If there is a reckoning coming in 2016 (and there is), then it’s clear that discipline and execution have never been more important for founders and executives of fast-growing, advanced early- and mid-stage startups looking to raise more funding, scale their companies and improve their overall financial and operational performance. On March 1 and 2, venture capitalists and C-level executives of hot startups pushing the bounds of what’s possible gathered at The Union League Club in New York to talk vision, speed and execution.
Agility First!’s roster of speakers includes some of the biggest thinkers and boldest leaders in the venture community: Jet.com CEO Marc Lore, Symphony CEO, David Gurle, Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff, Greycroft Partners co-founder Alan Patricof, Union Square Ventures general manager Nick Grossman, Vida Health CEO Stephanie Tilenius, Blippar chief commercial officer Ariff Quli, Collective[i] chairman Heidi Messer, Milestone Venture Partners co-founder Edwin Goodman, POPSUGAR EVP of marketing Anna Fieler, Pixability chief revenue officer Art Zeidman, Spanfeller Media Group CEO Jim Spanfeller, NextNews Ventures partner Gordon Crovitz, Attitude LLC president John Patrick, Lyft director of government affairs Rob Grant, SBA Office of Investment and Innovationassociate administrator Mark Walsh and so many others.
Travis Kalanick’s ears were burning on March 25th. Whether he cares or not is another story, as his reputation for being “tone deaf” is well established. “The New Digital Disruptors” panelists—EDventure’s Esther Dyson, Breakingviews’s Jeffrey Goldfarb, IDG Ventures’s Pat Kenealy, Attitude LLC’s John Patrick, Mashable’s Heidi Moore and The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta—had a lively exchange of opinions on barrier-bashing, regulation-bending, pro-innovation companies like Uber and Airbnb.
“Did you see our news?” Foursquare COO Jeff Glueck asked with a big smile. Foursquare had just announced a deal that will allow Twitter users to include venue-specific locations with Tweets. “If you think about 500 million Tweets a day—at 70% mobile—and starting to get 10-20% of that content tagged to locations, the implications for creating conversations around locations, people you should follow, content that’s location relevant…there all kinds of rich consumer engagement and monetization possibilities.”
From the way Greycroft Partners’s Alan Patricof tells it, the shelling is about to begin. Okay, he didn’t say a blood bath was coming, just that “this is a precarious time.” Still, it was enough to make people sit up straight during a session in which Patricof, Venrock’s David Pakman, AlphaPrime Ventures’s Alessandro Piol and Golden Seeds’s Daphne Kis zeroed in on what founders face, and why, at various stages of raising money.
For more than 20 years, James Kollegger, CEO of Genesys Partners, has held court at The Union League Club, inviting high-profile venture capitalists, investment bankers, lawyers, innovators, academics, entrepreneurs and media folks to trade stories, talk deals, burnish images and sketch out what the future looks like—who’s creating it, who will fund it, who will own it and who’s likely to miss out.