Surviving a Startup | Steven Hoffman

Surviving a Startup:
Practical Strategies for Starting a Business, Overcoming Obstacles, and Coming Out on Top

Steven Hoffman
Chairman & CEO, Founders Space
Author, "Surviving a Startup"

Steve Hoffman, or Captain Hoff as he’s called in Silicon Valley, is the Captain & CEO of Founders Space, one of the world’s leading startup accelerators. He’s also a venture investor, serial entrepreneur, and author of several award-winning books. These include “Make Elephants Fly” (published by Hachette) and “Surviving a Startup” (published by HarperCollins).

Hoffman was founder and Chairman of the Producers Guild Silicon Valley Chapter, served on the Board of Governors of the New Media Council, and was a founding member of the Academy of Television’s Interactive Media Group.

While in Hollywood, Hoffman worked as a TV development executive at Fries Entertainment, known for producing over a hundred TV shows, acquired by MGM. He went on to pioneer interactive television with his venture-funded startup Spiderdance, which produced interactive TV shows with NBC, MTV, Turner, Warner Brothers, History Channel, Game Show Network, and others.

In Silicon Valley, Hoffman founded two more venture-backed startups, in the areas of games and entertainment, and worked as Mobile Studio Head for Infospace, with such hit mobile games as Tetris, Wheel of Fortune, Tomb Raider, Thief, Hitman, Skee-Ball, and X-Files.

Hoffman went on to launch Founders Space, with the mission to educate and accelerate entrepreneurs. Founders Space has become one of the top startup accelerators in the world. Hoffman has trained hundreds of startup founders and corporate executives in the art of innovation and provided consulting to many of the world’s largest corporations, including Qualcomm, Huawei, Bosch, Intel, Disney, Warner Brothers, NBC, Gulf Oil, Siemens, and Viacom.

Hoffman earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of California and a master’s degree in film and television from the University of Southern California. He currently resides in San Francisco but spends most of his time in the air, visiting startups, investors, and innovators all over the world.

Surviving a Startup gives entrepreneurs everything they need to know
to overcome seemingly impossible odds and navigate their way to success.

The fact is that over 90 percent of all new startups fail. The path to success is filled with pitfalls, wrong turns, and obstacles. Decisions along the way can make or bankrupt a small company. Every entrepreneur must face this harsh reality and learn to master it if they hope to survive and wind up on top.

Captain Hoff takes you through the nuts and bolts and sweat and tears of running a real business. It’s about dealing with dysfunctional teams, hitting dead ends, messing up half the time, losing money and self-confidence, and then moving forward. It’s about what it’s actually like to run a startup.

It’s also about the process and planning. Hoffman shows you exactly what he learned running his own startups and coaching others. He has mentored hundreds of founders, collaborated with some of the most brilliant minds in the world, and come to understand what it takes to break through.

Milestones to Hit in Your Home Country Before Expanding Internationally | Dimitris Horiatis

Milestones to Hit in Your Home Country
Before Expanding Internationally

Dimitris Horiatis
Senior Manager, Invest Hong Kong

Dimitris Horiatis is a senior manager of Innovation & Technology at Invest Hong Kong.

Dimitris has been working in international investment promotion since 2008 covering multiple US regions as well as the UK and Hong Kong within Technology. He is currently the Senior Manager for Innovation & Technology for the Americas with Invest Hong Kong. In this role he helps Technology companies with market entry into APAC. Before that Dimitris held a variety of roles within Biosciences including doing research at the USC, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles, as well as sales and marketing for a number of European pharmaceutical and medical device companies. He has a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is currently pursuing an MBA with an emphasis in Business Analytics from Sacred Heart University in CT. When he is not working he enjoys paddle boarding in the summer and spending time with his wife and son.

InvestHK’s vision is to strengthen Hong Kong’s status as the leading international business location in Asia. Our mission is to attract and retain foreign direct investment which is of strategic importance to the economic development of Hong Kong. In all our services, we apply the following core values: passion, integrity, professionalism, customer service, business friendliness and responsiveness.

We work with overseas and Mainland entrepreneurs, SMEs and multinationals that wish to set up an office – or expand their existing business – in Hong Kong

We offer free advice and services to support companies from the planning stage right through to the launch and expansion of their business.


Third Shift Entrepreneur | Todd Connor

Third Shift Entrepreneur

Todd Connor
Founder, Bunker Labs
Author, Third Shift Entrepreneur

Todd Connor is a widely sought-after speaker, thought leader, and consultant who leads individuals and organizations to unlock their full entrepreneurial potential.

Todd is the founder of Bunker Labs, a national entrepreneurship organization with chapters in 30 states across the U.S., which works with military veterans and military spouses who want to start their own business.

He is also the founder of The Collective Academy, Emerson House, as well as other for-profit and philanthropic organizations. 


The excuses are the same: I can’t afford to take the risk. People like me can’t do things like that. I don’t know the right people. I can’t quit my job. What if I fail? We’ve heard the excuses or the reasons and have told them to ourselves even, but there is a different way. There is a path, a philosophy, and real strategies that can help you launch your business without risking anything. The entrepreneurship game that has been built isn’t working for most of us, but there is good news. There is a game for the rest of us: those that are willing to be Third Shift Entrepreneurs.

Follow Matt as he discovers an underground network of 6 entrepreneurs all building their businesses from the ground up without quitting their jobs or putting themselves in any financial risk. While told as a fictional story, the characters and strategies are drawn from real-life examples of entrepreneurs, including myself, who have used these strategies to start businesses, launch initiatives, and fundamentally alter the trajectory of their lives. Part entrepreneurship playbook, fictional story, working journal, and even love story, this isn’t a book just to be read, but a book to be applied for real life results. If you’re ready to take flight, get the book and let’s get started.

Collaborative Spaces as Vibrant Communities | Rebecca Pan

Collaborative Spaces as Vibrant Communities

Rebecca Pan
Founder & CEO, Trellis Workspace

Rebecca Pan is the founder & CEO of Trellis, an innovative and pioneering workspace environment and experience.

Trellis is San Francisco’s newest workspace, where ideas flourish
Whether you’re a founder, freelancer, or running a team, Trellis has flexible options to foster your productivity and help you excel!

With six bookable meeting rooms (sanitized between uses, of course), your remote team can connect in-person as needed without the expense or complexity of an office.

Trellis helps you rest your mind for optimal productivity by way of artisanal coffee, fresh-baked pastries, and adult beverages. Our expert baristas craft alluring Equator coffee and espresso drinks with perfectly poured latte art, all while knowing your name and “regular” order. In the afternoons, our bartenders can pour you some of the best wine and craft beers in the city.

If you are looking for a beautiful, flexible space to power out work for a day, or a new longterm HQ for your startup, Trellis has 24/7 options for private offices, dedicated desks, and open seating.

To keep you and the community safe, Trellis has over 30 health measures in place, including daily Health Check monitoring and touchless temperature taking, nanocrystal self-sanitizing wraps on high-touch surfaces, extensive air filtration, and touchless entry and transactions.

How Do You Go from an Idea to $130m in Sales in 3 Years | David Wolfe

How Do You Go from an Idea to $130m in Sales in 3 Years

David Wolfe
CEO, New Economy Brands

David has a 34-year history of starting and growing new businesses. After 7 years as a strategy consultant in London, David moved to the US in 1994 to co-found and build The Vacation Store, one of the first, large-scale, direct travel companies. The company was sold to a strategic buyer in 1998. David spent the next 16 years bringing new ideas to life using e-commerce as the primary transactional platform. He partnered with and advised several of the major consumer products companies including Proctor and Gamble, Clorox, General Mills, Purina, and VF Corporation. David was also a co-founder and member of the investment committee of a private equity firm for 16 years.

In 2014, David and his innovation team developed the Leesa mattress and launched the company in 2015, growing annual sales to just under $130M in 2017. He is most proud of Leesa’s mattress donation program, which was built into the DNA of the company long before launch. David led the company’s early growth through 2018.

David is currently CEO of New Economy Brands, which invests in and/or advises over 20 ecommerce businesses. NEB’s core invest under active management is The Fascination, a curated online marketplace where you can discover, research, and shop emerging, mission-driven, direct-to-consumer brands – all in one place.

David is driven by his passion for his family, his friends, his work, and a deep sense of purpose. He lives with his wife of almost 37 years in Virginia Beach and has two adult daughters. In recognition of his visionary leadership and positive impact, David was honored in June of this year with EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 Award in the Consumer Products Category – Mid-Atlantic Region. He has an engineering degree from Birmingham University and an MBA from London Business School.

The Fascination

Discover, research and shop top emerging mission-driven brands – all in one place.

We explore the science and soul of today's top emerging direct-to-consumer brands, testing hundreds of brands' products and curating our top picks for you. At The Fascination, you can read product reviews, browse our curated brand directory, find brands that align with your values, and shop bestsellers, seamlessly.