Brian Mac Mahon, Head Honcho at Expert DOJO, joins us to riff on solving America’s entrepreneurship problem, the Israeli model as best practice for a startup nation, his objective to scale those solutions globally….and starting fires for the betterment of all!
Based in Santa Monica, California, Expert DOJO is a startup accelerator that improves the success rate of early-stage entrepreneurs with investment, foundation, influence, community, branding, marketing, communication and mindset.
When we connected with Brian a couple of months ago, we were just eager to talk with him in general with the amount of repetitions he’s had in working with startups, which as most folks know, is what Eoin and Pete both do off-air. Beyond his fearless challenging of the status quo, what’s most impressive about Brian is his extreme passion for entrepreneurship.
On what’s in a name: “A dojo is a place of continual learning; you leave your ego outside. It’s about trying to understand the problem with as much brain power coming together to find a solution to that problem. It’s about everyone understanding that they’re not an expert, but that they’re reaching towards expertise based on learning more and more.”
On the origins of Expert DOJO: "We’re an accelerator, and we’ll invest in 50 companies this year, and another 100 next year. We look at international companies and provide a bridge to America and give them money to grow and a bunch of help. But we didn’t start out like that. We started out with a problem: startups are failing at an unprecedented rate.”
On the problem to solve: “The more I looked into it, the more I saw that if you haven’t gone to Harvard or Stanford, forget about it, you’re not growing a unicorn – we’ve got a really messed up system in America.”
On the Israeli entrepreneurship framework: “The number of Nasdaq-listed companies from Israel really points to how Israel made their entire DNA about startups. They had excellence, money, community, government all coming together to cocoon this incredible sense of entrepreneurship.”
On the evolution of entrepreneurship over time: “Entrepreneurship has moved from being something for the very few 80 years ago, to something for the brave 40-50 years ago, to today where I believe it is an absolute necessity for the many.”
On the investment model: “We look for great executors, that’s our thing. We’ll find somebody who’s in a place where other people won’t have seen them yet, we’ll invest $50-100K, and then we’ll invest up to $1mn in them afterwards.”
On the key point: “Our real objective is to be a part of making success in entrepreneurship something that is equally available to folks whether they’re rich, poor, black, white, man, woman…in this current world, that is an impossibility, but that’s our objective. We know that we’re going to need a ton of money to do this, and we’re going to have to pick a lot of fights, and we’re preparing for that.”
To learn more about the Israeli model for entrepreneurship that Brian discussed, check out Startup Nation Central.
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