4/2/13
Posted at 23:13h, 02 Apr 2013 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

Good morning, All,

Let’s all take a breath. Meaning, take a brief overview of what’s been going on lately:
1. A 17 year-old’s company was bought by Yahoo! for $30 million. Revenue: $0 Downloads: 1 million+. The app was disabled the day of the acquisition. Then there are the facts of the story that were not reported in this ‘remarkable’ story. Reality check:  young Summly founder Nick d’Aloisio’s dad is a VP at Morgan Stanley. His mother is an attorney for a very prestigious law firm. Which helps to explain why Yoko Ono, Wendy Deng, Stephen Fry, Ashton Kutcher, Li Ka-shing, and other investors were so quick to fund it. He wasn’t just some kid coding from his bedroom in Wimbledon.
2. Y-Combinator just graduated its latest class of copycats startups: 47 companies, down from 66. Investors were unimpressed. 47? Really??? How do you mentor/accelerator 47 companies in 3 months without defying the laws of physics and common sense?
3. Because of asset seizures, I am starting my new company outside California. Has to do with California’s Prop 30, to help fund the state’s budget, and the retroactive tax. “This is not a tax,” writes Bryan Goldberg. “This is an asset seizure plain and simple. It is no different than when Hugo Chavez used the benign-sounding ‘nationalize’ to describe his seizure of private property in Venezuela.” This, while Cali’s public sector employees get private sector wages and then some: Alameda County official to retire with $400K yearly ($423,664 for life, to be exact).
@bgoldberg: I’m leaving California. Will take bad weather over bad government…

Many public sector employees are now earning higher salaries than their private sector counterparts, while the technology that we create as entrepreneurs have certainly helped to curtail our privacy. Open government is a popular term but beware of newspeak. When California passed Prop 30 to help balance the state budget and aid education (we’re always suspicious when we hear that one: a lot of laws are enacted and taxes levied in the name of education. At this point, the US must have the most state of the art schools in the world, not to mention the best-educated students, but such is not the case), was it to allow public officials to retire on more than the President himself earns? If governments are going to reach into our pockets to pay outrageous retirement packages of so-called public servants, time to cap those packages, too. Which can also be made retroactive: the precedence is there, and thank you, Prop 30.

There’s something wrong with this equation and if you’re wondering why tech hubs are suddenly flourishing all over the US – and beyond – and why there’s currently an exodus from California and Silicon Valley, follow the money – that’s going into the state’s coffers, and follow where it’s coming from. We’re happy to see the tech boom that started in Cali spread. Let’s just hope that their wrong-headed laws don’t follow. Let’s also start taking a closer look at the story behind the story and don’t be fooled: if it sounds too good to be true, there’s no doubt more to the story. Thank you for indulging us today: it was so close to April Fool’s, we just couldn’t resist but to look at some absurdities. Now, go out there and don’t just disrupt: examine and question. Best foot forward. Both eyes open. Onward and forward.

Deadlines:

The list of Startup Weekend Upcoming Events

New York Venture Summit: Apply to present/early bird registration now open.  The 13th annual New York Venture Summit, presented by youngStartup Ventures, is the premier industry gathering connecting venture capitalists, corporate VCs, angel investors, technology transfer professionals, senior executives of early stage and emerging growth companies, university researchers, incubators and premier service providers. Whether you are an investor seeking access to new early stage deals, or a CEO or Founder of a new venture looking for funding, visibility and growth, New York Venture Summit is one event you won’t want to miss. To be considered for one of the Top Innovator slots, please e-mail iwant2present@youngstartup.com for an application.

Mass Challenge, deadline, April 3rd.  The overall focus of the application process is impact. MassChallenge does not define impact, but leaves that up to the applicants. Impact for one company might mean improving lives or curing a disease, while for another it might be generating an enormous amount of revenue.

The NYC Department of Education is challenging software developers to submit apps and games that enhance math teaching and learning, and engagement for our middle schools, deadline April 10th. For more information and to submit, go here.

Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, deadline April 14th. Kaplan and TechStars are partnering to launch the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, a 3 month intensive program for 10 EdTech startups in NYC from June to September. What kind of companies are they looking for? Apps, platforms, K-12, higher ed, professional ed, and everything in between. There’s also an info session on Apr 2nd. And if you have any questions, contact Phil Schwarz at edtechaccelerator@kaplan.com

2013 UX Awards,  submissions deadline April 15th. For more information and to apply, go here.

ER Accelerator now accepting applications for Summer 2013. Final deadline: April 19th. $40,000 investment 4-month program. Follow-on investment in future rounds. 200+ awesome mentors, including yours truly. Apply now. There’s also an ERA Summer 2013 Happy Hour at Connolly’s this Wednesday, March 27th. Come and learn more about the program, and talk to members of the present class, alums and mentors – like me!

Global Apps to Empower Competition Seeks Apps to Educate and Empower Women Everywhere, deadline April 30th. Applications that best satisfy the competition criteria will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to have their apps featured on Datawind’s $40 Ubislate educational tablet. That’s potentially a lot of computers – and a big win for the winning app! The UN is involved and the winning apps will be receive cash prizes, recognition (judges for the contest include Joanne Wilson, Vivek Wadhwa, Geena Davis. For more information and to apply: http://appstoempower.org/

Innovate Health Tech NYC, deadline May 2nd. $50,000 in cash & prizes, coaching sessions for finalists, and the opportunity to pitch your solution to health tech investors & entrepreneurs.

Startup Institute, deadline May 5th. SI works with professionals, career changers, and dynamic individuals to equip them with the skills needed to have an immediate impact on the startup company they join. The primary objective is to align passion with profession, and usher students into a life they love. This is a full-time, immersive, eight-week experience that will catapult you into your city’s technology ecosystem in the areas of web development, product & design, technical marketing, or sales & business development. Apply here and heads up: apply now: as soon as the class is full, applications close, too.

Gates Foundation offers $100k for ‘next-gen condom,’ deadline May 7th. You can’t make these things up.

HackSummerStage, deadline May 8th.  SummerStage is looking for the app which best reflects the mission outlined above and uses the SummerStage content to engage the 280,000+ attendees to SummerStage’s annual summer-long festival.  Apps that creatively utilize both the SummerStage API and other provided APIs to offer a beneficial and positive experience to festival-goers, and reflect the fact that SummerStage extends to 16 parks beyond Central Park, will be judged higher.

Fourth BigApps Competition, deadline June 7th. $150k in prizes, and there’s a NYC BigApps 2013 Expo and Hackathon Weekend at eBay’s New York offices the weekend of April 6th. More information about the BigApps competition is on the NYCBigApps website.

LaunchHouse Accelerator Accepting Applications, Cleveland, Ohio, and all are welcome to apply. Deadline unknown. Program starts in August. For more information, see below under ‘I Can Help.’ To apply, go here. Also, just for your information, they do encourage people from anywwhere to apply – and even provide housing!

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For you edification this week:

The Big Invisible. People usually get the really big ideas wrong. Few people ever thought that there would be a need for a personal computer in the home. Yet, the Segway was supposed to change our world as we knew it. Lots of people thought Twitter was a pretty dumb idea, too.

Go talk to founders who failed at what you’re doing. In startups there are so many paths to failure. If you are going to be a successful, it really helps to know what has happened in your space and related spaces.

Seed Venture Capital Funds – The Series A Crunch’s Next Casualty.  Companies receiving seed financing exclusively from Seed VC funds are almost half as likely to raise follow-on financing as those raising seed financing from larger VC funds.

Why Weird is Wonderful (and Bankable). Being weird means being noticeably different. It gets attention. And it’s something we all need to cultivate.

Walled Cities & Gunpowder, Firewalls & Hackers: Ways to Think About Cyber Security & Piracy. Or, what man cannot remember, he is doomed to repeat.

5 Weird Habits That Make People Successful And Awesome. And remember: if you make enough money, you’re eccentric, not crazy.

Elevator Pitch/Member News
Hint, hint: Feel free to tell us what you’re working on, or if you’ve been featured in the press…Share, and we will, too!

Congratulations this week go to ER Accelerator alums Centzy, who just raised $1.6 million in seed funding.

That’s it from us this week, except for your chuckle of the week: The Most Truthful iPad Ad Ever – CONAN on TBS. And now, as always, help is on the way…