World's Top 30 Startup Gurus for 2019

Guru #1

David S. Rose

David S. Rose is an Inc. 500 CEO, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, author and keynote speaker who has founded or funded over 100 pioneering companies. He has been described by Forbes as “New York’s Archangel”, by BusinessWeek as a “world conquering entrepreneur”, by Crain’s New York Business as “the father of angel investing in New York”, and by Red Herring magazine as “patriarch of Silicon Alley”. He is the New York Times best selling author of both Angel Investing: The Gust Guide to Making Money & Having Fun Investing in Startups and The Startup Checklist: 25 Steps to a Scalable, High-Growth Business.

From his initial involvement with the first online communities in the 1970s, through founding one of the first personal computer training companies in the 1980s, one of the first wireless data information networks in the 1990s, and the first global angel investing platform in the 2000s, David has been at the forefront of innovation in business and technology.

David is well known in the business startup community for discovering and mentoring high-potential entrepreneurs, and has been profiled by BusinessWeek as “The Pitch Coach” for his ability to help CEOs perfect their fundraising skills. He is a regular speaker at the TED conferences, and his TEDtalk on How to Pitch a VC has been viewed over a million times. David has been named a Top Writer for five years in a row by Quora, the knowledge-based website where his more than eight thousand answer to questions about entrepreneurship and investing have garnered him over 80,000 followers. His writings have been featured in Inc. magazine, Huffington Post, Slate, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. David is a frequent lecturer at business schools including Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Cambridge, UVA, CUNY, Pace, and Stevens, and he was named Mentor of the Year by NYU’s Stern School of Business.

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Guru #2

Scott Belsky

Scott Belsky is an executive, entrepreneur, author, and investor (and all-around product obsessive). He currently serves as Adobe’s Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President, Creative Cloud. Scott’s passion is to make the creative world more productive, connected, and adaptive to new technologies. Scott co-founded Behance in 2006, and served as CEO until Adobe acquired Behance in 2012. Millions of people use Behance to display their portfolios, as well as track and find top talent across the creative industries. After Behance’s acquisition, Scott helped reboot Adobe’s mobile product strategy and led Behance until 2016, when he spent a few years as an investor and advisor to multiple businesses. Alongside his role at Adobe, Scott is a Venture Partner at Benchmark – a venture capital firm based in San Francisco, an early-stage investor, and is co-founder and Executive Chairman of Prefer, a referrals platform that empowers the careers of independent professionals (aka “Soloists”).

Over the years, Scott has pursued other projects to help organize and empower the careers of creative people. These include 99U, Behance’s think tank and annual conference devoted to execution in the creative world; and a popular line of organizational paper products that help organize creative people and teams.

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Guru #3

Reid Hoffman

An accomplished entrepreneur, executive, and investor, Reid Hoffman has played an integral role in building many of today’s leading consumer technology businesses, including LinkedIn and PayPal. He possesses a unique understanding of consumer behavior and the dynamics of viral businesses, as well as deep experience in driving companies from the earliest stages through periods of explosive, “blitzscale” growth. Ranging from LinkedIn to PayPal, from Airbnb to Convoy to Facebook, Reid invests in businesses with network effects and collaborates on building their product ecosystems.

Reid co-founded LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking service, in 2003. LinkedIn is thriving with more than 500 million members around the world and a diversified revenue model that includes subscriptions, advertising, and software licensing. He led LinkedIn through its first four years and to profitability as Chief Executive Officer. In 2016 LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft, and Reid became a board member of Microsoft.

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Guru #4

Seth Godin

Seth Godin is an Author, Entrepreneur and Most of All, A teacher

Seth is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker. In addition to launching one of the most popular blogs in the world, he has written 18 best-selling books, including The Dip, Linchpin, Purple Cow, Tribes, and What To Do When It’s Your Turn (And It’s Always Your Turn).

Though renowned for his writing and speaking, Seth also founded two companies, Squidoo and Yoyodyne (acquired by Yahoo!).

By focusing on everything from effective marketing and leadership, to the spread of ideas and changing everything, Seth has been able to motivate and inspire countless people around the world.

In 2013, Seth was one of just three professionals inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame. In an astonishing turn of events, in May 2018, he was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame as well. He might be the only person in both.

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Guru #5

Stephen R. Poland

Stephen R. Poland has worked with hundreds of startups and entrepreneurs, mentoring them on startup mechanics, funding plans, pitch decks, financial models, and due diligence documentation for the angel funding process.

Steve brings more than 20 years’ experience in startups and entrepreneurship to his career. Leveraging leadership roles with the Walt Disney Company, MacMillan Publishing, and Bertelsmann, Steve co-founded startups in the digital music and on-demand media manufacturing sectors, as well an early days anti-virus product.

Along with being co-founder of 1×1 Media, Steve works as a venture growth advisor in Western North Carolina.

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Guru #6

Michael E. Gerber

Michael E. Gerber is a true legend of entrepreneurship.

Inc. Magazine
 calls him “the World’s #1 Small Business Guru” — the entrepreneurial and small business thought leader who has impacted the lives of millions of individuals and hundreds of thousands of companies worldwide for over 40 years.

Michael E. Gerber is the author of the mega-bestseller “The E-Myth Revisited” and five other E-Myth books concerning small business and entrepreneurship.  Additionally, Mr. Gerber has written 14 industry-specific E-Myth Vertical books co-authored by industry experts.  These books are written for: Attorneys, Accountants, Optometrists, Chiropractors, Landscape Contractors, Financial Advisors, Architects, Real Estate Brokerages, Insurance Stores, Dentists, Nutritionists, Bookkeepers, Veterinarians, Real Estate Investors and soon to be HVAC Contractors.

Today, Michael is on a new mission, to bring economic development strengths and capabilities to millions of people around the world by awakening the new entrepreneur within them.  His one-of-a-kind entrepreneurial incubator called The Dreaming Room: Design, Build, Launch & Grow™, is now being led throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. This program will soon be sponsored by cities throughout the United States, and soon in cities throughout the world.

Based on his intimate, in-depth experiences with entrepreneurs in his Dreaming Room™ events, along with the tens of thousands of clients his company has coached and mentored over the past 40 years, Michael E. Gerber has  authored his revolutionary new book on entrepreneurship and The Dreaming Room™ called: “Awakening the Entrepreneur Within: How Ordinary People Can Create Extraordinary Companies.”

Mr. Gerber believes that awakened entrepreneurs seek a path that has, at its core, a higher, more inspiring meaning than just making money, selling a product, or seizing market share.  According to Mr. Gerber, a new entrepreneur is a trailblazer seeking to transform lives in all areas – from designing a small business, building it, launching it and growing it.

As a result of a participant’s experience in The Dreaming Room: Design, Build, Launch & Grow™ the evolving entrepreneurs within will discover the means to create a new company, or transform an old one, while going on to work ON his or her business and life, rather than just IN it — unfailingly reflecting his or her transformational resolve into the actions needed for a company to flourish.

Michael and his wife, Luz Delia, live in Carlsbad, California.

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Guru #7

Tim Draper

Tim Draper is the founding partner of Draper Associates and DFJ. Tim’s original suggestion to use viral marketing as a method for spreading a software application from customer to customer was instrumental to the successes of Hotmail, Skype, and others.

Tim has been recognized as a leading supporter of entrepreneurship with numerous awards and honors. He was listed as #46 of the most outstanding Harvard alumni, #7 on the Forbes Midas List, #1 of the Most Networked Venture Capitalists by Always On, and #98 in Worth Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful People in Finance. Tim also received the World Entrepreneurship Forum’s “Entrepreneur for the World” in 2015.

Tim received a BS from Stanford University with a major in electrical engineering and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

He served on the California State Board of Education in 1998-1999, and currently leads an initiative to create six new states in California (Six Californias) to encourage competition and choice in government.

In 1994, he created a non-profit for young children to learn about business and entrepreneurship called BizWorld. In 2011, he created Draper University of Heroes, a residential and online school to help extraordinary young people meet their entrepreneurial goals.

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Guru #8

Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is the author of three bestselling books: “The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business”, “The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast!”, and “How to Fight a Hydra: Face Your Fears, Pursue Your Ambitions, and Become the Hero You Are Destined to Be.”

Josh’s research focuses on business, entrepreneurship, skill acquisition, productivity, creativity, applied psychology, and practical wisdom.

Josh has been featured as the #1 bestselling author in Business & Money, as ranked by Amazon.com.

“The Personal MBA” has been featured as the #1 bestseller in Business Training and Business Management on Amazon.com. The widely-acclaimed Personal MBA manifesto and business reading list has been downloaded over 3 million times by readers around the world.

“The First 20 Hours” has been featured as the #1 bestseller in Business Self-Improvement, Educational Psychology, and Personal Transformation on Amazon.com. His TEDx talk on “The First 20 Hours” has been viewed over 12 million times worldwide, putting it in the top 10 most-viewed TEDx videos and top 100 most-viewed TED talks published to date.

“How to Fight a Hydra” has been featured as the #1 bestseller in Modern Philosophy on Amazon.com.

Josh’s research has been featured by The New York Times, The BBC, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Fortune, Forbes, Time, BusinessWeek, Wired, Fast Company, Financial Times, HarvardBusiness.org, The World Economic Forum, Inside Higher Ed, Lifehacker, MarketWatch, The Independent, Bloomberg TV, PBS Next Avenue, CCTV, and CNN’s Sanjay Gupta MD.

Josh has been a featured speaker at The Aspen Ideas Festival, Stanford University, World Domination Summit, Pioneer Nation, Microconf, BaconBiz, Google, and IBM.

JoshKaufman.net was named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Entrepreneurs” by Forbes in 2013.

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Guru #9

Judy Robinett

Judy Robinett is the author of “Crack the Funding Code: How Investors Think and What They Need to Hear to Fund Your Startup” (HarperCollins, January, 2019) and “How to Be a Power Connector: The 5-50-150 Rule,” #1 of The Top Ten Business Books of 2014 by Inc.com. Robinett is a business thought leader who is known as “the woman with the titanium digital Rolodex.” She has been profiled in Inc., Forbes, Venture Beat, Huffington Post, and Bloomberg Businessweek as a sterling example of the new breed of “super connectors” who use their experience and networks to accelerate growth and enhance profitability.

In her more than 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur and corporate leader, Robinett has served as the CEO of both public and private companies and in management positions at Fortune 500 companies. She has been on the advisory boards of Illuminate Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California; Pereg Ventures, a venture capital firm based in New York; and Springboard Enterprises based in Washington, DC.

She was a managing director of Golden Seeds Angel Network (the third most active angel investment group and one of the largest in the U.S.); the CEO of publicly traded Medical Discoveries; and she served on the faculty of Goldman Sachs’s 10,000 Small Businesses program. She consults internationally with businesses looking for U.S. investors.

She was a member of the Department of Commerce team that defined performance criteria for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for Performance Excellence in Healthcare, for which she received an award from President Bill Clinton.

Robinett has given over 400 speeches worldwide for audiences at Deutsche Bank-London (TedX invitation only event), MIT, BIO-Europe, ActionCoach-Sao Paulo, Brazil (2019), CalPoly, AT&T, Westinghouse, and the Department of Energy.

She is the coauthor of a chapter in “Crowdfunding for Dummies” by Sherwood Neiss, Jason W. Best, and Zak Cassady-Dorion (Wiley, 2013).

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Guru #10

John Doerr

If you could ask only one person for advice about starting a company or joining a startup, chances are you’d pick John Doerr.

John Doerr is an engineer, acclaimed venture capitalist, and the chairman of Kleiner Perkins.

For 37 years, John has served entrepreneurs with ingenuity and optimism, helping them build disruptive companies and bold teams. In 2018, he authored Measure What Matters, a handbook for setting and achieving audacious goals. Through his book and platform, WhatMatters.com, he shares valuable lessons from some of the most fearless innovators of our time.

John was an original investor and board member at Google and Amazon, helping to create more than half a million jobs and the world’s second and third most valuable companies. He’s passionate about encouraging leaders to reimagine the future, from transforming healthcare to advancing applications of machine learning. Outside of Kleiner Perkins, John works with social entrepreneurs for change in public education, the climate crisis, and global poverty. John serves on the board of the Obama Center and ONE.org.

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Guru #11

Will Herman

Will Herman is an entrepreneur, active angel investor, corporate director and startup mentor. He has started and managed five companies, resulting in two IPOs and two corporate sales. Will has also invested in over seventy startups, sat on the boards of twenty and has advised over a hundred more. Will Herman founded his first successful company, Viewlogic Systems, a few years after his first failed attempt. He has started and managed a total of five companies, resulting in two IPOs and two corporate sales. He has also invested in over 70 startups-including Rajat’s first successful company, NetGenesis-sat on the boards of 20, and advised over 100 more. Will Herman and Rajat Bhargava both leaped into launching companies in the early days of the tech startup boom. Over their decades as entrepreneurs, investors, and startup advisors, they’ve learned, through numerous trials and a few painful failures, how to shift the odds of success into a startup’s favor. In THE STARTUP PLAYBOOK: Founder-to-Founder Advice from Two Startup Veterans (Lioncrest Publishing; 2018), Will and Rajat let first-time entrepreneurs in on what to expect from the startup journey, how to prepare for the hurdles ahead, and how to make all that hard work pay off. Rajat Bhargava is currently co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud. An MIT graduate with over two decades of high-tech experience, he is a 10-time entrepreneur with six exits including two IPOs and four trade sales. In the face of daunting odds against success-nearly 90 percent of new businesses fail-THE STARTUP PLAYBOOK (http://startup-playbook.com/) offers first-time founders the edge of experience and a comprehensive guide to laying the groundwork for success. I look forward to discussing interview opportunities.

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Guru #12

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk builds businesses. Fresh out of college he took his family wine business and grew it from a $3M to a $60M business in just five years. Now he runs VaynerMedia, one of the world’s hottest digital agencies. Along the way he became a prolific angel investor and venture capitalist, investing in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber, and Birchbox before eventually co-founding VaynerRSE, a $25M investment fund.

Gary also currently hosts The #AskGaryVee Show, a way of providing as much value as possible by taking questions about social media, entrepreneurship, startups, and family businesses and giving his answers based on a lifetime of building successful, multi-million dollar companies. The show is also available as a podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

Gary is also a prolific public speaker, delivering keynotes at events like Le Web, and SXSW, which you can watch on his YouTube channel.

He was named to both Fortune and Crain’s 40 under 40 lists in consecutive years, and has been profiled in the New York Times, Fortune, and Inc.

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Guru #13

Steve Blank

Eight-time entrepreneur-turned-educator Steve Blank is credited with launching the Lean Startup movement. He’s changed how startups are built, how entrepreneurship is taught, how science is commercialized, and how companies and the government innovate.

Recognized as a thought leader on startups and innovation, Steve was named one of the Thinkers50 top management thinkers and recognized by the Harvard Business Review as one of 12 Masters of Innovation.

His Harvard Business Review cover story (May 2013) defined the Lean Startup movement.

He teaches his Lean LaunchPad class at Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia and NYU, among others; and created the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps that is now the standard for science commercialization in the U.S. His Hacking for Defense class at Stanford is revolutionizing how the U.S. defense and intelligence community deploys innovation with speed and urgency, and its sister class, Hacking for Diplomacy, is doing the same for foreign affairs challenges managed by the U.S. State Department.

A prolific writer and speaker, Steve blogs at www.steveblank.com. His articles regularly appear in Forbes, Fortune, The Atlantic and Huffington Post.

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Guru #14

Jason Calacanis

Jason Calacanis  is a technology entrepreneur, angel investor, and the host of the popular weekly podcast This Week in Startups. He’s the founder of a series of conferences that bring entrepreneurs together with potential investors.

As a “scout” for top-tier Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and later as an angel investor, Jason has invested in 150 early-stage startups including 4 that have achieved billion-dollar valuations (so far).

Jason’s book “Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups: Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 into $100,000,000” was released by Harper Collins on July 18th, 2017. He lives in San Francisco, California.

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Guru #15

Salim Ismail

Salim Ismail is a man who is passionate about business, entrepreneurship, and technology. He is a technology strategist, software engineer, and successful entrepreneur.

Salim travels extensively sharing a global perspective on the impact of breakthrough technologies and how organizations can leverage these disruptions to grow 10x faster than their peers. His book, Exponential Organizations, quickly reached No. 1 on Amazon’s “Best-Sellers in Business Management” and was named Frost & Sullivan’s “Growth, Innovation, and Leadership Book of the Year.” His captivating, educational, and downright jaw-dropping presentations have been called “mind-blowing” and “the best talk I think I’ve ever heard.”

Salim has spent the last seven years building Singularity University as its founding executive director and current global ambassador. SU is based at NASA Ames, and its goal is to “educate, inspire, and empower a new generation of leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.” SU has empowered people from more than 85 countries to apply disruptive technologies – biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and neuroscience – to more than 100 startups and countless patents and ideas.

Prior to Singularity, Salim was a vice president at Yahoo, where he build and ran Brickhouse, the company’s internal incubator. His last company, Angstro, a news aggregation startup, was sold to Google in 2010. He has founded or operated seven early-stage companies including PubSub Concepts, which laid some of the foundation for the real-time web, and the New York Grant Company, a direct response to 9/11. In its first year, the organization attracted over 400 clients and delivered over $12 million of federal grants to the local economy.

 

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Guru #16

Laura Gassner Otting

Laura helps innovators, idealists, and iconoclasts get “unstuck” — and achieve extraordinary results.

Through Limitless Possibility, Laura collaborates with entrepreneurs and investors to push past the doubt and indecision that consign great ideas to limbo. She delivers strategic thinking, well-honed wisdom, and catalytic perspective informed by decades of navigating change across the start-up, nonprofit, political, and philanthropic landscapes.

Laura’s 25-year resume is defined by her entrepreneurial edge. She served as a Presidential Appointee in Bill Clinton’s White House, helping shape AmeriCorps; left a leadership role at respected nonprofit search firm, Isaacson, Miller, to expand the startup ExecSearches.com; and founded and ran the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group, which partnered with the full gamut of mission driven nonprofit executives, from start-up dreamers to scaling social entrepreneurs to global philanthropists. She is the author of Mission-Driven, a book for those moving from profit to purpose.

Through her own commitment to give back, Laura has helped build a local Montessori school, co-founded a women’s philanthropic initiative, advised a start-up national women’s PAC, grew a citizen-leadership development program, and completed three charity-inspired marathons—projects emblematic of her passions and values. She’s turned on by the audacity of The Big Idea and that larger-than-life goal you just can’t seem to shake. She’s an instigator, a motivator, and a provocateur, and she’s never met a revolution she didn’t like.

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Guru #17

Eric Ries

Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and author of the popular blog Startup Lessons Learned. He co-founded and served as CTO of IMVU, his third startup, and has had plenty of startup failures along the way. He is a frequent speaker at business events, has advised a number of startups, large companies, and venture capital firms on business and product strategy, and is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School. His Lean Startup methodology has been written about in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, the Huffington Post, and many blogs. He lives in San Francisco.

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Guru #18

Brad Feld

Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars.

In addition to his investing efforts, Brad has been active with several non-profit organizations. He currently is chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology and on the boards of Path Forward, the Kauffman Fellows, and Defy Ventures.

Brad is a writer and speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship. He’s written a number of books as part of the Startup Revolution series and writes the blogs Feld Thoughts and Venture Deals.

Brad holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brad is also an art collector and long-distance runner. He has completed 24 marathons as part of his mission to finish a marathon in each of the 50 states.

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Guru #19

Jeff Walker

Jeff Walker has literally transformed the way stuff is sold online. Along the way he’s become one of the top entrepreneurial and marketing trainers in the world. But it didn’t start out that way…

When Jeff started his first online business, he was a stay-at-home dad taking care of two small children. The “business” was launched from the baby’s changing room – and it started with a free email newsletter sent to 19 people. That was in the Internet Dark Ages of 1996.

After that humble start, Jeff quickly developed an underground process for launching new products and businesses with unprecedented success.

But the success-train was just getting started – once he started teaching his formula to other entrepreneurs, the results were simply breathtaking. Tiny, home-based businesses started doing launches that sold tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars in sales with their launches.

Back in the old days before he started teaching his “Product Launch Formula”,
almost no one in the online entrepreneurial world talked about “product launches” and the idea of a “million dollar day” seemed almost ludicrous. But now, in the post-Product Launch Formula world, the million dollar (and multi- million dollar) launches hardly raise an eyebrow. They’ve almost become routine.

Of course, Jeff’s techniques are not just for big gurus — he’s taught thousands of students (who operate in hundreds of niches), and they’ve generated more than $500 million in sales (and that number grows every day.)

Jeff lives in Durango, Colorado where he pursues his passions for all kinds of outdoor fun. He lives with his wife Mary and their dog Jenny. And even though the children are out of the house, Jeff still has lots of adventures with them (especially on skis and mountain bikes).

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Guru #20

Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel is an entrepreneur and investor. He started PayPal in 1998, led it as CEO, and took it public in 2002, defining a new era of fast and secure online commerce. In 2004 he made the first outside investment in Facebook, where he serves as a director. The same year he launched Palantir Technologies, a software company that harnesses computers to empower human analysts in fields like national security and global finance. He has provided early funding for LinkedIn, Yelp, and dozens of successful technology startups, many run by former colleagues who have been dubbed the “PayPal Mafia.” He is a partner at Founders Fund, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has funded companies like SpaceX and Airbnb. He started the Thiel Fellowship, which ignited a national debate by encouraging young people to put learning before schooling, and he leads the Thiel Foundation, which works to advance technological progress and long-term thinking about the future.

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Guru #21

Matthew Paulson

Matthew Paulson is the founder of MarketBeat.com, an Inc. 5000 financial media company committed to making real-time investing information available to investors at all levels. MarketBeat publishes a daily investment newsletter to more than 425,000 subscribers and its network of financial news websites attracts more than 4 million visitors each month. MarketBeat’s reporting has been covered by a number of major financial media outlets, including Barron’s Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, MarketWatch and Seeking Alpha.

Through his books, his personal blog and his media appearances, Matthew teaches others about how to leverage the power of entrepreneurship in their lives and achieve personal financial freedom. Matthew’s first two books, 40 Rules for Internet Business Success and Email Marketing Demystified, teach readers how to build profitable online businesses. His newest book, The Ten-Year Turnaround, reveals how anyone can achieve financial freedom in the ten years or less.

As an angel investor, Matthew has invested in a number of early-stage companies in a variety of verticals. He is also the chairman of Falls Angel Fund, a regional angel fund sponsored by the South Dakota Enterprise Institute has raised $1.25 million to invest in early-stage, high-growth companies in South Dakota and surrounding states.

Matthew serves on a number of non-profit boards and committees. He proudly serves on the board of trustees for Sioux Falls Seminary, which equips pastors, therapists and leaders for ministry throughout the region. Sioux Falls Seminary prides itself on offering theological education programs that are accessible, affordable, relevant, and faithful. Matthew also currently serves on the South Dakota State Chapter Board of the March of Dimes. Having had two premature babies in his family, Matthew believes that the March of Dimes plays a vital role in preventing premature births and caring for preterm babies.

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Guru #22

Milan Steskal

I believe that together we can build a better future for us and our kids. That’s why I enjoy investing my experience and enthusiasm into building great products with great people. Whether it’s a mental health software that helped thousands of patients better assess their condition, the largest polling app on Facebook with more than 10M users, or many small projects that made impact.

Throughout my career, I have been wearing different hats, but have always been connected to IT. I started as a programmer, grew into a project manager and the head of the product division, then CTO of a marketing agency and finally ended up as a CEO of my own startup. The variety of roles gave me the opportunity to understand IT business from different angles.

That’s why I can easily translate customer’s needs and requirements into the language that programmers understand. Thanks to my experience with business development, I also understand how a sales team works and how to build bridges between them and the programmers.

Leading and managing projects always involves working with people. I enjoy achieving goals together, as well as helping the people that I work with to grow. Such as a junior developer who became a team leader after leaving my company. That’s also a reason why I speak about entrepreneurship and building products at universities and for non-profit organizations in my free time. and mentor startups.

I’m very well aware of mental health. Whether it’s my own or the people around me. I’ve learned that many people don’t realize its importance, so I do my best to raise awareness and share also my own story that was published by Huffington post. A part of my personal therapy to avoid burning out was putting my notes from running my own startup together, what ended up being a book – How To Launch a Startup – that I’ve published on Amazon

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Guru #23

Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz is a cofounder and general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and The New York Times bestselling author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things, which is now available in 19 languages.

Prior to a16z, Ben was cofounder and CEO of Opsware (formerly Loudcloud), which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007, and was appointed vice president and general manager of Business Technology Optimization for Software at HP. Earlier, he was vice president and general manager of America Online’s E-commerce Platform division, where he oversaw development of the company’s flagship Shop@AOL service. Previously, Ben ran several product divisions at Netscape Communications. He also served as vice president of Netscape’s widely acclaimed Directory and Security product line. Before joining Netscape in July 1995, he held various senior product marketing positions at Lotus Development Corporation.

Ben has an MS in Computer Science from UCLA and a BA in Computer Science from Columbia University.

Ben serves on the board of the following Andreessen Horowitz portfolio companies: Caffeine, Capriza, Databricks, Foursquare, Genius, Lyft, Magnet Systems, Medium, NationBuilder, Okta, SignalFx, Sisu, Tanium, TripActions, United Masters, and Usermind. He is also on the board of CODE2040.

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Guru #24

Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn is a beloved thought leader in the areas of online entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and lifestyle businesses. He is routinely celebrated for his transparent leadership style and authentic principles. Pat overcame career adversity at an early age by finding his own path and true passion. Despite his success in business, Pat’s greatest joys are spending time with his family and friends as well as helping inspire and educate others on how to succeed with their own entrepreneurial careers.

Pat has been featured in The New York Times and Forbes Magazine for his accomplishments, and has recently been enjoying talking about his story and business strategies in front of large crowds at various conferences and events all around the world. His top-ranked business podcast, The Smart Passive Income Podcast, has earned over 25 million downloads and continues to inspire people as they work through their online business journey today.

Pat is also an advisor to Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building schools in the developing world, as well as companies such as LeadPages and ConvertKit.

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Guru #25

Randy Komisar

San Francisco-based Randy Komisar, a general partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is dedicated to partnering with entrepreneurs to create businesses with leading-edge technology. He joined Kleiner Perkins in 2005 and focuses on early-stage investing.

Previously, he was a co-founder of Claris Corp., served as CEO for LucasArts Entertainment and Crystal Dynamics, and acted as “virtual CEO” for such companies as WebTV and GlobalGiving. Randy also served as CFO of GO Corp. and as senior counsel for Apple Computer, following a private practice in technology law.

Randy is a founding director of TiVo and serves on the Roadtrip Nation Advisory Board and Orrick’s Women’s Leadership Board. He is the author of the best-selling book The Monk and the Riddle, as well as several articles on leadership and entrepreneurship. He is also the co-author of Straight Talk for Startups, the insider best practices for entrepreneurial success, Getting to Plan B, on managing innovation, and I F**king Love that Company, on building consumer brands. Randy frequently speaks in the United States and abroad on such topics. Randy holds a B.A. degree in economics from Brown University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

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Guru #26

Ryan Roberts

Ryan Roberts is a corporate attorney who represents startup companies through all phases of their growth process. He is well respected by clients and peers alike for his in-depth expertise regarding the legal aspects of entrepreneurship, and his international client roster is comprised of emerging growth companies and venture capital funds. Ryan holds a BA and an MA in economics from USC and a Juris Doctor degree from UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. In 2006, Ryan launched StartupLawyer.com, a legal resource for startup companies, which Forbes has named one of the 100 best websites for entrepreneurs.

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Guru #27

Donatas Jonikas

Dr. Donatas Jonikas holds a Ph.D. in Economics and a Master’s in Marketing Management with more than 12 years of experience in the field. Donatas developed and helped to implement winning marketing strategies for more than 50 businesses in different countries and industries around the globe. He has shared the stage with many of the world’s foremost innovative business and startup experts in conferences, hackathons, entrepreneur events, and competitions. In order to write the ‘Startup Evolution Curve’, he did a global research on startups surveying 1,447 startup founders and running close to 500 additional in-depth interviews on how to start a startup business successfully and adopt effective growth hacks. Being a scientist, a marketer, and a military commander (reserve lieutenant) makes him an extraordinary mentor for startups where so much uncertainty exists in every step.

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Guru #28

Rhonda Abrams

Rhonda Abrams was born in Los Angeles, CA and earned degrees from both UCLA and Harvard. She has advised, mentored and consulted entrepreneurs and small business owners for over twenty years. Her knowledge of the small business market and her passion for entrepreneurship have made her one of America’s most recognized advocates for small business. Her weekly newspaper column, “Small Business Strategies,” is the nation’s most widely-read column about small business, reaching more than 20 million readers through 130 newspapers, USATODAY.com, Inc.com, and Costco Connection magazine.

Rhonda’s first book, Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies, was acclaimed by Forbes magazine as one of the two best books for small business and by Inc. magazine as one of the six best books for startups. Now in its sixth edition, it is used as the primary text for business plan classes by over a thousand business schools.

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Guru #29

Mike Michalowicz

Mike Michalowicz had founded and sold two multi-million dollar companies. Confident that he had the formula to success, he became an angel investor… and proceeded to lose his entire fortune.

Then he started all over again, driven to find better ways to grow healthy, strong companies. Among other innovative strategies, Mike created the “Profit First” formula, a simple and extremely effective ways for businesses to ensure profitability from their very next deposit forward.

Mike is now running his third million dollar venture, Profit First Professionals (an organization that certifies accountants and bookkeepers in Profit First methods that drive profitability for their clients), is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is the former MSNBC business make-over expert; is a popular keynote speaker on innovative entrepreneurial topics; and is the author of Clockwork, Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, which BusinessWeek deemed “the entrepreneur’s cult classic.”

Mike is also a guest lecturer for collegiate entrepreneurial programs such as Babson, Boston College, Columbia, Copenhagen Business School, Emerson, Harvard, Penn State, Pepperdine and Princeton. His books are in the core curriculum for entrepreneur students at Pepperdine, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford University, and universities across the country. His books have been translated into over 10 languages.

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Guru #30

Jeff Bussgang

Jeff Bussgang is a venture capitalist, entrepreneur and professor at Harvard Business School (HBS). His venture capital firm, Flybridge Capital Partners, has made investments in over 100 technology-focused startups since inception fifteen years ago and over $600 million under management.

At HBS, he teaches Launching Technology Ventures, a popular class for MBA students starting companies or pursuing careers in startups. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, Bussgang was an entrepreneur—serving as cofounder and president of Upromise (acquired by Sallie Mae) and an executive team member at Open Market (IPO 1996).

He is the author of a book for startup joiners, Entering StartUpLand:  An Essential Guide to Finding the Right Job and Mastering the VC Game, an essential guide for entrepreneurs raising capital and building their startups.  He has also authored well over twenty HBS case studies, teaching notes and book chapters regarding startup management and entrepreneurship. He started his career with The Boston Consulting Group and holds an MBA from HBS and a BA in computer science from Harvard College.

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