Good morning, All,
Happy Springtime and looking forward to seeing some of you at our SOS 1-1 tomorrow!
As we all know by now, Denveen is no more. Yes, foursquare’s junior cofounder and tech lead Naveen Selvadurai has decided to move on to new projects and who wouldn’t want to strike while the iron’s hot and leave one of the darlings of the industry? We’ve seen it before – founders being ousted from the companies they helped to create, including Jack Dorsey (twitter), who did go on to found Square, and more famously Steve jobs, who returned to Apple older, wiser and obviously much more capable of taking the reigns. We have no special insights as to the reasons/causes for Naveen’s departure, but in an industry where people are constantly looking for their cofounder, we can offer only something of a roadmap to potential landmines:
1. You’ve heard it before: finding a cofounder is like dating/marriage, and actually, it’s usually more like a speed date. Choose wisely and…
2. Don’t propose on the first date
3. Don’t jump into bed on the third date
4. Do your due diligence and yes, use social networks. That person might have great recommendations on Linkedin. Also use Linkedin to find people who might have worked with him or her, who didn’t write a recommendation. See what they have to say about your potential partner
5. Don’t give away the store at the beginning of the relationship. Build in milestones and make sure they’re met before you give away the keys to the kingdom. This is your baby: make sure you’re not in bed with an axe murderer. Think of it as a pre-nup.
6. Hire a lawyer to negotiate your agreement. And yes, make sure to include a non-compete. If/when things do go south, and your partner has the information/tools to build without you – don’t leave him/her with the weapon to do so.
7. All of the above holds true, even in cases where you’ve known your potential cofounder forever. Look at Larry and Sergei. Larry’s at the helm. Sergei works on ‘special projects’ and shows up for photo ops: he hasn’t been booted from the company.
8. This is especially important: is the cofounder you’re bringing on today the one who can see the project through for the long haul? Is he/she there to build the prototype, but does he/she lack the necessary skills to be the CTO? Or does he/she have the contacts to get you going, but is not the leader you need long-term? Ask these questions up front. Have that conversation early on. Leads to less hurt feelings/potential lawsuits/unwanted media attention down the road.
Yes, a business partnership is like a marriage and you can potentially spend more time with that person than with your spouse and we are reminded of the Dorothy Parker poem, which you should keep in mind while you’re meeting/courting a potentially cofounder you might have happened upon at some event:
“Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Roumania.”
Onward and forward.
The Appy Awards – enter once and you could win twice. Deadline March 21, but any entry you submit today may also be selected as our “Featured App of the Week“, scoring you some seriously instant gratification. And we doesn’t love that? For more information and to enter – any time – http://appyawards.net/
NEW StartFast, Syracuse, deadline March 23rd. We’ll give you enough money to pursue your software/internet startup full-time, co-working space, resources to work with, and continuous feedback on your progress from mentors who’ve done it before. Program runs for 3 months. 6% equity stake taken for up to $18k in investment. For more information and to apply: http://startfast.net/
NEW The AT&T and BaruchCollege Fast Pitch Competition, deadline March 23rd. Pitch your best business concept for: Wealth (e-commerce, retailing business services, advertising), Education & Health (classroom collaboration, teaching aids, educational gamification, sports, diagnostics), or Enjoyment (social networking, gaming, entertainment of all kinds). The pitch can be made by a team or an individual. $2,000 awarded in each category. An additional $2,000 prize will be awarded to the best student pitch. For more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/wFH1yA
Crain’s New York Business is now accepting nominations for its annual Top Entrepreneurs competition, deadline March 23rd. It is open to businesses located in the five boroughs of New York City. Businesses must be 3 years old or more to enter and can have revenues up to $100 million. You can enter and get more information here:http://bit.ly/AdFq9t Winners will be featured in the May 29 issue of Crain’s. You can enter yourself or nominate someone else. Contact: Elaine Pofeldt,firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile Merit Awards, deadline for entry: March 26. The Mobile Merit Awards is open to all interested individuals and companies that would like to nominate a product, technology, etc relevant to the mobile sector. All nominations entered should have an impact on today’s global mobile marketplace. For more information and to enter: http://mobilemeritawards.com
NEW YCombinator, San Francisco, deadline March 28th, 8 pm. (psst: you can even apply if you haven’t got an idea for a startup: http://ycombinator.com/noidea.html) But if you do have a project to submit, apply here: http://ycombinator.com/apply.html Program runs for 3 months, 2-10% equity stake taken for $11,000 given, + 150k from Ron Conway and Yuri Milner. Yes, there is that, too.
Hey Startups: Here’s An Easy Way To Get 75K For Your Company, deadline March 31st. Apply to enter Business Insider’sStartup 2012 business-plan competition.: http://bit.ly/zzaKwm The online form will take about an hour to fill out. (You can save and come back if needed.) A top handful of finalists will compete to take home $75,000 in cash and prizes at the intense, fun Startup 2012 conference on May 3 in New York.
Winners also get to attend the event and hear from amazing speakers like Jason Goldberg, CEO of the world’s fastest-growing startup, Fab.com, and Philip James, CEO of the hit online wine flash retailer Lot18.
Do this now because the form closes on March 31, in 3 short weeks. Note: this is a business-plan competition, primarily. Contestants do not need a polished, whizz-bang, ready-to-market prototype. They should have at least a minimum viable product, and a very sharp, well-articulated business plan. The competition is open to companies that have taken less than $2.5million in outside financing. See more fine print here.
2. After entering, take a call with an active investor.Some of New York’s top VCs — with track records including major wins — will interview top candidates selected by a judging panel. From there, a handful of finalists will be chosen.
3. Attend Startup 2012and present your idea onstage. Then, more grilling from VCs.
4. One winner gets $75,000! That’s $25,000 in cash and $50,000 in prizes.
NEW Kauffman Life Science Ventures Summit, deadline April 2nd. Registration fee: $100. Up to 200 life science entrepreneurs will be selected across four industry sectors: therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health. Applicants will be accepted based on two factors: (1) how much they will benefit from the experience based on where they are in their early-stage entrepreneurial journey, and (2) the commercial viability of their plan. For more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/x9xtWM
MassChallenge, deadline April 11th. This is the largest-ever startup accelerator and competition, and the first to support high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs with no strongs attached.
3 month accelerator program. World-class mentorship and training, free office space, access to funding, media and more.
$1M in cash awards. $4M+ in-kind support.
Open to all. Any startup can enter, from anywhere, in any industry.
No equity taken. No restrictions applied.
$1M in cash awards. $4M+ in-kind support.
For more information and to apply: http://masschallenge.org/
Wall Street Journal Codethon April 13-15 at NYU Law School, and to attend you must apply and be accepted. We’d love to have a good turnout from the NY developer community. More details, a brief application, etc. are available at our site: http://datatransparency.wsj.com/
3rd Annual NYC Startup Job Fair, Friday, April 20th, 2012
1:00 – 2:30 pm Engineers/Developers Only
2:30 – 5:00 pm All Candidates
World Trade Center 7 (250 Greenwich St)
Free – Limited Tickets – Registration Required
This is the third annual NYC Startup Job Fair. The companies present are some of NYC’s top startups. Last year’s event held 40 startups and this year we’ve moved to a larger venue so that we can include more startups. It’s a great chance to talk with and learn more about opportunities with NYC startups.
ERA is now accepting applications for Summer 2012! Application deadline: April 29th Yes, it’s here in NYC, with access to world-class mentors, office space, and more. Each company receives $25,000/8% equity. And we’re one of the mentors! For more information and to apply: http://eranyc.com/apply/
Blueprint Health: Transform health & wellnesswith your startup, deadline June 8th. Blueprint Health is a startup accelerator based in New York City that helps entrepreneurs improve the health and wellness industry. We offer an intensive three-month program and provide $20,000 of seed capital, extensive mentorship and a shared work environment to help entrepreneurs go from idea to prototype and provide access to angel and venture capital investors. For more information and to apply: http://www.blueprinthealth.org/
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For you edification this week:
How to Avoid Being Pushed Out of the Company You Founded. Yes, the article that inspired today’s editorial and a must read, from Adrienne Jeffries at BetaBeat: http://bit.ly/wWcJOM
Variations on a theme: How to Stay Sane as an Entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is a lot harder – and more stressful – than one might imagine. So, here’s a list of tips to help (try to) keep you sane: http://tnw.co/FPXhM7
The One Page Seed Stage Dashboard. This dashboard works for pre-revenue startups that are focused on building that initial user base. Hey, good to know what angels look for: http://bit.ly/x6gFzd
Learning from Competition. Instapaper creator Marco Arment offers an interesting read on what he learned when Readability came in to challenge for dominance in the space. Equally interesting: his take on Google’s and Apple’s hubris – and Microsoft, who has been quietly making radical changes. http://bit.ly/xhSD0p
Google Faces New Federal Investigation over Safari Hack. We know you believe we single GOOG out, but this was submitted by a member who knows that we’ve been watching GOOG and their various transgressions. For those of you who emailed to ask which search engines we do use, since almost completely having abandoned GOOG: Yahoo, Bing and Yandex, which was introduced to us by Esther Dyson and thank you for that one, Esther. Appreciated. We still like Blekko as well. Back to our story: http://on.mash.to/FPvICd
That’s it from us for now. Looking forward to seeing some of you tomorrow and at various networking events. Until then or next week, as usual, help is on the way…