Julius Valentine Maina believes it’s time for startups to start thinking about industry and not just cool tech. Julius is the Chief of Staff at gener8tor, a startup accelerator for the creative economy that connects founders, investors, corporations, job seekers, universities, and even musicians and artists.
In this episode, Julius explains why he wants to make tech fun and why everyone has the potential to be an entrepreneur. He explains how gener8tor helps to educate and support startups in getting funding and improving diversity at a team level and beyond. He speaks about diversity and inclusion and why it needs to be about more than just a PR exercise.
Julius goes on to explain how he likes to approach VCs about getting funding and why being a “hype man” is all about building that real connection to the person with the checkbook.
3 Quick Things from this Episode
- On some level, everyone has the potential to be an innovator or entrepreneur. We all know there are problems we could solve. It’s just a matter of a lack of resources.
- Diversity needs to be more than a PR exercise. It all starts with hiring diverse people and investing from the ground up.
- Not all businesses need to start with the problem. You can start with the market and the community first, which ensures there’s always a market for your idea.
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- “Find the market, the biggest one, which actually guarantees that you’ll hit something. Find the community you’re trying to impact and find the problem.”
- “You want to be investable. You want to be in an industry that matters. Not only now but ten years from now.”
- “Everybody, at some level, is an innovator and an entrepreneur. They just don’t have the resources and the tools to really map that out.”
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What We Discuss with Julius
- Why everyone is an innovator on some level
- How gener8tor teaches and supports entrepreneurship in a different way
- Why your founder story should start before your business
- Why diversity should be more than a PR exercise
- How recruitment is the simplest way to increase diversity in your startup
- Why building connections is the key to winning a VC’s heart
- Why startups all need a “hype man”
- The benefits of starting with the market first, then the problem as a new startup
- gener8tor, a turnkey platform offering more than 40 different programs spanning accelerators, corporate programming, speaker series, conferences, upskilling, and fellowships+
- Guilford Hall Brewery, a European-style dining experience in a revitalized historic Baltimore, MD site, located in the original 1989 Crown, Cork, and Seal factory in Station North
- The Vanguard, a bar and restaurant in Downtown Bayview Milwaukee that sells some of the best cheese curds in the city