Alice Chen

Principal, Accelerator Corp. (Read full bio)

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your childhood self and why?
I would tell my childhood self that it is okay to make mistakes and take leaps of faith; sometimes we get marvelous battle scars, sometimes we grow wings. And either way, tomorrow is another day. I would also tell her to be patient with herself, live in the moment, and don’t take life too seriously. As it turned out, magic usually happens when we stop and smell the roses. Be kind, try hard, figure out what she wants, and things will sort themselves out.

What is the biggest barrier to startup entry would you like to see eliminated in the next year? 3 years?
The biopharmaceutical industry—my poison of choice—faces a unique set of barriers to startup entry relative to any other sectors supported by the venture community. More specifically, biotech startups, even at their infancy, require (a) decades of drug R&D experience, (b) considerable infrastructure, and (c) millions of risk capital to operate. In the next year, I would like to alleviate the drug R&D experience gap by building/strengthening the communication between drug R&D experts from industry and researchers in research institutes, so that early stage research efforts can translate into drug development and clinical impact more smoothly and effectively. In the next three years, I would like to see the second barrier, infrastructure, ease up via creative collaborations between research institutes, biopharma partners, and contract research organizations. Funding is the next (and arguably the most significant) barrier to overcome, and while it will not happen overnight, I remain optimistic as we work to evolve the ecosystem for the better.


Charlotte Hubbert

Program Investment Officer, Venture Investing, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Read full bio)

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your childhood self and why?
I would tell my childhood self to be a little less rough on the edges with people, but it would do no good and likely derail my future self from success. I guess, then, I would say it’s going to be a lot harder than you think, but go get ‘em tiger.

What is the biggest barrier to startup entry would you like to see eliminated in the next year? 3 years?
Poser B-team management and overreaching tech transfer offices. I actually think that barriers to entry are a good thing for biotech. Biotech venture is $$ so reducing the barriers will only create orphan companies.






Marlon Nichols

General Partner, Cross Culture Ventures (Read full bio)

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your childhood self and why?
Be true to your authentic self. Be introspective early, figure out what you are passionate about and go after it aggressively, intelligently, and in an unapologetic way!

What is the biggest barrier to startup entry would you like to see eliminated in the next year? 3 years?
The biggest barrier to startup entry that I would like to see corrected is the near absent representation of diverse decision makers at venture capital firms (~1%). Venture capital professionals are the gate keepers of early stage funding for startups and unfortunately the industry doesn't come close to mirroring the demographic makeup of the country or the world for that matter--too white and too male. It’s been proven time and time again that most people hire/ do business with those that resemble them in a number of ways so in order for the soon to be majority in the United States (Black & Latino) to get a fair shake in the fundraising process there needs to be a better representation of qualified investors from those communities. Additionally, as these groups bring forward solutions to challenges in their respective communities it is helpful for them to sit across the table from someone that understands the problem and opportunity being discussed.


Jorge Torres

Venture Partner, Silas Capital (Read full bio)

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your childhood self and why?
I'd tell my childhood self to buy Microsoft stock. Just kidding. I would tell Younger Me to start a business and to learn from failure.

What is the biggest barrier to startup entry would you like to see eliminated in the next year? 3 years?
In my wildest dream, the new Congress and president come to terms on comprehensive immigration reform over the next 12 months. In three years, I'd like to see a 100x increase in funding for computer science education in public school systems across the U.S.









Guy Turner

Managing Director and Co-Founder, Hyde Park Venture Partners (Read full bio)

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your childhood self and why?
Don't do swift water rescue training because you will knock out your teeth.

What is the biggest barrier to startup entry would you like to see eliminated in the next year? 3 years?
Open access to major data/network platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.