Featured Stories

Hell & Back Again!


Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” This attitude is what saved me in my personal life and with my startups. Don’t stop. Don’t dwell on the negatives. Figure out a way to get through the mess. That’s the only way out.

Captain Hoff’s 7 Tech Predictions for 2017

2017 Predictions1) AR & VR will disappoint as adoption fails to meet expectations. Let’s face it, the experience on low-end devices is dismal, and most people don’t want to pay for high-end devices.

2) There’s lots of hype around the Blockchain, but it’s nothing but a piece of technology. Blockchain startups aren’t worth anything unless they’ve figured out a real business model.

3) General AI will fail. It’s too complicated. Narrow AI that solves customers’ most pressing problems is where the smart money is.

Sun Basket Rings the Nasdaq Bell!

Adam Zbar

I’m so proud of Adam Zbar and the Sun Basket team. They were just invited to ring the bell on the Nasdaq exchange, a great honor. Their startup provides healthy meals, including gluten free, paleo and vegetarian.

Adam and I were partners and cofounders of our previous startup, and it’s great to see him on his way to an IPO, while he makes the world a healthier place!

You can visit Sun Basket at https://sunbasket.com/

Yik Yak’s Troubles Are Not Its Business Model

yik-yak-employeesHigh-flying Yik Yak, the anonymous messaging app, just laid off 60% off it employees. It raised $62 million from Sequoia Capital in 2014. As I always say, it doesn’t matter how much money you raise if you don’t have the right product.

Startup Spotlight: Exeq

ExeqFounders Space alumni, Exeq, just launched with $1.5 million in seed funding.

Exeq is the easiest way to stay on top of your finances. It helps users budget, save and invest with recommendations tailored to their lifestyles.

Exeq was started in New York City by Eli and Daniel, two business and philosophy majors trying to get a grip on their personal finances. With growing distrust for financial institutions and the banks, Eli and Daniel set out to create a banking experience our generation could understand and trust.

Exeq Closes $1.5 Million in Seed Funding

Founders Space alumni, Exeq, closes $1.5 million in seed funding to launch the first personalized finance app.

New York City angels led the round, and the new funds will allow Exeq to launch after the New Year. Packaging a customized budgeting tool, automated goal-based savings accounts, and robo-investment portfolios into one simple product, Exeq is competing to be the smartest banking experience yet. The new app will be available on iPhone and Android in 2017, and the company is collecting early-access signups today.


Betty Martins works for Brazil’s largest Entrepreneur online community, with millions of members, visitors and followers: http://valedosilicio.webflow.io/english

They are producing 4 documentaries.

The Trends series will address concepts and trends that will dominate the economic market in the future. The idea is to address these issues by analyzing the work of new entrepreneurs and investors who are developing such technologies. In order to achieve this objective we will ask the main characters of each episode to deconstruct their projects/research by looking to the technology itself, while making an overall reflection over the economy context and impacts.

The Launch Pad

launch pad jacket art

Just read THE LAUNCH PAD by Randall Stross. It tells the story of YC and provides some unique insights into how the accelerator works. The stories of Paul Graham are the best part.

Too bad Paul is no longer actively involved in YC. He was the spiritual and intellectual guiding force, and this book highlights his unique role and personality.

PhiPAL Turns any Helmet into a Smart Helmet

PhiPAL is our Startup of the Month! This Founders Space graduate turns any helmet into a smart, performance-tracking helmet that automatically detects accidents and sends for help with your location.

Check out their amazing Kickstarter Campaign now.


The Third Wave

Third Wave

There is no doubt that Steve Case, the founder of AOL and Chairman of Time Warner, is a brilliant businessman. I wish I could say the same for his book: The Third Wave.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book. But it’s not great. There’s nothing in this book that grabbed me. The ideas were all things I’ve heard before.

Tim Cook & the Premier of China

Premier Li

Last week, I had the privilege of being invited to meet Li Keqiang (Premier of China), along with Tim Cook (CEO of Apple), Jack Ma (CEO of Alibaba), Pony Ma (CEO of Tencent) and other top business leaders.

Tim Cook 2

It was fascinating to hear how each of the major global players approached Premier Li and asked for specific changes in China’s policy, ranging from education to business regulations.

Startup Spotlight: Doggy PC

Doggy PC

The wildest startup at Big Salad was a Doggy PC, where dogs can play video games, study and interact with a touch screen computer. Their video demo is hilarious. Dogs must unite and unleash their power!

Special Committee – A Political Strategy Tabletop Game

James Taylor, the game designer (not musician), has just launched his latest game, Special Committee, on Kickstarter. Special Committee is a tabletop game of political maneuvering, pushing agendas, and overturning the dominant party to become the most powerful player inside the Beltway.

James is an amazing designer. I had the pleasure working with him in the past on the Yumby games, and I love his creativity and dedication to the craft. Check it out for yourself!

Umair’s Story


Umair Ehsan is a Founders Space graduate. Here’s the story of how he dropped out of university to pursue his dream of intelligently automating the world.

Read the Full Story

Founders Space Links Investors & Startups

Shanghai Daily

Having recently moved to San Francisco from Shanghai, I set out to find standout people in the Bay Area who are bridging the divide between Silicon Valley and the startup ecosystem in China.

This month, I sat down with Steve Hoffman, founder and CEO of Founder‘s Space, to hear his thoughts on Chinese startups and learn about his company’s expansion plans in China.

LIFE LESSON: Burning Bridges

angryNever lose your temper. I can think of very few times in my life where losing my temper actually helped solve a problem. More often than not, it just allowed me to vent, while making others miserable and resentful. I’ve gotten far better results by keeping calm, treating people with respect, and focusing on the solution–not the problem. As my grandfather liked to say, better to build a bridge than burn one.

Postmodern Architecture in China

I met Mack in Shanghai. He’s a talented, young architect studying at Harvard, and he’s passionate about designing in the postmodern Chinese style. Here are some samples of the tantalizing projects his company is working on. Founders Space will be partnering with Mack on projects in China.

Mack 4

Mack 1

Mack 2

Mack 3

Shanghai Daily Features Founders Space


Founders Space was featured in the Shanghai Daily newspaper today! 

Visiting CooTek

I took our batch of Korean startups to visit CooTek, a startup in Shanghai with 200 employees. They make the app TouchPal. They couldn’t compete with Baidu in China, so they focused on the US and Europe. Like I always say, if you can’t be #1 or #2, look for another market.


MY CRAZY LIFE: Sleep Be Damned

wp-image-1245421534jpg.jpgMY CRAZY LIFE: Returned from in China having caught a cold and not slept on the 12-hour flight. Met Red Cube founder at the airport, toured their hip new offices, brainstormed with them on their new media channel, then went home, worked to catch up on weeks of emails and other stuff, after which I collapsed in my own bed for the first time in 5 weeks. Home sweet home!