Startup Nomad Interview with Tenecia Brown (Houston)

This week Startup Nomad is catching up Tenecia Brown, the Founder of Gradeness, a mentor at Yes We Code, and the leader of Houston’s Ms. Tech Group. We talked about leaving corporate America, choosing co-founders, being a woman of color in tech, and the entrepreneurial ecosystems in Houston and Austin. Check out the video below to hear what she had to say.

Follow-Up Startup Nomad Interview with Michael Goldberg

Back in April, I chatted with Michael Goldberg, visiting assistant professor of design and innovation at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management and the co-founder and managing partner of Bridge Investment Fund. He also has a MOOC on Coursera called Beyond Silicon Valley: Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies.

We talked just before his course launched for the first time and it was a huge success, so I decided to check back in with Michael and see what he’d learned about the entrepreneurial ecosystems in some of the communities that had lots of students participating in his course. Check out the interview below and let us know your thoughts.

Also, be sure to sign up for Michael’s course on Coursera. It’s absolutely free and it will give you some great insight into how entrepreneurial communities are built.

Startup Nomad Interview with David Tiago (Andorra)

This week’s Startup Nomad interview is with David Tiago, and Andorran entrepreneur and owner of two European e-commerce sites: and To be completely honest, I knew almost nothing about Andorra before connecting with David on social media, so I was very much looking forward to learning a bit more about what’s going on in the world of entrepreneurship in this small, European country.

Check out the video below to hear David’s thoughts on entrepreneurship and startups in Andorra and let me know what you think in the comments below. (This video is in Spanish).

I apologize in advance that I am just a big dark blob in the video – the back-lighting got me.

Startup Nomad Interview with Paul Wilson (United Kingdom)

This week we’re chatting with Paul Wilson, the founder of PR Wilson Media, your social media personal trainer, and a Guinness World Record Holder. Check out the interview below to hear about Paul’s interesting journey into entrepreneurship and to learn what’s going on in the U.K. Then be sure to subscribe to Paul’s channel on YouTube and to follow him on Twitter.

Startup Nomad Interview with David Pombar

Startup Nomad Interview with David Pombar

This week’s Startup Nomad interview is with David Pombar, the CEO of SetPay and an organizer of Startup Weekend Barcelona. We chatted about how he ended up in the startup world and what’s going on in the entrepreneurial ecosystems of Spain. Check out the interview and let me know your thoughts on what David had to say in the comments below.

This week’s interview is in Spanish. 

Startup Nomad Interview with Scott Mackin (Barcelona)

This week’s Startup Nomad interview is with Scott Mackin, an American who has relocated to Barcelona and is the Founder and Managing Director of Barcinno, the top source for English language information about tech, startups, and innovation in Barcelona.

Check out the interview below and let me know what you think in the comments.

Startup Nomad - Damien Bruneau

Startup Nomad Interview with Damien Bruneau (Barcelona)

Welcome to Europe, Nomads! I’ve been here in Spain for a little over a month now and have only started to scratch the surface of what’s going on in the entrepreneurial ecosystems on this side of the pond. The energy is quite a bit different here than it was in most of Latin America, but the struggles are the same.

I kicked things off in Barcelona speaking to Damien Bruneau. Damien is co-founder of TutoTOONS and an organizer of Startup Weekend Barcelona. While he and his company call Barcelona home, Damien is French and has also lived in Italy and the UK, so I was excited to pick his brain about what’s going on in the entrepreneurship world in Europe.

Damien and I started out talking about how Barcelona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is expanding:

“It is growing really fast but it’s still small,” he told me. “The city has big potential and that’s what driving a lot of talent and entrepreneurs to come to Barcelona…[but] there are not enough success stories or big experienced entrepreneurs to really inspire. That’s what’s missing but I think it will come quickly.”

The idea that this startup community lacks success stories to mentor new entrepreneurs and to show them that success is possible outside of the major startup hubs is something that I heard throughout Latin America, so it was interesting to see that the same is true outside of the so-called “emerging economies.”

Damien attributes part of the lack of major success stories to the fact that entrepreneurship has not, until recently, been seen as a desirable career choice.

“There is still not yet this big wake-up for the Spanish to be entrepreneurs,” he told me. “They’re still just starting.”

Additionally, regulation has made Spain undesirable as a place to legally locate a company, despite Barcelona being an attractive place to physically locate it. “Usually a company is based here and somewhere else, either in the US or London,” Damien said,  “because investors don’t want the company to be based here,” due to things like a complicated process for issuing stock options and a slow regulatory system.

But foreigners have been flocking to Barcelona recently and breathing energy into the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in a way that is different from the country’s other ecosystems.  “There’s more startup energy and more of an international feel here [in Barcelona than in Madrid],” Damien said. Additionally, “Barcelona has a number of good MBA programs and so attracts a lot of MBA students, so usually those MBAs start to become entrepreneurs at the same time [that they’re studying].” He also mentioned more than once that there were lots of talented people in Barcelona and that it was fairly easy to find people to add to a growing startup team, though he felt it was harder to find co-founders as the pool of talent lacks experience in what it actually takes to build a business and is instead attracted to entrepreneurship as the “sexy” career option.

As the ecosystem matures, however, that will become less of an issue.

“I think it will grow fast and then it will be quite stable because of the quality of life,” Damien said about Barcelona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. “Maybe in 5 years it would be like Berlin and in 10 years it will be like London, that would be nice.” 

The unavoidable question, of course, is how does Spain’s troubled economy affect its entrepreneurial ecosystems? Damien had an interesting answer:

“It affects it in a positive way,” he told me. “People actually start to say, ‘Okay, I’m going to do my own business,’ because they lost their job, or because they don’t see a good future in the economy, or because they can’t get a job so they create it, and I think that’s good. That drives people to be an entrepreneur. You see a lot of young Spanish kids too that get really motivated and enthusiastic about being an entrepreneur.”

Wrapping up the interview the same way I always do, I asked Damien to share some advice for new or aspiring entrepreneurs:

“Focus, focus, and focus,” he told me.  “When you do a startup, do one thing at a time, know where you’re going, and really focus.” Also, “don’t be afraid to fail. Try things, learn from it, and move on. Learn how to manage fears and get that feeling of being able to go for that thing that is difficult, that is new, and that you don’t know how to do.”