My biggest advice to entrepreneurs is do something that scares you. That means to never get bored or complacent or rest on your laurels, but always be looking for the next big opportunity. This year, I’m going to take my own advice. Admittedly, I’ve done scarier things, but nonetheless, changes are afoot. Including this new website to reflect the new Neal.
My journey towards this change began in 2016 with the Neal’s Running Start group. Not only did I enjoy such a close mentorship with four eager and talented entrepreneurs, they opened my eyes to innovation that was happening outside of Silicon Valley in places like Helsinki, Valencia, Saskatoon. Amsterdam, and Berlin. More importantly, I rediscovered my love of hands-on mentorship with early stage companies.
As a result, Bay Partners is shifting from larger A and B round investments to strictly seed and angel investments. Moreover, I’m interested in helping tech sectors emerge outside of Silicon Valley. I’ve been working with start-ups in Canadian cities, including Saskatoon, Toronto and will soon add Edmonton and Calgary. Partnering with local investors and regional governments, I’ve guided the expansion and improvement of local tech incubators because these cities have the talent pool to drive innovations and ideas.
I’ve blogged before about Steve Case’s Third Wave book and the need to nurture tech ideas in a variety of locations where people have differing experiences and expertise. Silicon Valley will continue to be a critical center of technology innovation. However, we need to foster growth in people and regions that are thinking differently. I’m committed to helping cities and founders who need investors and mentors to help them create a burgeoning new industry during changing economic times.
In addition, I’m taking on a more active role at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. I will be co-teaching a class entitled “CEO and Board Leadership (An Insider’s View on Corporate Governance)” for MBA students.
All this change is really about freeing me up to mentor entrepreneurs, which is what I love most. I’ve already invested in 20 early stage companies because I thrive and feel alive when I’m working at the seed level of a start-up. A company’s early years are quite fragile and that’s when entrepreneurs need solid advice. My years with Bay have taught me a few lessons about the good, the bad, and the ugly of the start-up world, so I hope to share what I’ve learned as founders fight their way from fledgling to stability.
You’ll notice that this web site has a new look to reflect these changes. I’ll post a calendar of where I’ll be traveling and speaking or you can reach me on the website contact form. Feel free to get in touch or find me at a local event. 2018 has already been an exciting year, and I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you as new adventures unfold.