Jumpstart Foundry’s Gatto enthralls crowd with stories of entrepreneurial heroes


Vic Gatto, founder and CEO of Jumpstart Foundry in Nashville, addresses the crowd Tuesday at Jacobs Believed in Me Auditorium. (Photo: Steve Green/Vanderbilt University)

If entrepreneurs want to convince anyone that their product is worthwhile, they have to tell a story, the inaugural Chambers Family Entrepreneurial Lectureship speaker told a group of rapt listeners this week.

Vic Gatto, a Nashville venture capitalist and founder of start-up accelerator Jumpstart Foundry, also told the crowd inside Vanderbilt University’s Jacobs Believed in Me Auditorium that startups have to do two things in their first year: get four to eight people smarter than they are to follow them into the venture, and get a name-brand customer their mothers would recognize to pay money to use the product.

“You have to weave your story with both good and bad, or it’s not credible,” said Gatto, a partner in the Nashville-based venture capital firm Solidus. “Nobody believes it’s a straight line up. That’s a fairy tale. In fact, even fairy tales aren’t like that.

“Steve Jobs was probably the best storyteller of our generation. … It wasn’t about making a new laptop or phone, it was about changing people’s lives. He got really talented people to work twice the hours for half the pay they’d make elsewhere to change the world with him.”

He cited Joseph Campbell’s book Hero with a Thousand Faces, a seminal work on archetypal heroes in stories among generations and cultures. Gatto contends, using Campbell’s model, entrepreneurs are today’s heroes.

He also showed YouTube videos by Bijoy Goswami, who has been called an “entrepreneurial evangelist” for his belief in supporting startups.

About the Chambers Lectureship

The Chambers family has an ongoing legacy with the School of Engineering. George Russell Chambers was a 1940 graduate. His son, Russell Carlyle Chambers, was a physician and philanthropist, and founder of the Chambers Medical Foundation, a private foundation that awards grants for medical research at biomedical companies and universities. The Russell C. Chambers Scholarship, awarded to engineering students, was established in 2010. Jason Russell Chambers, Russell Chambers’ son, is a 1999 graduate of the School of Engineering. Jason Chambers serves on the school’s Board of Visitors.

Jason Chambers is president of Golden Blends Inc., and he is a co-trustee of the Chambers Medical Foundation. He is a member of the Salk Institute Council at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Chambers also is a Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Hematologic Oncology visiting committee member.

Chambers, who resides in Atlanta, holds a bachelor of science degree from the School of Engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance and marketing from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

The semi-annual lecture series is endowed by the Chambers Medical Foundation.


Heidi Hall, (615) 322-6614
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