About Alicia

Alicia Castillo Holley is an international speaker and researcher on innovation, entrepreneurship, and venture capital.

Ditch the Business Plan, Embrace the Business Model

  Ways to get more money   I see it all the time, a novel idea, a passionate team, the illusion of the market, an unsophisticated investor, and the numbers... showing the inefable reality that the business is failing - Alternative facts perhaps. The MAIN reason why Entrepreneurs or Small Business Owners don't like Business Plans is that they are not flexible enough to help them find other ways to get more money. They are trapped into following a PLAN instead of developing a MODEL. One of the best ways to snap out of the Business Model Trap is

By |February 21st, 2017|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Girl Entrepreneur’s Notes

Notes to Self- Girl entrepreneur Here is a note from Harmony Perry, age 7. Daughter and granddaughter of an entrepreneur. Harmony’s mother learnt at 13 that she would never work for anybody else (well, you do work for your customers’ - wise grandma said). Harmony wants to have a band. She took piano lessons, takes dancing lessons, and fell in love with rock and roll. She made a paper guitar, paper strap over the shoulder included. And, she has other interests – we recently built a computer (playpiper) and she loves reading. How we shape our boys and

How are we going to PART ways and feel GREAT about it?

Locks in Seoul There is a type of professional relationship where the whole goal is to part ways and feel great about it.   It shifts the paradigms of wining by competing to wining by collaborating; it bridges disparate powers or knowledge, capital, and connections; it dissolves the barriers of poor/rich, old/young, experienced/inexperienced, influential/unknown; it invigorates the economy, empowers individuals, nurture entrepreneurship; feeds on the promises of creating and sharing wealth; and much more. Yet the whole purpose of this relationship is to part ways and feel great about it.   Welcome to world of Angel Investing. As an

Mirror mirror on the wall, which investor after all?

What Kind of Funder is Best for Your Idea? I get tens of projects every month and see with great sadness and frustration how great proposals target the wrong type of funding. You wouldn’t sell ice to eskimos or diapers to babies, right? Eskimos might not perceive the value in ice and babies don’t have the capacity to make a purchase (their parents do). Yes, I can accept that it is possible, but wouldn’t it be better to target a better fit? Understand the funding mechanism before you start spinning your wheels, and start doubting your idea is not good

By |January 20th, 2016|Categories: Blog|0 Comments


Make yourself comfortable... Now, make yourself a little bit more comfortable... Now, do everything you can to make yourself comfortable... and wait... What happens when you are comfortable? NADA! You are comfortable... Nothing needs to change... you are just there... (Nothing, niente, nichts, rien, 아무것도,  没什么, لا شي,何も) If you can make sense of this picture you know what it is to be uncomfortable. and I made this article to be, intentionally, uncomfortably, out of focus. This is my father who is visually impaired with a 50 inches TV serving as a screen, and a 600x magnification. And I like to use

By |July 20th, 2015|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

That First Step

First Step - Laurie Barrows I like first steps – they remind me of change, diversity, and the irresistible pull of uncertainty. And this post is specially written for a friend taking first steps. I dag into my materials of a book written long time ago – here is the illustration – made by Laurie Barrows for the book on Falling in love with your life: The first step is the hardest. First steps are like mitosis, the amazing process of cell division. Once started, the only way to stop it, is to kill the cell. You can

By |June 5th, 2015|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

The Right Right to Education

It was a good day today. The day is clear and fresh in Silicon Valley - we still need rain but alas, that Sun feels so incredibly good! I got a wonderful email from DJ Patil, the US Chief Data Scientist. I met DJ as the moderator of a firechat at Cathryn Posey's event Tech super women ( DJ's message made me think about education. You see, if you think education is expensive, try ignorance. An educated country is always progressing, not because educated people know what to do but because they know how to learn. DJ's message was poetically

By |May 6th, 2015|Categories: Blog|1 Comment

How can you Explain

View image | How do you explain angel investing to a communist? or to a socialist? Imagine living in a country with NO private property rights, with limited property rights, or with strong social rights. In communist countries, the government directs your life. Yes, you might chose to execute small steps and actions, but your actions are constrains: what you can purchase to eat or dress, where can you live, and so forth. Of course you can walk faster, laugh louder, or hug a loved one. Leaders of the communist regime create the big picture, and take care of

By |May 4th, 2015|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Where to Find Funders and Backers

Converted to SVG by User:palfrey using potrace (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Most companies, organizations, or projects, provide value to users (also called customers). I tend to differentiate between users/ customers and clients, by defining that users/customers consume what I provide, and clients pay for it. For example, if you are reading this, you are our user. If you are paying us for our services you are a client. You can benefit as a user without paying for our services. Our sponsors are our clients too. Customer and clients play a pivotal role in the sustainability of your company, organization,

By |April 30th, 2015|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Valuation: Mirror mirror on the wall, what’s the value after all?

Valuation is an art and a science. To begin with, ideas are worth nothing. The value is in the execution! In the for-profit sector, there are three ways to value a company: 1. Cost value (add all the costs that you have paid for) 2. Book value (value of equity at the current time), and 3. Market value (value a potential purchaser will pay). This last one is likely to have the highest value. Value for causes or non-profit sector involves two different approaches: 1. Wide impact: lots of people, small improvement, or 2. Profound impact: few people, transformational. Join