AI's Impact on Language: Gmail replied for me... and from you. by elton rivas

I've been heads down for a while working on scaling a tangible goods venture and settling in to Seattle with my wife. The outdoors here are amazing and so far the community has been very welcoming on all fronts. All this said, there's something on my mind this afternoon as I continue to reach out to hundreds of folks through LinkedIn and via email... the impact that AI will have on language and how we, as humans, communicate. So, I thought I'd put some quick words in digital form in sort of a stream of conscious way as it's been a while since my last post.

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The Myth of Discipline vs the Reality of Motivation for Startups by elton rivas

As humans, it is in our nature to search for things that we believe in. That's what calls us to organized belief systems like being a sports fan, joining a running group, or even religion. We yearn for the answer to constant questions of worth, value and hope and many times those questions and trying to provide answers to them are what calls a founder into creating a new startup. This comes from motivation and not discipline. In fact, the very definition of discipline is something that we are misguided by...

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Startup Rocket & My Current Toolkit for Launching New Ventures by elton rivas

Recently, I wrote a post about the launch of Prota Ventures, a venture building and early-stage investment firm. We've been hard at work on a number of items and dogfooding our own products (someone should come up with a better name for this) each week along the way. One that you can check out is MapleIQ. Need an intelligent, interactive, customer-focused landing page? This is the one for you.

One that I've been using nearly daily for the past seven weeks is Startup Rocket. During this time, I've been involved with everything from a hardware startup (making metal hairpin legs, more on that later) to helping about a half-dozen founders/pre-funded and pre-product teams work through their individual ideas while evaluating the steps of Startup Rocket along the way. We added in a few more features and steps to the framework to help take founders all the way from an idea through closing a first round of funding (if that's the path they choose to pursue; we've seen the framework also work for those bootstrapping or growing organically). Additionally, you can now see all of our current articles on the steps for launching a Tech Startup online at

So, why write a post about this? Well, first - I committed to blog more, so am keeping up with that. Second, I've made a ton of notes throughout the past six weeks about why/how I find Startup Rocket valuable when working through the steps of launching a new idea.

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The Next Chapter: Prota Ventures - a Venture Building Studio & Early Stage Investment Firm by elton rivas

I'm excited today.

As an entrepreneur, most of us get a feeling when we're about to dive head first into a new journey. The feeling that you get when you're excited and nervous all at the same time. That feeling that can be described as the quiet sense of calm anxiety before the rollercoaster lets loose and the drop begins with ever-increasing speed and screams of excitement and fear begin. Yes, that's the feeling this morning as the next chapter gets underway.

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Time off as an Entrepreneur: The Struggle is Real (and necessary) by elton rivas

In January I left the helm of one of the companies that I co-founded and was fortunate enough to grow for three years, One Spark. To me, the blessing of One Spark has always been demonstrated most through the amazing talent of people that were brought together (employees, volunteers, creators, city members, investors, students and so many more) supporting a single mission: to help people with great ideas get connected to the resources they need. We attacked the pain head on by creating what turned into the world's largest crowdfunding festival, but more importantly for our city and beyond - a movement that inspired thousands to create.

During those same few years, I also founded other businesses, advised dozens of startups, traveled hundreds of thousands of miles, met my wife, got married, spoke at conferences, gave a TEDx talk in Frankfurt, did hundreds of media interviews, completed an ironman distance triathlon (but not the blog), a couple half-iron distance races, moved three times, ran a few marathons and ultimately exhausted myself. I can still feel the physical and emotional ailments again just writing that list. Fortunately, my wife encouraged me to take a couple of months off before diving back in to any new entrepreneurial ventures. For that, I'm...

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TEDxFrankfurt: Inspiration from around the world. by elton rivas

I landed in Düsseldorf last Wednesday morning for a short presentation on One Spark and the startup community in Jacksonville. The folks at the denkubator were hosting a group of about 15 people from all sectors of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. They welcomed me in, we shared some tea and some soup, then we got down to the topic at hand. After spending some time in Germany over the past couple of years, I’ve grown to have a fond appreciation for the efficiency and approach for conducting meetings. If you’re ever in Düsseldorf, check out the folks at the denkubator.

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One Spark 2015 is a Wrap...Now What? by Elton Rivas

As I sat at CoWork Jax late yesterday afternoon writing this post for today, I was inspired. There’s a sense of focus. There’s a community. There’s a visible passion demonstrated by the people at CoWork working on their business.

I can’t help but to take a moment and be nostalgic while thinking back to the days just a few short years ago when One Spark was coming to life as sticky notes on the windows in this space. Things were relatively simple then… there was an idea in its infancy with an overly ambitious group of people that wanted to bring it to life.

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Thoughts From The Factory Berlin... Cities Finding Their Voice by elton rivas

As I sit here in The Factory (a campus for startups and mature tech companies in Berlin Mitte) working on One Spark Berlin with our team I can’t help but think back to the early days of One Spark in the states. The same challenges we faced then, we face now. The same concerns we faced then, we face now. The same emotional ups and downs of starting something new in a very short period of time are recurringly similar feelings now. The same pressure. The same fears. The same tired laughs. And yes, even some of the same disbeliefs of what we are trying to accomplish. A lot is just the same as it was a little under 2 years ago this week.

Yet, there are so many noteworthy differences giving us the encouragement to press on. First, the city of Berlin itself.

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5 Reasons to Found Your Startup in JAX by Elton Rivas

I’ve received hundreds of questions over the past few years about why I’m still in Jacksonville (JAX) as have many of my great friends and colleagues. Questions such as “Why continue to swim upstream in a smaller startup community?” “Why not just go somewhere else and plug in where it’s ‘easier’ to launch a company?” Or, “What makes JAX so special?”

During this same time a few themes have surfaced as key reasons to start in JAX. Some people may argue with the points outlined below. That’s good. Healthy debate spawns new thought patterns. So, check them out below and let’s chat.

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