Troy Henikoff is the Managing Director at Techstars Chicago, a Managing Director at MATH Venture Partners, and a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Business. If you haven't heard of Troy yet, he is one of the biggest figures in the Chicago tech scene and has been instrumental in getting Chicago tech to where it is today. He is also one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and a hard core cyclist.
Prior to launching Techstars Chicago, Troy was a serial entrepreneur. He was the CEO of OneWed.com, President of Amacai, and co-founder and CEO of SurePayroll.com. Troy built the technology for Jellyvision (creators of “You Don’t Know Jack!”), was the President of Systemetrics, and his first company was Specialized Systems and Software. Troy has an undergraduate degree in Engineering from Brown University and a Masters Degree in Project Management from Northwestern.
In This Episode You Will Learn:
- How cold is too cold when biking to work
- The story of how Troy got into entrepreneurship
- How Excelerate Labs came about
- The story of creating BB8 for Star Wars
- What the application process is like for Techstars
- How to find the right balance between tenacious and coachable
- Which entrepreneurs get the most out of Techstars
- What the timeline looks like for their 90 days in the program
- What goes into making a perfect pitch in front of 500 venture capitalists
- What companies really excite him
- Why Mark Achler and Troy started MATH Venture Partners
- Whether or not there is a signalling problem by only investing in some of your accelerator companies
- Why Groupon would have been impossible to build in San Francisco
- Why you have to be honest with yourself first
Selected Links From The Episode:
- Michael Krasny, Founder of CDW
- Alex White, Founder of Next Big Sound
- David Cohen, Founder of Techstars
- Sam Yagan, CEO of Shop Runner
- Brad Feld, VC at Foundry Group
- Casey Jenks, Founder of Fitbot
- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath
- Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld
- Propllr: a Chicago public relations firm that helps startups and innovators build credibility and awareness for their companies, people, products and services.
This post originally appeared on Tech In Chicago. Visit Tech In Chicago to listen to more interviews with Chicago’s top startup founders and venture capitalists.