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  • I spend a lot of my time engaging with high school and college students. And by far, the number one question I have to answer is "How do I become a VC?". The answer to that question is usually a little long winded, but what I stress is that every person starting their career in the modern economy is already a venture capitalist.

    Cultural phenomena like the television shows Shark Tank and Startup have driven home to people that that there is a venture capital world that drives the startup world that didn’t exist ten years ago. Countless people are working on a startup of their own hoping to be successful and someday be a venture capitalist that works on the other side of the table. But all of this mainstream activity fails to realize the key element that should drive everyone’s career: we should all be venture capitalists who are analyzing opportunities and making bets to build wealth.

    In the early stages of a person’s career, he or she should focus on making bets with the time, flexibility, and energy he or she has. These bets should be focused on opportunities where knowledge and domain expertise are garnered. Once this domain expertise builds a person needs to start making bets on things that gain financial wealth. Apply the knowledge and expertise so that it can be channeled on wealth building opportunities. Once financial wealth is accumulated, bets need to be made on future generations and high growth chances that will multiply the gains of the first two stages.

    All three stages require a person to act and analyze the world the way a venture capitalist looks at investments. Focus on the people, places, and industries that have the greatest chances to yield true wealth. The modern economy is not about finding employment it is about creating mental, emotional, and financial wealth.

    Every person needs to understand the value proposition analysis that all VCs have to do when they make cash investments. It is in this due diligence that success can be found and it is in those efforts you should guide all of your professional interactions.


    Fitness has been one of my favorite hobbies since my parents let me hit the weights for the first time back when I was 15 years old. Even at that young age, I quickly realized that if I was ever going to achieve the gains I wanted, I needed to do more than just work out: I needed to learn about the best training methods and the most nutritious foods because the better you train and eat, the better your results—it's just that simple.

    Today, I'm still looking for ways to improve my training and diet, and nowadays there's no better place to learn about fitness than the Internet. That's why I teamed up with my friend and MyTraining colleague, Matt Wink, to find out just how much fitness content is being created and consumed on Web 2.0 websites and apps. The results of our research are shown below. We also created a cool infographic highlighting our research, which can be accessed here.

    Please note that this isn't a definitive account of all fitness content on the Internet; but, we believe that it is a sound work-in-progress that paints an accurate picture of the importance of fitness in the digital world.


    Fitness is one of the most popular forms of content on social networks. These platforms are open to user-generated content and are a common destination for people seeking motivation and advice on how to get in shape.

    ·         YouTube: It's a paradise of fitness content with over 16 million workout videos and about 1 million fitness-related channels, 500,000 of which are specifically focused on workout videos. It's not uncommon for high-profile trainers on YouTube to have more than 100 million channel views.

    ·         Facebook: The most popular social network is also one of the most popular ways for fitness celebrities to keep in touch with their audience. In fact, the top 150 Facebook pages for trainers, athletes, and fitness brands have collectively attracted more than 100 million fans.

    ·         Instagram: Fitness enthusiasts use the photo-sharing app to motivate each other by posting pictures of workouts and body evolutions. At the beginning of 2014, the most popular fitness tags on Instagram were #fitness (tagged 48 million times), #workout (tagged 27 million times), and #training (tagged 11 million times).


    Here are Google's ten most searched workouts and exercises during 2013 according to the search giant's annual Zeitgeist report:

    1.     Insanity workout (8,980,000 search results)

    2.     CrossFit workouts (5,090,000 search results)

    3.     Ab workouts (12,500,000 search results)

    4.     Bicep workouts (1,800,000 search results)

    5.     7-minute workout (37,600,000 search results)

    6.     Kettlebell workouts (37,600,000 search results)

    7.     Shoulder workouts (37,600,000 search results)

    8.     Back workouts (2,780,000 search results)

    9.     Plank exercises (7,320,000 search results)

    10. TRX workout (4,550,000 search results)


    Diet and activity trackers are currently the most frequently downloaded fitness apps. According to XYO, the top five have been downloaded (Android + iPhone) 152 million times:

    1.     MyFitnessPal (64 million downloads)

    2.     MapMyFitness (26 million downloads)

    3.     RunKeeper (21 million downloads)

    4.     Runtastic (21 million downloads)

    5.     Nike+ Running (20 million donwloads)

    According to a recent report by Flurry, health and fitness apps grew 62% during the first half of 2014. This pace is 87% faster than the mobile industry's overall usage, which increased 33% during the same period.

    Surprisingly, Flurry's report also indicates that the predominant demographic using fitness apps is composed of “mothers age 25 to 54 who are sports fans and lead healthy lifestyles."

    In the next post, I will interview a trainer who has more than 50 million views on YouTube. He will share the inspiring story of how he built this massive audience—and grew his business—by leveraging the power of videos and social networking.


    Rudi Leismann is a current WVAcademy member. You can follow Rudi at @rudileismann


    photo credit: "Running Girl" by Aaron

    Capital Outlook: Canada’s Startup Ecosystem

    “Saturated by US VCs with Big Room to Grow”

    There is a growing and encouraging startup landscape maturing in Canada but technology entrepreneurship has yet to create a robust innovation startup ecosystem. There are many positive signs that the startup community is beginning to flourish. Across the nation you’ll find a healthy funnel of startups throughout the Startup Lifecycle, but Canada still faces many issues in this sector such as talent migration, access to capital, and risk tolerance.

    Although there are exceptions, innovation is not traditionally Canada’s strong suit. The Conference Board of Canada gives the country a “D” for innovation with particularly low marks for seed/venture capital. However, there are an increasing number of tech startups and resources to support them including incubators, accelerators, workspace programs, and financing sources.

    Baltimore Harbor

    photo credit: Maggie Clausen


    The geographical startup ecosystem, in which I currently reside, Baltimore, would best be described as one that is 'emerging'. While it has the potential to become an established ecosystem, currently, Baltimore only houses 345 technology startup companies in its metropolitan region. This number is relatively low compared to an established ecosystem like Boston whose city is home to 1,647 self-identified startups. Despite the low number of startups that are established in Baltimore's ecosystem, the city is home to some rather well known startups such as Bill Me Later, Comcast, Parking Panda and Uber

    The following is an analysis of the Providence Startup Ecosystem by WV Academy member David Correa.

    Providence Rhode Island

    Photo Credit: "Providence" by Doug Kerr

    The startup ecosystem in Providence is bigger than most people would think it is. It has one of the biggest and most renowned accelerators: BetaSpring. It is also a shorter distance away from Boston than what Silicon Valley is from San Francisco. It also has a huge pool of talent coming from the many universities around the area. Of course we cannot go without mentioning the powerful connection that represent Brown and RISD where more often than not, art meets science.

    Brown University

    photo credit: "Brown University" by thurdi01

    The proximity of Boston is a great advantage for Providence since it provides the presence of accelerators, VC and of course, angel investors. Several Brown startups have emerged from this powerful connection. Chime, which not many people remember now, was a tool that allowed students find what was happening in town. Ventfull, now emerging, is connecting students with the university and their events.

    Ventfull app

    The startup scene in Providence is emerging and with a thriving potential. It has the most important factor which is the presence of great founders and it is starting to see bits and pieces of the other startup ecosystem components.


    David Correa is a member of the current WV Academy cohort. Want to learn the secrets of startups from VC's and founders? Apply for the next WV Academy cohort today.

    You can follow David on his Medium blog:


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