Giants of the Startup Community, Founders who made it Big, tell what’s Important : ENET Meeting, Sept. 1, 2015

Next month, on Tuesday September 1, 2011 at 6:30pm I will moderate a panel on this subject for the IEEE Entrepreneurs’ Network (ENET) at the group’s Waltham location: Constant Contact, 1601 Trepalo Rd., 1st Floor, InnoLoft, Waltham, Massachusetts (Exit 28, I-95/Route 128). This event will kick off ENET’s 25th year.


Successful entrepreneurs have said that fearlessness, resilience, and being true to oneself are three of the most important qualities an entrepreneur must have when starting his/her own business. ENET is assembling a panel of successful founders who made it big in different fields who will tell you what was important in their success.


On September 1, 2015, the kick-off meeting to ENET’s 25th year, we will hear stories of entrepreneurial challenges, surprises, disappointments, victories and triumphs. We hope you will join us.


Learn from the experts: founders who have had the courage and tenacity to step out on their own, and navigate the rough waters of the unknown, and made it big in doing so. If you are thinking of starting your own business, or if you are already a company founder, learn from those who have gone before you. What they have experienced may help you avoid a pitfall or two, and accelerate your own company’s progress. Why reinvent the wheel when others willingly share their wisdom? Our meeting begins with an open networking session. A question and answer session follows the presentation, and panelists are available afterwards for responses to individual questions.


As said, I will moderate. Here’s some further information on our speakers:


DianeStartup Institute is dedicated to helping people transform their careers and find jobs they love. Via SI’s programs, people gain the skills, mindset and networks to succeed in the exciting startup world. Since its inception only 2 years ago, over 1,000 students have gone through Startup Institute programs, in Boston, New York, London, Chicago & Berlin.   She is also Chairman of C Space (formerly Communispace), , where she was CEO for 13 years.   A leading customer collaboration agency, Communispace was sold to Omnicom in 2011 and now has over 500 employees, and offices in over a dozen countries. Diane also co-authored the book Customer-Centered Growth: Five Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage, a Business Week best-seller, now published in 11 languages. Diane has received many honors, including the Most Admired CEO award and Boston Power 50 award from the Boston Business Journal, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year (National Finalist).   Diane serves on many boards, including Tufts University, Panera, and Horizons for Homeless Children. She received her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and her B.A. in Economics from Tufts University. She has 2 grown daughters, and is also founder of The Sound Bytes, an a cappella group that sings about business.


tonyTony is a seasoned entrepreneur and executive with over 30 years of experience in retail, manufacturing, product development, product sourcing and domestic and international sales. His company, Work ‘N Gear, is the largest retail chain in the United States specializing in the work apparel and footwear industry. Work ‘N Gear operates 40 retail stores throughout the Northeast and Midwest. In 1990, Tony acquired Herman Survivors from Stride Rite Corporation and increased sales from $8 million to $50 million before selling the company to Walmart in 2001. In 2002, Tony purchased Work ‘N Gear, which was in bankruptcy. He raised $40 million in VC investment, and with a new management team focused on the workwear marketplace. Adding to the Work’N Gear corporate brand, in 2011 DiPaolo launched Scrubology — a new “store-within-a-store” concept that caters to healthcare consumers. In conjunction with Sears Holdings Corporation, Scrubology was launched in 10 Sears and Kmart locations across the United States, which has since grown to 75 stores. Committed to his community, he developed the Work’N Gear “Boot Trade” program that each year provides thousands of pairs of gently worn boots to the homeless in 12 northern states. In telling the ENET audience what was important in his success, Tony will focus on his specialties: Negotiation, financing, leadership and brand repositioning. Tony is a graduate of George Washington University.



  • Venkat Kolluri is co-founder of Chitika  and has served as President & CEO since the company’s inception.

venkantVenkat oversees all of Chitika’s operations, including its strategic direction and product planning, as well as corporate development. Venkat also co-founded new, local, mobile, advertising company, Cidewalk, which was awarded “Recognition of Positive Impact on the Neighborhood and Local Economy”, by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2015. Previously, Venkat worked at Upromise, leading the Partner Services group in the Database Marketing & Analytics division. Prior to Upromise, he worked at Lycos as the Principal Technologist in the Marketing Services group and spearheaded the development and launch of several innovative Advertising and Marketing Automation products and services across the Lycos Network. Venkat’s work has been published in several journals and conferences. Venkat holds a Ph.D. in Information Science from University of Pittsburgh.   In 2009, Chitika won the Red Herring award as a Top 100 Global Finalist and in 2010 the DPAC Award as Finalist for Best Mobile Advertising Network Innovation. In 2011, Venkat received from TiE Boston the Crystal Award for a Charter Member who built his company from the ground up. In 2013, Chitika was named among the “Healthiest Employers” and received the Public Private Partnership award from the Westborough EDC. In 2014, named Website Magazine’s “Top 50 Digital Ad Brands to Know”. And in 2015, Venkat was nominated for the ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Award..


For more information or to register for the Sept. 1 ENET Kickoff meeting, go to or


Hopefully, this kickoff event will be helpful to entrepreneurs in small and early stage companies I represent. Hope to see you at ENET’s Waltham meeting place, Constant Contact on September 1!



*     *     *


I remain active in ENET, a Waltham and Cambridge based group that aids entrepreneurs, small and early stage companies, and people who invest or work in those companies. I have been on the ENET Board since 2002, and served as Chairman since 2009, just re-elected in May to my fourth 2-year term as ENET Chair.


I arranged ENET’s last meeting, our annual Sunset Networking Cruise of Boston Harbor to occur Tuesday evening, July 16, 2015. This cruise, our “EntrepreneurShip 2014” was also be joined by our partners MDG – Medical Development Group, IEEE Women In Engineering (WIE) and the EntreTech Forum. This was the 13th ENET summer networking cruise that I’ve arranged. 151 attended on a lovely evening with good food and company and great views of the sights of Boston Harbor and even Boston Light at the outer edge of the Harbor.   For all who attended, it was a most enjoyable and casual ending to ENET’s 24th year, September 2014 to July 2015, just concluded.



Also during the now ending 2014 – 2015 ENET program year, I organized and moderated three ENET meetings.





  • September 2, 2014 – “Entrepreneur Success Stories”, which featured successful entrepreneurs from different fields – high tech, consumer and life sciences. The three presentations for this 2014-2015 kickoff meeting were taped and you can view the tapes if you wish on the links below.




  • ENET Video #1 (High Tech):   Achieving success over the long term as a high tech startup via bootstrapping, funding and successful exit.

LINK:   (17 minutes)


  • ENET Video #2 (Consumer):   Serial Entrepreneur speaks about achieving the right culture for financial and personal success in startups led by Women CEOs

LINK:     (16 minutes)


  • ENET Video #3 (Life Sciences):  Scientist, Inventor, VC and Serial entrepreneur (all in one person!) speaks on “building the concerto” – all the key pieces you need to fit together to build a successful life sciences startup

LINK: (22 minutes)


For more information on the event and speaker bio’s for this Sept. 2, 2014 ENET Kickoff meeting, go to or .


Additionally, in prior years, I’ve moderated and/or spoken at a number of ENET panel presentations, including presentations on the following subjects:

  • “Raising Money from CrowdFunding , May 2014 (moderator),
  • Co-Founders and Core Team – finding them, protecting yourself, managing expectations”. February 2014 (moderator & speaker)
  • “Ready, Set, Launch. Knowing when you’re ready & How to start a company” , September 2013 (moderator),
  • Online Finance and Crowd Funding , April 2013 (moderator),
  • Bootstrapping 101: Alternative Ways to fund a Startup without an Angel or VC, November 2012 (moderator)
  • Seed and Angel Financing , October 2012 (moderator),
  • Getting Stuff for Free, April 2012 (moderator),
  • Transforming Your Idea into a Successful Company, September 2011 (speaker and moderator),
  • Get Going! Launching a Successful Business, September 2010 (moderator),
  • Licensing Technology, February 2010 (moderator),
  • How to Select and Retain Management for your Startup Company, February 8, 2008 (speaker and moderator)
  • Getting Initial Money to go from Nothing to Something, October 2007 (speaker and moderator)
  • Strategic Alliances and Partnerships: to build, finance, and develop early stage companies, November 2006 (speaker and moderator)
  • Building Boards of Advisors and Boards of Directors, March 2006 (moderator)
  • Protecting Your Intellectual Property, January 2006 (speaker)


For each of the above presentations, my slides and those of the other speakers on my panel are also available at the ENET web site at this link – .   I hope this information is helpful to you in your business. Again, if you would like more information on our group, go to


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