Start ups

Mukul Agarwal and Marco ten Vaanholt of Hello Startups (c) 2014 InMenlo

Mukul Agarwal and Marco ten Vaanholt know that they sit on somewhat hallowed ground. The recently opened Hello Startups Menlo Park facility is in the space once occupied by Willow Garage, a maker of robots that was good enough to leave behind a number of Beam Remote Presence Systems, a mobile videoconferencing platform (which, to be clear, is not actually a robot), that they put to good use.

But like its predecessor, their firm, which provides space, services and advisors for teams developing innovative technologies, has equally lofty goals — being “a visitor center for the rest of the world as well as for locals,” according to Marco.

“As far as we know, we are the only firm that deals with startups from inception to exit,” added Mukul.

HelloStartups is a joint venture between BootUp Ventures, where Mukul and Marco are Managing Partners, and SOMA Central, having locations in San Francisco — and now Menlo Park. It houses numerous incubators and startup companies, including foreign startup ventures and incubators dedicated to innovation in specific vertical markets. Hello Startups also provides a range of business services and an ecosystem of advisors who help startups launch, mature, and thrive.

Mukul and Marco first met through their kids and then started playing poker together at a monthly game. They both came to the U.S. from other countries — Mukul from India and Marco from Holland — and believe that gives them particular insight. “We call it a ‘soft landing,’” said Mukul. “Most of our business comes from overseas, and we provide them a soft landing and an immersion into how Silicon Valley operates.”

Added Marco: “We’re trying to remove the obstacles that lie in front of foreign startups. We want to create the global Silicon Valley. We are the bridge between everything abroad and here.”

Photo by Irene Searles

{ 1 comment }

Spotted: People Play butterfly ads attached to construction fences

Thumbnail image for Spotted: People Play butterfly ads attached to construction fences

We spotted the first group of paper butterflies attached to a fence near the abandoned car dealership on El Camino near Middle Avenue in Menlo Park. Then we saw another on a construction fence at Valparaiso and El Camino. We think it’s an eye catching way to advertise. Smart idea, People Play, which offers online classifieds for entertainment […]

Click to read more →

Cars come hurtling at Menlo Park start up Statricks not once but twice

Thumbnail image for Cars come hurtling at Menlo Park start up Statricks not once but twice

John Freier (pictured above), founder of start up Statricks located on Haven Avenue in Menlo Park, believes he’s lucky to be alive.  But he also feels a bit snake bit as cars keep crashing into his building. He tells the story: “At about 2:00 am Saturday, February 15, a drunk driver plowed off the road in […]

Click to read more →

Local startup – PeerVids – founded on idea that teens learn best from other teens

Thumbnail image for Local startup – PeerVids – founded on idea that teens learn best from other teens

Based on the premise that teens learn best from other teens, a group of high school students and recent high school graduates from Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, and Portola Valley recently launched a startup. The company, PeerVids, makes online educational videos taught by high school students with the subject matter correlating directly with the textbooks and courses […]

Click to read more →

MakeGamesWithUs gets up close and personal with its new summer academy

Thumbnail image for MakeGamesWithUs gets up close and personal with its new summer academy

Ashutosh Desai (left) and Jeremy Rossman, who graduated a year apart from Menlo School, want other people to do what they did in high school — make iPhone games. “We took computer classes together and had this incredible teacher — Michael Thibodeaux,” said Ashu. “He’s pretty much the best there is. I took six classes from him while I […]

Click to read more →

Good news for jigsaw fans – Menlo Park is home to Artifact Puzzles

Thumbnail image for Good news for jigsaw fans – Menlo Park is home to Artifact Puzzles

The notion that “it would be fun to buy a laser cutter” kept creeping into Maya Gupta’s brain. “I studied electrical engineering because I was interested in lasers,” she explained in the warehouse space of Menlo Park-based Artifact Puzzles, which she started as a hobby and is turning into a business. The idea of making […]

Click to read more →

Founder of Women’s Startup Lab, Ari Horie offers female tech leaders an ecosystem of support

Thumbnail image for Founder of Women’s Startup Lab, Ari Horie offers female tech leaders an ecosystem of support

Ari Horie, founder and CEO of Women’s Startup Lab, learned early on the value of being connected. Born in Japan, she first came to the U.S. as an exchange student at age 18, speaking no English. “My mom was big on hands-on experience,” she recalled in the Menlo Park offices of her latest startup. “But […]

Click to read more →

Menlo Park couple starts eye glass company with a shout out to two pioneering businesswomen

Thumbnail image for Menlo Park couple starts eye glass company with a shout out to two pioneering businesswomen

What’s Brownie and Madam and what has it to do with eye glasses? We admit the answer is so well described as part of a new eye glass company co-founded by Menlo Park residents Dr. Alpa Shroff and her husband Nik that we aren’t going to retell the story here. (But do recommend you find out!) […]

Click to read more →

Sladana Veljkovic develops mobile apps for healthy lifestyles at Menlo Park Apps

Thumbnail image for Sladana Veljkovic develops mobile apps for healthy lifestyles at Menlo Park Apps

When Sladana Veljkovic came from Serbia to study in the U.S. 13 years ago, her focus was on finance, an industry she worked in for a number of years on the East Coast. But a move to the West Coast and living in Menlo Park has lead her in another direction, developing mobile apps on […]

Click to read more →

Trouble remembering all your contacts? Lightspeed Ventures fellow Cy Khormaee has the app for you

Thumbnail image for Trouble remembering all your contacts? Lightspeed Ventures fellow Cy Khormaee has the app for you

Cy Khormaee loves paper. Drawings and diagrams of the app he’s developing are tacked to the walls of his office space at Lightspeed Ventures in Menlo Park, where he is a fellow. The irony is that he’s developed an app that replaces two long-term paper staples of the business world, the Rolodex and small spiral […]

Click to read more →

Elena Battles brings dogs and owners together through Wagaroo.com

Thumbnail image for Elena Battles brings dogs and owners together through Wagaroo.com

What’s a Wagaroo? According to Menlo Park resident Elena Battles, it’s the mix of a happy dog’s tail motion and the signature “aroo” howl of a beagle. Elena says it’s also a word “that makes you smile,” and Elena will have an even bigger smile if her matchmaking pet service  Wagaroo.com is a success. In Wagaroo terms, […]

Click to read more →