Category Archives: stuff

SSG Consulting

Emergent properties. Pack as many great people into venue and see what happens.

Neat projects are happening already at SSG and more are expected.

Closest to my heart is job creation. Idea is help founders succeed and they create jobs. Pre-money or pre-revenue though, that can hard so we need to brainstorm at SSG on how to do this. One idea I’d been half joking about is packaging our expertise. It was done this morning at 3am by SSG members at I am thinking selling consulting hours and projects with commissions to those who bring in leads. I am open to all ideas. Please see me on #ssg-consulting channel.

Thank you.


Welcome to SSG!

Please introduce yourself on #intros channel and tell us about your startup(s) and how SSG and members can help you level up. We have a lot of channels but please feel to create a new one if none addresses your interests as those may inspire others here. We want to see everyone here to learn and succeed together.  For SSG Slack, you are encouraged to complete your profile including a picture.


Some popular channels you may want to explore:



#3f – a space for Female Founders and Funders




#random – Talk about random stuff

#ssg-dogfood – where you can explore SSG member’s startups

#twitter-handles – to follow people who are at SSG



Notes: Welcome to SSG v. Started by Charles Jo 5/13/15

[Google Docs link](


ThoughtStreams link:


Reminder to sign up for SSG pitch practices

ssg pitch
Short URL:
Long URL:

Minor edits by Charles Jo 5/12/15

Hello SSG Members,

JD and Nathan are accepting more startups for pitch practices Thursdays 9am PDT.
Please email
subject: SSG Pitch Session – 14 May 2015
(Also accepting reservations for 21 May 2015)

Thanks again JD and Nathan for driving this. I am hearing from SSG members that this is a huge value add for the community.

Charles Jo
@charlesjo (Twitter, SSG Slack, HeyNow)

P.S. Support fellow SSG startups at SSG Dog Food project


Hi All,

Please note we’ll be running this via Google Hangouts on Air.

This is the public URL for viewing the stream:

For all those pitching please connect with JD to get the speaker URL. (max 10 participants at a time)

Last round we went over capacity, so we’re trying things a bit differently. Please bare with us and provide feedback so we can learn and improve for the next round.

Don’t forget to connect with SSG on your favourite network:


Curated list of community members: (to get added to the list just submit your twitter handle in:

Mobile: +27 82 454 1019 | Web: Blog • Twitter • LinkedIn • Instagram • Rdio

Exciting news from ssg members today, May 11, 2015

Originally posted on

Exciting news today on SSG: (1) Ben’s startup has announced their app so please let’s dog-food our fellow SSG member startup products. I want us to test to use as our default private messaging app for SSG. + ben (or charlesjo); (2) in case you missed it, please see #accelerator-incubator channel for possible deals on AWS and MS tools for your startup — remember, we are trying to get ssg members’ costs to MVP down to $0; (3) please explore ThoughtStreams as a blog publishing tool eg. ; (4) more increasingly relevant private betas being discussed on SSG Slack so please share with your favorite founders and investors:

I’m @charlesjo on Twitter, SSG Slack, and on HeyNow app.

IC joke & future of SSG

There’s an old joke in Silicon Valley that goes something like this:

Q: “What made Silicon Valley so successful?”

A: “ICs.”

Q: “Integrated Circuits?”

A: “No, Indians and Chinese.”

Diversity along with meritocracy, visionaries, hyper-competitiveness are all wonderful traits of Silicon Valley and I sincerely hope that the rest of the US and the globe will adopt as ways to improve business ecosystems.

There is another factor that I am exploring with SSG which I call Integrated Community or full-stack startup ecosystem. It already exists in the supply chain for unicorns but most people are locked out. So I have been recreating an open source version of it at SSG with a twist. We welcome every founder and investor who is interested in helping others. We have 569 registered users on the SSG Slack version and today on Mother’s Day, I see we have 25 users online and I suspect many more lurking.

Vision I have for SSG as an Integrated Community is highest speed in communication which leads to quickest MVPs. As a group, we should be able to create a startup from idea to MVP in an hour.

Join us at and explore. Instant access to 569 founders and investors. No need for silly “warm introductions” to our members. Commiserate with fellow entrepreneurs. Share success stories. Let’s change the world.

I’m @charlesjo on Twitter and SSG slack.

Next 500 members on SSG

Original post


by charlesjo

19 thoughts
last posted May 4, 2015, 12:46 a.m.

17 earlier thoughts


We reached 500 members on SSG recently. Another milestone and it seemed like it was yesterday when we reached 100.

For the next 500 members, I would again like to focus on founders from under-represented groups including female founders and investors.

If you see this note, please think about the entrepreneurs in your network and ask them to check out or simply

We are creating magic.


Charles Jo
Creator, SSG

founder interview – MacLane Wilkison (ZeroDB) Intro

MacLane Wilkison (ZeroDB) Intro

forward this to your friends to join our growing helpful grassroots community of founders, investors, and advisors at / contact: charles jo 650.906.2600 – twitter @charlesjo
This is an exercise to help our 400+ members get to know each other better. Like all exercises, this is opt-in.
Initial template questions by Charles Jo, Terrence Yang, Alan Daniel.
Founder contact info:


Founder interview:

What is your elevator pitch of startup (super quick summary)?
ZeroDB is an end-to-end encrypted database that lets clients run queries without exposing the decrypted data to the server.
Why should anyone use our product?
Because it offers a superior security model to current alternatives. Since the server has no insight into the nature of the data, the risk is much lower. Even if an attacker successfully infiltrates the server, she won’t have access to the unencrypted data.
What’s your personal story and startup story?
I graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2010 and worked as an investment banking analyst at Morgan Stanley for two years, covering media, tech, a telecom companies. I left in 2012 to start an education technology marketplace that matched students with tutors via an online classroom. Eventually, I discovered Bitcoin and went way down the rabbit hole, working on lot of different projects, including LoanCoin, Blockchain University, and a blockchain-based collateral registry in South Africa. ZeroDB was a side project my cofounder and I had been kicking around – we posted about it on Hacker News and there was a ton of interest. We decided it was a more immediate opportunity than anything in the cryptocurrency space so we’re focusing on it exclusively now.
How can SSG community and others help you and your startup?
Evangelize ZeroDB to developers and get them building on it. Build things on top of ZeroDB yourselves. Introduce us to enterprise/SMB customers who would be interested in licensing a commercial version and/or purchasing a hosted solution.
What are your top priorities?
Get provisional patent filed. Start opening up the beta to early sign ups. Identify the exact use cases that we can make money from. Get paying customers.
What kind of timeline are you working with now (projects for next month, 3-6 months, year?
Limited beta starting after provisional patent filed. Starting pilots with enterprises/SMBs ASAP. Once we’ve done that, start raising a seed round (May-ish).
Do you see competitors in this space now? Who are your top competitors and why?
No one is architecting their databases in this way yet. Some companies tried to do query logic client-side in the ‘80s/’90s but it failed due to bandwidth constraints at the time.
CryptDB ( allows users to make compromises between security and functionality. On one end of the spectrum, encryption can be probabilistic, which is highly secure, however it precludes any database queries. On the other end, is order-preserving encryption, which is deterministic and allows users to compare values, at the expense of security (e.g., dictionary attacks).
CipherCloud ( offers “cloud security,” but their technology is proprietary so it’s unclear how secure it is. We believe it’s some combination of CryptDB and keeping the index separate from the encrypted database.
If fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) becomes a viable technology that would be a serious competitor. (No one we’ve spoken to thinks FHE will be viable any time soon).
Current database companies (e.g. Oracle, Mongo) could copy our technology.
Why are you and your finding team the ones to deliver this product to the world?
We’ve built it, we own the IP, we can offer better support than anyone else.
How many users have you talked to?
We’ve talked to the SVP of Information Management at a large bank.
We’ve talked to the founder of a network security firm
We’ve talked to several founders/CEOs of tech/software companies
We’ve talked to lots of developers/database people/cryptographers/academics
What have you learned from talking to users? (asked by @yangterrence)
ZeroDB’s current architecture doesn’t work for large banks because they have strict permissions controls and don’t want to give write access to clients (in this case, bankers’ laptops). They also are scared of opening so many more channels to the database server as they feel that opens more points of attack. They are also concerned with sharing tree nodes with a client that might not have access permissions for all the entries contained in that node (this is an issue when you have multiple clients with different permission levels writing to the same record)
The network security firm said small/medium-sized software firms might be interested in using ZeroDB to secure their IP and source code as it’s currently vulnerable on places like Github.
We’ve been able to identify and address weak points in our implementation, including concerns related to scalability.
Some companies are interested in exploring use cases around AML/KYC
Do you have any co-founders? How well do you know them?
Two – I’ve been working side-by-side with Michael for over a year on various cryptocurrency/blockchain projects. Michael is a physicist from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and has worked as a software engineer at LinkedIn and several startups. Ali, who I’ve known for about a year, joined recently to help with fundraising, biz dev, sales, and product. He’s a long-time Silicon Valley guy and previously founded Nexsi Systems (raised $90MM, but launched on 9/11 right before the crash, ouch).