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.
Moral of the story: it’s the dead of summer. We say ‘dead,’ because any time we can walk into a Trader Joe’s during Prime Shopping Time and not have to wait for more than a minute or two on the checkout line, the city’s deserted. But events go on, many a bit smaller than usual and a good time to talk to everyone in the room, because you don’t know who they might know, and much easier to have a more in-depth conversation, with the summer signal to noise ratio down. Don’t be shy. If you overhear someone mention something that might be useful to you, go over and introduce yourself. It’s an opportunity and it just might be the one that makes your day – or makes your company. Potential partners may well serve you and your company far better than will an investor, whose checklists we don’t always understand. As for putting all of your eggs in the investor basket, we did circle back to that investor again, who asked us about an acquaintance of ours, an ex-Wall Streeter turned very well known multibillionaire tech luminary. “Wish you’d pointed him out to me early on,” he said. “I’d have invested.” “I did,” I answered. “But he wasn’t a subject matter expert. Then.” Passion and dedication still trumps 20/20 hindsight. And careful about blowing off an interested peer in favor of a skittish investor. Work the room and what can we say? Life’s not always a beach. Onward and forward.
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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.
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
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:
VCs Don’t Give A Sh-t [Infographic]. One of the most important steps on the path to entrepreneurship is presenting to venture capitalists. But despite the best efforts of newbie entrepreneurs to hook a VC with extensive presentations, studies show that 75 percent of VC’s actually lose interest in the first 10 minutes of a presentation.
Introducing the Happy Startup Canvas. Too much of the startup world focuses on the mechanics of starting a business. Whilst it’s good to move fast and stay lean, it’s time we made our businesses more human and in the process gave them a better chance of survival.
How to Know When to Sell vs. When to Market to Customers. To have NO process or methodology and give no thought to suspects, prospects, leads and current customer accounts is madness.
How to Get Everything You Want. Seriously. You’d like to be successful in everything you do, of course. Here’s how to make it happen.
6 Investor Rationales for Not Funding Your Startup. New entrepreneurs often seem to confuse viability with fundability. Certainly a non-viable business should be not fundable, but many viable businesses are also not fundable. Thus when an investor declines your funding request, you need to curb your anger and understand the real reason for this outcome.
Every Startup Should Assume Pivots Will Be Required. The traditional mode of starting a company is to plan a serial process in which you complete all the steps, which leads to the “big bang” launch of the company. I strongly recommend a dramatic departure from this model, called “planned iteration” or Lean Startup methodology, in which you assume you won’t get it right the first time, so you launch with a minimum viable product (MVP), says Martin Zwilling.
Opt Out of Klout – Now! Yammer, the internal social network of choice for most businesses, have announced they’re going to team up with Klout so managers can see employees’ scores. What was once just a daft badge is now something to be bought up at your annual performance review. Want that promotion? You’d better hope that spending all day getting retweeted by celebrities helps your “influencer” score.
In Some Stores, the Mannequins Are Watching You. We remember when it was just a movie – with Kim Kattrell, no less.
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!
Chuckle of the week: Man views porn using Safari, files lawsuit against Apple. Can you ever make this stuff up. That’s it from us for now. We’re having a heat wave, so stay cool, and don’t forget that the Metropolitan Opera Summer Series starts tonight at 8 pm in Central Park. Bring plenty of water! And now, as always, help is on the way…