Good morning, All,

Don’t forget that our next SOS gathering is Monday, August 20th and just under a week away, so don’t forget to register and looking forward to seeing you there. To RSVP: http://sosaugust2012-zvents.eventbrite.com/
It’s August. Big vacation month – especially for investors. Since rust – and an entrepreneur – never sleeps, good time to work on your game face – and your pitch. Let’s face it: there’s nothing new under the sun. Facebook? Back in the day, there was sixdegrees.com. Amazon is an online store, albeit a successful one and expanding globally. We go to pitch events all the time. Nine times out of ten, we’ve heard it before. So, how do you get an investor’s attention? Here are some basic helpful hints/rules of thumb:

1.     If you want investors’ attention, have a story that gets their attention.
2.     If you plan on disrupting an industry, you’d damned well better have a pitch that wakes up the room.
3.     Something compelled you to start this company. Share. Don’t keep it a secret. It may just be that pain point with which your potential investor can identify.
4.     Speak from the heart. Keep it real.
5.     Don’t be yet another concept on steroids. Heard it before – ad nauseam – and besides, steroids should only be administered under a doctor’s care and are illegal, if you happen to be participating in competitive sports.
6.     Keep your message simple. And memorable. That way, it’s more likely to be remembered and hopefully, so will you.
7.     An investor deck is also a business plan. Just remember that you’re building a business and make sure you have a pathway to profitability.
8.     If you’re depending on an ad revenue model, ask yourself: when was the last time I clicked on an ad or a banner*?
9.     *The SOS Donate button at the top of this page should be a notable exception, and do feel free to click.
10.   Be able to describe your business in one sentence – sometimes, that’s all the time you have. Talking fast doesn’t count.
11.   If you have a stellar background – or have unique personal experience having to do with your startup – spell it out. Front and center. It may be the thing that makes you uniquely qualified to do what you’re doing, and potential investors need to know that.
12.   Don’t end your deck or presentation with contact information. It needs to be in there, but this is an advertisement for you and your company: leave them with a sound bite that they’ll remember.

‘Lean’ and ‘MVP’ have certainly both lowered the barriers to entry, but they no more validate an idea than does posting a facebook page and/or launching a twitter account qualify as having a marketing plan. So plan well, and use this time wisely. Investors may be off in Europe, but they’ll be back; you’ll want to be ready and your job right now is to focus on how your plan will play in Duluth.  Onward and forward.


The list of Startup Weekend Upcoming Events

AARP Health Innovation@50+ LivePitch, deadline August 17th. Health Innovation@50+ takes place at the annual 2012 Life@50+ AARP National Event & Expo in New Orleans, which is attended by 20,000+ members and guests from across the U.S. and the globe. This is the best opportunity of the year for entrepreneurs and investors to capitalize on the world’s largest and fastest-growing consumer market. Qualified companies will LivePitch their products and/or services to a live audience, including representatives from the venture capitalist and angel investment community, industry experts and panel of expert judges. Additionally, pitching companies will present to AARP members, receiving instant valuable consumer feedback. Two grand prize winners (Judges winners and AARP Member winners) will be selected at the end of the day. For more information and to apply: http://health50.org/

VictorySpark, Milwaukee, WI, deadline August 22nd. This is an exclusive program designed for innovative, high-growth, Veteran-initiated startups. $20K given for 6% equity: http://www.victoryspark.com/

Women 2.0 Pitch NYC, deadline August 31st. This is an early stage startup competition for technology startups to give the companies valuable feedback and exposure in their earliest days. Competition culminates at the November 14 conference. Any web or mobile startup with less than $1M in funding and at least one female founder should apply for the chance to win $25K cash and more! For more information: http://bit.ly/K56mbS

Pitney Bowes Entrepreneurial Competition, deadline September 7th. Startup Execs and Developers looking to provide value in the digital communication realm should check out the Pitney Bowes Entrepreneurial Competition, designed to identify and drive the development of growth businesses that can leverage three of the Company’s technology areas: Spectrum® Spatial analytics and location intelligence; the secure evidencing platform; and the Connect+® web-enabled digital envelope and mail printing system.   For more information and to enter: http://bit.ly/LL2OHJ

WIBO 1st Annual Executive Summary Competition, deadline September 7th. A well developed Executive Summary can open the door and a great Pitch can help you seal the deal.  The purpose of this competition is to guide you through the process of getting your thoughts about your business out of your head and on to paper! http://bit.ly/OC9Oe0

THE NEW ENGLAND VENTURE SUMMIT Call for Top Innovators, early deadline September 12th. If you are a Startup seeking capital and/or partnerships, submit your plan for the opportunity to present at The 7th Annual New England Venture Summit, the premier venue connecting emerging growth companies with active Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, Corporate VCs and Investment Firms. A select group of 50 Top Innovators from the technology, life sciences and Clean-tech sectors will be chosen to present their breakthrough investment opportunities to an exclusive audience of Venture Capitalists, Private Investors, Investment Bankers, Corporate Investors, and Strategic Partners. To apply to present: e-mail iwant2present@youngstartup.com for an application.To nominate a company:please forward: company name, main contact at firm, contact details and why you think they should present to nominations@youngstartup.com. For more information: http://bit.ly/LjlttK

NEW  NYC Best for Business Infographic Competition, deadline September 21st. Designers, show the world why NYC is the best city for business for a chance to win $1,000 cash prize, a poster-size print of your work signed by Mayor Bloomberg, and bragging rights as the City’s top infographic designer. Infographics must incorporate the NYCEDC Dataset to be eligible. The top applicants will be selected as semifinalists and the winner will be chosen by public voting on NYCEDC.com. For more information and to apply: http://www.nycedc.com/competition

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For you edification this week:

Hey Startups, M-RGE Is Offering $1 Million of Free Coworking Space and Classes at AlleyNYC. For the next couple months or so, AlleyNYC is offering $1 million in free coworking space and Lean Startup classes through a partnership called M-RGE. Available August & September Only: http://bit.ly/NseWhU AlleyNYC was formerly associated with the Hatchery, which has since moved out due to a difference in ethos. In other words, the doctor is OUT.

Explaining Your Product. “Don’t think about how to explain your app to a user”, Chris Sacca tweeted. “Instead, think about how a user will explain it to another user.” Ok, so that fortune cookie advice was a little to facile for Mark Birch, who believes that your key questions should be can your customers succinctly describe your product and is your message confusing.  Here are four things you can put into action immediately to tackle those very questions. http://bit.ly/NrZVQw

Inside FI: Users Define a #Startups’s Product. As Ron Palmeri explains, “focus on building a great product that is aligned with the right market and the rest will follow.” http://fi.co/posts/656

Visual Marketing Is Here – 5 Ways You Can Use It To Sell Your Ideas. Less text please, more graphics – we’d rather see it than read it. http://tcrn.ch/PcI2Xp

Your leading characteristic. When people describe you or your company what is the first thing they say? What do they lead with? That’s your leading characteristic. Make sure you frame it well: http://bit.ly/RLCEeM

Ten million users is the new one million users. From Chris Dixon, and just so you know what you’re up against: http://bit.ly/Rihsgt

Founders as idea assassins, and other marketing tips from Simon Rothman. Simon was one of the very early guys at eBay and was responsible for starting eBay Motors, which ended up becoming a $14B a year global business and generating about one-third of all of eBay’s merchandise sales. He is now executive-in-residence at Greylock Venture Partners. Here are Simon’s four rules on marketing: http://bit.ly/RLDbgX

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!

Something special for you from one of our member
TechSpeak for Entrepreneurs, September 20-21st. 15% SOS code: SOS.
We are pleased to partner with Webgrrls International and invite you to attend the TechSpeak for Entrepreneurs event on September 20-21 in NYC at a discounted rate. To receive a 15% discount, use code SOS: http://bit.ly/SOS35
10 How-to Workshops in 2 Days!
1) How to create a tech plan
2) How to wireframe & prototype your idea or project
3) How to refine your ideas through user testing
4) How to price & budget your project
5) How to determine the best technology solutions for executing your project
6) How to build your technology infrastructure for scale
7) How to manage your project using agile project management techniques
8) How to hire a development team
9) How to protect yourself and your intellectual property
10) How to track what your users are doing on your site
For detailed workshop descriptions and to register, go to http://bit.ly/SOS35

That’s it from us this week and hope to see you this coming Monday evening at the SOS networking event! We know you work hard, so come join us and relax, and whatever you do, don’t forget that it is summer –  take some time to enjoy it! And now, as always, help is on the way…

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