Founders’ reflections and predictions for 2019By Brittany Walker
StartU’s Penn Lead, Brittany Walker, captures notable founders’ and VCs’ predictions and goals for 2019, as published by Fred Wilson, Brad Feld, and others. She also surveys student founders previously featured by StartU regarding their ambitions for the New Year.
The end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 saw venture capitalists taking to their blogs to share their predictions for the coming year, as well as their personal and professional goals. Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson published a post on AVC in which he predicts 2019 will be a “doozy” from a political and macroeconomic perspective, but indicated that he nonetheless “expect[s] 2019 to be another solid year for the tech/startup sector.” Brad Feld, of Foundry Group fame, opined on his plans for “@bfeld v53.0” (the prominent investor is 53 years old) and shared his progress to date. Others took to Twitter to share their goals for the coming year:
A few goals for 2019:— Ryan Hoover (@rrhoover) December 31, 2018
🚀 Launch new secret @AngelList project
📈 Grow @ProductHunt to [redacted] million MAU
👨🏼💼 Start seeing a CEO coach
☀️ Raise capital for @weekendfund 2.0
😁 Reduce stress and anxiety by 5x (no idea how to quantify this)
Ryan Hoover of Product Hunt shares his New Year’s goals for his startup.
Want To Write More in 2019? Become My Writing Buddy!https://t.co/8bkGhyU52Z [new blog post]— 👨🏻💻☕️ (@hunterwalk) January 7, 2019
Homebrew VC Hunter Walk invites others to join him on his mission to write more in 2019.
2019 goal: Stop comparing myself to others.— Chacho (@chachovaladez) January 3, 2019
Backstage Capital VC Chacho Valadez articulates a personal resolution for the New Year.
In that spirit, we asked a few of our student founder friends to share their hopes for what 2019 will bring for their startups.
Young Alfred – Jason Christiansen, Co-Founder, Wharton MBA 2017
We wrote about Young Alfred last May, highlighting their approach to improving the customer experience for people shopping for home, auto, renters, and pet insurance. Since then, the startup has closed a $1.8M seed round of funding from VCs including Pear Ventures, and the founders are looking to expand their reach in 2019. Specifically, Young Alfred aims to offer coverage in all 50 states (they’re currently in 15) and insure more than $3B in home value across the United States. The founders also hope to expand consumer awareness of their product by obtaining press coverage in a major publication (WSJ, Bloomberg, etc. – we’re not taking offense) in the second half of this year.
MD Ally – Shanel Fields, CEO, Wharton MBA 2019
Since we spoke to Shanel Fields in November, MD Ally has signed its first pilot contract to roll-out its services in Texas (need confirmation / details from Shanel). The early-stage startup remains focused on facilitating the most efficient use of emergency resources by directing 911 callers to the most appropriate point of care, and is continuing to build out partnerships to achieve that objective. In terms of her goals for the coming year, Fields is prioritizing “build[ing] a great company culture with growth-minded values at its core.”
Strella Biotech – Katherine Sizov, CEO, UPenn CAS 2019
In December, we wrote about The Pitch, as the popular Gimlet Media podcast paid a visit to the Wharton School. The Pitch featured three promising founders from the Philadelphia area who presented on their businesses, in hopes of winning the opportunity to pitch for investment from the judges on a future episode of the show. The winner was Strella Biotech, a startup developing a novel sensing technology to detect ripeness in fruits (apples, in its first iteration). Like Fields, Sizov’s objectives for the coming year are oriented around her team and company culture. Said Sizov, “Strella’s big focus this year is teamwork, because we have recently expanded to a bigger team. We are learning how to be individually responsible, but also how to work with others who have skills and knowledge we don’t necessarily possess. We hope to leverage this into sales and better tech design in the new year!”
All in all, we hope that you had a great 2018 and wish you all the best for your endeavors in 2019! We hope you’ll join us as we showcase of the some of the most promising startups from the Penn ecosystem. Feel free to reach out to us should you have any comments or even know or run a promising startup – we would love to hear from you!