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Build a Successful Startup & Get Funding to Build Your Dream Business


Steve Hoffman aka Captain Hoff is the CEO of Founders Space, which is one of the world’s leading startup accelerators, with over 50 partners in 22 countries. Founders Space was ranked the #1 incubator for overseas startups by Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazines.

Hoffman is also a venture investor, founder of five startups, and author of several award-winning books. These include “Make Elephants Fly” , “Surviving a Startup” , and “The Five Forces”.

While in Hollywood, Hoffman went on to pioneer interactive television by producing interactive TV shows with NBC, MTV, History Channel and others.

In Silicon Valley, Hoffman’s startups were in the areas of games and entertainment, and worked on such hit mobile games as Tetris, Wheel of Fortune, Tomb Raider, Hitman and X-Files.

Hoffman has trained hundreds of startup founders and corporate executives in the art of innovation and provided consulting to many of the world’s largest corporations. If you’re thinking of launching a product or company, you must listen to this episode. It’ll give you many ways to overcome the odds, raise capital, and build a thriving, profitable business.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Pandora

“Stick with your vision and keep working on stuff… someone else is going to do it if you don’t… Use your imagination more and more. It’s not just about being an entrepreneur, it’s about being a gritty, dynamic person that survives chaos.”

Key Topics Discussed:

  1. Business and Money: The conversation begins with a discussion about the influence and challenges of money in business settings. It emphasizes the need to be aware of financial dynamics and their impact on business objectives and problems.
  2. Strategic Partnerships and Community Building: The speakers delve into the concept of creating an “information pack” in business, focusing on the importance of strategic partnerships, community engagement, and the role of investors and advisors in scaling a business.
  3. Business Goals and Revenue Generation: The dialogue touches upon the balance between focusing on future goals and the necessity of revenue generation in business ventures. The importance of having clear, achievable goals is highlighted.
  4. Team Dynamics in Startups: The discussion shifts to the significance of assembling the right team or “pack” in startups, stressing the need for diverse skills, clear communication, and aligned expectations among team members.
  5. Educational Transformation through Technology: There is a significant focus on the transformation of education through AI and blockchain, discussing personalized learning experiences and the potential for these technologies to revolutionize the educational landscape.
  6. Personal Entrepreneurial Journeys: The speakers share their personal backgrounds and experiences, providing various perspectives on entrepreneurial journeys and the lessons learned along the way.
  7. Equity and Startup Partnerships: The conversation explores the complex topic of equity distribution in startups, addressing the challenges of aligning contributions and expectations in partnerships.
  8. Blockchain Technology Potential: The potential applications of blockchain technology are discussed, particularly in education, emphasizing the need for innovative applications beyond its current usage.
  9. Writing and Publishing a Book: Michael Devellano shares insights into his process of writing and publishing a book, including challenges, strategies, and the importance of marketing and promotion.
  10. Advice to Younger Individuals and Entrepreneurs: The speakers provide personal advice for younger individuals and budding entrepreneurs, focusing on perseverance, vision, risk-taking, and the importance of learning from failures.
  11. Future Plans and Aspirations: Devellano talks about his future plans, particularly in the fields of AI and education, with a strong desire to provide mass-customized education and contribute positively to these sectors.
  12. Reflections on Personal Motivations and Legacy: The episode concludes with reflections on personal motivations for writing and contributing ideas, along with thoughts on the legacy and impact one hopes to leave, especially in entrepreneurial and technological spaces.

Devellano’s perspectives provide a blend of practical advice, personal anecdotes, and forward-looking ideas, particularly around technology and education. The conversation is engaging, informative, and offers valuable takeaways for anyone interested in entrepreneurship, technology, and personal growth.

We start the conversation with one of the buzzwords we’ve constantly been seeing all over the online space in recent weeks; Metaverse. Stave’s grasp on the technologies that enable the concept of Metaverse is fascinating. Steve shares his take on how the next phase of virtual reality is going to look like and opportunities that may emerge from it for businesses as well as individuals.

Steve’s career journey is a combination of multiple fields. We talk about where he started, the experiences he gathered in his time in Hollywood, and how he managed to take a leap of faith to start his first business venture. We dive deep into how his business ventures evolved over time, instances where he had to pivot and take actions to find the right market, and some lessons he learned throughout his journey of entrepreneurship. Steve also talks about how he became an author and the process of writing a book and working with publishers.

Innovative ideas are a key component of a successful business venture. However, it takes a lot more than just an idea to build a successful business. Over the years, Steve has worked with many startups and has seen how and why most startups fail. We dive deep into what it takes to build a successful startup, how to create the right value proposition, how to get funding and work with investors, and how to build your dream business by avoiding the common mistakes that make most startups failures.

[04:10] The Metaverse – Steve shares his take on the evolution of virtual worlds and how virtual reality evolved into the point where we’re talking about Metaverse and what may come next.

[12:13] Being Prepared for the Metaverse – What Metaverse means for the future of tech companies, entrepreneurs, and individuals and how they could be prepared to get ahead of the game if and when the concept of Metaverse becomes mainstream.

[14:50] Steven’s Journey – We talk about Steven’s career journey through multiple fields, and how he got into the technology sector, and the amazing work he does with startups and entrepreneurs.

[21:40] Jumping off the Cliff – Leaving a great job in pursuit of one’s own venture is a decision that takes lots of courage. Steve shares with us what inspired him to take that leap of faith.

[30:00] Pivoting as a Business – Steve shares a story of how he had to pivot and take quick actions to find the right business for the multi-user game engine they had built.

[36:10] Advice for Startups – Steve shares his wisdom on how startups may pivot and keep their spirit and morale up and tactics for vetting business ideas.

[43:14] Becoming an Author – As an author of multiple books, Steven has a lot of experience in writing. He shares with us his unique approach to writing and the process of publishing.

[53:20] Building a Startup – We explore the process of developing a successful startup from the initial idea to getting investors interested in the business. Steve also talks about some common mistakes entrepreneurs make when developing a startup and how to avoid them.

[59:50] Working with Investors – How to identify the right investors for your startup and some red flags you should be considering when raising funds.

Connect with Captain Hoff

Website: www.foundersspace.com
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/foundersspace
Instagram: instagram.com/foundersspace
Twitter: twitter.com/FoundersSpace

Steven Hoffman’s Books:

Make Elephants Fly: The Process of Radical Innovation:

Surviving a Startup: Practical Strategies for Starting a Business, Overcoming Obstacles, and Coming Out on Top:

The Five Forces That Change Everything:


“Something I tell entrepreneurs is, you can have big dreams. But look at your pocketbook. You’ve got to make this work. And don’t expect anybody to give you money.”

“Tone of voice is really important. When you ask for what you want to ask for, you have to make sure to do it in as friendly and non-pushy a way as possible. If you’re going to ask for a lot, make sure to do it in a nice way because people are people. Emotions matter.”

“Most startups fail. Not because they try too many ideas, but because they stick with the same idea too long.”

“If you have to educate a person why they need your product, forget it.”

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