Good morning, All,

We’ve mentioned the importance of mentors before. FastCo just came out with an excellent piece on the subject. We recently attended an event where we were asked to critique a handful of startups that were pitching. They were early stage. Most had co-founders; a few did not, and there was a distinct difference between the two, so without further ado, our list of reasons why it’s important to have a co-founder:

Having a sounding board – You don’t know everything, and not everything you think is right for the company/product, is. Good to have feedback and another opinion – from a partner. Employees are not the same. They’re getting their marching orders (and paycheck) from the top – you – so it’s just not the same as a bouncing ideas off from someone with as much skin in the game as you.

You can’t do it all yourself – Someone had to keep an eye on the business/day-to-day, and someone has to be out there doing sales/raising funds. Division of labor. Awesome concept.

You’re going to have your bad days – good to have someone to share the burden/keep your spirits up/remind you that it’s a bad day and this too shall pass.

Do you really want to make every decision, alone? Doing a startup is hard enough. It’s even harder when you’re on your own, and having to deal with each and every little thing (and big thing) that comes up. That’s a lot of pressure on one person. Much better to share the load.

What if you get sick or have a sudden family emergency? Does everything come to a grinding halt until that 48-hour bug or ten-day flu passes? What if it’s a critical time in your build/product development/launch?

Spin/damage control. Let’s face it: we all say the wrong thing to the wrong person at some point. Having a second to explain what you really meant, or meant to say, helps.

Second opinion. Can’t stress this enough: you meet with someone whom you consider the perfect employee/investor/whatever. Your second might have a different take, right or wrong. Good to, again, have a sounding board – especially if they happen to be right and you happen to be acting out of desperation, real or imagined. If for no other reason, always good to have someone there to play devil’s advocate.

Good cop/bad cop. The scenario always comes up. One person can’t play both roles.

You just can’t be everywhere and all things to all people. Period.

Mark Pincus. Andrew Mason. Even Zuckerberg had a co-founder, initially.

Hewlett had Packard. Jobs had Woz.  Larry has Sergei. When you get down to it, even Oedipus had his mother. Two heads are always better than one, and in this industry, having a co-founder helps, especially if you want to get ahead. Onward and forward.


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NEW  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.

NEW  Ernst & Young is looking for great women entrepreneurs, deadline June 28th.  The Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women program is a national competition and executive leadership program that identifies a select group of high-potential women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale — and then helps them do it. Apply or Nominate someone today!

Matchpoint | East, June 25th. This is an exclusive opportunity for selected health technology entrepreneurs and large stakeholders to meet in designated 15-20 minute meetings. Meetings are arranged based on selected criteria by industry leaders and investors, leading to high-yield discussions with innovative companies! During these meetings, innovators have the opportunity to demo their innovations with potential partners and investors. Hundreds of applications are reviewed by our team and host companies to select companies to participate in exclusive round table discussions and demos. Traditionally, over 500+ applications are reviewed to identify 10-15 innovative companies per host sponsor. Apply 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.

NEW  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.

Define the second screen experience — win $50,000 for the best TV companion apps. Deadline: August 22nd. Use the Viggle API to create responsive apps that enhance the TV-watching experience. Apps must be built with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript and integrate with Viggle’s native iOS and Android apps. Need an idea for an app? Check out the 100+ ideas that have already been proposed by the public. You can build anything from a static content experience to a fully immersive game. Use your imagination!

NEW  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

NEW  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:

Speaking of co-founders… How to Calculate Equity Split Between Founders in Startups

Ideas Mean Nothing If You Are Not The Right Person to Execute. From Founders Institute.

Why Your Startup Needs a Sales Methodology. Before you achieve product / market fit you’re often in “consultative sales” mode where your objective is to tease out customer needs.

Why Startups Need a Well Articulated Strategy (And How to Think About Yours)

Your Exit Strategy – Setting Up to Sell Out.  In the excitement of setting up a new business, many entrepreneurs overlook one of the most vital details – their exit strategy. There are different types to consider…

Startup Weekend NYC Ignites the Entrepreneurial Spirit in Everyone – the next NY event is coming up this weekend, June 21st – 23rd, and AlleyWatch is pleased to be a media partner for the upcoming Startup Weekend NYC.  Anyone who shares this post on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #AlleyWatch will be automatically entered into a drawing to win free tickets to this awesome event.  Winners will be announced tomorrow, Wednesday, June 19th.

“How will they make money?” is the wrong question. The primary challenge with building a large consumer company is not “how will you make money,” but “how do you get to be a long-standing durable network and define a new set of behaviors or verbs?”

How to Reduce ‘Infant Entrepreneur Mortality’. Most startups go for venture money too early on.

Since it’s still very much in the news…
PRISM update: Recent reports you definitely shouldn’t miss.
Why ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance. The federal government can’t even count how many laws there are: what chance does an individual have of being certain that they are not acting in violation of one of them?
NSA Snooping Was Just the Beginning. infiltration. sabotage. mayhem. for years, four-star general keith alexander has been building a secret army capable of launching devastating cyberattacks. now it’s ready to unleash hell. Note: this comes from Wired.

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!

AlleyWatch is now optimized for mobile. We have a brand new rebranded mobile experience, so check it out: http://www.alleywatch.com/

That’s it from us for now, and now, as always, help is on the way…

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