Mark Goldenson

Mark Goldenson

Palo Alto, California, United States
Member since September 17, 2009
  • About
2011 Stanford University , BS , Human Biology (stopped out twice)

I am a(n):


Companies I've founded or co-founded:
Breakthrough, PlayCafe, Woosh, Stanford Squash, Stanford Bazaar
Companies I work or worked for:
If you're an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, why?

I want to invent something cool.

My favorite startups:

OkCupid (awesomely designed site), inDinero (much needed product), Skype (not a startup anymore but hugely valuable and disruptive)

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

Most frustrating: dealing with large/slow companies, being under-funded, not having enough hours in the day!

Most rewarding: working with terrific people, knowing what you do matters, choosing your work, doing what people say can't be done.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?

Giving up too early. Perseverance is the most important trait for entrepreneurs (and a lot of other professions).

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

1. Learn your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on what you do best and hire or outsource what you don't do well.

2. Build something people want (credit: Y Combinator). Talking to customers is the best way to learn, even if you won't make exactly what they ask for.

3. Become an expert at getting top talent. It's cliche but true that people are a startup's most important asset; they can maximize the chance of finding the right market and product.

4. Sad but true: more startups die from lack of awareness than lack of a good product. You don't want to build bad product, but be prepared to market the hell out of whatever you build.

Full bio

Hi, I'm Mark. I am currently CEO of, a platform for online counseling and psychiatry. Potential employees, investors, and partners can contact me at: mark at [our domain].

I came to the Bay Area in 1997 as a Stanford student and did research on lucid dreaming for four years in the Department of Psychology. I completed coursework for a degree in Human Biology and Symbolic Systems but dropped out twice for startups (I'm still technically a student to keep access to the libraries and gyms; shh...).

At Stanford, I co-founded Woosh, which created online storefronts for small businesses. Woosh was a finalist in the 1998 Stanford Entrepreneurial Challenge and raised $21 million in funding. I also founded the Stanford Squash Team, home to the 2005 women's national champion and world champion coach Mark Talbott, and co–founded the Stanford Bazaar, a local online marketplace acquired by Stanford.

After Stanford, I joined PayPal as a product manager and helped develop features in security, merchant services, operations, and customer support. Later I co–founded PlayCafe, a web–based, interactive game show network that ran over 250 shows. PlayCafe raised $930,000 from top-tier investors including First Round Capital.

Outside of work, I enjoyed mentored teens in entrepreneurship with and continue to enjoy mentoring today. I also love programming, though not I'm good enough to get anywhere near our code. 

Most of all, I love meeting smart, curious, and positive people.

Personal web sites:,