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Tech Cocktail

5 Steps to Starting & Selling: Inspired by Webs CEO Haroon Mokhtarzada

5 Tips for Starting and Selling

“As a kid, I always felt like I was going to be an entrepreneur.” Haroon Mokhtarzada, the co-founder and CEO of, knew this early on. As a child, he watched his father build a successful small business. Following in his father’s footsteps, Mokhtarzada quickly realized that entrepreneurship would offer him an opportunity for freedom… Read more »

Interview with VC Jeff Clavier: The Dangers of Lean Startup, Big Pitching Mistakes, and More Tips

Jeff Clavier

Named a “kingmaker” of Silicon Valley, micro-VC Jeff Clavier has been pitched more than 10,000 times (according to his own estimate). His firm SoftTech VC, which recently closed a third fund of $55 million, boasts investments like Eventbrite, Mint, Fitbit, and Fab. That’s all to say: Clavier knows pitches – he’s seen the tricks, the… Read more »

The Art of Raising Kids While Starting A Startup: An Interview With VINCI Founder Dr. Dan Yang

raising kids starting up, interview with dr. dan yang

Ask any parent – raising kids isn’t easy (source: my parents).  Ask any entrepreneur – starting a startup – also not easy.  In attempting to combine the two, does one ultimately have to suffer? Not according to Dr. Dan Yang. Dr. Yang, whose resume includes founding AFC Technologies and earning a PhD in Optics and Photonics from Université Paris-Sud 11 in… Read more »

All You Need is Determination: How to Start and Grow a Company, an Interview with GiftRocket Co-Founder Kapil Kale


I was introduced to GiftRocket co-founder Kapil Kale by Toby Scammell, whose startup Womply I previously covered.  As Scammell told me, Kale is someone I should talk to, and after interviewing Kale last week, I am glad I did. Kale’s experience launching GiftRocket with co-founders Nicolas Baum and Jonathan Pine are great lessons for any… Read more »

Compass Labs Secures $6 Million in Funding, CEO Dilip Venkatachari Shares Insights


Last year, Compass Labs, a social media advertising service, was one of the featured startups at our SXSW Accelerator Kickoff event.  Last week, this San Jose-based startup announced a $6 million round of funding from New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Presidio Ventures.  Not a bad year. The company’s focal product, the Compass Labs IQ (CLIQ) platform, is an advertising tool which… Read more »

eTripTrader Lands Major Partnership

eTripTrader Navtech

Proving that  you don’t have to be San Francisco/Silicon Valley-based to have a successful startup, eTripTrader, which we showcased at our first Tech Cocktail mixer in Boise, Idaho last year, has grown their company every year since their launch 10 years ago.  They support over 17,000 aircrew and ground-based employees through their SkedFlex and Crew Companion product and… Read more »

How to Move an Offline Business Online: A Conversation With eFlirtExpert Founder Laurie Davis


Last week I wrote about the difficulties startups have had cracking the online dating code.  While there is definitely room for improvement, no one has quite gotten there yet. During my research, I was introduced to Laurie Davis, founder of, who said the biggest problem she’s seen with online dating sites is the huge… Read more »

Startup and Funding Advice From the Co-Founder of interview

If you were one of 999 who RSVP’d to attend DC Tech Meetup: Social Media Edition this past Wednesday, then you got a chance to enjoy Peter Corbett’s interview with Haroon Mokhtarzada, Co-Founder and CEO of – “the world’s largest do-it-yourself website-creation solution,” which was acquired by Vistaprint in December 2011 for $117.5 mil. If you… Read more »

Cracking the Love Code: Why Most Online Dating Sites Fail

Valentine's Day date

If you’re single, today sucks.  There is no escaping all the ooey-gooey-makes-you-just-want-to-barf ads and promotions for Valentine’s Day.  As our lives become increasingly busy, it seems that the easiest way to meet people is online, a fact that many entrepreneurs have also noticed.  So much so, that online dating sites are almost a dime a… Read more »

Always Be Innovating: Lessons in Entrepreneurship from CEO Jeff Klee

Though you may be more familiar with Kayak, Priceline, Travelocity, and Expedia, Calabasas-based has been around longer – since 1989 – and after talking to founder and CEO Jeff Klee, I think they’re better than the competition.  Despite being in a crowded marketplace, they are constantly looking for ways to innovate – and that… Read more »