I am feeling a lot of joy at being back in the classroom, particularly because it's been 2 years since I've taught the Lifecycle of the Corporation. This is a class I pretty much made up, using the Entrepreneur's Guide to Business Law, and it traces...the lifecycle of the corporation (no false advertising here!). We are in the venture financing unit, and here are some cool things that have come up so far:
Airbnb: This site lets people post bedrooms in their own homes to stay in. WSJ weekend interview (pro), news from Davos from IHG CEO (con). The interview gives a great entrepreneurship overview, highlighting the fortuitous way the idea came about. Basically 2 out of work graphic designers know they need to make rent, and that a big conference is in town.
Mr. Gebbia had three air mattresses and suggested turning the apartment into an "air bed and breakfast."
Within three days, they had a rudimentary website up and booked three guests: a 35-year-old woman, a 30-year-old from India, and a 45-year-old father of five, each paying about $70 a night for several nights. "I thought we were going to get a bunch of young L.A. dudes, 23-year-olds," Mr. Chesky recalls. No matter. That month's rent problem was solved, and Messrs. Chesky and Gebbia thought they might be on to something.
For those who use the Netflix IPO case study, the story reminds me of the happenstance way Reed Hastings came up with the idea for Netflix. Also, I had never heard of Airbnb, but several of my students had actually used it, making me feel old and out of it.
This story about the Immunity Project, a non-profit that received funding from Y-Combinator and is raising money for an AIDS vaccine based on research on "controllers," individuals who seem to have an immunity that prevents HIV from developing into AIDS. They're looking for crowdfunding. And they want to give the vaccine away once it's developed.
This tech incubator that has been operating right in my backyard, whose open house I attended this past week.
And this website on VC negotiations by a former entrepreneur-turned-VC.
All in all, feeling invigorated by all things start-up. In one heady moment I said to yesterday's class, "I'm not exactly saying that you should quit law school and start a company...But maybe you should quit law school and start a company."
Don't tell the dean.
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