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One of the key visions behind the Tech Inclusion conference is to create an event that allows tech companies/startups, individuals, consultants, diverse communites/organizations and thought leaders to share their solutions, lesson learned and case studies around tech diversity and inclusion. We originally set an ambitious date of June 12-13th. We opened call for speakers and reached out to key speakers and sponsors who we knew that were already doing amazing work. Since our original call for speakers, we have received over 90 call for speaker applications and continue to receive positive response from the tech community about the need for the Tech Inclusion conference. The initial feedback was great but we realized we were competing with a lot of conferences and other events around Apple’s WWDC the week of June 12-13.

Therefore we have moved the date of the Tech Inclusion Conference to September 11-12, 2015. The Tech Inclusion conference will still take place at Galvanize in San Francisco.

We also tested various pricing models for the conference, as we understand that everyone may not be able to attend due to financial reasons. We now have two pricing levels, one at $100 for Bootstrapped Entrepreneurs, Students, Non-profits and one at $300 for Series A+, Corporate Registration. For college students or if anyone would like to apply for a scholarship we have a limited amount of scholarship tickets. If interested, you can apply via the Tech Inclusion Scholarship Application form. As it takes a lot of resources to host a two data multi-track conference, we’re hopeful to make more scholarships available with sponsors support.

In the upcoming weeks we will announce more speakers to join the list from participating companies such as Google For Entrepreneurs, 500 Startups, Pinterest, Yelp and Twitter. We’re truly excited to go from just talking about diversity and inclusion in tech to show what solutions are being created and what’s working!

We would like to thank our early sponsors, Change Catalyst, Yelp, Kapor Center for Social Impact, Galvanize, Softlayer and all of our media sponsors.

TECH INCLUSION Conference, September 11-12th
Exploring innovative solutions to tech diversity and inclusion

Conference Organizers: Melinda Epler and Wayne Sutton

As the conversation about Underrepresented Minorities In Tech (URM) continues to evolve from meritocracy, to work force numbers, to can you name more than five African-American tech founders in Silicon Valley/ San Francisco Bay Area some investors acknowledge they haven’t been pitched from a “URM” and some wonder what can they do to about it. One such investor is Semil Shah, Venture Advisor to Bullpen Capital and GGV Capital and direct investor with his fund called Haystack. Semil wrote about “minorities in tech, startups, and investing via his blog and since then curated a URM Twitter list and continues to share suggested solutions via his blog

For BUILDUP Radio Episode 2 we interviewed Semil Shah about his journey from Boston to Silicon Valley, Post Seed Conference and how can underrepresented minorities in tech (URM) can build bridges to connect with investors. Take a listen below.

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Originally posted on: BuildUp Blog

At BuildUp we’re passionate about “building”, hence the name, BuildUp. We encourage founders and developers to build MVPs, iterate fast and release often. With that being said, we’re happy to announce BUILDBox by BUILDUP.

BUILDBox curates the best building resources for technology entrepreneurs, daily..

We look for the best developer resources, design resources, links, videos, frameworks, hacks, icons and inspirational articles for entrepreneurs. We’re also big fans of new mobile apps, themes, PSDs, tech events and technology products builders find useful. Entrepreneurs can up vote their favorite resource after logging in and creating a profile. If you prefer to receive a daily recap of resources in your email inbox from BUILDBox you can subscribe to the newsletter. BUILDBox was inspired by Hackernews and we like to think of it as “ProductHunt meets Launch Ticker” for Technology Entrepreneurs who love to build.

BUILDBox is built using the MeteorJS , a complete open source platform for building web and mobile apps in pure JavaScript. Along with using the Telescope community framework, hacked with with Bootstrap and designed by Wayne Sutton.

As our goal is to find the best building resources daily! We know we can’t do it alone, therefore we’re asking fellow entrepreneurs and developers to sign up and submit resources they find useful. Popular Resources will be approved. You can also suggest a link by sending us a tweet @buildboxapp.

Another goal for BUILDBox is to connect companies that are looking for amazing talent. If you’re hiring we would love to feature your job listing on our Jobs page.  Email us at for more information on how to list your position. If you’re looking for work fill out our form here and we’ll do our best to connect you with a company in our network.

We’re looking forward to helping more developers and entrepreneurs build world changing solutions with BUILDBox.

Just in case if you were wondering what does BUILDBOx stands for. BUILDBox stands for, BUILDING resources in your email inbox.  Be sure to visit the about page to learn more.


Below are some screenshots of BUILDBox.



buildbox submit


Also BUILDBox works great on mobile devices!

Photo Oct 29, 11 05 30 AM buidlbox mobile

OB-VI126_Sutton_C_20121112110313 Originally posted on the Wall Street Journal, Wayne Sutton: 3 Factors to Keep Emotionally Balanced As a Founder

Startup life is fun, it’s cool, it can be fulfilling, and impactful. Who doesn’t want to build the next WhatsApp or Instagram and have millions of people across the world using their product. Startup life has always been branded as hard and exciting. Founders follow the cult-like traditions of all-nighters to launch their product or practice their pitch to raise venture capital. Almost every part of a founder’s journey can be an emotional roller coaster. Part of the ride can be a small turn or a slow steady climb to an immediate drop or a complete 360 degree loop. The emotional ride from finding a technical co-founder, trying to get press, connecting with an investor, or pitch meeting after pitch meeting…you get the picture.

Throughout my journey of raising capital, building a team, managing personal relationships and at one point failing at each at the same time, three key factors have played a role in overcoming the emotional challenges. The gym, professional mentors and remembering the “why” kept me balanced.

The gym became my sanctuary, a place where I could go and block out everything in the world and focus on one thing…me. The gym allowed me to manage my physical health and emotional health as a way to release stress, manage depression and anxiety. With time being a major factor for many founders, going to the gym may seem like a huge loss in getting work done. Being a “night owl” I would workout late five out of seven days. My suggestion for founders is at least 30 minutes of working out at least four times a week. Always consult with your doctor before working out. If a gym may be too much for you, I suggest starting with an early morning one-mile walk/run or try the 7min workout.

See what other startup mentors have to say about their personal highs and lows.

As I look at the startup culture, if we’re honest, there’s a lot of drinking, smoking and other unhealthy behavior that leads to emotional outburst or breakdowns. These are signs of when a founder may not be emotionally stable to handle the startup life. Depending on the stage of the founder, they may already have a good workout routine, have great mentors, along with a strong reason why they started the company, but they still need to balance their emotions. We’re seeing more founders practice meditation as a way to stay emotionally healthy.

When mentoring founders, I now listen for stress signals in the categories of sleep, fitness, communication and productivity. I’m also having more conversations about empathy, culture and personal happiness. By having conversations on these topics, it allows the founders to open up about how they are really doing. I won’t settle for “killing it” when we all know a founder is one tweet away from an emotional breakdown.

Mentors are an entrepreneur’s trainer. They provide wisdom, previous experience all while knowing the founder has to make his or her own decisions and do the work. My mentors provided me council to overcome some of the challenges I faced along with tips to succeed in life. Finding mentors can be challenging for the first-time founder. If you don’t have any mentors I suggest to start attending meetups, networking events and connect with individuals who may have domain experience in your industry. Also you should connect with potential mentors on blogs, social media and through personal emails.

There is no magic pill that founders can take while on their journey through successes or failures. The emotional highs and lows of startup life for a founder are the equivalent of being a boxer. A founder must train like a fighter, knowing the risk of being knocked out cold and losing it all. The founder must hold on to the “why” and use the why to drive them during the tough times.

During the lowest of the low times, founders must remember the “why”: Why are they sacrificing their time away from family and friends? Why are they spending hours and hours working to build a product that people may not even use? Why take the risk? Whatever the “why” is during this time of rock bottom, founders must keep the “why” near to their mind, heart and soul to keep moving forward.

As for me, my “why” is to empower entrepreneurs to change the world using technology. I love seeing innovation happen. I love working with founders going from idea to launch. I love building communities and products. I’m also passionate about working toward a non-biased, inclusive technology ecosystem. Those “whys”, along with my son, keep me going.

Today I’m pleased to announce the public beta release of PitchTo. PitchTo is a dedicated platform for managing and rating founder pitches and provides a way for entrepreneurs to get feedback on their product or pitch.

While working with founders on their pitch deck either preparing for demo day or investor meetings I saw an ongoing theme. While in person feedback is great, founders would also like a better way to get feedback on their pitch from their network. Two more areas where I saw an opportunity for PitchTo is talking with investors about how they keep track of all their companies they see at pitch events, one on meetings, hackathons and demo days. Ironically, most investors were either using a note taking application like Evernote, google docs or good old pen and paper. The other space where PitchTo could be used is judging hackathons, pitch contest or startup weekends. Surprisely, a lot of the hackathons and pitch contest still use a pen and paper rating system such as in the photo below.

With PitchTo investors, pitch event judges can easily rate pitches and share the rating via email and or on social media sites. But PitchTo is not only for investors. For founders looking to get feedback on their pitch deck or pitch video, you can upload one or both to your profile and ask for feedback or if you’re pitching at an event, ask the audience to use PitchTo to rate your pitch. My thought has always been, during a pitch event or hackathon, it would be helpful for a founder to be able to collect feedback from the audience and not just from the judges.

PitchTo also has with a built in pitch score algorithm based off of nine pitch data points. The PitchTo Score is based on my experience working with founders on their pitches and researching with investors, venture capital firms and angel investment groups. The goal is to standardize how individual pitches are rated using all of the same data points in the decision making process of rating pitches and deciding investments.

The Nine Core Pitch Data Points
Founder: Does the founder has what it takes operate a success business?
Business Model: Does the company have a hockey stick style business model?
Presentation: How well did the founder present their pitch?
Competition Scale: Does the company have a lot of competition? It ranges from none to a crowded market.
Has The Company Found Customer Validation? Does the company have traction or are they still figuring things out?
Size of the Market: What is the big opportunity in terms of revenue, or user growth?
Sentiment: How did the pitch make you feel?
Would You Invest: A simple yes or no.
Would You Use This Product: A simple yes or no.

Additional Pitch Data Points
Rate The Concept Being Pitched: What problem are they trying to solve?
Rate The Team: Is it a “A+” team?
Rate The Design: How does the product user experience and user interface look?
Rate The Originality of the Company: Has this idea been seen/done before?
Overall Polish of the Product the Demo: What was the completion rate of the product during the demo?
Rate The Key Differentiation aka the Secret Sauce: Does this company has something special to increase their chance of success?

PitchTo is still in beta and I’m excited to hear feedback on how to make it even better.

You can join PitchTo at

startupvaluation infographic via / hat tip VentureBeat



How Startup Funding Works from Funders and Founders co-founder Anna Vital does a great job of visualizing the split of equity at different stages of a company’s life.

A hypothetical startup will get about $15,000 from family and friends, about $200,000 from an angel investor three months later, and about $2 Million from a VC another six months later. If all goes well. See how funding works in this infographic:

Is dilution bad? No, because your pie is getting bigger with each investment. But, yes, dilution is bad, because you are losing control of your company. So what should you do? Take investment only when it is necessary. Only take money from people you respect. (There are other ways, like buying shares back from employees or the public, but that is further down the road.)

via Funders and Founders