Give First


Bain Capital Ventures’ Matt Harris on supporting entrepreneurs through 25+ years as an investor

Ep. 51

There are some people whose lives are perfect expressions of the zeitgeist. Matt Harris is one of them. 

In 1995, Matt’s college roommate at Williams started a company out of their dorm room. It was called Tripod, and it was one of the first dot com companies. By 1997, when Matt was 24, Williams invited him back to Williamstown, a rural community with a population of 6,000, to run an investing firm. 

When that was a success, Matt and that same college roommate, Bo Peabody, started Village Ventures to bring VC to secondary and tertiary cities around the U.S., with a focus on college towns with intellectual capital, but no venture capital. 

Fun fact: Matt’s first hire at Village Ventures was Gina Raimondo, who is now the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In 2012, Village Ventures wound down, and Matt moved to Bain Capital Ventures, where he continues to invest in startups.

Basically, Matt’s journey has paralleled, and shaped, that of venture capital in the age of the internet. Listen for insights into that rocky road, and how Matt has learned, over time, how to best support the entrepreneurs he’s invested in.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Techstars Director of ESG on Being a Responsible Founder and Investor

Ep. 74
When a thoughtful founder or investor is thinking about creating or sustaining long-term value and a company that adapts for the future, they are already inherently thinking about environmental, social, and governance issues (ESG).ESG is for ALL companies - not just the ones focused on the environment.Dr. Mairi-Jane Fox, Director of ESG at Techstars, breaks down the creation of ESG, starting from when companies began to think about their corporate social responsibility (CSR), to the sustainability movement across corporates, and now tracking how companies were addressing ESG issues.“ESG evolved out of those spaces when investors, who are a powerful crew for change, started to realize companies could lose their social license to operate by making poor social choices,” Mairi-Jane says. “ESG is the data-driven thinking about financially material stuff that investors know impacts a company … so that they can manage for those risks or even manage for a positive impact.”Listen as Mairi-Jane and David discuss different examples of ESG responses and how ESG can set up companies for greater success. Also, don’t miss how Techstars is modeling ESG operational standards for its portfolio companies.If you missed the previous ESG takeover episodes, check out episode #66 on the benefits of ESG measurement for your company; episode #68 on how to engage with investors; and episode #69 on what it means to be a b corp.Follow David Cohen on Twitter @davidcohenListen & subscribe to the Give First podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.
Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Endel CEO and Co-Founder on the Future of Sound

Ep. 72
Imagine always having a soundscape that adapts to what you're doing and what you need to get done without the need to manually select a playlist. This is the future with Endel, an app that utilizes circadian rhythms and the neuroscience study of how sound influences the cognitive state. “It's an ever-present sound that follows you everywhere during the day across all channels and platforms Endel is available on. And it just proactively shifts between different modes, depending on what you're doing right now,” says Oleg Stavisky, CEO and co-founder of Endel. “The end game for me, in terms of how the product looks, is just this one play button. You press play, you go about your day.”Listen as Oleg found the Techstars Music Accelerator and how it cultivated his Give First mindset. In particular, Oleg had a life-changing experience with one mentor who introduced him to hundreds of investors and was very involved in helping him succeed. Now, Oleg is helping to cultivate the startup community in Berlin. Also, don’t miss Oleg share Endel’s accomplishments, from being named the 2020 Apple watch app of the year and 2021 best of Google Play to the massive amount of user stories that tell of lives changed. “We get thousands of emails now. That’s what makes me come to work every day and say we are doing something very, very special,” Oleg says. Try the Endel app for 3-months at no cost using this promo link: Oleg Stavitsky on Twitter @stvtskFollow David Cohen on Twitter @davidcohenListen & subscribe to the Give First podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.