spanfeller
- The New York Times business and economics writer Steve Lohr
- Collective[i] co-founder and chairman Heidi Messer
- Littlstar CEO Tony Mugavero
- 1871 CEO Howard Tullman
- InsiteVR CEO Angel Say
- Inc. publisher Rich Russey
- Litmus Health CEO Daphne Kis
- Mashable business editor Heidi Moore
- Cureatr CEO Joseph Mayer
- Crowdnetic CEO Luan Cox
- Kitchensurfing co-founder Borahm Cho
- Shoptiques CEO Olga Vidisheva
- Vitals founder and chairman Mitch Rothschild
- Kindling CEO Timothy Meaney
Agility First! isn't just any conference. It's a peer forum for some of the most disruptive founders, CEOs and venture capitalists to share best practices that can help advanced early- and mid-stage startups strengthen their management capabilities in sales, marketing, brand management, engineering, product innovation and development, customer acquisition and retention, talent recruitment and finance, all of which are critical to successfully scaling a company.
Speed is everything. With a highly interactive format, executives of fast-growing startups can interact with bold leaders whose best-to-next execution practices have accelerated their company’s growth and financial performance.
We’re lining up some awesome speakers and finalizing dates for Agility First! 2017. Check back soon to see the 2017 schedule and agenda for a look at who’s participating this year.
The exclusive program is strictly intended for C-level executives of highly disruptive advanced early- and mid-stage startups and venture capital firms that fund such companies.
If you would like to speak at Agility First!, or would like more information, please contact Holly Sraeel at firstname.lastname@example.org