Thursday, March 7, 2013

Welcome Chris Shaw to the Think Big Team!


This winter, Chris Shaw joined the Think Big Partners team at its first Entrepreneur-in-Residence.  Learn more about Chris below and see what he’s going to bring to the Kansas City startup table: 

When I decided to move back to Kansas City with my wife and daughter late last year, I didn’t know what to expect. We knew we wanted to be close to home, but we weren’t sure what kind of turn our careers would take.

Chris Shaw of Think Big Partners.
I had spent the last few years working in venture-backed technology companies in Boston, Massachusetts, and eventually starting my own, LexSpot.  I felt like there wasn’t a comparable fit back in my hometown, in KC.

I’d spied the addition of Google Fiber in the KC ecosystem and chatted with some early-stage founders, but was worried that the enthusiasm, world-changing vision and networking that I had become accustomed to in Boston still wouldn’t be instilled in the startup Kansas City scene. 

I was wrong.

After spending the last few months meeting founders, service-providers, scientists and early-stage employees, I can see that Kansas City is readying itself for a boom. When I was deciding what to do next, I looked to the place that I felt like could be the epicenter.

After meeting with Herb Sih, I could see that Think Big Partners had been positioning itself as the epicenter of the Kansas City startup boom for a few years now. As Herb said, “We are willing to be misunderstood by those around us.”

Herb told me that Think Big could use my help working with the CEOs of the portfolio companies, bringing investment capital on board to help fund them and being a helpful community member in Kansas City, with the goal of helping everyone in the city win.

Perhaps most importantly, Herb said he didn’t want to limit me. He wanted me to start another company, do some consulting—essentially do whatever I needed to do to feel like I was having an impact and staying intellectually challenged.

In my experience, wherever I’ve been, there aren’t very many places where leadership is that astute.

Think Big does some amazing things.  It provides a great coworking space, holds fantastic community events, provides support services for companies big and small, and really when you think about it, does whatever it can to be an idea factory.

As someone who’s had experience working in nearly all of those space—my addition made a lot of sense.

So when Herb asked me to join Think Big as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, I jumped at the chance. In my role as an EIR, I assist Herb and Tyler with operations of the Think Big companies, I work with Blake on helping the portfolio companies grow and most importantly, I serve the Kansas City area as a connector and advisor.

Having grown up here as an area paperboy—my first real job was delivering the Kansas City Star—I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the city’s transformation into a 21st century technology hub.

My wife, Kristin and I live in Waldo with our 6-month old daughter, Harper, and our labradoodle, Truman. Feel free to get touch. I’m @MOChrisShaw on Twitter and my Think Big email address is chris.shaw@thinkbigpartners.com

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