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Month: July 2013

7/30/13

7/30/13

Good morning, All,

We saw this story this week and thought we’d share: “Back in the 1970s, liquid hand soap was sold by one guy: Robert Taylor, and his small company Minnetonka.  It was his invention, and he knew he was on to something big. Test audiences loved the product and, despite barely having enough resources to do so, Minnetonka decided to go all in and make a push to take the  product nationwide. There was only one problem: Nothing he was selling could be patented.  The concept of liquid soap wasn’t new, and simple pumps had been around since the dawn of civilization. As a result, Taylor knew several huge soap manufacturers were ready to happily steal his idea the very moment it looked like it could succeed on a large scale. Armed with superior resources and the ability to quickly R&D an imitation product, the industry giants were ready to crush tiny Minnetonka.

Taylor, however, was ready for this. Before any other company had the chance, Taylor decided to go shopping one day and bought a few plastic pumps. And by a few we mean FUCKING ALL OF THEM. There were only two companies nationwide manufacturing those little pumps, and Taylor ponied up $12 million — more than the total net worth of his company at the time — and ordered 100 million of them,  effectively buying every single pump these two companies would be able  to manufacture for the next year or two. Read More...

7/23/13

7/23/13

Good morning, All,

We all go to meetings all over town, all the time. It’s exhausting, to be sure, and invariably, upon arrival, we’re asked if we’d like a beverage: coffee, tea, water, soda. Since many a meetings are morning meetings, and since this is New York, one of the undisputed caffeine capitals of the world, and since we work in tech, where caffeine is de rigueur, many of us request coffee and some of us like it white. Or beige, to be precise.

When did a staple like whole milk hit the no fly list? We went to at least half a dozen meetings this past week where we were offered coffee with our choice of almond, soy, hemp, fat free, 2% fat or skim milk, or half and half or fat free half and half. Read More...

8/20/13

8/20/13

Good morning, All,

Here’s the link to RSVP to our event this evening, and hope to see you there. It starts at 6 pm, open bar for the first hour, and we will be packing truffles.

Last week Elon Musk unveiled his plans for the Hyperloop, a transport that can potentially carry passengers from LA to SF in 30 minutes, traveling at just under the speed of sound. It’s expected to cost $6 billion – a pittance next to the $70 billion the state is paying to build a “high speed” rail system along the coastal corridor that will make the trip in three hours and isn’t expected to be finished until 2029. For the record, China’s Shangai Maglev Train could make that trip in just under an hour and 20 minutes. Musk says that the Hyperlink can be up and running by 2020. Of course, he’s a bit busy running Tesla Motors and Space X, so he does need someone to run the project. Read More...

7/16/13

7/16/13

Good morning, All,

We attended yet another pitching event recently. Five companies pitching to a handful of investors, many of whom we knew. One of the companies blew us away. Smart cofounders targeting a space that’s certainly heating up. A bit crowded, but no clear winner yet. They’re  taking a unique approach and have good and growing traction in their market. It’s a potential winner. We spoke to one of the investors – one whom we’ve known for quite a while – afterwards who asked us if any of the companies impressed us. We mentioned the one team and while he liked the technology/approach, he was not going to invest. Why? Inexperienced team. They were not twenty-somethings; both cofounders did have a background in their space. What he meant was that this was their first foray into entrepreneurship/they weren’t successful serial entrepreneurs.

We were not the only one in the room who realized the potential of this team and their technology. They were besieged afterwards by people who worked for companies that could be potential partners; people who knew people who worked for companies that could be potential partners; and people who knew investors who invest in their space, and who offered to make introductions. Read More...

7/9/13

7/9/13

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. Read More...

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