Have a Burning Business Question? Ask Our Entrepreneur Expert: Jodi Goldstein. Currently the managing director of Harvard Innovations Labs, Goldstein has also been a co-founder, startup executive and investor.
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As school is winding down for the year, some college students are forgoing the corporate route for a path without a roadmap: the world of entrepreneurship.
And with this choice, there comes a lot of uncertainties on how to launch a business, scale it and create a successful venture. Fortunately, we have Jodi Goldstein to give us a helping hand.
With more than 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, co-founder and investor, Goldstein definitely understands the ins and outs of the startup world and is looking to assist both founders and those aspiring to be one.
"While entrepreneurship has always been something I've been passionate about, I know first-hand from working on several startups just how challenging it can be to turn an idea into a viable business," says Goldstein. "I want to help the next generation of entrepreneurs increase their likelihood of success, whether it's personally giving them advice on their ventures, helping them build skills they need, or connecting them with other potential team members, customers, mentors and other resources that can help them succeed."
Goldstein currently serves as the managing director of Harvard Innovations Labs, which helps bring the Harvard student community together through various initiatives, including a collaboration and education space called Harvard i-lab and a 12-week Venture Incubation Program. Some notable companies that have come out of these programs include greeting-cards company LovePop and clothes-shrinking solutions Unshrinkit, both securing funding from Shark Tank. Artlifting, a platform allowing homeless people to sell art, and RapidSOS, an emergency-response app, have been featured in The New York Times, while Entrepreneur did a profile on HourlyNerd. Under Goldstein's leadership (she was also on the founding team), 175,000 students have visited the Harvard Innovations Labs since it opened in 2011 and more than 600 ventures have been incubated, collectively raised more than $300 million in venture funding.
Prior to her role at Harvard, Goldstein held various positions in the consumer, ecommerce, mobile and luxury goods sector. She worked at web-based address book company PlanetAll and was involved in acquiring more than 1 million customers, which led to the sale to Amazon for $100 million in 1998. She also worked at Send.com, a gift company, where she oversaw product development and helped the company reach $10 million in its first year.
In 2008, she co-founded Drync, a wine app, and helped it grow to more than 2 million users.
Goldstein has also been an investor at VC firm TA Associates, where her area of expertise was retail and consumer products.
Outside of work, Goldstein is actively involved in the startup community, including advising companies, judging pitch contests and being on various entrepreneur-focused committees.
So, to say Goldstein is an expert in entrepreneurship may be a bit of an understatement. Luckily, she wants to pay it forward and provide our readers advice.
"If you're in a position where you've 'made it' as an entrepreneur, you owe it to the greater entrepreneurial community to offer your perspective and assistance to founders seeking your advice," she says.
We are thrilled to have Goldstein as our entrepreneurship expert for the month of June. She can speak on a number of entrepreneurship topics, including product development, business management, fundraising, hiring and leadership.
Got a question you would like answered? Submit your questions by tweeting us, using the hashtag #ENTexpert. One topic will be selected by the editors of Entrepreneur and addressed by Goldstein in a weekly writeup.