CarGurus Founder/CEO Langley Steinert

CarGurus is an automotive shopping website that uses data, technology, and community to help consumers find the best car deals from the best-rated car dealers. Founded in 2007 by Langley Steinert (also a co-founder of TripAdvisor), the company has grown to become the #1 most visited car shopping site in the US. CarGurus employs 250 at its Cambridge-MA headquarters and will open its first international office in Dublin in June, which will serve as a hub for the company’s European expansion. Watch this video and learn how Langley has quietly built two of the most successful consumer businesses in Boston, how lessons learned co-founding TripAdvisor shaped CarGurus, and other lessons you can apply to your startup.

SimpliSafe Founder/CEO Chad Laurans

SimpliSafe makes it easy for anyone to install a security system in their home or apartment with no technician required. An inexpensive monthly SaaS fee replaces long-term contracts. In short, SimpliSafe offers all the protection of a traditional security system with none of the problems, so it’s no surprise that SimpliSafe was #119 on the Inc 500 and recently raised $57M from Sequoia Capital.

Watch this video and learn how Chad has quietly built one of the most successful consumer businesses in Boston, how unconventional advertising on Marc Maron’s podcast and talk radio helped the company grow, and other lessons you can apply to your startup.

Drift Co-founder/CEO David Cancel

David Cancel is a five-time entrepreneur, two-time CEO, angel investor, and currently the CEO at Drift, a messaging app that makes it easier for businesses to talk to their customers. Prior to Drift, David was at HubSpot where he served as Chief Product Officer after HubSpot acquired his last company, Performable.

Join us to learn about David’s experience as a serial entrepreneur, lessons from his five times as a founder, how he rebuilt the product team at HubSpot to help fuel their rocketship ride, and other learnings you can apply to your startup.

TripAdvisor Founder/CEO Stephen Kaufer

Many believe Boston can’t do consumer tech startups. TripAdvisor proves them wrong.
TripAdvisor users have written 225M reviews for the service—compare that to Yelp’s community which has only generated 77M reviews. Over 190M people have downloaded one of TripAdvisor’s apps and nearly 50% of their traffic comes from mobile devices. CEO Stephen Kaufer and his 3,000+ employees have built a company that has evolved from “Web 2.0” to “Mobile First” while earning a $12B market cap, right here in Boston.

Watch this video to learn how he did it, what the future holds, and lessons you can apply to your startup!

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We just finished our 13th edition of Founder Dialogues, featuring TripAdvisor Co-founder/CEO Stephen Kaufer. If you want to be the first to know when the next event is scheduled, when the video of this event is available, or just want to keep up with everything happening in tech, please sign up for our mailing list: http://

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FD: XI Jeff Seibert & Wayne Chang of Crashlytics, March 11th, 2014

A special thank you to Crashlytics co-founders, Jeff Seibert & Wayne Chang, for sharing their fascinating founder journey with the Boston community.  

Jeff & Wayne provided the Founder Dialogues XI crowd with an insider look into their entrepreneurial careers and how they together became Crashlytics, which in January 2013 was acquired by Twitter.

Jeff explained his passion for deeply technical Internet software. Gaining previous experience at Apple and later as the co-founder and COO of Increo.

Wayne described his personal focus on user experience and building relationships with developers to help influence the future of mobile development. He shared his fascinating background in leadership roles at i2hub, Napster and Dropbox.

Together Jeff & Wayne have put together their skills and expertise to create an award-winning mobile crash reporting solution.

Thanks to returning and new participants. The Founder Dialogues event series is dedicated to celebrating entrepreneurial success within the Boston start-up community.  Please stay tuned for the announcement of our next speaker.  Our vision is to showcase local successes and inspire the Boston community to build the next generation of great start-up success stories.

We hope you enjoyed Jeff & Wayne’s story. Feel free to tweet any thoughts or comments using #fdialogues.     

 

FD VIII: Scott Savitz of Shoebuy, May 9th, 2012

A special thank you to Scott Savitz for sharing his experience as Shoebuy‘s founder and CEO with the Boston community.  Scott shared his transition from working in the mortgage and bond industries to noticing a huge gap in the online shoe purchasing industry.  Scott set out to create the one-stop-shop for online shoe retail within an extremely fragmented 1999 retail shoe market.  Ultimately, after 6 years of continued growth and success, Scott decided to sell the business in 2006 to IAC.  Founder Dialogues was able to dig deeper into Scott’s thought processes as he built the company and through acquistion.

Thanks to returning and new participants.  The Founder Dialogues event series is dedicated to celebrating entrepreneurial success within the Boston startup community.  Please stay tuned for the announcement of our next speaker soon.  Our vision is to showcase local successes and inspire the Boston community to build the next generation of great startup success stories.

We hope you enjoy the video and photographs capturing FD VIII.  Feel free to tweet any thoughts or comments using #fdialogues.

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A special thanks to Greg Joyce of Willoughby Films for his video talents.  We would also like to thank VisibleGains and VentureFizz for their continued support.  Ian Holmes kindly joined Nathalie Bishop in photographing and organization for the event.  Also, a big thank you to Microsoft for providing the space for Founder Dialogues.

Save the Date: Founder Dialogues VIII – Scott Savitz Founder of Shoebuy, May 9th, 2012

 Click here to Register 

We’re excited to announce that Scott Savitz, founder and former CEO of shoebuy.com, has graciously accepted our invitation to share his intriguing story at Founder Dialogues VIII on May 9th, 2012 at the Microsoft New England R&D Center from 6pm – 8pm. 

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Scott Savitz is the founder and former CEO of Shoebuy.  Scott is a strong advocate of entrepreneurship and innovation, especially where it aims to raise the bar on the consumer experience. Scott founded Shoebuy in 1999, and served as its CEO for twelve years through its sale to IAC. Under his guidance, Shoebuy became one of the largest online retailers in the country, with over 1 million products and $3.5 billion in inventory available for sale, serving over 8 million visitors a month. Scott owns and is Chairman of Smart Lunches. He also serves on the boards of Bluestem Brands, SimpleTuition, Two Ten, and MITX, and serves as an Advisor for Olejo Stores and On The Spot Systems, Inc. He also serves on several committees focused on fostering growth and a more robust New England economy including the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and 12 X 12. Scott received a B.A. in English from the University of Colorado and currently resides in Boston, MA. He is a frequent industry speaker and has received numerous awards and accolades including Ernst & Young’s New England Entrepreneur of the Year.

 

About Shoebuy: 

Shoebuy is the largest retailer on the Internet focused on all categories of footwear and related apparel and accessories. Shoebuy has partnerships with over 1,200 manufacturers and represents over 1,000,000 products from top brands including Aerosoles, Allen-Edmonds, Bass, Bostonian, Brooks, Bruno Magli, Clarks, Crocs, Dr. Martens, Easy Spirit, ECCO, Florsheim, Franco Sarto, Hush Puppies, Johnston & Murphy, Keds, K-Swiss, Mephisto, Merrell, Naturalizer, New Balance, Patagonia, PUMA, Reebok, Rockport, Samsonite, Saucony, Sebago, Skechers, Sperry Top-Sider, Stride Rite, Stuart Weitzman, Timberland, and many more. Shoebuy is rated one of the top eTailers in the country for outstanding service by BizRate and in the top 10 in online retail satisfaction for apparel/accessories by Foresee Results.

In 2006, Shoebuy was acquired by IAC, which owns other leading properties including Ask.com, Match.com, and Citysearch. Shoebuy has enjoyed stellar growth, increasing revenues on average 50% a year since launching the Shoebuy site in January, 2000 and tripling revenues since being acquired by IAC. Shoebuy is ranked by Hitwise as one of the top 10 most visited apparel and accessory shopping and classified sites with over 8 million unique visitors a month.
 

Please help us spread the word: tweet/ blog #fdialogues

 

Click here to Register

Founder As Hero: Introducing Founder Dialogues

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Every domain has its heroes.  In Greek mythology, the heroes were warriors that prevailed over monsters and pleased the gods.  In Roman times the heroes were Generals that helped conquer the known world.  To Shakespeare the heroes were the virtuous lovers who would die for love.  Politics has its heroes (fewer in modern times).  As do comic books, Hollywood and professional sports.

In my world of fast-growth startups and venture capital, the heroes are the founders.  There is simply something magical about a person deciding to spend all her time, energy and resources pursuing a vision that most people consider crazy.  That simple act of a founder deciding “I’m 100% committed” is the catalyst that inspires others to rally and makes great companies possible.  Starting with little but an idea, founders begin a long road to creating value and hopefully building an important company.  It is the commitment of the founder, way more than the idea, that makes a startup possible.  There are few roads as challenging as creating something from nothing and few that are as rewarding.

When I was thinking about starting my first company in 1999, I was 23 years old and knew very few young and successful founders.  I was unsure if my ambitions were way out of line with my capabilities.  I cannot say for sure where I found the confidence, but I give some credit to two role models who at a distance inspired me.  Interestingly, I never spoke to either of these people about starting a company, but simply knowing that they were my peers, had taken the leap, and had success gave me the confidence to quit my job and pursue my vision.  By saying that I was 100% committed, I was able to rally support from co-founders, advisors, and ultimately customers and a company was born.

I’m introducing a new speaker series called Founder Dialogues to feature successful founders as the heroes that they are.  I hope that Founder Dialogues will help inspire new founders who have the vision and energy to build great companies, but need to see role models and understand their stories to see what’s possible.  I hope it will help current founders to persevere through tough times.  I hope it will help founders with some early success to be more prepared for the road ahead.

Founder Dialogues will be a Cambridge-based event series open to the public.  At each event, I will interview a great local founder who built an important company from nothing.  We’ll explore what made them entrepreneurs, how they got conviction, the challenges, the near death experiences, and the advice they have for others interested in following their footsteps.

My first guest is Tim Healy, the CEO and Founder of EnerNOC.  Tim is an extraordinary entrepreneur.  Tim became an entrepreneur in his early twenties as a co-founder of Student Advantage, which eighteen years later remains a leading media and commerce company focused on the higher education market.  In his early 30s, Tim co-founded EnerNOC, which uses demand response to help commercial organizations use energy more intelligently and generate cash flow by reducing consumption during peak grid usage.  Today EnerNOC is a public company with nearly 400 employees generating almost $200MM a year in annual revenue and has approximately a $750MM market cap.  Not bad in less than 10 years.

I hope that you’ll join me at 5:30 P.M. on April 12th at the Regatta Bar at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge to hear more about Tim’s entrepreneurial journey.