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FilmHero - Sysamone Phaphon

Posted by Runway on Mar 27, 2017 1:24:34 PM

When I entered into the tech space, the first executive level woman I met was very rude and condescending. Her role was to help early stage startup founders through a program that shall not be named. Instead of offering solutions, she found it more amusing to belittle my ambition, insult my idea, criticize every word that came out of my mouth and laughed at every question or request for clarification of her comments. She made me feel really small that day and I honestly questioned whether I made the right decision to quit my amazing job at Stanford with my amazing female mentors/leadership in the health space. A month after this experience I ended up being invited to demo my app product at a women's event alongside 15 other women led tech companies in various stages. It was an amazing, inspiring, and empowering event. Every woman there only wanted the other to thrive and I realized this was the proper introduction every woman should have when entering the tech space. I decided the next day to form a group for women in tech to find support and a safe space to share their challenges without ridicule. I decided I would help women so that they are always met with positive support versus negativity. It's hard enough being in a male dominated industry, women need to do what we can to elevate and empower each other with no expectation but to succeed together in our professional endeavors.

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From Nearly Drowning to Successful Startup

Posted by Runway on Dec 1, 2016 10:05:00 AM

Runway Startup Restube Launches its Life-saving Products on Kickstarter

 

“Ten years ago I nearly drowned kitesurfing. It took me almost an hour to get to shore through powerful waves and a strong riptide,” said Christopher Fuhrhop, CEO and Founder of Restube. This near-death experience was the catalyst for the creation of Restube, a startup with the mission to create innovative water safety products for watersports and recreational enthusiasts worldwide.

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This Week's AI News (11.14.2016)

Posted by Runway on Nov 14, 2016 3:21:55 PM

Headlines and investments in Artificial Intelligence.

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Asking the right questions

Posted by Runway on Dec 29, 2015 8:39:17 AM

This has been a pretty quiet week for most of us, which is a good thing. At Runway, I’m seeing some folks work through the holiday season and some folks out of the office, hopefully spending time with family and loved ones.

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Technology: Is it a positive or negative influence in our lives?

Posted by Runway on Dec 22, 2015 11:08:56 AM

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful holiday season. Last week I was asked by a high school student in San Jose if I could answer some questions for a report he was putting together. One of the questions that he asked me was particularly interesting. “Do you believe that the emergence of the Internet of Things or, more broadly, increased integration of technology in our daily lives, is positive or negative?”

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The Mobile App Market

Posted by Runway on Dec 15, 2015 12:13:04 PM

Last week, I read about Facebook shutting down Creative Labs. This, along with Dropbox’s recent announcement that they are shutting down Carousel and Mailbox, made me reflect on the hype that has surrounded constellation apps for the last 2 years.

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Role of foreign Corporate VCs in 2016

Posted by Runway on Dec 7, 2015 6:35:00 PM

I came back from Japan yesterday, energized and slightly jet-lagged with everything going on there. As I mentioned last week, there are a ton of corporate VCs (CVCs) looking to put money into Silicon Valley. The same is true from my trips to China earlier in the year. All of them have the same requests - they are not sure they fully understand, or have access to, the US startup market.

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Open Innovation, Corporations, and Startups

Posted by Runway on Dec 1, 2015 9:34:00 PM

I'm in Japan this week, meeting with Japanese corporations that are interested in engaging with startups as part of their open innovation initiatives. It’s been an enjoyable journey. There are hundreds of companies here in the world’s 3rd largest economy that are interested in investing in, partnering with and acquiring US startups, and we’ve been meeting with a lot of them.

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The Role of Government in Supporting Innovation

Posted by Runway on Nov 24, 2015 10:56:57 AM

  We had a group come in from Sweden  on Friday, and some of the folks were interested in talking about the role of government in supporting innovation. I’ve gotten this question a few times from government officials over the years. At the crux of every inquiry is the question of how silicon valley became “silicon valley”, the land of dreams, unicorns and awesome satirical TV shows. Believe it or not, there are a ton of people around the world thinking about this question. It affects things like jobs, policy, budgets, etc. I’ve spent a while thinking about this and keep coming back to the same conclusion. What you need is a group of smart, creative, ambitious people who have the headspace to build innovative products and services.

 

I know there are a lot of buzzwords in there so I should unpack that. I think that there’s something special that happens when you get a group of smart people together who want to build something, and you just leave them alone for a while. It seems like there is a direct correlation between high caliber educational institutions and innovation. But I don’t think the educational institutions themselves are providing the framework for building products and companies. I think it’s the loose working day (let’s face it, you’re in class for about 12 hours a week) and the fact that everyone is living and working together that gives rise to creation. And I don’t even think that what’s created needs to be commercially viable. Most great movements are started by small groups of people who are creating cool things for each other and don’t care about making money. Bitcoin, personal computing, etc.

 

So what can governments do to help? Well, I think anything that aids the above would be a step in the right direction. Which means, putting smart and ambitious people who are interested in building something together for a while and leaving them alone. And then not being overly concerned about what they’re creating. This could mean providing something similar to a Fulbright Scholarship to promising young people who could receive a minimal stipend while they work on their ideas. It could mean creating government sponsored academies that don’t have traditional curriculum and are more about working together on cool stuff. And any “classes” should be led by current or former entrepreneurs or inventors, not academics. Most important, whatever they do, they shouldn’t burden the founders with going into debt, or insist on owning IP or taking equity positions in the companies they support. The financial return any government should come in the form of increasing GDP, jobs etc. as an eventuality of success. Notice I haven’t mentioned anything about VCs investing into the ecosystem, and that’s because I think venture capital will always flow to innovation centers over time.

 

Will these ideas work? Is this enough? Is there actually anything a government can do to help promote a startup ecosystem? I don’t really know. But I like the idea of governments supporting things like what we’re doing here at Runway. And I like the fact they’re taking the time to stop by and ask.

 

Matt Walters
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