Give First on Smash Notes

Give First podcast.

December 31, 2019

In the startup world, Give First means simply trying to help anyone—especially entrepreneurs—with no expectation of getting anything back. It's the pay-it-forward principle that builds strong startup networks. Hosts David Cohen and Brad Feld—Techstars cofounders, lifelong entrepreneurs, and startup investors—talk with mentors and founders about what giving first looks like in action, and how it makes great entrepreneurship possible.



Recently updated notes

This is a fabulous interview with two founders who live and work out of rural communities in Colorado. Nager and Mayer discuss how in the recent years small towns have grown in talent, and starting to breed entrepreneurial communities of their own. This is in part due to people moving back to their hometown,s after making a good living somewhere else, and in part due to different needs for the next generation of entrepreneurs. People who value living, adventure, outdoors and peaceful living, among other things, are all moving to start a new life outside of big cities. This is causing a boom in rural startup communities.

Updated on September 05

Key points in this episode

Entrepreneur, investor, and Techstars board member Wendy Lea remembers the beginnings of Techstars, her first encounters with #GiveFirst—and how mentors have changed her life.

Updated on May 20

Key points in this episode

How did Sphero CEO Paul Berberian make the number one toy in the world? Sphero got to make the BB8 toy robot because of a connection made during a Techstars accelerator. That’s the power of the network. Hear him tell that story, and more.

Updated on May 24

Key points in this episode

Phillip McKernan believes life is too short to have regrets. As a life coach, he is dedicated to helping others rediscover themselves, tap into their greatest gifts and create a positive impact on the world.

Key points in this episode

David Cohen and Brad Feld muse on the terrific guests they’ve talked to so far and tease some new guests, announcements, and books coming soon.

Key points in this episode

SparkCharge Founder and CEO Joshua Aviv shares his remarkable journey live from CES 2020. Listen for insights about how he turned an idea from an econ class at Syracuse University into a thriving startup.

Key points in this episode

Damon Motorcycles Co-founder and CTO (and Techstars Mobility alum) Dominique Kwong talks with Techstars VP of Network John Hill about the unstoppable power of business and engineering partnerships, launching at CES, and the emotions behind building a company.

Key points in this episode

Event Hub CEO and Co-founder Michael Bleau shares his startup experience live from CES 2020. Listen for insights about how Event Hubs is tapping technology to help companies make meaningful real-life connections.

Key points in this episode

Plated Co-founder Josh Hix shares his startup wisdom with student entrepreneurs in the first live episode of Give First. Listen for insights about how this self-described introvert learned to become an inspiring leader. Plus: when not to take a big valuation.

Key points in this episode

Why does Rajat Bhargava, Co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud, keep starting businesses? How does JumpCloud, a B2B company, Give First? What does their 30 years of friendship mean to Rajat and Give First co-host Brad Feld? Listen for answers to these questions—and more.

Key points in this episode

As co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of MergeLane, Elizabeth Kraus invests in women-led startups and venture funds. And she hopes to one day make MergeLane obsolete—by achieving gender parity in entrepreneurship and VC.

Key points in this episode

Jason Mendelson, Co-founder of Foundry Group, has spent over 15 years explaining how venture deals really work. From blog posts to a book—Venture Deals is now in its 4th edition!—to a free online course, Jason and co-author Brad Feld are determined to Give First by demystifying VC.

Key points in this episode

Canadian VC Janet Bannister, a partner at Real Ventures, loves investing in “conscious founders” who are trying to make the world a better place. Her style of “human-centered investing” prioritizes people and relationships, and investing in smart, self-aware, teachable entrepreneurs.

Key points in this episode

“The true path to happiness is to have meaningful work and meaningful relationships,” Heidi Rozen says. She brings these two elements together as a VC working with entrepreneurs who are changing the world for the better. Her humane take on being a “mentor capitalist” is deeply Give First.

Key points in this episode

The second edition of Do More Faster by David Cohen and Brad Feld is out, and David and Brad are excited. Listen to this quick bonus episode for their thoughts on what’s changed in the past nine years—and what publishing a book is really like.

Key points in this episode

Harry Stebbings, founder of the Twenty Minute VC podcast and Stride.VC, spends time every day connecting with each of his new followers on social media. He ends every email with “How can I help you?” Listen for more on how he built his podcast to over five million downloads per month, and how he Gives First every day.

Key points in this episode

Can you give too much? John China, President of SVB Capital, reflects on how mentorship helped him grow into an executive, and on whether, at some point, you need to see payback from all your giving. Spoiler alert: the answer is no. Never stop giving.

Key points in this episode

As a successful woman CTO, Sherri Hammons is well known for being both humble and strong. Her Oklahoma childhood taught her the importance of always giving (and how to get back on the bucking bronco). Give First is ingrained in Sherri’s leadership style and her approach to bringing together technology and sustainability, which is her focus as CTO of The Nature Conservancy.

Key points in this episode

Do you know how to be a great ally in the workplace? Why should all startup founders do karaoke? What is the secret sauce of the Seattle startup ecosystem? Create33 Director Rebecca Lovell knows the answers to all these—and more.

Key points in this episode

How has the Give First podcast been going? David and Brad reflect back on their initial forays into podcast hosting, and come to the conclusion that, while they’re still learning, their guests are amazing.

Key points in this episode

Strong mentorship was essential to Kesha Cash’s journey to becoming an impact investor. Her mentors Gave First to help her—and now she’s Giving First to diverse entrepreneurs through her Impact America Fund.

Key points in this episode

T.A. McCann, serial entrepreneur and Managing Director of Pioneer Square Labs, has sailed in two America’s Cups. How are sailing and startups alike? T.A. explains.

Key points in this episode

From Google for Startups to Startup Weekend to Rise of the Rest and beyond, Mary Grove is passionate about community-driven change, and helping make it happen.

Key points in this episode

Over the years, a #GiveFirst network will reward its members time and time again. Troy Henikoff looks back at 2009, when he first encountered Techstars and was so inspired he started his own accelerator—with some help from the Techstars Network. A decade later, that accelerator is now Techstars Chicago, and Troy is Managing Director of MATH Ventures. You never know where #GiveFirst will take you—but you do know you’ll never have to go it alone.

Key points in this episode

David Cohen and Brad Feld explore what Give First means to them

Key points in this episode


0:00
0:00