Good morning, All,
Last week we attended the preview of the next class of ER Accelerator startups – and were quite impressed at the caliber of the companies chosen (ER Accelerator Announces Class of Winter 2012: http://tnw.co/ycfo6i). We are admittedly a mentor in the program; it’s early days, and of course, time will tell. One thing did strike us: that these companies do have paths to revenue. Then again, this is New York, and in New York, we do mean business. We look forward to seeing what they build and it being a new year, being there gave us pause to look back as well. At the formerly much-touted Groupon, whose stock has fallen below its IPO price, as well as Zynga, whose stock price is going down, down, down – so far – and is nearly already 20% lower than its IPO price.
There hasn’t been much mention of the ‘b’ word yet this year (yes, bubble): the year is still young. We’re not big on predictions, but there are a few rules you might want to keep in mind as you forge bravely forward into this clean slate:
1. Don’t make a resolution – make a plan. And if you come upon a fork in the road, well, in the words of Yogi Berra, take it. At least consider it. It may be there for a reason.
2. Build a real business – something that’s needed and sustainable; that has a large market and actually fills a market need. Do you have a company, or a feature? Always a good question to keep in mind. VCs do. And you don’t always want to depend on the vaguaries of investors. They can be a fickle lot.
3. Bootstrapping may be the key to survival, but not to growth. Prove your model. Then take the investment. You’ll no doubt get a better valuation and above all, keep it real: THE BILLION-DOLLAR CLUB: 12 Startups With Skyrocketing Valuations. Do they deserve it? Some do, no doubt and again, time will tell: http://read.bi/pJomCl
4. The barriers to entry for doing a startup are down. Lean startup, faster/first to market, fine, use whatever buzzwords you’d like, but remember: the rules of economics are still immutable – and far from virtual. If you’re living on – and depending on – borrowed money, unless you’re one of those rarities that comes along that is too big to fail, thank you, twitter, but the twitters of the world are the exception than the rule, so don’t bank on it – literally, or besides living on borrowed money, you may be living on borrowed time. Well, your startup, anyway
5. If at first you don’t succeed – you might be talking to the wrong people. Expand your circle of acquaintances and business contacts. Here’s that word again: NETWORK!
6. If it ain’t fixed, don’t break it. Meaning, again, build a real business, not something based on what we personally like to call grouponomics, which is the concept that the SEC will avert its eyes, the investors will help you to cash out and to hell with the rest. Don’t leave the gate with something half-baked. It detracts from us all and leads to a buh-buh-buh – don’t make me say it. Yes, we are aware that we currently have a bad example at the top of the food chain. Don’t think Congress: think Progress.
When we worked in the music business, it was always referred to as the music business, not the music industry. They were all about business. It was a model that worked for a very long time, until technology came along, and the labels blinked. Watch this for a bit of inspiration and food for thought – we especially like the Q&A. It’s Peter Thiel’s ‘Back to the Future’ talk at the Singularity Summit 2011: http://bit.ly/vE9Pmu, because remember: your mission, above all else, is not to change the world, but to help to move the human race forward. Onward and – yes – forward.
NEW Enlabs – the first Italian incubator, deadline, January 10th. It takes place in Rome, and will run for 6 months. Equity stake taken / Investment:15 % / 50K Euro(30K cash + 20K services). For more information and to apply – quickly – http://bit.ly/wJeqaN
NEW Another accelerator, deadline unknown, but it says January. We run four three-month funding cycles a year, one from January, April, July and October. We may ask the founders of each startup we fund to move to the Northern NJ Metro Area for the duration of their cycle, during which we work intensively with them to get the company into the best shape possible. We usually $10,000-$100,000 per startup. Occasionally we invest more. The goal is usually to give you enough money to build an impressive prototype or version 1, which you can then use to get further funding. What do we get out of this? From 2-30% of your stock. Usually 5 or 10%. For more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/ysJLXG
Tech Wildcatters, early application deadline: January 15th. TechWildcatters is a mentorship-driven microseed fund and startup accelerator. The 12-week accelerator “bootcamp” runs every spring and fall starting in Dallas. For more information and to apply: http://techwildcatters.com/
FinTech Innovation Labs, deadline January 18th. This is an annual program run by the New York City Investment Fund and Accenture for early and growth companies that have developed cutting edge technology products targeted at financial services customers. There’s also an information day on January 10th. For more information and to apply: http://www.fintechinnovationlab.com/
Mini Seedcamp London, January 31, 2012 is a one day event aiming to connect the 20 best web-tech, mobile and software talent with some of the leading entrepreneurs, developers, and experts from all across Europe and all over the world. For more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/rqgVQm
TechStars NYC, early appliction deadline: January 10th. Final deadline: January 23rd. Time for the Spring session. To apply: http://apply.techstars.com/ For more information: http://www.techstars.com/
NEW Startup Weekend Mobile | Jan 20-22, NYC. Are you a developer, graphics designer, UX designer, or business person with a great idea for new mobile Startup? Startup Weekend Mobile is a 54 hour challenge to launch a mobile business, hosted by Microsoft on Jan 20-22nd. SOS readers can use DISCOUNT CODE “SOS” for $25 off the ticket price. For more information and to register: http://nycmobile.startupweekend.org/
WIM Accelerator, Deadline February 1st. Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) is the first startup accelerator and mentorship-driven program designed for women-founded companies in mobile technology. WIM’s goal is to provide women entrepreneurs with the guidance, feedback and connections needed to make their startups best in class companies and formidable business concerns. Our companies will receive $18,000 in funding, free office space, product development and design support, mobile-marketing promotions, and access to an incredible network of mentors, funders and advisors. In exchange for our investment and services, we receive a 6% equity stake in each company. For more information and to apply: http://womeninnovatemobile.com/ From the WSJ, A Start-Up Program for Women in Mobile Tech: http://on.wsj.com/vErQhp
Startup Bootcamp Amsterdam, deadline February 12th. We provide seed investment, 6-months of office space, 99 mentors, daily coaching by serial entrepreneurs in residence and a 3-week road-trip to Silicon Valley. Teams receive a maximum of €17,000 per team and 6 months of free office space in return for 8 percent of equity. The accelerator program operates for 3 months. For more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/vWpBqW
NXTP LABS/TechStars Argentina deadline 13 de Febrero – and that’s the extent of our Spanish. For more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/rYcDfN
NYC Big App Awards – New York City is challenging software developers to create apps that use city data to make NYC better. $50k in cash and prizes! You have from now until January 25th to enter. For more information and to apply: http://2011.nycbigapps.com/
NEW DEMO Spring 2012, application deadline February 17th. DEMO Spring 2012, the launchpad for emerging technology and trends, is returning to Silicon Valley April 17-19, 2012 and we have many exciting new reasons to attend and launch!
- New Low Attendee Rate: Register for DEMO Spring 2012 by January 20 at the low conference attendee rate of $995.
- No Barrier to Entry: Apply to Launch or Pitch at DEMO Spring 2012 and take advantage of our new pricing and scholarship program opportunities. Application Deadline: February 17, 2012.
Over the next few months, we’ll be in touch with conference updates, speakers and more! To apply to Launch or Register to Attend: www.demo.com
NEW Applications for the DreamIt NYC Summer 2012 program are now open. Final deadline: March 16th, but note: there is a definite advantage to applying early, as it results in the application getting more attention (and possibly early admittance).
-the program runs from May-August 2012 in NYC
-accepted companies get seed money (typically $20-25,000), office space, free legal and accounting services, and access to a who’s who list of advisors and mentors (http://www.dreamitventures.com/team/advisors.php)
For more information and to apply: http://www.dreamitventures.com/apply/.
The Appy Awards – enter once and you could win twice. Deadline March 21, 2012 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/
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For you edification this week:
Yes, we did feature this last week: it’s a keeper: The startup accelerators listed on this site all accept the Unified Seed Accelerator Application form. This means that you can apply to any number of the them with a single form, and then reuse that form to apply to other accelerator programs. In some cases, a few custom questions are also required for specific programs. Once you’ve submitted your applications, you can track the status here as well: http://www.accelerato.rs/
THE 1,000,000 MILESTONE: Here’s How Long It Took Today’s Hottest Startups To Get There. And do note how many of them have revenue models. More than half:
A Guide to Angel Investors. These individual VC investors seem like they’re from heaven, but be prepared to give up a chunk of your company for funding. Here is some information you need to know about angels – and how to find them: http://bit.ly/wftuVi
While we’re on the subject: The Top 10 Angel Investor Groups. A look at the largest groups that fund startups, ranked by number of investors, from all over the US: http://bit.ly/p8K9Dy
Yahoo has a new CEO – from PayPal – and in case you’re curious, Here’s What The Valley Really Thinks Of Yahoo’s New CEO http://read.bi/wbcZ9L. The company’s stock price fell with the announcement that Thompson was moving to the hotseat. From Mashable, 5 Things Yahoo’s New CEO Must Do Now. Can’t say we agree with them completely, but there you have it: http://read.bi/wbcZ9L
Economic Diversification: Reimagining the Future: NYC has developed a real thriving ecosystem around technology and innovation. In case you’re not aware of what’s been going on in this part of the world, and still, both NY Senators support PIPA. #Clueless: http://bit.ly/yENt1n
Finally, one of our list members has organized a Startup Grind here in NYC. Startup Grind was started to help entrepreneurs learn and be inspired by the stories of industry veterans while having the opportunity to get to know others face-to-face. Founded in Silicon Valley by Commonred Founder, Derek Anderson the community has grown to Los Angeles and now New York City. After the event, you can connect with the community on Commonred.com and meet more amazing professionals like you. Need an invite code? Then come! The first NYC event is next Tuesday, January 17th and bit.ly’s Hilary Mason is the first featured guest. RSVP here: http://bit.ly/AelXhV and hope to see you there! On the 18th, is Young Jewish Professionals’ iTech, which another one of our members helped to organize. Circumcision not required. Special SOS member discount RSVP here: http://bit.ly/xtHMjS That’s it from us and now, without further ado, as always, help is on the way…