Ian Lucey, the founder of Lucey Fund, a funding venture for startup businesses, has been touring startup hubs around the United States and posted about it over at Medium. The entire blog is worth reading but if you’re strapped for time, here are some lessons learned from Ian’s visit.
A major takeaway from Lucey’s exploration is how startups benefit from the other startups around them. Even without factoring in how a strong, startup community can make talent acquisition easier for a business, simply having access to shared office space and opportunities to converse with peers can help startups navigate stormy waters. Based on Lucey’s assessment as a man from Dublin, a city with a supportive startup community, LA is surging towards having such a community while Austin is already there.
Student talent is worth looking at
Even though I tell people to hire applicants for their potential rather than their experience, I’ve always been a bit lukewarm about suggesting that companies specifically hire students.
“Sure,” I would say, “students have tremendous potential, but their also untested and might fit better in a paid internship with intent to hire.”
Lucey’s wholehearted endorsement of students from the LA and Autin areas has made me rethink my view. As Lucey put it;
“On my trip, I visited numerous Universities including UCLA, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and USC where I was blown away by both the quality of the infrastructure and the knowledge levels of the students. We met a group of students at UCLA who are part of an entrepreneurial group and I can honestly say they were a match for any group of tech cofounders in terms of their understanding of tech trends, financing start-ups, sales and marketing processes, etc. I have judged student competitions in numerous countries and it was clear that these guys are in the top, top drawer of undergrads anywhere.”
American colleges are producing talented entrepreneurs that are clamoring to get into the industry and they’re comparable to existing talent. That’s worth keeping in mind if you’re getting ready for a round of hiring, especially if you’re in Austin or LA.
There’s always time for some basketball
Even amidst meeting with some 500 startups to discuss the new investment opportunities offered by the Lucey Fund, Ian managed to find some time to sneak off and watch Lebron James. Pay attention, because this is an important one. This lesson may not seem nearly as applicable in the day to day grind of things, but it’s just as important as any other business lesson; it’s important to make some time for yourself to do something fun, even if you’re thousands of miles from home and meeting with a half thousand driven entrepreneurs.