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The Startup Factory – A Chat with Bill Gross and Bill Elkus

In the evening of June 19th, the BCLA team was thrilled to host investor heavyweights Bill Gross, founder and chairman of Idealab and Bill Elkus, founder and managing director of Clearstone Venture Partners. Over 100 people attended the fireside chat, moderated by Nanxi Liu, CEO of Enplug, Inc ( and co-founder of Nanoly Bioscience, Inc.

First, in the presentation “The Top 7 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me 30 Years Ago,” Bill Gross used Airbnb and YouTube as examples to illustrate that timing is the single most critical factor for startups to succeed (also watch his TED talk here). Other than timing, the product-market fit mustn’t be underestimated. He recommended Eric Ries’ book “The Lean Startup” as a guide to outsmarting bigger competitors even with less cash and limited resources. Bill Elkus strongly agreed that storytelling is of paramount importance to entrepreneurs, and he shared some common but fatal mistakes of company pitches that he witnessed during his decades of observation as a Forbes magazine top-rated investor in the US. Nanxi Liu used her own start-up story to encourage entrepreneurs to build a dynamic executive team with partners who have a complementary skill set. Lastly, all speakers educated the audience on how to add value to their businesses and eventually get referrals that allow them to reach to the right VC firms.

After the presentations, attendees mingled over irresistible tacos and drinks, and enjoyed a relaxed networking hour. With that, we want to thank 50 Years VC for supporting this event.

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