Good morning, All,
It’s the height of summer. Investors are out at their summer homes. Things have quieted down. We know that startups never rest, so what’s an entrepreneur to do, when sitting it out until September is just not an option? Here are some suggestions:
1. Work on your deck. We know you’re sick of it and can recite it backwards and forwards. Test it on friends. Find an industry sounding board and get his/her feedback. He/she might know something or see something that you might have missed/never realized that your product/service addressed.
2. Release private beta. User testing is invaluable, so why not get capture some of that valuable feedback during this downtime and see what you might do to improve your product/service before presenting it to investors. Dress rehearsal, baby.
3. Keep networking. One thing about summer, at least in New York, is that the networking events don’t stop, although they do tend to move to rooftop bars and venues. Talk to people. See who they might be able to introduce you to, be it clients or potential investors. Oh, and make sure take some time to enjoy the view.
4. Make a video promo of your product/service. You have a video right on your phone and who doesn’t have a friend with a bona fide video camera. Or rent one. Plus, the weather’s nice and people are out there on the streets. Show them your product and get some user feedback/testimonials. Always more entertaining the flipping through a powerpoint.
5. Investors/potential partners may be out of town, but their profiles are still online and easily accessible. Do some research. Make a list. Check it twice. Talk to people from some of their portfolio companies and see what they have to say about those investors/partners you’re considering.
6. Focus on finding mentors and advisors who may be helpful to your company – and may help to make your company more attractive to investors/partners. Those people do tend to take vacations, but they don’t go on hiatus. They’re around. Get out there and meet them and get to know them.
7. Do a group outing. You know, team bonding. Get out of the office and go white water rafting, or kayaking on the Hudson or in Brooklyn. We know that we do mention strayboots from time to time, and happy to promote SOS members. And that’s one of the things they do: create group activities – and team-building activities – in different cities. You’d be surprised at how getting out of the office and into a new environment might inspire you. Or notice a potential problem with a team member or two, and always good to address these things early.
8. Learn a new core competency. Learn to code. Teach yourself something about marketing, which is always very important and usually placed somewhere at the bottom of the list of things to do. Marketing is about getting the word out, and not that that’s important. At all.
9. Take some time off. Doesn’t have to be a month in Montauk or two week in Tonga. Hit the beach! Rent a citibike (please wear a helmet – it is NYC). We made a list of things to do over July 4th weekend in the city on AlleyWatch. Ok the fireworks are over as is Nathan’s hotdog eating contest, but plenty more to see and do.
- Get some press. It’s summer, which tends to be a slower time for tech news, so you might have an easier time getting some online ink. Better yet: investors et al may be out of town, but they’re still online and keeping up with the online news.
Things definitely do quiet down – or traditionally have done – from this point on until after Labor Day. There are still things to do, places to go and people to meet, if you’re a serious entrepreneur. You have your action list, and if we’ve forgotten anything, do let us know. Onward and forward.
One more thing: today is yours truly’s birthday and your donations are always welcome to help keep defray the expenses of keeping this newsletter going. The link is here and thank you so much!
Advertise with us. Have a special announcement or ad you’d like to place, front and center? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for rates and more information.
Apply to be on Shark Tank, deadline unknown. ABC reality series Shark Tank is on a nationwide search to discover the next successful entrepreneur. If you’re ready to swim with the shark, application packet is here.
Take the H.E.L.M., deadline July 15th. To encourage the continued growth of Lower Manhattan, Take the HELM will award four $250,000 cash grants and four $50,000 cash grants to companies seeking to open an office or expand in Lower Manhattan.
Startup Leadership Program, deadline July 15th. SLP was started in 2006 and has grown to a global Program with over 200 Fellows, and one of the most innovative education programs, as well as one of the highest quality networks of entrepreneurs and innovators in the world. Through this program you will get access to the same outstanding quality of Fellows all over the world. SLP is complementary to, and not a substitute for leading incubators and accelerators. Please go through the Program, Calendar, Curriculum, Fees and Expectations to get a good sense of the Program. And note: it’s global.
The UKTI is hosting The Great Tech Awards! Deadline, July 19th. 5 disruptive NYC startups will get a chance at a high-impact expansion to UK. Get to meet UK VCs, attend the Wired Conference, complimentary flight on Virgin and much more! Actual event will be in October.
Global Apps To Empower, deadline July 26th. We invite you to think out of the box and create apps that inform, educate and empower women everywhere. Compete for $10,000 in prizes. Have your app pre-loaded onto thousands of devices for global distribution on the Ubislate series of tablet and at the BluWorld portal. Receive up to 20 tablets for user testing and app development. Receive global recognition from partners and sponsors including publication of your app deployment story.
MTA AppQuest, deadline August 20th. Change the way 8.5 million people commute every day — create the transit app of the future. New/existing mobile apps running on any platform accepted. For more information and to apply, go here.
The Booksmash Challenge, deadline September 6th. HarperCollins is issuing a call to developers to create excellent, functioning software and proof of concept apps utilizing the HarperCollins OpenBook API, and in doing so turn opportunities into reality. Use imagination and technology to build software that goes beyond the traditional ways we read and discover books. Grand prize: $15,000
Clinical Trial Visualization Redesign, deadline October 2nd. Eli Lilly, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, invites designers and developers to re-imagine clinical trial information in a patient-centric way. As part of Lilly’s Clinical Open Innovation initiative, which calls on open innovation to help transform clinical research and development, challenge participants are now being asked to focus on the ideas and possibilities for envisioning clinical trial protocols from a patient’s point of view. Clinical trial information can often be dense and difficult to digest from a patient’s perspective. Patients may have questions surrounding the risks and benefits of their participation in the trial, logistics, the role of their personal doctor, and much more. The goal for this challenge is to redesign that information in a way that highlights key aspects in a visually appealing and user-friendly way. $75,000 in prizes in all. Grand Prize: $35k.
For you edification this week:
Filter Success: The End of Social Discourse. Shelley Palmer spells it all out for you, and it’s quite unsettling.
Why startups live. Chasing growth is a big part of startup life. Grow too fast, and the startup implodes. Grow in the wrong direction, and it’s dead-on-arrival. Grow too slowly, and you’re crushed by competitors. So how do you grow “just right”?
Why It Pays to Create Your Own Market. There are two kinds of entrepreneurs: those who create markets and those who do not. In the words of Henry Ford, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Why Focusing on Only One Buyer Will Lose You Sales. This is part of Mark Suster’s series on sales.
How to Decode a Term Sheet. Most of us don’t have legal backgrounds, so this should help.
8 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make Which Will Kill Their Seed Funding. Fundraising is indeed brutally tough at all stages, and the seed funding is the hardest to find. The simple answer is that if you need funding, do your homework early and completely. And don’t make these mistakes.
New Technology Sends Ads Directly Into Your Brain. The next time you press your head against the window of a train or bus, you might hear voices. You’re not going crazy, but you are experiencing a new kind of advertising: a message that’s transmitted via sensor into your brain, which only you can hear.
You can now get your own .nyc domain. Well, soon, but you can sign up for it here.
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!
Heads up: Manhattanhenge will take place once again this week. Sometimes referred to as the Manhattan Solstice it is a circumstance which occurs twice a year, during which the setting sun aligns with the east–west streets of the main street grid in Manhattan: July 12th, 8.23 pm and July 13th, 8.24 pm.
That’s it from us for now. Stay cool, enjoy your Bastille Day and now, as always, help is on the way…