innogy, Thomas Birr, Nicolai Wadstrom, BootdtrapLabs

innogy Innovation Hub and BootstrapLabs to form a Partnership for Investments in AI and Energy

innogy, Thomas Birr, Nicolai Wadstrom, BootdtrapLabs

We are proud to announce our partnership with innogy New Ventures LLC, part of the innogy Innovation Hub and an affiliate of innogy SE, a leading German energy company and the third largest utility in Europe with annual revenues of €43 billion (2017).

The Energy sector is often overlooked by technology-focused investors that deem it too complex, slow, and concentrated. At BootstrapLabs, we understand that Energy, and its supply-chain infrastructure, is powering our modern way of life, including all the technology that we have come to love and rely upon each and every day. Not having a safe, secure and always available source of electricity is not an option and we need to put our best minds on the problems facing utilities, if we are to solve some of their major challenges in time.

innogy Innovation Hub and BootstrapLabs share a common vision that AI will be a key pillar to ensure that utilities successfully transition into the future. As part of our long-term strategic relationship, innogy New Ventures will invest an initial sum of $5 million in BootstrapLabs’ Applied AI Funds, and together we will coordinate globally to build the largest artificial intelligence community for energy ecosystems, and provide a combination of capital and support to Applied AI startups that reimagine the future of energy production, distribution and management across decentralized and interconnected energy services for consumers, machines, enterprises, and public sector agencies.

“As a venture capital firm focused on Applied AI, we believe that the advances made from deep learning and machine learning algorithms will revolutionize both the demand and supply side of the energy economy. With about 22 million customers and activities in 15 countries, innogy is the perfect partner to help us validate use cases quickly and scale our venture investments globally,” said Nicolai Wadstrom, Founder and Managing Partner of BootstrapLabs.

To read the full press release visit the full press release.

Luigi Congedo, Applied AI, Venture Capital, Italy, San Francisco, Silicon Valley

Forbes 30 Under 30: Luigi Congedo

Luigi Congedo, BootstrapLabs, Venture Capital, Forbes, 30 under 30We are pleased to announce that Luigi Congedo, Principal at BootstrapLabs, has been included in Forbes 2018 list of 30 Under 30 for his contributions to Technology & Venture Capital. In the past four years at BootstrapLabs, Luigi has connected with thousands of start ups in both Silicon Valley, Italy and the world and has focused his work primarily on investments within the Applied Artificial Intelligence space.

At 29, Luigi has proven to be passionate and driven in a space lead by innovators who are changing the world. Luigi shares, “The last few years have been a wonderful experience for me. I have learned so much in Silicon Valley and hope that my work continues to reflect my commitment to excel here.”



BootstrapLabs and Position A are Partnering to Solve the World’s Hardest Technology Challenges in AI and Cyber

BootstrapLabs and Position A Partners jointly released the following this morning:

BootstrapLabs, a leading early-stage venture capital firm focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence, and Position A Partners, a specialized investment, product innovation and corporate development firm, are partnering to offer founders a life-cycle approach to successfully build and scale companies that solve the hardest Artificial Intelligence and Cyber technology challenges in areas such as autonomous vehicles, identity management, data and transaction integrity, critical infrastructure, robotics, healthcare and government.

The world is fast becoming digital, powered by software, data, infrastructure, and increasingly, artificial intelligence. Six years ago, oil firms accounted for six of the top 10 most valuable companies worldwide. Today, only one oil firm remains in the top 10, and six technology companies (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba) represent 70 percent of their total market capitalization. This represents the biggest sector shift in modern history, creating major opportunities for new market entrants, but also creating major threats to the core pillars of modern society.

“Cyber, in particular, poses a massive challenge to the very fabric of our society, and few firms are as well positioned as BootstrapLabs and Position A to uncover emerging innovation in cyber, artificial intelligence and next-generation computing that will address this trillion-dollar opportunity,” said Dr. Tom Campbell, special advisor to BootstrapLabs, founder of FutureGrasp  LLC and former National Intelligence Officer for Technology at the National Intelligence Council, ODNI.

According to Cybersecurity Ventures cybercrime damages are expected to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015, and corporations’ budgets for cyber alone are expected to grow to $1 trillion by that same date. Ransomware attacks have been spreading like an epidemic since 2016, and 2017 already recorded $5 billion worth of damages, touching even the most sophisticated and technologically advanced corporations, institutions and nation states.

“Software systems and the infrastructure on which they run are getting increasingly complex, and interconnected. With the recent advances in artificial intelligence, these systems are exponentially more challenging to build, manage and secure. It takes deep domain knowledge, expertise, ingenuity, passion and vision to solve these complex problems and I could not think of a better partner than BootstrapLabs to do this with,” said Herb Kelsey, partner at Position A Partners and former chief architect for a U.S. DoD mission support agency.

Together, the firms combine access to value-add capital and a joint community of some of the world’s best AI and Cyber experts in computer vision, NLP, NLU, DL, mapping, robotics, cybersecurity and blockchain. Founders will be able to accelerate their product-market fit discovery, vet and hire top talent faster, close scalable revenue opportunities sooner and strategically plan exits to some of the group’s close strategic partners or to the public markets.

“There is no need for founders to re-invent the wheel with each venture; a certain product and technology may be unique, but the way to build and scale a company to success isn’t. Together our firms bring a unique combination of proven execution methodologies, skills, deep industry knowledge and resources so that founders can take their venture from early disruptor to market leaders in a fraction of the time, dilution and risks it usually takes,” said Darr Aley, founder and managing partner of Position A Partners.

“After spending decades building, investing and scaling technology companies, I know firsthand how critically important it is for founders to pick the right partners, which is why I founded BootstrapLabs. We have known Position A Partners for years, and as fellow operators and founders, we have the deepest respect for the work they do, and I am very excited to bring together our respective strengths to address some of the greatest opportunities of our time,” said Nicolai Wadstrom, founder and CEO of BootstrapLabs.

About BootstrapLabs

BootstrapLabs is a leading Venture Capital firm based in Silicon Valley and focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence. It actively invests in passionate entrepreneurs building disruptive early-stage technology startups that use AI/ML technologies to solve hard, global problems in sectors such as Transportation, Logistics, Financial Services, Future of Work, Cyber and Healthcare. Select Applied AI portfolio companies include AEye, Pinn Technologies, Vidora,,, Sibly,, Mendel Health, SmartEar, and many others.

Over the years, BootstrapLabs has cultivated a world-class community of 38,000 AI experts, founders, executives, developers and investors to fuel its high-quality deal-flow, provide access to top-tier talent and secure early customers for its portfolio companies. Over 2,000 professionals have attended its Annual Applied AI Conferences, quarterly Insiders Series and monthly workshops. The group also publishes a very popular Applied AI Digest newsletter that is read by more than 4,000 people each week.

About Position A Partners

Position A is a specialized investment, product innovation and corporate development firm working with disruptive technology companies in AI, IoT, Robotics, Autonomous and Electric vehicles, Transportation (all forms), Global Supply Chain and Cyber. The firm works with some of the most important engineers, scientists and business talent of our generation to solve the world’s hardest technology problems that are impacting its network of Private Equity, Family Offices, University Labs, Venture Groups and Nation States partners.

As a catalyst for innovation development and technology adoption, Position A leverages its direct access to critical infrastructure, deep knowledge of the regulatory environment, as well as expertise in forming public/private partnerships to accelerate global product adoption, revenue creation and exits for its clients.

Media Contacts:

BootstrapLabs Group LLC |  Email:

Position A Partners LLC | Email:

BootstrapLabs welcomes Dr. Thomas A. Campbell as Special Advisor

We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Thomas A. Campbell, a recognized analyst and researcher in emerging and disruptive technologies, has joined BootstrapLabs as a Special Advisor.

“I have known Tom for a few years and I am very excited to have him join BootstrapLabs as a special advisor. His deep domain knowledge and expertise is an invaluable resource to our core mission to address some of the hardest technology challenges and opportunities facing our society for years to come.”  Nicolai Wadstrom, Founder and CEO of BootstrapLabs.

Tom is the Founder & President of FutureGrasp, LLC, which advises organizations on trends and implications of emerging technologies. Before that he was the first National Intelligence Officer for Technology (NIO-TECH) with the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Tom established and managed liaison relationships with academia, industry, and others to ensure a comprehensive understanding of technology and its intersection with global military, security, economic, financial and energy issues.

Prior to his government service, Tom was Research Associate Professor and Associate Director for Outreach with the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) at Virginia Tech for over six years. He led corporate outreach and facilitated large, multi-principal investigator (PI) program and proposal developments in interdisciplinary areas.

Tom holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Announcing The Autonomous Corporation

The Autonomous Corporation

We stand in front of the 4th and largest wave of the industrial revolution, powered by AI and Data. This is the biggest opportunity so far for innovation and entrepreneurship, and every single industry will be disrupted and redefined by companies that are not yet even born.

With the AI market projected to grow over 20 fold in the next 10 years to $3Tn annually, we believe Applied Artificial Intelligence represents one of the major wealth creation opportunities of this century.

Any system that is not learning will soon die, and applying AI to new or existing systems will extend and accelerate societal improvement.

AI-driven systems will soon be able to build better, more efficient products that scale and solve problems in ways that have not been possible before. While everyone is talking about Autonomous Vehicles, we want to talk to you about the Autonomous Corporation, where most actions will be automated, decisions autonomously taken and where outcome will be learned from to continuously improve results. We are moving away from the world of Automated Systems and stepping into a world of Autonomous Systems.


The power of AI is about leveraging technology and big data, automating repetitive mechanical tasks, capturing more data from the real world, and ultimately empowering humans with actionable intelligence, rather than replacing them, and finally changing our world for the better!

Join us @ BootstrapLabs HQ for an exciting evening with the leaders of the Autonomous Revolution!

Space is very limited and we expect to reach full capacity quickly.


17:45 – 18:15: Registration
18:20 – 18:25: Welcome message
18:20 – 19:00: “The Autonomous Corporation” Keynote and Fireside Chat

  • Dr. Danny B. Lange, Head of Machine Learning at Uber
  • Ben Levy, Co-Founder at BootstrapLabs

19:00 – 20:00: “Enabling The Autonomous Corporation: AI Founders Insights”

  • Sabrina N. Atienza, Founder at
  • Alex Holub, Co-Founder at Vidora
  • Cathrine Andersen, Co-Founder at

20:00 – 20:30: “Drinks & Networking”

Meet speakers and companies presenting:



Keynote: Dr. Danny B. Lange, Head of Machine Learning at Uber
Moderator: Ben Levy, Co-Founder, BootstrapLabs

19:00 “Enabling The Autonomous Corporation: AI Founders Insights”

 Autonomous Corporations AI Leaders Insights

Sabrina N. Atienza, Founder at

Alex Holub, Co-Founder at Vidora

Cathrine Andersen, Co-Founder at

See you on November 15th!

BootstrapLabs Autonomous Corporations

BootstrapLabs and MAD Incubator Partner To Launch BootstrapAccelerator Asia

Partnership creates first Southeast Asia-focused accelerator for tech startups with a Silicon Valley Fast Track™

May 1, 2013, Seoul, Korea and San Francisco, California — Silicon Valley-based BootstrapLabs, and Malaysia-based MAD Incubator today announce the formation of BootstrapAccelerator Asia. As a Southeast Asia-focused Tech Startup Accelerator with a Silicon Valley Fast Track™ for its most promising candidates, this is a first.

MAD Incubator and BootstrapLabs share the philosophy of “Making a Difference” by empowering entrepreneurs to build global startups and believe that Southeast Asia will be a hotbed for disruptive startups in the future. Southeast Asia is the third-largest-growing economic zone in the world with a population of one billion and a market potential of US$ 30 trillion by 2020.

“What is developing in Southeast Asia is thrilling. MAD Incubator has been doing a fantastic job locally, educating, guiding and mentoring entrepreneurs and partnering with them to empower startups to grow into global companies makes them the perfect partner to achieve our joint vision,” said Nicolai Wadstrom, founder of BootstrapLabs.

Andrew Wong, CEO & Founder of MAD Incubator echoes these sentiments adding that “our partnership with BootstrapLabs creates a different offering than other Silicon Valley accelerators operating in Southeast Asia. By combining aspects of the local culture and disposition with Silicon Valley execution we are creating the accelerator model of the future.”

BootstrapAccelerator will focus on early-stage capital efficient startups that leverage the speed of internet distribution and the scalability of cloud infrastructure. Selected startups will receive a substantial package of cash grants and other perks valued at over US$35,000. Additionally, the most promising teams will take part in BootstrapLabs’ Silicon Valley Fast Track™, and even relocate to Silicon Valley.

“The Malaysian Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) will support this initiative in Malaysia, which will catalyze domestic ecosystem expansion to the world. We are thrilled to have BootstrapAccelerator operating out of Cyberjaya and will a range of support through various programs, into the future,” said Dr Karl Ng, Director of Innovation Capital of MDeC’s Innovation Capital Division.

In short, “BootstrapAccelerator Asia is designed to make a difference and is the first and only Accelerator of its kind in the region and possibly globally,” according to Benjamin Levy, Partner at BootstrapLabs, who will be speaking tomorrow at beLAUNCH conference in Seoul alongside Christine Tsai of 500Startups, Bernard Moon of SparkLabs, and David Lee of Kstartup.

Startups can apply at First enrollment will start July 2, 2013 with a May 30, 2013 application deadline.


About BootstrapAccelerator Asia: BootstrapAccelerator focuses on early-stage capital efficient software startups that leverage the speed of internet distribution and the scalability of cloud infrastructure, regardless of their vertical or segment. BootstrapAccelerator brings together a Glocal (Global+Local) network of corporates, mentors and investors, as well as local government agencies, which bring critical support in everything, from ideation to executing game changing startups.

BootstrapAccelerator is a 12-month program, divided into three stages: Ideation, Incubation and Acceleration. As every startup is different, BootstrapAccelerator will not run cohorts, but will evaluate applicants on a monthly basis and enroll people / startups at the relevant stage. BootstrapLabs is able to offer the most promising startups from BootstrapAccelerator a global fast track opportunity to becoming a global company, through the Silicon Valley ecosystem.


About BootstrapLabs: BootstrapLabs is a Silicon Valley-based Seed+ Venture Capital Fund that invests in foreign startups to relocate to Silicon Valley, and build global companies. They employ an entrepreneurial and very hands-on approach to execution and help startups tap into the opportunities Silicon Valley presents.

Since 2009, BootstrapLabs has helped foreign startups such as Prezi, Witsbits, AudioDraft and Zerply connect and relocate to Silicon Valley, while maintaining their roots.

Today these startups are valued at $150M+, employ more than 150 people, and have received over $25M in funding.


About MAD Incubator

MAD (Make a Difference) Incubator is the largest private incubator and most active entrepreneur development platform in Malaysia, having helped more than 300 startups since its inception in 2009. MAD was founded by Andrew Wong on the premise that every technopreneur deserves to have a chance to succeed and experience technopreneurship to the fullest.

MAD serves only the best programs and support services, and is designed to incorporate diverse technopreneurship experiences, ensuring that startup technopreneurs are able to gain better knowledge to succeed in the technopreneurial world.

The ‘MAD Mission’ is to develop 1,000 startups achieving US$1M turnover by 2015. To achieve this, MAD develops the MAD Entrepreneur Ecosystem which consists of entrepreneur communities, collaborative partnerships, industry/commercialization partners, funding partnerships, government relations, entrepreneur education, coaching, mentoring and platform providers.


About MDeC: Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) directs and oversees Malaysia’s National ICT (Information & Communication Technology) Initiative, the MSC Malaysia (formerly known as the Multimedia Super Corridor in Malaysia). MDeC is owned and funded by the Malaysian Government, and serves to advise the Malaysian Government on legislation and policies, develop MSC Malaysia-specific practises. MDeC also promote MSC Malaysia locally and globally, as well as support companies which are locating to and located within MSC Malaysia.


Editorial Contact: Ben Levy, BootstrapLabs, Silicon Valley

Email: / Mobile: +1 415 742 1517 /


Alice Foong, MAD Incubator Sdn Bhd (868303-D), Malaysia

Email: / Tel: 03-8994 1750 / 1751 / Mobile: 012-678 3323 /

Accelerators: Death or Rebirth Opportunity of True Mentorship?


The first thing that comes to mind when referring to a Mentor is someone that has the experience and wisdom of having tried – and sometimes failed – before you and can help you, not in giving you the solution but in helping you figure it out.

Today, every worthy accelerator is boasting a very long list of mentors on their website ranging from famous local or international figures, successful startup founders, venture capitalists, senior executives at large corporations, consulting firms, lawyers, teachers, etc.

I can only applaude all of them for taking the time out of their busy lives to share their wisdom with startup founders and the community at large using a “paying it forward” mentality. Yet, I can not help but wonder what kind of “Mentorship” one can really deliver when hardly spending any time with the startups in question.

I too have taken part in many of these mentoring sessions and tried my best to give valuable or insightful advice but again, what effect did those have on the startups or founders that received them, did they happen to help or confuse them…not sure…one thing is certain though, it was likely too brief to be really valuable and have a long lasting positive impact.

It goes without saying that the quality of mentors varies greatly and some, while well known, might not have the “DNA” to provide you with the advice that is right for you or your company at that specific moment. Maybe it is because I studied finance and was a FINRA certified Investment Banker at some point in my life but it is a well known fact that any financial advisor is forbidden from providing specific investment advices, unless he has gotten to “know his customer” first. This means doing its due diligence, gaining as much information as possible about the person, its current assets, family situation, health, risk tolerance profile, upcoming life milestones, etc.

The equity founders own is likely their most valuable assets (or they sure hope it will become) and should therefore be managed with great care.  I am of course not advocating that all startup mentors get some sort of accreditation from a third party authority of some sort. But I am advocating that true mentors should spend time with their startups and founders and get to know them intimately. Only then would they be in the best position to, over time (and that means more than an hour or two over a 3 months period), provide valuable insight and advice that are tailored to the needs of that specific startup and/or founder.

In the days of Telemachus and until recently, it was the norm that a mentor would be assigned to an apprentice for the better part of his youth and even sometime long after, forming a strong lasting bound. between the two parties. As a Partner @bootstrapLabs I certainly appreciate, and take full advantage of the fact, that things are moving a lot faster these days. Be it in life in general or the pace at which one can launch a startup, build an MVP,  test distribution channels and acquire customers but I refuse to believe that true mentorship, which often creates life long benefits for the apprentice and mentor, can be imparted in a single “shot” or even over the course of a traditional accelerator program.

According to Wikipedia: “Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. However, true mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing ad hoc help. It is about an ongoing relationship of learning, dialog, and challenge.”

On the positive side, the creation of accelerator programs around the world has provided a standard framework to empower thousands of people to become startup mentors and share knowledge, experience, idea. This in itself could very well carry the seed of a true Mentorship renaissance. But as I pointed in the title of this blog post, founders should be able to read between the lines and take mentors access of accelerator programs for what it is, access; an opportunity to start building a mentor/apprentice relationship with someone they would not have met otherwise.

The best (and sometime serial) mentors are always overwhelmed with request from apprentices and getting their attention will always be a challenge. Yet I cannot help thinking that this is just a good natural filter and only the most percistent, perseverant founders will success in securing a true mentorship!

If you are one of those founders that went through an accelerator program or a serial mentor (you know who you are), I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic so feel free to drop a line or two in the comment section below. Thank you!


Scandinavian Startup Night at RocketSpace

We know it is last minute, but join us and meet founders of your favorite Scandinavian startups, among others Prezi CEO/Founder Peter Arvai, and hear them reflect on their journey to the Valley. The event is at Rocket Space, what BootstrapLabs and many of our startups call home in San Francisco.

Learn how the Scandinavian mindset plays in a startup context and how deeply ingrained social norms must be challenged to run a startup. Develop an understanding of why Scandinavians are hard workers in general – and why their startups are prone for success.

Register here:

Join BootstrapLabs founder and meet the best in Northern Europe on 16th to 18th of October 2012

Join BootstrapLabs founder and CEO, Nicolai Wadstrom as he keynotes Arctic 15 on the 16th of October this year!

Arctic 15 is the annual conference for Nordic and Baltic growth entrepreneurs. Two days full of action, including an invite only day for  founders, investors, C-level executives and our partners. Besides our own Founder of BootstrapLabs, great startups and networking, you will hear an amazing line-up of speakers: Founder of Evernote – Phil Libin, Founder of Zendesk – Mikkel Svane, Founder of Klarna – Niklas Adelberth and the Founder of Erply – Kristjan Hiiemaa.

Read more at the Arctive 15 website