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Month: May 2012

5/29/12

5/29/12

Good morning, All,

What exactly happened on Black Eye Friday? At the end of the day – literally – and contrary to popular misconception, the FB IPO was not a flop. FB did well, with $16+ billion now in their coffers, without having had to surrender much of the company at all. With all of the controversy surrounding the NASDAQ glitch, et al, there certainly was a lot of CYA and passing of the buck (not literally: they kept the big bucks for themselves) going on (Zuck was poorly served by his 'adults' http://bit.ly/LsNGkE) and what concerns us, above all, is the shameful lack of ethics that were evidenced. On all levels. Yes, only large investors were informed about the company’s poor performance in its last quarter. But is an ethics problem pandemic? We attended TechCrunch Disrupt last week – and ran into an SOS member who was an early (small) FB investor when trading opened. And who gave us information about exactly how the little guys got screwed, beyond what had been reported in the press. We turned the information over to the WSJ, who have far more resources at their disposal than do we. We also informed a friend of ours, who writes for an online publication (and who has no formal training in journalism) of the shenanigans. This person took us to task for having called the Journal, contending that it could hurt the tech industry/IPO market and that we had a responsibility to protect the industry. Really? What about the small investor? More importantly, what about ethics and moral responsibility?

The blowback from the FB IPO? A definite loss of public confidence in the market. (And, yes, we did notice that Zuck, who is the largest shareholder and CEO, didn’t waste any time in grabbing his vig:Is Mark Zuckerberg Up to the Job? http://bit.ly/JROgUU) So what happened? We defer to SkyNet Wars: Presenting The Rogue Algo Responsible For FaceBook's Downfall. The writer contends that the question is how come in a market as controlled and manipulated as the central bank-dominated venue we have now, was FB stock allowed to plunge? For what may be the actual definitive answer, as opposed to now trite philosophical ruminations on valuation, ethics, underwriter and shareholder greed, we once again go to Nanex, which has caught the perpetrator red handed once again: http://bit.ly/KaCMAo. And note to self and caveat to you all: If you have no ethics, you have nothing. Sidebar: Penalty for stealing: you can never trust anyone. Penalty for lying: you can never believe anyone. As to the company that helped to bring about Arab Spring? If it does come to pass, we certainly have them to blame if this all helps to contribute to an IPO winter. Onward and forward. Read More...

5/22/12

5/22/12

Good morning, All,
Once in a generation, a true visionary comes along and it is our privilege to witness genius. These people are brash, stubborn and because they march to the beat of their own drum with their eyes ever on the prize – a future or a product that we ourselves cannot envision – they are inevitably excoriated/vilified/ dismissed – the test of the hero – and they rise from the ashes, undeterred and undaunted, and maybe a bit humbled by the ordeal.  And forward they go. This is not Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook IPO took place on Friday – which we personally refer to as Black (Eye) Friday – and we saw no great spike from the opening price. True, it didn’t end the day far from where it started, thanks to the many underwriters determined to keep the stock stable. Many reasons can be cited: the half hour delay; GM pulling its advertising; the economy at large; the decrease in company’s revenues from its previous quarter; concerns about the company’s future revenue model; the dog ate their homework. And yesterday saw no great rally. Au contraire (Inside Job: Facebook I.P.O. Shows the System Is Broken : http://nyr.kr/LeQUbb; 7 Reasons Why Facebook IPO Was A Bust: http://onforb.es/KD3jDx). Facebook does have an impressive 800+ million members, and Zuck now has shareholders to answer to, too. But wait! He’s still the majority shareholder (nearly 30% of the stock) so public company or not, it’s still more or less the Mark Zuckerberg show, and therein lies the problem. Credit where credit is due: he’s now the 29th wealthiest person on the planet – at 28. Brash and stubborn he is, but he does not possess that one quality that breeds loyalty to his product and that will carry him – and facebook – through whatever challenges and dark days may lie ahead: neither inspire passion. Facebook has not distinguished itself as a product we cannot live without. Yes, the stock will no doubt go up again at some point, but the fact remains: there is no ‘wow’ factor. That takes genius, and arrogance does not trump nor is it a substitute for vision. Are we breathlessly awaiting what the company will do next? If the answer is, ‘no,’ then you know why the stock price failed to go through the roof. For all we know, Facebook may still manage to astonish us but frankly, given their attitude towards privacy, we see them more in the Google mold: remember ‘do no evil?,’ a noble sentiment which GOOG abandoned long ago, along with the desire to innovate – but take heed, entrepreneurs. Money and power do not necessarily mean that you must compromise your principles, your vision, and your desire to do something that manages to push the human race forward. There are exceptions and that is the mark of true genius. If you want to know how to get there and stay there, while staying on the high road and still managing to inspire passion and keep your shareholders happy, it has been done. It can be done. We leave you with the words of someone who did it and who narrated this 1997 spot which never aired: http://youtu.be/8rwsuXHA7RA Listen and learn. Onward and forward.
Deadlines:
NEW Angel Pitch, deadline to pitch: May 23rd. If  you’re a interested in pitching, please send a quick 5 minute pitch with a description of the company to arnold@generalassemb.ly.  Preference will be given to companies with a prototype and user traction.  May 23rd is the deadline, so get the pitches in before then!  The earlier you apply, the better your chances.  The winner of the pitch event will also be given a chance to pitch direct to the NY Angels, one of the most active Angel Groups in the country.
New York Venture Summit Call for Top Innovators. If you are a Startup seeking capital and/or partnerships submit your plan for the opportunity to present at The 2012 New York Venture Summit, the premier venue connecting emerging growth companies with active Venture capitalists, Angel investors, Corporate VCs and Investment Firms. Presented by youngStartup Ventures, The 2012 New York Venture Summit provides an unparalleled opportunity for startups to meet, network and showcase their innovative investment opportunities to a leading group of investors. To Apply to Present.please e-mail iwant2present@youngstartup.com for an application.   TechStars Seattle, deadline May 25th. You know the drill: a 3-month program; $18k + $100k convertible debt note, with 6% equity taken. TS provides seed funding from over 75 top venture capital firms and angel investors who are vested in the success of your startup, as well as intense mentorship from hundreds of the best entrepreneurs in the world. To apply: http://apply.techstars.com/
New York Digital Health Accelerator, deadline June 1st. The program will provide up to $300,000 of funding per company from a syndicate of leading venture capital and strategic investors. In addition, winners will have the opportunity to meet other leading digital and tech entrepreneurs in the New York community. For more information and to apply: http://digitalhealthaccelerator.com/
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/   powered by Movable Ink For you edification this week:
Ok, so yes, we do need the token FB recap – 6 Reasons Why the Facebook IPO Fell Flat. Facebook worth more than McDonald’s? Seriously? Mickey Dee’s, with restaurants all over the globe, close to 100% brand recognition and a proven business model, posted $27 billion in revenues last year and a $5.5 billion profit. Facebook made $1 billion on $3.7 billion in revenues. I’m lovin’ it: http://on.mash.to/JpAvwI And, just for the fun of it: Famous IPOs: Where Are They Now? [INFOGRAPHIC] Remember theglobe.com? Uh-huh.  http://bit.ly/KyxUSy
Diaspora Says It’s Back on Track, Joins Y Combinator Program.  The anti-facebook, which allows users to own – and customize – their own data/photos/text, is back in the game, following the suicide of one of their founders. It begins… http://dthin.gs/KRKcIO  For more on Diaspora: On Diaspora’s Social Network, You Own Your Data: http://buswk.co/Kf8XiU
For the Brits on the list10 Angels You Should Knowhttp://bit.ly/K2S2O0
7 Hot Startup Tips for Raising a Killer Seed Round. There are many stories of hot startups raising killer seed rounds, and it can feel like money is flowing everywhere. Times might be good right now, but raising external capital is a complicated process. Here are tips that can help you achieve your goals as quickly and pain-free as possible. http://on.mash.to/LnQLFn To Be Successful You’ll Need to Shake Hands and Kiss Babies. Business is built on personal relationships. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – get out there and press some flesh: http://bit.ly/KpaXDp The Seven Forces Disrupting Venture Capital.  Here are the forces that have altered – and are altering – the landscape for traditional venture capital in software.http://tcrn.ch/IC6ABK
Silicon Valley’s Hottest New Start-Up Idea: Nothing. Seriously. In fact, Y Combinator is introducing a program this summer “targeting groups that don’t have an idea yet.” And down the rabbit hole we go: http://onforb.es/IUzOwL
Just one last thing on the subject of all things FB…as for co-founder Eduardo Saverin and the Congressional blow-back/media storm surrounding his surrendering of his US citizenship to avoid taxes: Eduardo is Brazilian-born and at the end of the day, helped to create quite a few jobs here in the US. A simple “thank you” will do. Yes, you can still submit your decks for our next SOS 1-on-1. Again, apologies for the delay, and it will be in early June. Do feel free to send your deck to hello@startuponestop.com and we will pass it to investors’ rep. Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day Weekend, and if you happen to be in town for the holiday, email us at hello@startuponestop.com: there’s a good chance we’ll be doing a bbq on Sunday evening, weather permitting. Until then, as always, help is on the way…

5/15/12

5/15/12

Good morning, All,
You know the drill: Bottom feeders all, and hate ’em till you need ’em, but remember: a good realtor can make your day. A good lawyer can save your company. A good recruiter can make your company – or your career. And a good VC can change your life – and potentially help to make even a small dent in the world. Roger Ehrenberg wrote a must-read piece: On Fixing VCs Ourselves http://bit.ly/J7sK2t There’s a lot of job creation going on in our community, as Roger notes: VCs help to create jobs. He also notes that “venture is the only professional services business which does not think training its employees is a good idea.” Not true. In down economies, many people turn to recruiting as a stop-gag measure while they’re between jobs. And therein lies part of the problem. As many of you know, I am a recruiter by trade, and let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy lately. Companies feel that they can post online, that stellar employees will flock to them – and that they can then underpay them, because times are tough. The truth is: with the explosion in the number of startups, the unemployment rate in this industry is not that high. Yes, Virginia, talent can still pick and choose, so companies do call in 3rd party recruiters – and many companies then feel that they can underpay them as well. That’s like asking a CTO to work for less than what they’re worth, because there’s a so-called shortage of jobs. Actually, it may just be a shortage of good CTO’s – and good recruiters.   As for the neophytes who turn to recruiting: why not? They know a lot of people. How hard can it be to send over a few resumes? There’s a big difference between searching for keywords and being able to vet an applicant. They’ll call everyone they can find on linkedin – whether the person is open to career opportunities or not – and piss everyone off, which further enhances recruiting’s bad reputation. Neophytes are also untrained in managing client expectations. Sure you want a mid level front end programmer and have $70k budgeted for the position. You also need that person to know back end coding, design and SEO. Really? That’s not one position: that’s team. If perchance you do find those skills in one person, not sure that they can do it all well – and they’re not going to take a salary of $70k. A trained recruiter knows how to manage expectations.And how to advocate for both the client and the applicant. That’s a talent and at the end of the day, you’re working for both of them, despite who’s writing the check.Then there’s the questions no one asks, having decided not to go with a recruiter, and these, too, need to be factored into your bottom line: how much business have you lost/had to give up because you didn’t have the people to execute on the work? How many employees have you lost because you didn’t have enough people and just piled more work on to the ones you do have? We know that internet fosters some bad habits, but you have to stop jumping over dollars to get to those pennies. Here are a few lessons in recruiting for you: 1.    There’s a difference between an HR person and a recruiter. HR people put systems in place and onboard new employees – it’s not their job to source them. 2.    Recruiting is easy, so you hire a kid out of school for the spot, right? Ok, so you’re bringing in someone who barely knows how to write a resume – and you expect them to be able to read them? This is the person to whom you are entrusting your company’s brain trust and future? Those keyword searchers? In our industry, they’re called researchers, or sourcers, not recruiters. 3.    Recruiters have and build relationships with candidates. We get to know them over time. We know their strengths and quirks, while your internal recruiter may spend may 15-20 minutes with a candidate on the phone and make a snap judgement. Hope, for your sake, it’s the right one. And again, how much experience does your internal recruiter have? Life and recruiting experience, I mean. 4.    Big Name Firms and retained search firms. You paid them a retainer. A big one. Of course they’re going to find you the perfect employee. Retained firms split the fees in thirds: 1/3 upon signing the contract; 1/3 upon start date of the candidate; 1/3 30 days after the start date of the candidate, and their fees can range from 30% to $80k and upwards for a placement. Fact: retained firms fail to fill the spot in a majority of the cases. But – they’ve gotten at least part of your money, so no loss on their part. 5.    A few more points to cover with whichever recruiting firm/indie you’re thinking of hiring:     How long have you been in business?     Do you specialize in my industry?     What types/levels of jobs do you work on?     What is your track record for repeat business? We all just witnessed the mess with Yahoo and Scott Thompson. Who technically didn’t lie on his resume, since he reportedly never submitted one (Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson Claims He Never Provided A Resume: Source http://huff.to/KebJBo) Retained firms: they don’t always bother with something so mundane as a resume. Which is quite an important document: it tells you how your potential employee positions him or herself.  Young VC associates need to be trained, as do recruiters. And many a startup CEO, too, for that matter. What precipitated this particular piece this week was that last week I emailed a former candidate of mine who is now CEO of a very well-known company. I’d noticed that he had a number of positions listed on his site, so I called and asked why he wasn’t working with me. Well, he’d hired a few internal recruiters. Red flag: then why were there so many open spots on his site. The company’s not that big, after all. Not yet, anyway. I then told him the story of someone who’d come to me a while back, looking for a new position and I’d submitted his resume to the internal recruiter  – who didn‘t see the right keywords, and summarily rejected him. I knew he was perfect for the spot, so introduced him directly to the CEO, who hired him on the spot. And that position changed my young candidate’s life. “That was you,” I reminded him. “And you, of all people, are banking on internal recruiters?” How quickly they forget. According to Ehrenberg, there’s a broken incentive model for VCs, and one of the suggestions he makes is to professionalize VC. As for recruiting, when you see that your process is broken, that’s what you want to do, too: hire a professional. It’s cheaper in the long run. Onward and forward.
Deadlines:
New York Venture Summit Call for Top Innovators. If you are a Startup seeking capital and/or partnerships submit your plan for the opportunity to present at The 2012 New York Venture Summit, the premier venue connecting emerging growth companies with active Venture capitalists, Angel investors, Corporate VCs and Investment Firms. Presented by youngStartup Ventures, The 2012 New York Venture Summit provides an unparalleled opportunity for startups to meet, network and showcase their innovative investment opportunities to a leading group of investors. To Apply to Present.please e-mail iwant2present@youngstartup.com for an application.
The Brandery, deadline May 15th, Cincinnati. This is a seed stage consumer marketing venture accelerator seeking startups on technology based in Consumer Internet, Marketing SaaS, Consumer Services and Products, Media and Entertainment. $20,000 and Over $175K in Free Benefits for 6% equity. Program runs 4 months. For more information and to apply: http://brandery.org/
Seedcamp Berlin, deadline May 15th. Seedcamp is an early stage mentoring and investment program that engages startups through our monthly Seedcamp Events, where entrepreneurs present their companies, network, receive mentoring, and compete for investment by Seedcamp. Yearly, we invest in about 20 companies. For more information and to apply: http://www.seedcamp.com/ Seedcamp NYC is coming up in June. Watch for it.
NEW Tech All Stars, London: deadline, May 15th This two-day tech startup event where startups will network with influencers and connect with VCs, mentors, potential partners, and other resources. It takes place June 20th and 21st in London, UK. We’re including a complementary ticket to LeWeb London, so if you’d like to participate in LeWeb, clear June 19th on your schedule too. The winner will participate in an event on June 22nd in Brussels, Belgium so hold that date – cause you’re planning to WIN this thing! To apply: http://bit.ly/L1zd1A NEW Unreasonableatsea, deadline May 20th. In short: 20 Mentors. 100 days. 1 ship. 14 countries. 10 ventures. 1 belief that entrepreneurship will change the world. This is a mentor driven accelerator for tech entrepreneurs who desire to take their ventures into new international markets. In January of 2013, we will be welcoming 10 entrepreneurs and their teams from every corner of the globe to join us for a 100 day program as we sail around the world and bring their products and services into new markets. For more information and to apply: http://unreasonableatsea.com/ NEW Startupdreamteam, deadline May 20th. This  a 9-week team-building program happening between June 18th and August 12th in San Francisco, which provides a perfect environment for 30 interns from all around the World to experience Silicon Valley at its fullest and build a lifetime network. To apply: http://bit.ly/L1yoFU NEW TechStars Seattle, deadline May 25th. You know the drill: a 3-month program; $18k + $100k convertible debt note, with 6% equity taken. TS provides seed funding from over 75 top venture capital firms and angel investors who are vested in the success of your startup, as well as intense mentorship from hundreds of the best entrepreneurs in the world. To apply: http://apply.techstars.com/
New York Digital Health Accelerator, deadline June 1st. The program will provide up to $300,000 of funding per company from a syndicate of leading venture capital and strategic investors. In addition, winners will have the opportunity to meet other leading digital and tech entrepreneurs in the New York community. For more information and to apply: http://digitalhealthaccelerator.com/
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/   powered by Movable Ink For you edification this week:
Speaking of recruiting… 3 Common Hiring Mistakes With Recruiting “A Players. As Mark Birch says, “there are ways to reduce the risk of hiring failures by being aware of common traps one makes during the hiring process when evaluating candidates.”  He gives three points that cover the most egregious yet correctable mistakes when hiring for highly critical roles http://bit.ly/JgeQGY
How to Be a Horrible Boss. It’s easier than you might think, but just in case you need some pointers: http://bit.ly/Igwr1d Since we’re on the subject of hiring and the FB IPO is this week: When Facebook Was Young And Trying To Attract Talent, It May Have Pulled This Brilliant Hiring Stunt At Stanford: http://read.bi/JxTV5m 10 Tweets That Are Invaluable Startup Advice. Yup, all in 140 characters or less: http://read.bi/M4l4zZ How To Raise A $1M Seed Round. If you can convey to investors that you have a repeatable business model, and understand the microeconomics of your business, then you are golden. This can help: http://tcrn.ch/JxQbjT When Is a Tech Startup Not a Tech Startup? Is Groupon really a tech startup? Why? Because it uses email? Because it uses an algorithm to trigger a deal’s tipping point? Hmmm: http://bit.ly/KksVJa What Kickstarter Means to You — Maybe. So what’s going on at Kickstarter? The best possible financing, sales as pre-sales or pre-order sales. It’s not technically crowdfunding, but it’s better than that, because it doesn’t dilute ownership: http://bit.ly/JpAiLx Experimentation is to a startup as a task list is to a job. You’re doing a startup. You’re no doubt already out of your comfort zone. Next task: get out of your comfort zone: http://bit.ly/JfTf2t Is Google Drive worse for privacy than iCloud, Skydrive, and Dropbox? Google’s cloud storage launched last week. Well, it’s Google, first off, and they’re never very transparent in their privacy policy. Before you jump, make sure to get your head out of the cloud: http://vrge.co/JO35g9
Our next SOS 1-on-1 with an investor will be take place soon. Again, apologies for the delay, but internet week has set us back – and Memorial Day is fast approaching, which has made scheduling it a bit of a challenge. So you still have time to submit your decks and you must send us your deck in advance, and you can submit from anywhere in the world. The focus is on startups who are looking to get to the next level, which means, you need the money to get there.  You do not have to be at the event, but if you are in the NYC area, it’s recommended that you come and have face time, if they’ve asked to meet with you after having seen your deck. For every one else, there’s VOIP, so do feel free to send your deck to hello@startuponestop.com and we will pass it to investors’ rep. Good luck, and apologies for the delay in getting back to you – decks are still being reviewed and we hope to have answers – and a meeting date – soon.  That’s it from us this week. Hope to see you at some of the Internet Week events this week and until then, as always, help is on the way…

5/8/12

5/8/12

Good morning, All,

Our next SOS 1-on-1 with an investor is coming up and we have a direct pipeline to a group of serious angels whose representative will be at the event. Caveat: you must send us your deck in advance, and you can submit from anywhere in the world. The focus is on startups who are looking to get to the next level, which means, you need the money to get there, and they’re not focusing on any particular vertical.  To clarify: You do not have to be at the event, but if you are in the NYC area, it’s recommended that you come and have face time, if they’ve asked to meet with you after having seen your deck. For every one else, well, there’s VOIP, so do feel free to send your deck to hello@startuponestop.com and we will pass it to investors’ rep. Good luck, And looking forward to seeing them! Apologies for the delay in getting back to you – decks are still being reviewed and we hope to have answers – and a meeting date – for you by next week.

The FB IPO. The speculation rages about who will make how much but the real question is: how will the IPO affect FB’s bottom line? The company earned $3.7 billion in 2011, but revenues are decelerating so far this year (Check Out How Weak Facebook’s Revenue Growth Is Compared To Google Pre-IPO: http://read.bi/IHo6bj). And they’re expected to be worth over $100 billion?  It seems that investors are once again in the take-the-money-and-run mode, with Henry Blodget helping to lead the charge, and again, Blodget failed to disclose that BI and FB share investors. (Hype Man Henry Blodget Is At It Again, Profiling Mark Zuckerberg in New York Magazine: The man who helped usher in an Internet bubble thinks Zuck is a super swell CEO – http://bit.ly/J7wFe8)  A must-read: Here’s Why Google and Facebook Might Completely Disappear in the Next 5 Years: http://onforb.es/IomHbv  The systole and diastole of our industry has shown us that companies expand and contract and new ones rise. Yes, Yahoo is a shell of its former self, but it has never been dethroned when it comes to Yahoo Finance, so they’re still standing. At least for now. To paraphrase Woody Allen, a technology company is like a shark: it has to keep moving forward to survive. And a large part of the current change (we will not call it innovation – at least not yet) is the migration to social and to mobile. Concurrently. Google and FB have – and had – young founders without either a world vision nor a vision for the future. Google has (so far) failed miserably in social, and FB was late to the game and fragmented in mobile. And how will FB justify their wild valuation? There will be shareholders to answer to, Mark. Point to the story: have a plan. One for monetization, and make sure to hire managers who can help move your company into the future. If your current ones don’t get it, get ones who do, or its fast in, fast out (Groupon stock closes below $10: http://bit.ly/J0wn90). As the Forbes writer observes, “Those who own the future are going to be the ones who create it. Web monopolies are not as sticky as the monopolies of old.” Now, as always, the future belongs to those who can see it coming. Onward and forward. Read More...

5/1/12

5/1/12

Good morning, All,

Our first SOS bbq of the season will be on May 3rd  (rain date: May 10th), sponsored once again by our friends at 1099partners.com (http://www.1099partners.com/). Come and have some BBQ, talk to the 1099 people and enjoy the great outdoors in a lovely garden! Rumor has it there may be investors there as well. $15 in advance; $20 at the door. To RSVP: http://sosbbq20121.eventbrite.com/

Our next SOS 1-on-1 with an investor is coming up and we have a direct pipeline to a group of serious angels whose representative will be at the event. Caveat: you must send us your deck in advance, and you can submit from anywhere in the world. The focus is on startups who are looking to get to the next level, which means, you need the money to get there, and they’re not focusing on any particular vertical.  To clarify: You do not have to be at the event, but if you are in the NYC area, it’s recommended that you come and have face time, if they’ve asked to meet with you after having seen your deck. For every one else, well, there’s VOIP, so do feel free to send your deck to hello@startuponestop.com and we will pass it to investors’ rep. Good luck, And looking forward to seeing them! Read More...

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