Founders: Are ya Feelin’ the Boot?

Navigating Startup Lifecycles

Lance Cottrell delves into the multifaceted journey of a startup, from the adrenaline-fueled inception to the strategic pivots required for growth. He offers a rich narrative that captures the essence of evolving from a technical founder to a visionary leader, the art of team and business development, and the critical moments that dictate a startup’s direction. This episode is an invaluable compass for entrepreneurs at all stages, highlighting the resilience needed to navigate the startup lifecycle and the wisdom gained from embracing the full spectrum of a founder’s role.


In this episode, Lance Cottrell, a former astrophysicist and founder of Anonymizer, shares his journey from academia to entrepreneurship. He discusses the challenges he faced as a technical founder and the importance of learning on the job. Lance emphasizes the need for technical founders to transition into the role of CEO and delegate responsibilities to others. He also provides valuable advice for startup founders, including the importance of understanding customer needs and focusing on the business side of the company. Lance’s shares his experiences while navigating startup lifecycles and now as an angel investor and mentor has given him unique insights into the startup ecosystem, which he shares through his podcast, Feel the Boot.


  • Navigating startup lifecycles requires patience, discipline and willingness to test the boundaries
  • Transitioning from academia to entrepreneurship requires a willingness to learn on the job and adapt to new challenges.
  • Technical founders should focus on transitioning into the role of CEO and delegate responsibilities to others.
  • Understanding customer needs and focusing on the business side of the company are crucial for startup success.
  • Seeking advice and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs can provide valuable insights and guidance.


  • 00:00 Introduction and Background
  •  04:01 Turning Theoretical Knowledge into Practical Knowledge
  • 06:18 Finding a Business Partner
  • 11:43 Transitioning Roles and Handing Over Responsibilities
  • 13:40 Transitioning from Founder to Advisor
  • 15:40 Getting Involved in Angel Investing
  • 21:50 Addressing Business Sense Gaps in Technical Founders
  • 29:25 Transitioning from Technical Founder to CEO
  • 32:05 Advice for Founders Who Prefer Technical Roles
  • 38:02 Resources for Startup Advice
You can reach him here:
Lance Cottrell | Feel the Boot | RPOW Podcast
Lance Cottrell

Lance Cottrell helps startups achieve success through advising, mentoring, and an educational platform he founded in 2019 called Feel The Boot.

Lance’s entrepreneurial journey started in 1995 when he put his Astrophysics Ph.D. on hold to launch Anonymizer, the world’s first commercial internet privacy service. Following the 9/11 attacks, he shifted Anonymizer’s focus to providing undercover operations platforms as a service to the national security community.

Lance sold the company to Ntrepid and was their chief scientist through 2019. He now devotes his time to working with founders through Feel the Boot and as a Global Entrepreneur in Residence at Founder Institute. Lance is on the board of the North Bay Angels and chairs their selection committee. He is an active angel investor both through the group and independently. He is also a venture partner at the Veteran Fund.


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