Here’s a quick pic of three of the eight teams in our Menlo Park space.  It is the floor right below Highland’s Sand Hill Road office (makes for easy access to each other for all parties) and is self-contained with a kitchen and two conference rooms.  As several teams have brought on additional people since the summer, it’s actually pretty filled out at this stage (although we could squeeze/stack another 1-2 people if needed).  The teams pictured here include Collections, Prawg and Wholesome.

Here’s a quick pic of three of the eight teams in our Menlo Park space.  It is the floor right below Highland’s Sand Hill Road office (makes for easy access to each other for all parties) and is self-contained with a kitchen and two conference rooms.  As several teams have brought on additional people since the summer, it’s actually pretty filled out at this stage (although we could squeeze/stack another 1-2 people if needed).  The teams pictured here include Collections, Prawg and Wholesome.

If you’re a Mac client user of Google Docs, you should definitely take a minute to check-out the new beta from Collections. It lets you access your Google Docs, including those from multiple accounts, with unparalleled speed. Simply launch the app and you’re off to the races – browse and edit your documents and even read a cached version offline.  As noted (and huge for many folks), you can also access all your documents in one place,  no matter which account they’re associated with. Download the Collections beta now here.

We originally went with IKEA tables for their form factor, flexibility and value.  Little did we know that a lot would be asked of them (personally, I think Tony, co-founder of Collections, could comfortably accommodate at least one more iPad on the table).  What you can just barely see in the picture (lower left) is the massive 3-foot power strip that is needed to make everything run.  Hopefully, it doesn’t lead to the power blackouts that hit Sand Hill Road a couple years back.
BTW, see what the Collections team has been up to by downloading their new beta at http://beta.collections.me/.

We originally went with IKEA tables for their form factor, flexibility and value.  Little did we know that a lot would be asked of them (personally, I think Tony, co-founder of Collections, could comfortably accommodate at least one more iPad on the table).  What you can just barely see in the picture (lower left) is the massive 3-foot power strip that is needed to make everything run.  Hopefully, it doesn’t lead to the power blackouts that hit Sand Hill Road a couple years back.

BTW, see what the Collections team has been up to by downloading their new beta at http://beta.collections.me/.

A big thanks to Jordan Lee of Collections for summarizing yesterday’s session with Maynard Webb.  A great read and some outstanding advice:

The West Coast Summer@HIGHLAND teams (with Cambridge video-conferenced in) were treated to lunch with one of Silicon Valley’s most trusted operating executives, a man whose driving impulse is to look for the largest, most important fire burning at any given moment and do whatever it takes to extinguish it.

From the earliest days of his career, when he was working as a security guard and angling for opportunities to advance (such as learning how to program and break systems), Maynard Webb lived by one simple rule: chase down the difficult and unpopular challenges that everyone else seemed to be avoiding and deliver results no one thought were possible. From rescuing eBay from the brink of calamity as its Chief Operating Officer (and then helping it to grow from $140 million in revenue to over $6 billion in seven years), to serving as President and CEO of LiveOps and as a senior executive at Gateway, Quantum, and IBM, Webb has never shrank from a challenge.

Still Chairman of the Board at LiveOps, Webb turned his attention last year to a host of new pursuits. He founded the Webb Investment Network, which together with 75 seasoned affiliates invests in and coaches young entrepreneurs who have transformative ideas. He also recently joined Yahoo’s Board of Directors, underscoring his commitment to tackling the toughest problems around, and recently wrote a book called “Rebooting Work: Transform How you Work in the Age of Entrepreneurship,” which will be published in January.

The teams were held in rapt attention as Webb recounted his improbable personal story and drew lessons from his experience, several of which were especially relevant for us:

  1. The danger of complacency – As a company grows, founders should never stop asking themselves, “Am I pulling my weight?” It’s not healthy for a company’s leadership, nor for its employees, if founders become complacent or abuse their seniority and free ride on the work of others. Relatedly, Webb also enjoined us to be our own toughest critics to ensure that we’re really contributing our all, and to be careful not to “confuse action for traction.”
  2. The overriding importance of integrity –  Founders face a raft of unique pressures that risk compromising their integrity. It’s important to look forward many years into the future and ask if you’ll be able to live with the decisions you’re making now. Reputation, after all, is as easy to lose as it is difficult to acquire.
  3. Be brave, bold, flexible, and positive – Nobody wants to work with someone who’s cranky all the time, so keep your attitude in check. And given that change is inevitable, you might as well embrace it rather than resist it. Ultimately, an entrepreneur must be brave and bold enough to see the change they want to see in the world and then work furiously to get there.

At the end of lunch Webb was asked what helped him sort through his many different opportunities and what gave him the conviction to keep going. He paused for a moment and then shared a mental exercise that he would use when he was starting out. Imagine yourself in thirty years on a stage in front of all of the people you admire most in the world. You have to tell them the story of your life, and what you say will be met with one of three reactions. They might deliver faint praise (“well, not bad given the circumstances”), they might be underwhelmed (“that doesn’t quite cut it”), or you could truly knock their socks off so that they’re left scratching their chins in disbelief.

It’s clear that Webb is on track to achieve the third. Hopefully, with a bit of his wisdom adding wind to our sails, we too can strive for greatness.

As in years past, we had Summer teams that were also concurrently participating in Y Combinator’s accelerator program.  With YC’s focus on product fit and Summer’s on validating market & value proposition validation, it’s a great combo.  This year there were three teams that were involved in both programs - Airbrite, Collections, Cycle.
Yesterday was YC’s Demo Day at the Computer Science History Museum in Mountain View, CA.  Below are the TechCrunch write-ups on both Airbrite & Collections (Cycle will present at the winter Demo Day session).
AIRBRITE - ECOMMERCE SOFTWARE FOR TABLETS
70% of ecommerce stores can’t go mobile because of inflexible legacy software. That’s where Airbrite comes in. It’s attacking the middle market which have the most pain and the most outdated software. The founders say 3,000 brands are spending $500,000 per year on setup and maintenance fees alone – a $3 billion market. Airbrite now has Jennifer Lopez’s stores and 15 brands in its pilot and is onboarding 30 more. And it’s designed to work with booming world of APIs. It’s already got support from SV Angel, and is looking to close a round.
COLLECTIONS.ME: A UNIVERSAL FINDER FOR THE CLOUD
Collections.me is a file manager connected to the cloud. The company says that there are more than 1 billion PCs in the world and every one comes with a file manager like Finder. Ten years ago, that was all you needed because files were housed on your computer. But now with cloud apps, those old file managers don’t cut it anymore. The “Collections” native app lives on your computer or mobile phone. The startup says it’s super fast and always available whether you’re online or offline. Launched in beta testing four weeks ago, the app has seen 8,000 downloads, and found five million documents and photos. The company has a freemium model and will charge for enterprise support and premium services. They say it could replace Finder on a Mac or the equivalent on a PC and become the one app that everyone uses to access their digital content.

As in years past, we had Summer teams that were also concurrently participating in Y Combinator’s accelerator program.  With YC’s focus on product fit and Summer’s on validating market & value proposition validation, it’s a great combo.  This year there were three teams that were involved in both programs - Airbrite, Collections, Cycle.

Yesterday was YC’s Demo Day at the Computer Science History Museum in Mountain View, CA.  Below are the TechCrunch write-ups on both Airbrite & Collections (Cycle will present at the winter Demo Day session).

AIRBRITE - ECOMMERCE SOFTWARE FOR TABLETS

70% of ecommerce stores can’t go mobile because of inflexible legacy software. That’s where Airbrite comes in. It’s attacking the middle market which have the most pain and the most outdated software. The founders say 3,000 brands are spending $500,000 per year on setup and maintenance fees alone – a $3 billion market. Airbrite now has Jennifer Lopez’s stores and 15 brands in its pilot and is onboarding 30 more. And it’s designed to work with booming world of APIs. It’s already got support from SV Angel, and is looking to close a round.

COLLECTIONS.ME: A UNIVERSAL FINDER FOR THE CLOUD

Collections.me is a file manager connected to the cloud. The company says that there are more than 1 billion PCs in the world and every one comes with a file manager like Finder. Ten years ago, that was all you needed because files were housed on your computer. But now with cloud apps, those old file managers don’t cut it anymore. The “Collections” native app lives on your computer or mobile phone. The startup says it’s super fast and always available whether you’re online or offline. Launched in beta testing four weeks ago, the app has seen 8,000 downloads, and found five million documents and photos. The company has a freemium model and will charge for enterprise support and premium services. They say it could replace Finder on a Mac or the equivalent on a PC and become the one app that everyone uses to access their digital content.