I’m pleased to announced the latest addition to our “How to manage your startup in the downturn” roundtable event, to be held this Wednesday.
Toni Schneider, chief executive of Automattic (the company that makes the WordPress blogging software) will join Max Levchin of Slide, Jason Calacanis of Mahalo and Nirav Tolia of Web 1.0’s Epinions (he’s about to launch another start-up) on our panel of entrepreneurs.
Their panel follows the investors panel, which features John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins, Ram Shriram, one of Google’s first investors, Ron Conway, Kittu Kolluri of NEA and Matt Cohler of Benchmark.
One goal of this event is to provide context and advice for start-up CEOs and founders facing the recession. We’ve handpicked the speakers for their remarkable records and experiences in the previous downturn. Schneider makes a compelling addition.
In 2002, after losing one Web company to the dot-com fallout, Schneider took the helm of Oddpost, one of the first major web applications to use AJAX. Over the course of two years, Schneider grew the company to 12 people and profitability, before selling it for $30 million to Yahoo when the economy thawed — in 2004, making it one of the first Web 2.0 acquisitions.
While the Sequoia “RIP Good Times” presentation gave a broad overview of the economic problems facing the tech world, it provided mostly a macro analysis, and a general prescription for companies.
Now is the time to take the analysis one step further, and discuss the variety of situations we see among valley investors and their start-ups: How cleantech companies are different from Internet start-ups, and how under certain conditions, a profitable company may actually be poised for aggressive growth, hiring and M&A — and not necessarily ideal for cost cutting. We intend to explore all of this and more.
With the Presidential elections coming up the following week, we’ll be sure to ask how federal policy will affect the outlook, if at all.
We’ve set aside time after the second roundtable for networking.
Given the fairly predictable “Silicon Valley is in circle-the-wagons mode” story line we’ve been seeing so far in the media, this event is also the Valley’s opportunity to help dispel this myth and explain how the area’s start-ups are actually quite diverse and that there are a mix of strategies at play. Indeed, a select group of media have confirmed attendance, including ABC News, USA Today, Bloomberg, Fortune, Wired.com, CNET, LA Times, MarketWatch, GigaOm, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News.
There are tickets left, but they are going quickly. The event is aimed at start-up founders and executives. Follow this link to apply.