This Startup Veteran Is Paying it Forward With a Free Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs
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After being granted the first-ever patent in the realm of social networking and selling his first startup -- a Facebook predecessor called sixdegrees -- for $125 million, New York-based serial entrepreneur Andrew Weinreich is looking to pay his good fortune forward.
In a bid to build the premiere educational program for entrepreneurs, Weinreich has created Andrew’s Roadmaps, a two-day boot camp for early-stage startups. The free event, which is hosted several times a year in New York City, accepts just 60 applicants per session. The latest session will be held the weekend of March 14, with applications available until Feb. 25.
Weinreich, 46, says he’s looking for massively disruptive companies helmed by charismatic founders that have gone no further than a Series A funding round. Having already hosted two sessions after launching last year, he points to custom shirt startup Stantt, and Evolution Ventures, a maker of 3-D real estate models, as two particularly notable grads.
A cursory glance at Weinreich’s resume shows he has plenty of wisdom to share. He began his career as a banker and lawyer, but left his position as general counsel for a tech company after being bitten by an entrepreneurial bug.
After selling sixdegrees -- which he describes as Facebook without pictures -- in 1999, Weinreich went on to build a handful of software startups over the next 10 years, including Xtify and MeetMoi, a notification pushing tool and location-based dating site, which sold to IBM and Match.com in 2013, respectively.
This breadth of experience is channeled into the coursework. Andrew’s Roadmaps differs from competing courses, according to Weinreich, in that the program covers a sweeping range of topics along the entrepreneurial footpath -- presented in the order in which founders typically encounter them.
From business planning to hiring to finance to marketing and sales, Weinreich serves as the sole lecturer, though sponsors in a variety of industries -- including law firms, banks, design shops and accounting firms -- also have their turn at the mic. This is how Weinreich is able to offer the course, which includes catered meals and is held near Times Square, at no cost except a $35 processing fee.
Students also receive leave-behind documents, templates and other materials, and are invited to a networking dinner at the end of the second evening.
“Everybody that comes is super smart in one area," Weinreich says -- though outsourcing, he warns, can be a common downfall for founders. “The most successful entrepreneurs have a level of self-reliance and literacy in a wide breadth of topics.”
In the future, Weinreich hopes to build a free online forum where participants can convene after the course and continue to share tips. He ultimately envisions offering the course once a month to 100 total applicants so as to touch 1,000 founders every year.