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The Emergence of Industry Executives as the Next Wave of Startup CEOs/



Michael is a software engineer and startup growth expert with 10+ years of software engineering and machine learning experience.

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The Emergence of Industry Executives as the Next Wave of Startup CEOs
The Emergence of Industry Executives as the Next Wave of Startup CEOs

The technology industry has transformed the way people work and interact with each other, and the impact of this transformation is hard to overstate. In particular, the rise of the smartphone has led to the creation of a multi-trillion dollar economy that is opening up to technology faster than ever before. This trend has also led to a shift in the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs, with industry executives emerging as the next wave of in-demand startup CEOs.

Impact of iPhone on Technology

The launch of the iPhone in 2007 marked a turning point in the technology industry. This pervasive smartphone not only created a new dimension of industry-driven, location-based services but also had a significant impact on consumers’ relationship with technology. People from all sectors of the economy now embraced technology as an intimate part of their lives, and it became a tool not just for productivity, but for everyday life.

As a result, consumers began to expect technology that was intuitive and usable. Cumbersome enterprise software that did not allow lawyers to search cases outside the office or construction workers to access relevant apps was no longer acceptable. With this shift in expectations, a new breed of entrepreneurs emerged, driven by industry executives who saw the opportunity to make a world-changing impact by leveraging their deep product knowledge and expertise to disrupt traditionally non-tech industries.

New Breed of Entrepreneur

These new entrepreneurs, however, do not fit the founder archetype that many Silicon Valley investors look for. They are not necessarily 22-year-old Stanford computer science graduates, nor do they always have notable tech experience or connections to the Silicon Valley community. Instead, they are product-focused entrepreneurs who see the adoption of technology among their peers in a particular industry as an opportunity to create a product that is focused on that industry.

Observations of Silicon Valley Software Group

Observations of Silicon Valley Software Group

As a managing partner of Silicon Valley Software Group (SVSG), a firm of CTOs focused on helping companies with their technology strategy, I have observed this shift firsthand. SVSG has worked with entrepreneurs from a range of industries, including movie producers, lead singers of platinum album rock bands, travel executives, and hedge fund managers, who are all trying to leverage their domain expertise through technology.

The Need for a Bridge into Silicon Valley

However, the disconnect between Silicon Valley natives and outsiders is shocking. Many of these companies have no ability to raise strategic capital at first because their businesses are too risky when considering common pitfalls they are more likely to fall into compared with their Valley peers. What is missing for these new founders is a bridge into Silicon Valley, which has been stymied by a narrow mindset from the Silicon Valley community.


Nevertheless, the forces of capitalism will eventually prevail, and these new entrepreneurs will find their own community to center around. Incubators and accelerators will emerge with a focus on entrepreneurs with deep industry experience. We are in a tech boom right now, and there are countless ways to apply technology to industries that haven’t changed in decades. For those sitting in the corner office, the time has come to venture out and disrupt traditional industries with innovative technology solutions.