Paulson to bring passion for entrepreneurship to new Zeal role

Feb. 9, 2018

This piece is presented by the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneur, author and angel investor Matthew Paulson is one of several new board members at the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.

His most recent entrepreneurial venture is MarketBeat, a financial media company he founded in 2010 that empowers retail investors to make better trading decisions by providing real-time financial data and objective market research. He also has chaired Falls Angel Fund since 2016, which has raised $2.35 million to invest in early-stage, high-growth companies in South Dakota and the surrounding region.

We asked him to share more about how he plans to further connect with the entrepreneurial community.

What motivated you to join the Zeal board of directors?

I believe that everyone is better off when there are more entrepreneurs solving people’s problems and creating businesses to meet unmet needs in our community. Entrepreneurship provides financial security for the entrepreneur and their family, and provides capital to fund charitable efforts around the globe. I have a personal passion for encouraging entrepreneurship, and Zeal serves as a central hub for entrepreneurship in Sioux Falls by offering a gathering space for events and by serving as a connecting point to provide resources and assistance to entrepreneurs. I am thrilled to be working side by side with Zeal’s team to encourage entrepreneurship in our city moving forward.

How would you assess the climate for startups in Sioux Falls? What do we do well and what might we be missing?

Our startup climate is probably in the best place it has been in the last decade. We have regular networking events specifically geared toward entrepreneurs like 1 Million Cups and Open Startup Coffee. These events create collisions among entrepreneurs that might never otherwise meet one another and provide an opportunity for would-be entrepreneurs to get inspired by other people’s success stories. Zeal is now regularly offering an accelerator program and educational seminars to coach entrepreneurs. USF has a great MBA program with an entrepreneurship focus. Startup capital is becoming increasingly available to startup companies. For example, members of Falls Angel Fund recently created a second fund to invest $1 million in a local startup company. We certainly have a lot of room to grow though. We could do a much better job of getting companies to a place where they’re ready to receive funding by expanding Zeal’s accelerator program and teaching people what a company must achieve to be investable. We could also use another DocuTap-like exit or two to show that it is possible to build a great company in Sioux Falls.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had told you when you were a beginning entrepreneur?

You can achieve just about anything that you want if you are willing to work on it for 50 hours per week for the next 10 years. There’s no magic pill or shortcut that will skyrocket you to success. You can’t just sit back and be the idea person and hope that someone else will build your business for you. If you want to build a great company, you just need to do the work and keep on showing up for day after day for several years in a row.

You also helped launch a Facebook group for Sioux Falls entrepreneurs and continue to moderate it. What type of insight has that provided you about issues facing local entrepreneurs?

We’ve gathered more than 4,000 entrepreneurs in our Entrepreneurs of Sioux Falls Facebook community in the last six months. We’ve had local events for the Facebook group and have had more than 50 people show up on multiple occasions. This tells me that there is a strong desire among entrepreneurs in our city to be part of a community and feel like they’re not in business by themselves. We’ve also seen a persistent desire among entrepreneurs to learn how to do marketing better and cover their bases when it comes to administrative functions like accounting, tax and getting a proper legal entity setup for their business.

How do you see yourself personally becoming more involved at Zeal?

The top priority in my “entrepreneurship hobby” will always be helping individual entrepreneurs taking their business to the next level by helping them overcome whatever obstacles are slowing them down. I’ll continue to do this with Zeal clients, Zeal accelerator participants and other startup businesses in our community. I am also going to work on connecting all the disparate entrepreneurship groups and events to Zeal so that it can truly be a hub for entrepreneurship in our city.

Paulson to bring passion for entrepreneurship to new Zeal role

Entrepreneur, author and angel investor Matthew Paulson is one of several new board members at the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.

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