Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2011-07-15
Founder Feedback gives you insights from the startup trenches. In a guest blog post that ran on Women 2.0 yesterday, Steffany Boldrini (Founder of Ecobold) shares five crucial lessons she learned while starting her company, in addition to tips she discovered in the process.
Read the full story on Women 2.0 here. Below is an excerpt:
- "Lesson #1: It takes time to find the right co-founder. Try this: Focus on meetups specific to where your ideal co-founder would be, if you’re building a gaming starup, try to find them at a gaming event or meetup...
- Lesson #2: N-e-v-e-r give up. Try this: When things are going wrong, take a break and think “How can we get over this?” instead of “Why is this happening to me again?” You’ll be amazed at the ideas you’ll come up with...
- Lesson #3: Welcome the opportunities that knock on your door. Try this: When someone asks if anyone has any announcements to make at the end of a meetup or event, always go say something. You will be shocked at the number of people who will remember you, who will come talk to you and the things that will come out of that simple move...
- Lesson #4: An incubator is a must. After graduating from the Founder Institute, I highly recommend that anyone serious about their startup joins an incubator. You will learn what you’d learn by going through 2 or more startups...
- Lesson #5: Being a woman doesn't make a difference. Once someone asked Kim Polese if she has ever felt that there were problems or discrimination throughout her career because she was a woman. She said something like “as long as you do your work, you won’t have any problems”. I agree with her 100%."
Ecobold, a marketplace for natural, non-toxic and sustainable products, is a Graduate of the Silicon Valley Founder Institute. Follow Steffany Boldrini and Ecobold on Twitter at @Ecobold. PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2011-07-14
Inside FI gives you exclusive access inside the training sessions of the Founder Institute. To stay updated, follow us on Twitter.
Most startups don't have much, if any, money to spend on marketing and growing their audience. However, as Rajesh Setty explains in the video below, startups do have one asset that they can market for free - knowledge.
Rajesh Setty is an author, investor, and serial entrepreneur, and below is his lecture on "Thought Leadership Marketing" at the Silicon Valley Founder Institute. In the talk Rajesh explains how he stumbled upon thought leadership marketing while running sales at a cash-starved startup, and how the low conversion cost and barrier to entry makes this method particularly useful for early stage companies. He also provides a clear, step by step path to "becoming the default" thought leader in your market in order to grow your audience.
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2011-07-08
Inside FI gives you exclusive access inside the training sessions of the Founder Institute. To stay updated, follow us on Twitter.
One of the early topics in the Founder Institute curriculum is "Startup Research". Below are the video and slides of a Startup Research lesson to the Silicon Valley program by Adeo Ressi, Founder of the Founder Institute.
The talk provides an overview of how the character of different markets affects the reality of operation, how good research is critical to helping a founder understand both the journey and the destination, and how founders cannot escape the realities of the market that they are in. It is a very informative lesson and provides many practical tips for performing diligent market research before diving into a market.
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2011-06-21
As a Co-Founder of several companies, an angel investor in several more, and Co-Maintainer of two great resources for entrepreneurs - AngelList and Venture Hacks - Naval Ravikant has a unique view of the startup and investing landscape. That's why we asked him to speak at our Founder Showcase event last week in San Francisco to almost 500 founders and investors, and he did not disappoint.
In a great speech appropriately titled "The Anatomy of the Fundable Startup," Naval broke down the 5 main qualities of an "exceptional startup,” in the following order: (1) Traction, (2) Team, (3) Product, (4) Social Proof, (5) Pitch/ Presentation. And while all these qualities are important, Naval explained, the most important thing is to understand that “investors are trying to find the exceptional outcomes, so they are looking for something exceptional about the company. Instead of trying to do everything well (traction, team, product, social proof, pitch, etc), do one thing exceptional. As a startup you have to be exceptional in at least one regard.”
Naval’s talk is a must watch for any technology entrepreneur or angel investor. Click here to watch the full video at the Founder Institute website.
And remember, Applications for the Summer 2011 Silicon Valley Founder Institute, which is led by Adeo Ressi, are open until Wednesday June 22nd. If you could benefit from expert training and support to launch a technology company, apply today. Participants are not required to quit their day job.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2011-06-24
At our 7th Founder Showcase on Wednesday in San Francisco, Mark Suster, Partner of GRP Partners and Writer of Both Sides of the Table, gave a great Keynote Speech titled "Getting Funded in a Frothy Market."
In the talk he goes on record saying that, "Duh, we're in a bubble," and that entrepreneurs need to get funding now so they can survive the cycle. In normal funding cycles, it can take 3-5 months to raise capital - but in this cycle "it seems like that's the number of days it takes." And, "When the hor dourve tray is passed, take two, and put a third in your pocket... You don't know when it will be back around." He goes on to describe the best methods to raise capital in this "frothy" market, because, "When the party ends, everybody goes home. But that's the most awarding time to be an entrepreneur - provided that you have money."
Some other notable quotes;
- "Nobody at the party likes the sober guy telling everybody how stupid they're being... I don't want to tell you that the party is going to end, but it is."
- "We're in a bubble, and you can quote me on that."
- "The best thing that's happened in our industry is the emergence of micro-VC's, or seed-stage funds. This the best source for most early stage companies."
- "There is no such thing as a "Super Angel." That is marketing BS. You're an angel is if you're investing your own money. You're a VC if you're investing other people's money. VC's have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize value for their investors. As an angel you have a right to have passion projects."
- "It is a myth that you are going to raise $500k and build a billion dollar company. I'm not saying it can't happen, but you can also win the lottery."
- "In the era of social networks, if you can't figure out how to get access to a VC, hang up your cleats now. You don't pass the IQ test."
- "VC's want the 4 Ms: Management, Market, Money (we want to own enough of your company to make a difference), and Momentum."
- "The decreasing number of VC's is a ticking time bomb... or a better analogy: a brick wall."
- "Go get yourself funded... In the last 3 cycles the companies that didn't raise money were not the ones still around to tell the story."
You can watch the full video at the links below:
The Founder Showcase is hosted by the Founder Institute, which is accepting applications to the Silicon Valley program until next Wednesday, June 22nd. Click here to apply.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by jonnycombust on 2011-06-05
Mark Suster, General Partner at GRP Ventures and Writer at "Both Sides of the Table", is keynoting our upcoming Founder Showcase event on June 15th. Today he previewed his talk with an editorial published on TechCrunch. Here is an excerpt from his bullish article:
"It’s OK to try and shoot for the “top end of normal” for the market conditions. In 2011, as a startup company, if you can generate lots of demand you can definitely raise an A round of capital (say $3 million) at a $7 or 8 million pre-money valuation or slightly higher, whereas just two years ago you would have struggled. That’s fine. That’s the deal you get when you’re raising in a good market for startup financing....
So my advice: go ahead and ask for a valuation that 2 years ago wouldn’t have been likely. Use competition to make sure you get a fair price. Raise a slightly higher round than you would have previously, but keep some amount as a strategic reserve. Make sure that when you need to raise your next round of funding that you are able to show an uptick in valuation that is important for new investor confidence, and to maintain great relations with your early investors."
Tickets will sell out this week - click here for more information.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by donAdeo on 2011-05-28
A number of articles and programs have come out proclaiming a peak age for entrepreneurship and romanticizing the young entrepreneurs: http://fndri.com/kRgxiL, http://fndri.com/jFy8dJ, and http://fndri.com/kwBAhy, among others. See our full analysis here: http://fndri.com/lKSY0Q
It does not take but one minute to look around the world and prove any thesis of a peak tech founder age incorrect. There are countless entrepreneurs over the age of 30, including Reid Hoffman (age 35 in 2002), Evan Williams of Twitter (age 35 in 2007), Mark Pincus of Zynga (age 41 in 2007), Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post (age 54 in 2005), among many others.
In order to identify the traits of successful entrepreneurs, the Founder Institute has conducted a battery of proprietary personality and aptitude tests on over 3,000 applicants worldwide, and then carefully tracked the progress of our nearly 1,000 enrolled founders and 350 graduates. Research scientists employed by the Institute have examined the results of the successful founders and the less successful cases.
The research shows that an older age is actually a better predictor of entrepreneurial success, and that three other traits also correlate strongly to success: strong fluid intelligence, high openness and moderate agreeableness.
Anybody at any age can break any molds put forward by “experts." We have romanticized the idea of a young founder because, well, it’s a great story, but these stories are not the norm. In the end, classic biases of gender, race, and age need to be discarded for a real science of success.
Full Story on TechCrunch: http://fndri.com/lKSY0QPRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2011-05-12
With the investment and startup landscape quickly changing, we're excited to announce that our next Founder Showcase, scheduled for June 15th in San Francisco, will feature Keynote Speeches from two of today's most influential voices on venture capital: Mark Suster and Naval Ravikant.
Mark Suster is a General Partner at GRP Ventures, founded and sold two large companies, and writes a very informative blog on the investor/ entrepreneur dynamic called Both Sides of the Table. In addition, he hosts the great weekly webcast This Week in Venture Capital, and is a very highly rated investor on TheFunded (check out his profile here).
Naval Ravikant is a Co-Founder of AngelList - an angel investment platform that our last Keynote Speaker, George Zachary, called "the next NASDAQ." Naval also Co-Founded VentureHacks, Epinions.com, and Vast.com, and has invested in companies such as Twitter, FourSquare, Plancast, Heyzap, and Disqus.
The 7th Founder Showcase will be our largest event to date – with over 400 in attendance. In addition to food, drinks, and our great speakers, ten startups chosen by members of TheFunded.com will compete in an entertaining pitch competition. There are 60 companies vying for the 10 pitching slots right now - so head over to the Showcase Section of TheFunded and vote for who you think deserves to get on stage. Voting ends this Sunday, May 15th.
We hope to see you at the event. The last four Showcases have sold out, so register today at http://foundershowcase.com/tickets. Use the discount code 'friends_of_funded' to get 15% off.
We're also giving away a free Demo Table ($375 value) to somebody who helps us spread the word. Simply tweet or FB a message with the hashtag #FounderShowcase and the URL http://bit.ly/9OlVo8, and, on Friday, June 10th, we will randomly select one winner, announcing the person on our @founding Twitter account.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2011-04-15
Last year's Denver Founder Institute graduated 15 strong companies, thanks in large part to great Mentors like Jim Franklin (CEO of SendGrid). Jim is taking a larger role in the 2011 program, co-leading the semester with Jon Nordmark (Founder of eBags.com).
Below is a video and slidedeck from Jim's training session on Startup HR. In it, he describes the ideal roles that need to be filled in a startup, how to divide founder equity and options across your company, and how hiring and firing based on values is key.
Learn more about the Denver Founder Institute, and recruit potential co-founders at our free "Denver Pitch Bootcamp" event this Tuesday evening, April 19th. Space is very limited - register today at http://denverpitchbootcamp.eventbrite...
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2011-04-14
The Founder Institute will be hosting a free Pitch Bootcamp on Tuesday, April 19th from 6:00 - 9:00pm in downtown Denver. Join us for food, networking, informative talks, and pitch practice sessions with two of Denver's leading entrepreneurs;
- Jon Nordmark, CEO of UsingMiles.com and Founder of eBags.com
- Mike Stemple, CEO of Mosoro and Co-Founder of SkinIt
What is the Agenda?
This is a hands-on, intensive 3-hour workshop. The evening begins with talks by Jon Nordmark and Mike Stemple that are designed to help you refine your skills. Then, you pitch in front of both experts and your peers to receive constructive feedback, and make connections with other like-minded entrepreneurs. The evening format is based on the best practices of the Founder Institute, the largest pre-seed incubator in the world.
Who Should Attend?
- Anyone who has an idea or an early-stage company that wants to improve their pitch.
- Anyone that is interested in joining a new startup as a cofounder or early team member.
- Anyone interested in learning more about the Founder Institute.
Space is extremely limited, so register today at http://denverpitchbootcamp.eventbrite...
Applications to the Denver Founder Institute are also being accepted until May 1st. To launch your dream company in Denver, apply today.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2011-03-31
The Early Registration Deadline for the Founder Showcase is tomorrow, April 1st. This is your last chance to get half-priced tickets ($60) to the event and there are only about 15 left:
The 7th Founder Showcase is scheduled for Wednesday, June 15th, at Adobe San Francisco, and will be our largest event to date – with over 400 in attendance. This is TheFunded's quarterly startup pitch and networking event, and once again we are expecting a packed house of investors, founders, and press. The event is designed to democratize access to Silicon Valley, so tickets are affordable, and the Pitch Competition is FREE.
If you would like an opportunity to pitch on stage, enter the Pitch Competition at the link below. Over $3mm has been raised by contestants with investors they met at the event - including a $700k round from the last Showcase Champion, Topicmarks, which was led by a member of the Judging Panel, Aaron Patzer (read the story here). The competition is completely free, and any company less than 2 years old and with less than $500k in funding can apply at the link below.
Posted by donAdeo on 2011-03-05
TheFunded and the Founder Institute want to change the gender divide among startup founders. Today, most figures say that less than 7% of technology companies are founded by females, and some studies show the figure to be closer to 2%. Less than 10% of professional investors are female, and only about 11% of U.S. firms with venture-capital backing in 2009 had current or former female CEOs or founders (Dow Jones VentureSource).
It's time to balance the startup gender divide. 16% of the 290 companies launched by the Founder Institute have female Founders, and over 30% of the founders in the newest Los Angeles and San Francisco chapters are female. Great female founders will create opportunities for more female investors, more female team members, and greater female participation in the fast growing world of high-technology startups.
Again, less than 7% of technology startups are led by women. We are not going to sit on the sidelines. Our goal is to change this. Here are our plans.
Founder Institute Announces the Female Founder Fellowship
More female applicants to the Founder Institute means that more female-led companies will graduate. The Institute is currently on pace to graduate over 600 companies in 2011 across our 17 locations. If we double our percentage of female founders to 30%, we will graduate 175 female tech founders in 2011. We have 35% female participation in San Francisco after announcing this program, and over 20% in Los Angeles.
In order to encourage more female applicants to the Institute, the Institute has announced the Female Founder Fellowship program, which will provide extraordinary female applicants the opportunity to launch their dream company with the Founder Institute's pre-seed incubation program, free of charge. The Institute will subsidize the Course Fee for the most extraordinary female applicant in each of our ten Spring Semesters, and any female who applies is automatically eligible.
Applications for San Diego, Berlin, Brussels, Paris are due this Sunday, March 6th at at http://founderinstitute.com/join/tf. Applications for Washington D.C., New York City, Boston, and Singapore are also being accepted. If you know a female who is interested in starting a technology company, or if you'd like to spread the word across social media, please use the link below;
Our partner Women 2.0 also covered this program at the link below. Women 2.0's mission is to increase the number of female founders in technology startups.
This is not about providing special treatment - the majority of applicants to the Founder Institute do not get accepted, and this will always be the case because we employ a quantitative Predictive Admissions Test in our application process. The Female Founder Fellowship is simply designed to double the number of female applicants to the Founder Institute, which should more than double the number of female graduates - getting us to our goal of 175.
Thank you for your support. Let's make some change, and mark this as the turning point.
- The Founding MemberPRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2011-02-18
Less than two years ago, we internally discussed different ways to help the many applicants to TheFunded that were not qualified for membership (~60%). Rather than create a separate, earlier-stage site, we decided to create a training program to help inexperienced entrepreneurs build a meaningful and enduring technology company. After crowdsourcing the initial curriculum from the CEO and Founder members of the TheFunded, the Founder Institute was born.
We’ve now launched over 250 technology companies in over 15 cities worldwide, and are getting ready to kick-off our first chapter in San Francisco. With the Founder Institute’s pre-seed incubator program, entrepreneurs can launch their dream company with the help of our expert training, feedback, and support – and they’re not even required to quit their day job. Confirmed Mentors for the San Francisco chapter include;
- Adeo Ressi, Founder of TheFunded.com and the Founder Institute
- David Sacks, Founder & CEO of Yammer and Geni
- Garrett Camp, CEO of StumbleUpon
- Jared Goralnick, Founder & CEO of AwayFind
- Jay Jamison, Blue Run Ventures
- Jonathan Abrams, Founder of Friendster and FoundersDen
- Justin Moore, CEO of Axcient
- Philip Kaplan, Founder of AdBrite, F’d Company, and Blippy
- Russ Fradin, CEO of Adify
If you know anybody interested in launching a technology company that could benefit from expert training and mentorship, please encourage them to apply at the link below. The deadline is this Sunday, Feb. 20th.
Posted by The Founding Member on 2011-01-21
From January 17th until January 21, there was a disruption in the anonymous Membership application system, and all Membership applications were lost as a result. If you applied for Membership during this period, you will need to re-apply.
My sincerest apologies for any inconvenience. I understand and appreciate that you are all busy CEOs. Thank you for your understanding.
- Adeo Ressi, The Founding MemberPRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2011-01-13
We're happy to announce that George Zachary, General Partner of Charles River Ventures, will be speaking and judging pitches at the next Founder Showcase on February 1st in Mountain View, CA. George is one of Silicon Valley's brightest investors, having led early investments in Twitter, Yammer, Scribd, Shutterfly, and more.
George recently did an interview on Daniel Odio’s blog (recommended, by the way), describing his journey as a young entrepreneur “living on uncooked pasta” and “pulling eviction notices off our door before doing demos,” to his new focus on seed investments and his thoughts on what lies ahead. You can watch the full video below, but here are some interesting nuggets;
- “Investors are not going to make a company. A lot of that is just marketing material. But investors can screw up a company.”
- “There are a lot of new angel investors, and they’re saying things that are very disturbing. They’re saying things that some venture investors said in 2000. Things like ‘someone will buy it – how will I lose money?’”
- “Probably 80% of all angel funded companies this year will go to zero in value (in 12-24 months) – they will return less than the amount of capital invested.”
- “If you want to be a successful angel investor, there are two real strategies. Go after high profile companies and only work on 2, 3, or 4 investments – or take an index fund strategy where you make 10-30 investments a year.”
- “Only 30 out of the 300 active venture firms have profitable returns… Eight of 4,000 venture backed companies a year product over 80% of all the return. If you’re not in with one of those eight, you’re not likely to have a good fund.”
- “AngelList could be building what becomes the next NASDAQ.”
The Founder Showcase is TheFunded's quarterly startup pitch and networking event, and once again we are expecting a packed house of over 300 investors, founders, and members of the press. The event is designed to democratize access to Silicon Valley, so tickets are affordable, and the Pitch Competition is free. TheFunded readers get 15% off using the discount code 'TF_members'. Register at the link below today - the last four events have sold out, and just a little more than 100 tickets remain.
Right now we have over 50 startups vying for a spot on stage. Take a moment to review their pitches, and vote for your favorites at the link below. Your votes can help a bootstrapping startup get invaluable exposure to investors and the press in Silicon Valley.
We are also giving away one free exhibit table at the event with two tickets ($350 value) to someone who helps us spread the word. Just Tweet a message with the hashtag #foundershowcase and the URL http://bit.ly/9OlVo8, and, on Friday, January 28th, we will randomly select one winner, announcing the person on @thefunded account. A sample message is below.
- #FounderShowcase coming up on Feb. 1 with @georgezachary. Silicon Valley's Leading Pitch and Networking Event. http://bit.ly/9OlVo8
We hope you'll join us for another great event on February 1st.
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2010-12-17
The Early Registration Deadline for the Founder Showcase is this Sunday, December 19th at 11:59pm PST. There are a limited number of half-price tickets available before the deadline ($50), so purchase your tickets today at the link below.
The Founder Showcase is scheduled for Tuesday, February 1st in Mountain View, CA. This is TheFunded's quarterly startup pitch and networking event, and once again we are expecting a packed house of over 300 investors, founders, and members of the press. The event is designed to democratize access to Silicon Valley, so tickets are affordable, and the Pitch Competition is FREE.
Applications to Pitch on Stage at the event are also now open. The competition is completely free, and any company less than 2 years old and with less than $500k in funding can apply:
Right now we have over 40 startups vying for a spot on stage. Take a moment to review their pitches, and vote for your favorites at the link below. Your votes can help a bootstrapping startup get invaluable exposure to investors and the press in Silicon Valley.
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2010-12-09
The next Founder Showcase is scheduled for Tuesday, February 1st in Mountain View, CA. The Founder Showcase is TheFunded's quarterly startup pitch and networking event, and once again we are expecting a packed house of over 300 investors, founders, and members of the press. The event is designed to democratize access to Silicon Valley, so tickets are affordable, and the Pitch Competition is FREE.
Founders and CEOs can get half priced Early Registration tickets - only $50 - if you register by Sunday, Dec. 19th. There are only a limited number of tickets available at this price, so purchase your tickets today at the link below. The last 3 events have completely sold out.
Applications to Pitch on Stage at the event are also now open. The competition is completely free, and any company less than 2 years old and with less than $500k in funding can apply:
We hope you'll join us for this great event!PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2010-12-07
Earlier this week, President Obama declared today, November 19th, National Entrepreneur's Day. In his words, entrepreneurs "power the engine of our Nation's economy. These intrepid individuals translate their vision into products and services that keep America strong and competitive on a global scale, and build opportunity and prosperity across our country."
What can you do to celebrate National Entrepreneur's Day? In short, pay it forward. We all get busy, but quite often just a few minutes of your time can make a huge impact on someone else's success. Today is the day to;
1. Finally respond to that email, return that call, provide that intro, or review that plan that an aspiring entrepreneur sent you. We all have them buried somewhere in a long list of priorities, but today is the day to find the time.
2. Contribute content to TheFunded. We now have over 15,000 members, and your honest feedback, advice, and ratings forms a powerful depository of information for entrepreneurs to access as they build their companies.
3. Help aspiring entrepreneurs take the first step towards launching their company. The Founder Institute, our startup accelerator and entrepreneur training program, is currently accepting applications in Seattle (due this Sunday, November 21st) and Boston (due January 16th, 2011). If you know somebody in those cities who wants to start a technology company, forward them the link. We've already helped launch 193 companies in 10 cities worldwide.
4. Visit Kiva.org, a microlending site whose mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. They have already facilitated well over $100mm in loans, and even a small loan can make a big difference.
Happy Entrepreneur's Day - and Rock On!PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by donAdeo on 2010-11-03
At our last Founder Showcase event, a number of investors complained to me about the weak elevator pitches they were hearing from the entrepreneurs in attendance. I then went on stage and explained how to pitch a startup correctly, focusing on a one sentence format. The formula that I presented is easy, but most entrepreneurs manage to screw it up, nonetheless. Most people add useless adjectives, define their audience too vaguely, and have a weak value proposition with no secret sauce.
How much better would the world be if every startup could explain their business well in one sentence?
In the video below, I outline an easy way to nail the opening to your pitch. It's what I like to call, "Madlibs for Pitching";
THE MADLIBS FORMAT:
My company, _________,
is developing __a defined offering__
to help __a defined audience__
__solve a problem__
with __secret sauce__.
TechCrunch did an article on this formula earlier today as well.
Need more help? If you are in the Silicon Valley or Seattle areas, I'm hosting free hands-on workshops to help improve your "Startup Ideation" and pitching;
Silicon Valley Ideation Bootcamp
Friday, November 5th, from 6 to 8 PM
Seattle Ideation Bootcamp
Wednesday, November 10th, from 6 to 8 PM
Posted by donAdeo on 2010-10-26
BreezyPrint, who makes software that lets you print and fax from mobile devices, won the Grand Prize at the Founder Showcase in Mountain View last week. Jared Hansen, Founder and CEO of BreezyPrint, got the most votes from the sold out 315 person crowd and the majority vote of the Judging Panel, winning $2500 cash, a slot on stage at the Keiretsu Forum EXPO, a free 6 month trial to the Position2 Brand Monitor System, a $250 credit for a market research survey on AskYourTargetMarket.com, an HP Notebook Companion Projector, and a free ticket to BizTechDay San Francisco.
BreezyPrint is a graduate of the Founder Institute Silicon Valley Chapter. You can get a free trial at BreezyPrint.com, or watch the video of their winning pitch here;
Micromobs, a group messaging service, was the Runner-Up.
Mike Maples Jr. of FLOODGATE also gave a great speech on "Thunder Lizards" and business model pivots - a must watch for any first time entrepreneur. The video is below, and TechCrunch did a great write up here.
The next Founder Showcase will be scheduled for January, 2011. We will be announcing the final date and a limited number of half-priced tickets in the next few weeks - to get this update and keep track of the event, like us on Facebook.
Thanks to everyone who attended.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by donAdeo on 2010-10-14
Please accept my invitation to the next Founder Showcase on October 21st, featuring Mike Maples of FLOODGATE, currently our fifth ranked fund and top Super Angel. There will also be ten companies presenting (all members of TheFunded), approximately 50 investors, and additional networking time. It will be the best Showcase, yet.
Maples spoke at our exclusive "Future of Funding" event this February, encouraging everyone to back "Thunder Lizards." These are small and disruptive startups that require little money, but are "hatched by atomic eggs" and eat the competition like Godzilla. The video is here (http://www.vimeo.com/9602107), and there are some important points to highlight in the current venture capital downturn:
1. Despite popular belief, a startup looking to disrupt a big industry does not necessarily need a ton of venture capital. Maples cites Microsoft ($1 MM in funding) and eBay ($5 MM) as proof that small startups with little funding can still have proportionally huge exits. "I would argue that the vast majority of truly great companies have done it that way" he says, calling these companies "beer slammers," as opposed to the majority of Silicon Valley VCs and entrepreneurs, who tend to be "wine sippers."
2. A lot of people cite Marc Andreesen's saying that if everybody likes an idea, then it's probably not radical enough to be worth pursuing. Maples provides further context to this adage. If other people think an idea is ridiculous, then that startup will have a lot of freedom and room to experiment and grow before any competition comes forward. Conversely, if everyone is jumping into a hot sector, that startup will face a lot of "mindless competition" ("me too" companies) and overfunding in the space ("me too" financing rounds). All of the copycats ultimately eat into a startup's profits. With the overall pot of available VC money down to historically low levels, both entrepreneurs and investors need to look for the unconventional to find the big win, more than ever before.
Use the discount code "TF_members" to get 20% off tickets and inexpensive pitch tables at http://www.foundershowcase.com/tickets. TheFunded will also give away one free table at the event with two tickets to someone who helps us spread the word. Just Tweet a message with the hashtag #foundershowcase and the URL http://bit.ly/9OlVo8, and, on Friday, October 15th, we will randomly select one winner, announcing the person on @thefunded account. A sample message is below.
- The #foundershowcase is coming up on 10/21. Silicon Valley's Leading Startup Pitch and Networking Event. http://bit.ly/9OlVo8
Thanks for your support, and we hope to see you there.
- The Founding MemberPRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by donAdeo on 2010-10-08
The Founder Showcase Pitch Competition is coming to an end this Sunday evening, October 10th. We have close to 40 company pitches vying for 10 spots to present on stage at the Founder Showcase on October 21st in Silicon Valley.
This competition is one of the closest we have ever had. In fact, right now only 4 votes separate over half of the companies in the competition. Do your part and vote for your favorite pitches today;
Over $2mm has been raised at previous Showcase events, and we are once again expecting a packed house of over 300 investors, founders, and members of the press. Your votes make a real difference.
Thanks, and good luck to the participating companies!PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by The Founding Member on 2010-09-07
In just one year we've grown the Founder Showcase to be Silicon Valley's Premier Startup Pitch and Networking Event. The winner of each event has received funding from an investor they met at the event, and countless other presenting companies have received funding as well - over $2mm in total. The best part for us, however, is that all the companies presenting at the event and getting financed are members of TheFunded.
The 5th Founder Showcase is coming up on Thursday, Oct. 21st in Mountain View, CA. We previously declared 2010 "The Year of the Angel", so we're very happy to announce that Super Angel Mike Maples Jr., Managing Partner of FLOODGATE and early investor in Twitter and Digg, will be speaking and judging pitches at the event. In all we expect over 300 in attendance, include over 40 investors. Check out this video recapping the last event, and reserve your tickets today. The last three Showcases have completely sold out.
Applications to pitch on stage at the event are also now open. The competition is free, and any company less than 2 years old and with less than $500k in funding can apply. Click here for more information.
Finally, we've also teamed up with BizTechDay, the largest and most impactful business and technology entrepreneur conference, to offer technology entrepreneurs access to both events on October 21st and 23rd in the Bay Area for a reduced bundled price. By attending the Showcase and BizTechDay, you will meet and learn from the brightest minds and most promising startups in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Only 25 bundled tickets are available, so reserve yours today.
We hope to see you at the Founder Showcase.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Marc Huey on 2010-08-27
The San Jose Mercury News reported recently on the grim numbers released by the National Venture Capital Association on returns on venture capital investments. 10-year returns turned negative toward the end of 2009 and are even worse in the first quarter of 2010. The 10-year return is a significant benchmark of performance in the venture capital industry. It is reported that the NVCA numbers show “venture capital funds returned 25.8 percent over 10 years for the quarter ending March 2009” and “for the quarter ending March 2010, that return had fallen to minus 3.9 percent.”
Furthermore, these numbers indicate a more serious problem in the venture capital financial model. The venture capital model is built on a minimum number of portfolio companies holding IPOs to make up for other portfolio companies which fail. With less and less companies going public, it is closer to impossible for venture firms to meet their required returns for investors and sustain their current business model. This translates into a shift in Silicon Valley and ultimately affecting job creation and the overall economy.
The article points to an end of the vneture capital industry. Is it really an end or just a realignment? And are IPOs headed for a come back or will smaller M&As proliferate in the years to come? Article found can be found here.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by The Founding Member on 2010-08-05
SeePort, a company that makes "video window" wifi devices and software that connect people with live video chat, won the Grand Prize at the Founder Showcase in Mountain View last night. Lauren Elliot, Founder and CEO of SeePort, won $2,500 in cash, a place on stage at the DEMO conference, free pitching slots at the Keiretsu Forum and free services from Cooley and oDesk by gathering the most votes from the sold out 315 person audience and final approval from the judging panel. There was a tense moment with a near tie from the realtime audience voting system provided by myQaa. The on stage Showcase judges were George Zachary of Charles River Ventures, Rebecca Lynn of Morgenthaler Ventures, Jed Katz of Javelin Venture Partners, Jason Calacanis of Mahalo and Sarah Lacy from TechCrunch. Here is a video of their winning presentation:
SeePort develops software and hardware solutions to enable video telepresence for the mass market. Their standalone and consumer-friendly devices cost less than $200 and are easy to configure through a touch screen interface, providing a video window between grandparents and grandchildren, long distance relationships, friends and business applications. The device looks like a digital picture frame and is designed to interoperate with FaceTime and other video phone applications.
SeePort has functioning prototypes and plans to release the product by CES 2011. They have also formed a marketing and sales partnership with a major multinational US corporation that produces imaging, photographic materials and equipment. SeePort is a graduate of the Bay Area Founder Institute program, and the first graduate to win the Founder Showcase.
"Winning the Founder Showcase was incredible, and I am very grateful to Adeo and the Founder Institute," says Lauren Elliot, Founder and CEO of SeePort. "The response from the venture community to SeePort has been overwhelming."
Aprendi Learning, which provides software for universities to build, grow and manage large online classes and degree programs, came in a close second as the official Runner-Up.
A limited number of half-price tickets are on sale here for the next event in Mountain View on October 21st, 2010. EnjoyPRIVATE: Members Only