Innovation requires investment.
Talent, work, time, and money – all necessary to create a successful startup, but not necessarily all easy to get a hold of. Enter the venture capitalist. While these guys aren’t always the ones getting all the attention for the latest apps and products, they play a critical role in making many of the innovations we know possible. Thus, us here at SuLo felt it fitting to gain some perspective from a VC’s point of view.
For our first VC interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with Brayton Williams, co-founder of Boost VC in San Mateo, California. Boost VC is an accelerator that focuses on investing in consumer internet, mobile, and recently Bitcoin startups. The accelerator typically invests $10k-$15k in each of the startups it accepts to its 12-week program. In addition to monetary investment, Boost VC also provides office space and speakers to help their startups transform into true businesses. Keep on reading for the inside scoop.
StartupLowdown: Brayton, thanks for taking the time to speak with Startup Lowdown today. We’re pretty excited to have Boost VC as our first conversation with people on the investment side of the startup world. For starters, could you give a quick description of what Boost VC is and what you offer entrepreneurs?
Brayton: Boost VC is a startup accelerator in San Mateo, CA. We provide housing, office space, and an investment for a 12 week program. We also bring in various industry mentors and speakers that bring a vast array of knowledge and experience to help our entrepreneurs build their businesses.
StartupLowdown: Starting an accelerator is every bit as entrepreneurial as founding a startup. Could you talk a bit about some of the opportunities and challenges that you and Adam have come across in running Boost VC?
Brayton: One challenge with many startups is competition. There are many options for accelerators, especially in the Bay Area, so we had to figure out how to differentiate ourselves from them early on.
StartupLowdown: When sifting through applications, what are some of the key attributes you look for in a startup/founder?
Brayton: The four things we look for in an applicant are
– Idea: Is the idea awesome? This is a combination of general quality of idea mixed with our own personal preferences.
– Market Size: Is the market big enough? We are looking for massive ideas that will change the world.
– Team: Is the team awesome? Because the idea will most likely change, we are investing mostly based on the team. Who is the person who is the person steering the ship?
– Scrappiness: We are looking for teams that will be working on their project even if they are living in their parents basement living off ramen and redbull. Starting a company is a 10 year commitment and you must be willing to do whatever it takes if you want to make it happen.
StartupLowdown: With all the accelerators that have emerged over the past few years, how does Boost VC go about distinguishing itself?
Brayton: One major differentiator is the housing Boost provides. We have the top two floors of a hotel in downtown San Mateo, CA. The office space is right across the street. The immersive environment we provide is a huge differentiator. We truly think the most beneficial aspect of Boost is living/working alongside 30-40 other passionate entrepreneurs every day.
StartupLowdown: It’s clear that Boost VC is incredibly bullish on Bitcoin. What exactly about it has your team so optimistic about its future?
Brayton: There is no idea bigger than trying to disrupt currency. There are two things that attracted us to Bitcoin, and made us huge champions of the innovation: 1. The world is a global economy now, and there is no currency that unites us. 2. Bitcoin has already lived through a crash in 2011, which tells me that the community behind Bitcoin is passionate enough to want this to survive for the long hall. Adam Draper is also an investor in Coinbase, along with these other Bitcoin companies, so he is a huge advocate of the space.
StartupLowdown: While we know Boost VC is focused on Bitcoin at the moment, what are some other industry verticals you see ripe with opportunity for disruption and investment?
Brayton: We are very interested in 3D printing, drones, and wearable computing. Anything that long-term could contribute to the technology of an Iron Man Suit. But more than anything we are interested in great people with great ideas.
StartupLowdown: We’d be pretty pumped to get our hands on that Iron Man suit – how’s that project coming along?
Brayton: Step 1. Make super successful Accelerator, Step 2. Build Iron Man Suit. The Iron Man suit is on schedule.
StartupLowdown: Good to hear. Brayton, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you. Once again, thank you for taking the time to do this interview!
If you’d like to learn more about Boost VC or apply for their accelerator program, you can visit the links below:
Have any questions or comments? Leave them below!