“I am the worst employee anyone can find,” says a nonchalant Dirk Ahlborn, sitting out of his makeshift office at WeWork, a co-share working space in the heart of Los Angeles. For a good part of his career, the German-born now American entrepreneur preferred to work on his own. After migrating to Italy at the age of 19, he turned entrepreneur when he founded his first company. “As an employee, I may not have done well, but being determined has helped me as an entrepreneur,” says the 39-year-old, who dabbled in the alternative energy space before his love interest brought him eventually to the US where he ended up with a non-profit incubator, the Girvan Institute of Technology. Funded by NASA, Girvan’s goal was to commercialise technologies developed by government labs. It was at Girvan that the idea of using crowdsourcing was born. “When I joined the incubator it was struggling a bit with over $1 billion of investments. The co-founder and president was 83…it wasn’t an easy time. I loved working with entrepreneurs and knew I had to do what I liked,” says Ahlborn, who founded JumpStartFund in 2013 based on the crowdsourcing model, but with a difference.
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