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. Come and have some BBQ, talk to the 1099 people and enjoy the great outdoors in a lovely garden! $15 in advance; $20 at the door. To RSVP: http://sosbbq20121.eventbrite.com/
Our next SOS 1-on-1 with an investor will be in a couple of weeks 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. Your startup must be tech-based, and the focus is on startups who have developed product and 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. Send your deck to email@example.com and we will pass it to investors’ rep. And looking forward to seeing them!
Next, an exclusive SOS Member Offer: Complimentary Admission to NY XPO for Business. Because of our long standing support of the NY XPO for Business we are thrilled to offer YOU COMPLIMENTARY ADMISSION ($15 Value). This offer is not available anywhere else. FREE 1-DAY XPO PASS INCLUDES UNLIMITED NETWORKING & 2 SEMINARS
Date: May 2 – 3 2012
Location: Javits Center Hall 1A – 655 West, 34th Street, New York, NY 10001
For more information and to register: http://bit.ly/PQPDb
Discount code: COMP1
We’re an industry that loves free stuff. Twitter, facebook, instagram, email, rewards for check-ins. The list goes on. We’ve not only made a habit/lifestyle of it: we’ve made it a business, too, and as we well know, the buck always stops somewhere, whether they’re gathering information about you to sell to a third party, or well, gathering information about you to sell to a third party. Let’s face it: it’s a tough economy and the bucks have stopped in a lot of areas. Opting for premium/freemium is an option, but that only gets you so far in some quarters (How I lost access to my Google account today http://bit.ly/IGwo2C). But remember: If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold. So, sell and if you want to go big, think big, meaning think global, and that was one of the lessons of the TheBizDen 2012 Business Summit that took place two weeks ago at NYIT, organized by – a student. Arjun Rai, in fact. If you missed it, here’s a great article, filled with points you need to hear (Instagram Dreams? Wake Up. VCs Still Want to See the Money: http://bit.ly/J0bT0n) Lest we forget: Instagram is the exception to almost all rules except aqu/hiring. If the money isn’t rolling in from outside parties, rethink how you plan to monetize.
Lessons from the BizDen Summit, elsewhere and well, just common sense:
1. Keep your day job. Good advice from the bizden panel: Investors will often encourage entrepreneurs who are employed to stay that way. Many startups don’t earn a profit for one to two years or more, you may need that money in the end. And closing a round takes time, and the panel also suggested…
2. Have passion. Truly care about what you’re doing. “I always tell young entrepreneurs to expect a five-year slog,” says Michael Yavonditte, an angel investor and venture partner at ff Venture Capital in New York. And the only way to do that, he says is to be passionate about your business.
3. Always think outside of the box. From The Economist: Air for shares. Meaning ad space for equity. In Europe, a handful of companies are helping struggling start-ups with an unusual model: investing advertising space in them instead of money. There are caveats here, you’re supposedly plucky entrepreneurs, dammit! Pluck may work where luck may fail you: http://econ.st/HigTzE
4. Revenue is important. Recurring revenue is even better. It’s called ‘proof of concept’ when you have a loyal following. Make sure that your passion is one that instills passion – and loyalty – in your (dare we say it) clientele. Big time.
5. Many entrepreneurs undervalue their product or service and we find that that’s especially true in many a New York based startup. Stop that! Now! Eyeballs are important. Revenue is better and more compelling. Have a basic product – and a value-add, just in case you’re not instagram.
6. Press isn’t success. One of the panelists observed that he noticed a correlation between the number of mentions in TechCrunch and the success of a company: the more TC mentions, the more likely that company was to fail. Our takeaway: if you’re product is getting press, make sure it works. Well.
7. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. They’re already doing it. You might have a better product: they may be better connected, and that counts for a lot. Do what no one else has thought to do yet.
8. The lesson of Instagram. Instagram came along and focused in two hot areas simultaneously: iPhone & social media (integrating with both twitter and facebook). They also had a beautifully designed product that put its users’ needs front and center. Yes, it was free: it was also a perfect storm.
9. Is Direct Selling The Next Driver Of Startup Commerce Companies? Mulitlevel Marketing has gotten a bad rep, and for good reason. But what if you had a real product to sell. Suddenly, all of those FB friends mean something and can be monetized in a real way. Likes are nice. Commerce is far more meaningful: http://tcrn.ch/IJR8qc
10. Make sure you know all the right people. The instagram founder did (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: Everyone’s connected in Silicon Valley: http://bit.ly/HUgm4k),
If you want to have a successful company, anywhere, it helps to know the people who can help you along the way. You don’t have to be in Silicon Valley, but you do need to go where the people you need to get to know will be. Network. Email. Follow up. And build a product people need and/or will use. Having a path to monetization doesn’t hurt, either, just in case. Like they say: always bet on black. Onward and forward.
New York Entrepreneur Week starts April 16thAre you an entrepreneur in practice or at heart? There’s only on place to be this April 16-20. New York Entrepreneur Week. You owe it to yourself to recharge, refuel and refocus your purpose. Use code: StartupOneStop for 15% off
Make sure to come to the Entrepreneurs Walk that will raise funds to support entrepreneurs. That’s 4/18
Walk alongside 650+ other aspiring and accomplished business owners
Where: West Side Highway Path (meeting street sent 48hrs before the event)
Time: 4/18 at 5pm EST
3rd Annual NYC Startup Job Fair, Friday, April 20th, 2012
1:00 – 2:30 pm Engineers/Developers Only
2:30 – 5:00 pm All Candidates
World Trade Center 7 (250 Greenwich St)
Free – Limited Tickets – Registration Required
This is the third annual NYC Startup Job Fair. The companies present are some of NYC’s top startups. Last year’s event held 40 startups and this year we’ve moved to a larger venue so that we can include more startups. It’s a great chance to talk with and learn more about opportunities with NYC startups.
Founders Institute Israel, deadline April 22nd. It’s the world’s largest idea-stage incubator, founded by our friend Adeo Ressi. Through its four month idea-stage incubator program, you can launch your dream company with expert training, feedback, and support from experienced startup CEOs, while not being required to quit your day job. To apply: http://bit.ly/zoHyNa
Wayra UK Startup Accelerator, deadline, April 22nd. Telefónica has announced the UK launch of its technology accelerator programme. Wayra is inviting technology startups to apply to receive up to €50,000 (£42,000) investment and access to a new shared workspace in Tottenham Court Road. For more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/xeugnmThinking about applying to ERA Summer 2012 class? Application deadline: April 29th! To apply to join the the ER Accelerator summer class: http://eranyc.com/apply/
ERA is now accepting applications for Summer 2012! Application deadline: April 29th Yes, it’s here in NYC, with access to world-class mentors, office space, and more. Each company receives $25,000/8% equity. And we’re one of the mentors! For more information and to apply: http://eranyc.com/apply/
The Second Annual User Experience Awards are here! Submission deadline May 1st. The User Experience Awards aim to honor and celebrate outstanding UX projects and practitioners. The UX Awards are produced in partnership with IXDA NY, NYC Chapter of the UPA and NYC-CHI and culminate with an Awards Ceremony on June 12 in NYC. We’re actively seeking submissions from UX professionals for this year’s Awards! If you think you’ve worked on a project in the last two years that shows great user experience in terms of the final product or the process you followed, please submit your project, app, software, website, or even strategy to UserExperienceAwards.com by May 1 2012! Enter to win cash prizes, press, PR and community recognition! Full details of the submission process can be found on http://userexperienceawards.com/
Hacker School: Summer 2012 Applications Open, deadline May 7th: http://bit.ly/Inm9fo. It will run from June 4 to August 25. The batch will be hosted at Etsy, which is also sponsoring $50,000 worth of scholarships for female programmers (Hacker School remains free for all students; the scholarship money is for living expenses). We’re trying to make this batch at least 50% women. For more information: http://bit.ly/Ilm8fm
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/
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For you edification this week:
As we were saying…Ten Rules for Web Startups. Great list and quite inclusive: http://bit.ly/WuqdX
Don’t Try to Pull an Instagram. Here’s Why. We’re all still a bit heady with Instagram’s seeming Instasuccess. Mark Suster weighs in with a bit of perspective: http://bit.ly/HKj79g
Will This Platform Change Startup Funding Forever? Ah, David B. Lerner, a breath of fresh air: Wefunder splits from the aforementioned platforms in two key ways: It actually does allow businesses to use the platform, and potential funders are also offered a stake of equity in the company, and became active under the JOBS act. http://bit.ly/IkVQs5
Speaking of doing something new, This citizen journalism app lets you create the news and decide which story matters. It’s called Signal, it came out of Arab Spring (created in Lebanon, no less) and according to its creator, it takes up with twitter leaves off – an app that shows you the top stories of any country of the world, completely created and voted by the users in a systematic decentralized way: http://tnw.co/IMqnz3
Finding Early Customers When You Aren’t Internet Famous. Always a tough – and important – one, so here’s some advice for you: http://bit.ly/IN26LK
The Tragedy of Calling Things Silicon Blah. Says Brad Feld, “in the late 90′s a wave of “Silicon Blah” appeared. Silicon Alley, Silicon Mountain, Silicon Prairie, Silicon Slopes, Silicon Gulch, Silicon Bayou, and on, and on, and on. The rallying cry was “we are going to be the next Silicon Valley.” Whatever. At the time, my opinion as someone who disliked generic marketing was that this was the worst branding ever. I feel even more strongly about this today.” Agreed! http://bit.ly/JfEFH0
New Draft Of CISPA Announced: Some Progress, Still Big Problems The House Intelligence Committee has published a new draft of CISPA (pdf and embedded below), which includes the two amendments that were already approved, plus several other additions and changes. In some areas, there is genuine progress—in others, things actually seem to have gotten worse. Unfortunately, some of the biggest problems with the bill remain. http://bit.ly/Iw7gfO Oh, and just for the record, Mark Zuckerberg supports CISPA, too, and this new bill will obliterate online privacy, give the military crazy new abilities to spy on the Internet, and potentially let ISPs block sites and cut off users accused of piracy. (Facebook partially supports CISPA, but is talking with “key lawmakers” about changes: http://tnw.co/HIFdHI)
We did add something new this week: a ‘donate’ button in the SOS footer. The newsletter is free and we plan to keep it that way. If we’ve been of help to you, hey, donations are always appreciated and thank you! That’s it from us this week. Hope to see you at some NYEW events – especially for the Entrepreneurs Walk tomorrow. And now, as always, help is on the way…