Tag: Startup Grind San Antonio

Startup Grind San Antonio Features Bob Metcalfe

imgres-2Bob Metcalfe is the Professor of Innovation, Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise at the University of Texas at Austin.
He has taught an undergraduate course on entrepreneurship called Longhorn Startup for the past two years along with Joshua Baer and Entrepreneur in Residence Ben Dyer.
Metcalfe was also inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame this past summer for inventing Ethernet, a local area networking technology that lets computers communicate with one another. Metcalfe also co-founded 3Com and served as a publisher and pundit at InfoWorld. He worked as a full time venture capitalist for a decade as a partner at Polaris Ventures. He has also climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. His wife runs ultra marathons. His children both just qualified to run the Boston Marathon, which they have run previously. And Metcalfe completed his first triathlon last year.
In this interview, Metcalfe recounts how he tried to license ARCnet, a local area network protocol similar to Ethernet, from San Antonio-based Datapoint, one of the first local area networking computer companies. Datapoint wouldn’t license ARCnet.
For 10 years, everyone told Metcalfe that the IBM Token Ring, a local area network protocol that also competed with Ethernet, would become the standard. He persevered and continued to promote Ethernet, which did ultimately become the standard.
Metcalfe started 3Com with $27,000 from a real estate settlement. He even lent $3,000 to one of his partners so he could invest it in the company and then take a salary and pay Metcalfe back $300 a month for 10 months.

Startup Grind Features Graham Weston of Rackspace

mqdefaultGraham Weston, co-founder and chairman of Rackspace Hosting, grew up in the greater San Antonio area.
At his first job, he worked in his dad’s cookie plant balancing the books from delivery drivers and occasionally packaging cookies. His dad owned Grandma’s Cookies and later sold the company to Frito Lay.
Weston’s first venture into entrepreneurship in grade school involved selling organic pork from his family’s ranch through advertisements proclaiming “Go Hog Wild” in the local newspaper. He also ran a photography business in high school.
In college, he would drive back and forth from Texas A&M in his VW Diesel Rabbit listening to get rich quick tapes in his cassette player.
His junior year at Texas A&M, Weston launched a successful real estate venture while going through college. He successfully protested his family’s property tax appraisal and then figured that there might be a business doing that for others. He founded a company that protested commercial property taxes.
Because of his property tax business, Weston was well positioned to see opportunities in real estate during the financial crisis of the late 1980s.
After school, Weston ended up buying one of the tallest buildings in downtown San Antonio, later named the Weston Centre at the age of 27. The building had fallen into foreclosure and then bankruptcy during the Savings and Loan Crisis of the late 1980s. He wanted to buy the KCI Tower, but wasn’t able to do it. Later the former National Bank of Commerce building came open. It was way more than Weston wanted to spend. But he raised more money and then bid against real estate mogul Sam Zell and won.
The Weston Centre later contained one of the first data centers for Rackspace. It housed some of the first websites on the Internet for YouTube and HotorNot and other Internet pioneers.
Rackspace, now a multi-billion dollar company, had a humble beginning.
Weston and his partner, Morris Miller, met three college students who bid to wire the Weston Centre with high-speed Internet access. The students didn’t get the contract, but Weston and Miller liked them. They asked them what else they were working on. That’s when Pat Condon, Dirk Elmendorf and Richard Yoo told them about their hosting business, which would later come to be known as Rackspace.
Weston recounted how they invested $1 million and in less than a year another company wanted to buy the business for $20 million. That deal fell through. But they knew they had a solid business, which was making money every month. They grew Rackspace by adding more servers and data centers and in 2001 they planned to take the company public, but the dot com bust occurred. They went through a few tough years, but they were able to persevere and succeed where many failed largely through Rackspace’s focus on providing “fanatical” customer support.
In 2008, Rackspace went public at $12 a share. Its stock closed Wednesday at $37 a share. The company has a market capitalization of more than $5 billion.
Today, Rackspace has more than 5,000 employees worldwide and is San Antonio’s largest high-tech employer with close to 3,000 employees in Central Texas. Rackspace also has an Austin office.

Startup Grind San Antonio Launches Featuring Interview with Jason Seats

images-3Startup Grind, based in Mountain View, Calif. seeks to foster entrepreneurship through storytelling.
Derek Anderson founded Startup Grind, which now has chapters in 40 cities and 20 countries around the world.
One of the latest chapters is Startup Grind San Antonio.
The values of Startup Grind are important ones to foster an entrepreneurial environment.
“We believe in making friends, not contacts. We believe in giving, not taking. We believe in helping others before helping yourself. We are truly passionate about helping founders, entrepreneurs and startups succeed. We intend to make their startup journey less lonely, more connected and more memorable.”
The first Startup Grind San Antonio event takes place on April 23 at Geekdom in downtown San Antonio and features a one on one interview with Jason Seats, cofounder of SliceHost and managing director of the TechStars Cloud. The TechStars Demo Day for its second class of 12 companies is Thursday in San Antonio. Seats has helped to launch 23 TechStars Cloud companies. He is also an active angel investor.
Startup Grind also has a chapter in Austin, headed up by Andi Gillentine, co-founder of Whit.li. She launched that chapter last year and has held several successful events at Capital Factory. The next one is April 29th at Capital Factory featuring an interview with Mellie Price, founder of Source Spring and Front Gate Tickets. Startup Grind also has a Dallas chapter.
Geekdom is sponsoring Startup Grind San Antonio and Vid Luther with ZippyKid, a WordPress hosting site, is also sponsoring the event.
Startup Grind San Antonio will kick off at 6 p.m. with pizza and beer. The interview with Seats will take place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will feature an interactive question and answer session with the audience. So please sign up now and get your tickets, which are limited.
Startup Grind San Antonio’s May speaker is David Spencer, founder of Onboard Systems and Startup Grind San Antonio’s speaker for June is Pat Condon, cofounder of Rackspace.

In February, I was lucky to attend Startup Grind’s annual conference at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. The speakers were fabulous. Here’s a video that shows some highlights from that event.

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