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Myth Busters, Startup Edition: A Q&A with Lightbank’s Rick Zullo

If you’re skeptical of mainstream advice about entrepreneurship – or want to be – Rick Zullo is your man. As a Principal at Lightbank, a Chicago-based venture capital firm, Rick focuses on investments in enterprise software companies [Disclosure: Lightbank is a partner in my company, EVENTup). He may change the way you think about founding, financing and scaling your company.

“There’s a myth that big companies are only made in Silicon Valley.”

Before joining Lightbank in January 2015, Rick worked at Foundation Capital, Bowery Capital, First Round Capital and Red Oak Growth Partners. He has supported dozens of investments in technology companies across the capital spectrum.

In this Q&A, Rick does some startup myth busting:

Jayna Cooke: Rick, how did you end up at Lightbank?

Rick Zullo: There’s a myth that big companies are only made in Silicon Valley. One of the major reasons I joined Lightbank was to work with companies outside of traditional tech hubs. I had the chance to watch New York grow into a prolific ecosystem, and I’m seeing the same signals in Chicago. Since joining Lightbank, I’ve invested in five different states, and it’s thrilling to see technology innovation happening in every corner of the country.

Jayna: What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of building startups outside Silicon Valley?

Rick: I like building in nontraditional areas because there’s a lot of knowledge encapsulated between the coasts, where the majority of people live and work. Silicon Valley doesn’t necessarily reflect the rest of America, and founders outside of the valley come to the table with a different perspective on what people need. Even in our Bay Area portfolio, we try to look for founders who have a broader perspective on the needs of the general population, rather than founders who solely sell products to other software companies in their own ecosystem.

Read the rest on Forbes. 



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