Boulder in Ljubljana (meeting Brad Feld)

One of the great advantages of working for Zemanta is that you get to meet some of the most interesting people on the planet. Thus, on Friday we were honored by a visit of Brad Feld who is on a private visit of Slovenia (the natural beauty of Slovenia has admirers all over the world).

Brad Feld (kneeling next to Andraž) and the Zemanta team

For those not familiar with who Brad Feld is, let me say that he’s one of the most famous (and outspoken) venture capitalists in the world and the doyen of Boulder, Colorado startup community. And the latter was also the focus of the conversation we had with Brad.

It is not a secret that the ultimate goal of Zemanta (besides making it a billion dollar company) is to make a thriving startup hub out of Ljubljana. There is no better role model in the world for this goal of ours then Boulder, Colorado with its 300+ startups in a city of just 100.000 inhabitants, and there’s no one more competent to talk about success of Boulder than Brad Feld. Therefore it was most valuable to listen to Brad’s insights what made Boulder so successful, which is:

  • great sense of community,
  • entrepreneurs reinvesting their money (and not hiding with the money on Cyprus),
  • patience (it took Boulder decades to achieve it’s current status).

With a lot of hard work, a great deal of patience, and some luck I can well imagine Ljubljana one day becoming Boulder of Europe.

6 thoughts on “Boulder in Ljubljana (meeting Brad Feld)

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Ljubljana has 350 registered startups in two official incubators. This does not count those who haven’t joined the incubators. The trouble is that the ones who have experience and expertise don’t have time or will to help them, so instead of experienced mentors or investors, the self proclaimed ‘gurus’ who never worked in a startup or have no experience working outside Slovenia claim the leadership spots. Which is good for them and bad community.

    • I won’t say that I disagree with you. But I do feel that there shouldn’t be anybody in charge of determining who’s “start-up worthy” and who not. I think each of us should strive to provide a good alternative to the people you describe, so that entrepreneurs have a real option and can decide for themselves whom to trust and who to discard.

      • I believe I know what Ales is alluding to here. It’s quite a regretful situation how resources are not used in the best possible way.
        However I believe there are changes on the horizon and new accelerators and incubators will show up.

        And then, yes, start-ups will be able to chose! Some are already choosing now, US accelerator programs aren’t that far anymore.

    • I’m not sure what exactly you have in mind. It sounds like you’re talking about Damijan Murko equivalents in the startup community.

      Slovenia doesn’t have a long history of web startup successes and hundreds of investors, mentors and other Silicon valley machinery.

      Yet, I’d look in other places – there are a few great companies that are focused globally making a few million € in revenue with less than 5% at home.
      People in these companies are busy (you don’t need to hit the CEO to get good advice) and I’m sure they would gladly share their experience. After all, they were startups 20 years ago and they know how much easier it would be if they could get advice at the time.

  2. Pingback: From selling warm bodies to selling widgets | Kristo Käärmann

  3. Pingback: Brad Feld on Startup Communities | Paul Miller

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