Hi, I'm Eric Koester
I build, study & write about startups, founders & ideas that inspire people
Eric Koester is an entrepreneur who has traversed the world of startups and entrepreneurship -- launching numerous companies, investing in startups, advising companies and teaching hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs.
Eric is the founder and partner at Kingmaker Labs, a startup studio that explores, creates, builds, iterates and launches new projects, products and companies. You can see some of the projects from Kingmaker Labs below. He has also served as the Managing Director and a Venture Partner of NextGen Venture Partners, a network-driven venture capital firm investing in innovative early stage companies.
He loves to teach and share insights about startups, entrepreneurship, innovation, mentorship and creativity -- both as a professor at Georgetown University and through Founder Classes, an online learning platform for founders. The goal is to enable more founders and wantrapreneurs to pursue their dreams of starting something they love.
Eric previously served as a cofounder/founder of Zaarly.com, a home services marketplace named one of Fast Companies Fifty Most Innovative Companies in the World in 2012, Main Street Genome, a developer of data-driven technologies to aid small businesses in their purchasing acquired by Dining Alliance in 2015, cofounder of Learn That Name, a weekend project to help professionals remember their colleagues that was acquired by Blackboard (via it's subsidiary Gist) in 2010, and MEGO Consulting, an environmental consultancy.
The common thread across his career is the belief that innovation and entrepreneurship are innate traits within every human -- and a core impact to humanity when it fosters collaboration and connection.
Most importantly, Eric has learned how to be a kick ass dad to two young girls (Quinn & Parker), two pugs (Bailey & Riley) and a badass partner-in-crime/professor/mom Allison.
Yup I've worked on a bunch of different things at my own companies and with others -- so I created this little timeline to help show how it all connects.
Kingmaker Labs is a startup studio. We invest, incubate, ideate, accelerate and explore new ideas. We also develop innovative products and solutions for customers/clients and internally. We are currently incubating projects and are looking for collaborators.
I teach several courses in the School of Business -- Startup Factory (MBA program); Lean Entrepreneur/Launching the Venture (Undergraduate Certificate of Entrepreneurship); and Entrepreneurship Institute (High School Summer Program). I also serve as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence and was named the Outstanding Professor of Entrepreneurship in 2014.
NextGen Venture Partners is the world's first network-driven venture capital firm. We combine the collective intelligence of more than 500 of the top young founders and innovators to identify and invest in high potential companies. We are currently investing out of a $20 million fund raised in 2016, and have venture partners in New York City, Boston, Austin, Chicago, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Research Triangle and Baltimore. I am currently and have been a part-time investing Venture Partner since 2013.
Main Street Genome is a venture-backed startup that develops data-driven technologies for small and medium businesses to manage their purchasing. Main Street Genome was acquired by Dining Alliance in 2015.
Zaarly is a home services marketplace that provides homeowners with access to the top-rated, vetted service providers to help them love their home more! Zaarly was founded in 2011 and was named one of Fast Company's Fifty Most Innovative Companies of 2012.
Provider of online business intelligence systems for pharmaceutical, medical device and health technology companies. Appature was acquired by IMS Health in 2015.
Venture Law; Emerging & Start-up Companies; Mergers and Acquisitions; Technology
Ventana Medical Systems provides diagnostic tools for laboratories. Ventana was acquired by Roche in 2007 for $3.4 billion.
Take a look at a few of my favorite projects I’ve started or been a part of during the course of my career.
Courses by founders for startup founders.
People are Innovation
What's the story you'd tell your family if your life ends?
Hire Amazing Talent on Startup Terms.
Gain the unique experiences to become a General Counsel
Memory App Acquired by Blackberry Subsidiary, Gist
401k-like plans for investing in 501c3s
How The Best Creators Become Idea Machines
How Magical Connectors Drive Success, Wealth, Power, and Happiness in the Digital Age
What Every Engineer Should Know
The Guide to Building and Growing a Green and Clean Business
Practical courses covering the practical aspects of startup fundraising, startup formation, ideation & creativity, quitting your job and more. Based on some of my lectures at Georgetown University, these courses provide the key tools founders need to succeed.Open Link
A training and consulting business aimed to provide individuals and organizations with the insights to develop strong intrapreneurs and an intrapreneur-friendly environment. A ranking of the most "intrapreneur-friendly" organizations will be published in 2016 and a book and course for intrapreneurs are in the works.Open Link
We are startup founders, so we know you need amazing and dedicated talent available in bite-sized chunks. That's why we created The Amazing Co. -- the place for you to hire experienced startup-trained marketers, data scientists, GCs, & CFOs on your terms.Open Link
Corporate Clerkship matches high potential law students with a one-year clerking experience with top General Counsels. The goal is to help transactional law graduates learn the key insights necessary to become a general counsel before fully commencing a legal career.Open Link
We developed a concept that allowed individuals to build, share and donate to a 'basket' of charities automatically, similar to the approach of your 401k plan. This was developed at a Startup Weekend, and we continued to work on it for a year following. Hope to restart the project at some point.
This is a working title for a book being written about the topic of creativity and ideation for new projects and startups. We provide a series of structured methodologies that have driven 10x improvement in idea quality when applied to student entrepreneurs. Expected Publication in 2017.
This is a working title for a book being written about the topic of mentorship -- and specifically about the powerful mentoring relationships that drive incredible results, and how you can find and attract your own Super Mentor. Expected Publication in 2017.
As an entrepreneur and attorney, this book was designed to provide a ton of tools for individuals looking to develop a high tech business, including information on ideation, fundraising, hiring and exits. The 2009 book published by Taylor & Francis press is currently available on Amazon.Open Link
This was a passion project for me working with hundreds of green entrepreneurs to help them develop best practices on launching green businesses. The 2010 book was written for entrepreneurs interested in launching green or clean businesses. Published by CRC Press and available on Amazon for purchase.Open Link
Ah, great question! I'm a startup growth-product guy (I hate the term "growth hacker", but that's how some describe it today). Basically I love to sell stuff (and help others do the same). And I've turned that into a passion for the growth and distribution side of startups.
I don't do the typical "marketing guru" B.S. I'm a serial founder who gravitates towards the growth side. So today I work with a few companies helping them with growth efforts. After running multiple venture-backed startups and running a venture firm, I now focus on a selected number of clients (coaching/consulting) to collaborate/execute on growth/sales/marketing plans. And I leverage what we are testing internally at Kingmaker Labs to help these businesses build and execute growth/sales/marketing plans. These are businesses that I’m 100% confident I will be able to help. If you’re serious about getting growth/marketing/sales help and you aren’t afraid to hire someone who pushes the boundaries a bit, definitely reach out to me today to see if there's a fit.
Sales, marketing, content, PPC, virality, conversion, PR, and growth -- those are the key areas where I've focused on my past three companies (and where I focus my research when I invest in a company). Basically I'm the hustler founder. And as a result of all of those learnings, failures and my share of wins, I've developed my own approach to startup growth (those first zero to ten thousand customers). My focus has always been building out your "growth stack" you can find the key opportunities and points of leverage that drive your results. You can read more about on my blog.
Want to read more about startups, entrepreneurs, innovation, venture capital or what I may think about the Washington Nats? Check out my blog on Medium.
I always love to chat with cool people doing cool stuff. So get in touch with me if you would like to do something interesting together, pitch me on an investment opportunity, share an idea or just say hello.