Featured Stories

Making Your Elephant Fly


A friend of mine is struggling to chose her path through life. She doesn’t want money; she wants a purpose. She wants to do something meaningful.

I’ve struggled with this same thing throughout my life. What’s the most meaning thing I can do right now? How can I make a real impact on people’s lives? How important is money versus doing something to better in the world. Even today, I’m asking myself the same questions. Is there a better direction I can take?

Our Brains are Hardwired & Ancient


Our brains aren’t like computers. They don’t have any software. There’s no operating system. It’s 100% hardware. It’s like if you had a computer and everything was hardwired.

Fortunately, the design of our brains is nothing like a computer, otherwise, we’d be stuck. Our brains are an incredibly complex tangle of neurons, which are divided into regions. Each of these regions can communicate with 50% of the other regions.

From Rags to Riches


More than any other people in the world, Americans believe in going from rags to riches. The American Dream is that anyone can rise up from poverty and make a fortune.

The irony is that the United States is actually one of the harder countries to make your fortune. In Canada and Denmark, people have practically twice the odds of rising up from the bottom 20% to the top 20%. However, if you live in certain cities, like San Francisco or Seattle, your odds are close to Canada, while if you live in places like Nashville or New Orleans, your odds are much, much lower.

The Challenges & Potential For Taiwanese Startups


As the CEO of Founders Space, one of Silicon Valley’s top startup accelerators, I have been to Taiwan a number of times to give lectures and run startup programs. We also work closely with the Taiwanese government, NCTU and other partners helping Taiwanese startups come to Silicon Valley, make connections, raise capital and go to market. During this process, I’ve seen both the challenges startups face and the potential for success.

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Why Do People Need to Sleep?


Why do people need to sleep? Isn’t it a waste of time? If you live to be 75, you’ll spend 25 years sleeping. That’s a good chunk of your life.

“Sleep, that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life.” – Virginia Woolf

“The only time I have problems is when I sleep.” – Tupac Shakur

“Life is too short for sleep” – Captain Hoff

Thryve Launches


The gut houses nearly 100 trillion microbes that are potentially more influential to your wellness then genetics. Our exclusive state-of-the art testing is not available at your traditional doctors office and finds up to roughly 90% of microbes.


With a simple home test, you’ll uncover how these microbes affect your metabolism, inflammation, food intolerances, and many more.

Thryve is a Founders Space graduate, and we love what they’re doing!

Captain Hoff’s 7 Tech Predictions for 2017


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Captain Hoff’s 7 Tech Predictions for 2017

Unicorn Spotting!

I found two Unicorns today in San Francisco, and they were so sweet that I gobbled them up. Nothing like a billion-dollar macaroon!

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!