Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Paragon Lake: A New Paradigm for Student-Created Start-Ups?

Sunday's column in the Globe focused on the adventures of two Babson students, Matt Lauzon and Jason Reuben, who hatched a start-up idea in their Babson dorm and just raised $5.8 million in venture capital funding.

One thing that helped them build a foundation for the company, Paragon Lake, was Highland Capital Partners' summer entrepreneurship program.

My premise is that we need more initiatives like it targeted to helping sharp students put together businesses, and making sure they take root here (Lauzon and Reuben were considering setting up shop in LA, and even have the cell phone numbers to prove it.)

I talked with Lauzon about his participation in the Highland program ... and a unique hiring tactic: MP3 audio.

One small but interesting change in Highland's summer program: participants last year didn't owe Highland anything -- there was no right-of-first-refusal on investing, no exchange of equity for office space, nothing. This year, though, according to Highland SVP Michael Gaiss, Highland has the option to participate in up to half of a start-up's first round of funding:

    ...[I]f an institutional venture capital round (not angel, f&f) is raised within 180 days, we have option to participate. It’s one of a couple variables we changed this year including preference to initiatives with some momentum (could be bringing together board/advisors/team, prototype stage) behind it (versus raw concept/idea), and letters of recommendation from administration/faculty, advisors/board members or others close to the initiative that could speak to it or the team.

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Blogger Mariah & Byron Edgington said...

Great blog Scott. We're putting a website together for people who are coupled with their best friend. After noting the many people you mention on your blog in various arenas, we thought you may know some folks that would be interested in being in a focus group.
Thank you,

July 8, 2008 8:56 PM  
Blogger Don said...

Highland's innovative program and the East Coast funding of the smart, young entrepreneurs at Paragon Lake are encouraging signs on this side of the continent. --- don mclagan

July 10, 2008 8:04 AM  
Blogger Music Lovers said...


July 11, 2008 10:03 AM  
Blogger scy.unlimited said...

Hey dudes and dudettes,

Sorry to bother you during our long (and very wet!) summer holidays.

As some of you know I am participating in the EDGE Programme 2008 and as part of the EDGE programme (http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/edge) at Glasgow University, I am researching an innovative business idea. For this, I am conducting a quick and easy 4-question survey of people's air travel habits for an exciting new service.

The link for the survey is: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=3DllA5v3ecD6FQRpkhgeh_2fpg_3d_3d

It takes literally 90 seconds, and would help us enormously. If you can find the time, your feedback would be great.


University of Glasgow

July 11, 2008 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Collagist said...

Great to see an article on Matt and Jason. I have seen their presentation at Babson during last year founder's day and loved the concept. It is nice to see them getting to this point. Wish them well. Matt's family is not new to this business and this would greatly help them in finding the right suppliers.

Enjoy your blog Scott and must be nice to see you make in to Google's blogs of note.


July 15, 2008 8:41 AM  

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