Tag: capital entrepreneurs

The Investment and Startup Community in Peru

Many travelers visit Peru to experience Machu Picchu, and though incredible, there is much more to this country than its wonder of the world. Known for its gastronomic sector, Peru has some of the most diverse (and delicious) food in the world. Through its long history of eating seafood, mixed with Spanish, Japanese and Chinese immigration, it’s always a pleasure to go to Peru, even if it’s only to eat, and entrepreneurial Peruvians have taken advantage.

Peru has diverse terrain, from the steeply sloping Andes and dense jungles to the cerulean coastline. About one-third of Peruvian residents live near or close to the ocean. The population is just shy of 32 million, surpassing Chile but falling below Colombia. Monthly wages are on the upswing at 1680.67 Peruvian Sol (roughly US$519), with a minimum wage of 850 Peruvian Sol.

The capital city, Lima, is experiencing rapid growth and the government is allocating investment towards more infrastructure and improving public transportation. Foreign investors are paying close attention to the new Cuzco airport which offers easier access to Machu Picchu, though has caught some local scrutiny. Peru offers multiple visas for foreigners interested in the business sector, but these visas can come with an unwanted amount of red tape. (more…)

Madison’s Isthmus Wrote About Me, Madison, Startup Chile and Entrepreneurship

Mark Eisen of Madison’s The Isthmus wrote an article, Nathan Lustig Takes His Talent Abroad, about me, Madison, Startup Chile and my background of what made me an entrepreneur. If you’ve read my blog, you’ll probably recognize many of the stories that Mark wrote about. It was really fun chatting with Mark about Madison’s future and the startup scene that we’ve building for the past decade. I’m glad I can still be a part of it from “5400 miles away.”

I wanted to make one clarification about about the business school: while it’s true I absolutely hated Accounting 100, the first two weeks were incredibly helpful in understanding how Quickbooks worked. Although the classes and many of the students weren’t my style, I owe a ton of my success to some of the professors there including John Surdyk and Anne Miner who run the Burrill Business Plan Competition where I first met Joe Boucher, a UW professor and my lawyer, Jon Eckhardt who helped me a ton with both ExchangeHut and Entrustet. Plus two of by business partners were business students who graduated from the entrepreneurship program!

Thanks to Mark for writing and everyone who took time to be interviewed to make the article happen. Thanks Joe, Matt, Forrest, Scott, Maite and anyone else who I missed. And it’s true. I’ll be back in Madison for at least awhile in late June! It will be great to see you all.

Capital Entrepreneurs 2011 Review

In 2011, Capital Entrepreneurs companies created 121 full time jobs, 66 part time jobs, and raised $23.7 million in funding, all in a time when Wisconsin’s economy is struggling to grow.  CE now is made up of 150 entrepreneurs who now employ over 200 full time and 100 part time workers.  When I started CE in May 2009, I never thought our initial group of 10 entrepreneurs would ever grow to 150 members.

Since I first started traveling more in November 2010, Forrest Woolworth has taken over leadership of CE.  He’s done an outstanding job finding sponsors, adding entrepreneurs, standardizing the membership process and adding additional events like Build Madison and CE Pitch Days.  CE members have also been behind the Forward Technology Conference.  Besides for Forrest, credit should also go to Justin Beck, Chris Meyer, Scott Resnick and the rest of the original CE members for making our founders group what its turned into today.  I’m so proud to see Madison’s entrepreneurship ecosystem continue to grow and hope 2012 is even better than 2011!

From Forrest’s Capital Entrepreneurs 2011 Year End Review:

Capital Entrepreneurs companies are curing cancer, preventing suicides, and organizing community groups. They are making mobile apps and games used by millions, revolutionizing the digital music industry, making sense of social media, shaping some of the world’s largest brands, and much more. Capital Entrepreneurs companies participated in prestigious startup incubator programs including Y Combinator, TechStars, Startup Chile, and 94labs.

Over the last year, Capital Entrepreneurs companies were featured in news outlets around the globe. These included The New York Times, NPR, Mashable, TechCrunch, CNN, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, MTV, Sports Illustrated, AdAge, and more. Locally, Capital Entrepreneurs companies were the topic of two Isthmus cover stories, and were featured in the Wisconsin State Journal, Madison Magazine, and InBusiness.

Forward Technology Festival 2011

I’m excited to be working with Matt Younkle and Bryan Chan again this year to help put on Forward Technology Festival for the second year in a row.  Last year was a huge success, and I’m really excited for this years version, which runs from August 18th-27th.  The Forward Technology Festival is a ten day long series of events that showcases Madison’s entrepreneurship and creative community.  It starts with the 10th anniversary of High Tech Happy Hour and includes Madison Ruby Conference, Barcamp, a Capital Entrepreneurs meeting, an open networking event at Sector67, business pitches from Spreenkler Talent Labs seed accelerator participants and is headlined by the 2nd annual Forward Technology Conference (register here).

I’m most excited for the Forward Technology Conference, which is slated for August 26th at the Memorial Union.  Last year’s inaugural conference had more than 125 attendees and Fred Foster’s keynote was the highlight of the festival and I can’t wait for the 2011 version.  We’ll kick off the day with breakfast at 9am, followed by Madison Failcon, a session dedicated to lessons that founders learned when their businesses did not actually succeed.  I love this session, especially since I see the fear of failure as one of the biggest obstacles to Madison’s success as an entrepreneurial center.

Next, three successful Madison entrepreneurs will share their experiences starting and running a startup in Madison.  Justin Beck will talk about how he started and grew PerBlue and the lessons he learned doing it.  Greg Tracy of Asthmapolis will share his story as well.  I love hearing founders tell their stories, so it should be a great session.  After a lunch break, five up and coming Madison startups will share what they’ve been up to and ask the community for feedback and ideas on how to improve their business.  Last year’s pitch your biz participant Heidi Allstop of Student Spill ended up in Techstars and has since been featured in hundreds of publications, so this is your chance to hear about up and coming businesses before they make it big.

In the afternoon, Silicon Valley expert Brant Cooper will talk about customer development and the lean startup method and how startups can use it get started more quickly, while spending less money.  The customer development method is one of the hottest topics in the startup world right now and Madison hasn’t seen any of the top experts until now, so Cooper’s session is a can’t miss.

Laurie Benson will give our FTC 2011 keynote address, during which she’ll tell her story about how she started technology services business Inacom and grew it to one of the largest companies in her industry, leading to its acquisition.  Laurie has been extremely active in mentoring young founders and served on my MERLIN Mentor team with Entrustet (she’s awesome!).  She’s got a great story and I can’t wait to hear here tell it at the conference.  After the keynote, we’ll have a reception above the Union Terrace with snacks and drinks.

I’m really looking forward to the entire week of events and it’s been great to see Madison’s tech community come together to make the Festival a success.  If you’d like more information on any of the events, visit the Forward Technology Festival website or the Forward Technology Conference registration page.  While most of the events are free, the conference costs $50, but we have 50% off discounted tickets available until August 1st.  These events really showcase Madison as an up and coming technology and innovation center in the Midwest and I’m excited to be a part of it.