Archives For Startups

Tweet: Hierarchy of Priorities For Startups

Today I had a chance to meet Glen McGowan, founder of Buckets Academy. I was introduced to Glen via a mutual friend. Glen shared that he recently relocated to San Francisco from LA.

We talked about the Bay Area tech culture, fund raising, sports and how he’s making an impact with Buckets Academy.

It was a great pleasure to meet Glen and I’m looking forward to following his journey in tech.

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Originally posted on: BuildUp Blog

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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 jobs@buildup.vc 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.

 

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buildbox submit

 

Also BUILDBox works great on mobile devices!

Photo Oct 29, 11 05 30 AMbuidlbox mobile

Orginally posted on BUILDUP.vc – The Importance of Accelerators / Incubators and Inclusion for Tech Startups

wayne sutton on cctv america

On Friday, July 25th I was asked to join Shraysi Tandon on CCTV America to discuss the role of technology focused startup incubators and accelerators. The interview was part of a story CCTV was covering on the launch of Grand Central Tech startup accelerator in New York.

During the six minute interview we talked about the role incubators play in the success for startups, why so few Women Who Code and tech trends. I was prepared to answer seven questions covering incubators, business school vs incubators, tech trends and more.

You can watch the full CCTV America interview “Wayne Sutton on incubators and their impact on the startup scene” below.


@CCTV_america Interview on incubators and their impact on the startup scene


Below are my full answers and how BUILDUP.vc plays a role in the startup echo system and tech trends.

buildup.vc

1) How important are incubators and accelerators for tech startups?

The role of incubators and accelerators have been key driving force of success for the entire technology startup ecosystem. Both can provide priceless value to various mentors, allow founders to receive expert product feedback, gain relationships with would be hard to access investors, provide funding and an opportunity to pitch to investors.

Depending on the stage of a startup or experience of the founder, incubators and accelerators can extend a timeline for a startup to reach product market fit.

Incubators and accelerators also help prepare founders for the entrepreneurship journey and can reduce the chance of failure.

2) Would it be fair to say that being a part of a tech accelerator is the vital ingredient for startup success?

No, it would not be fair to say being part of a tech accelerator is vital for success because of all the variables in a founder/startup journey. But being a part the right tech accelerator can increase the chance of success for most startups.

For example these are some of the variables that could affect the success of a startup. Stage/experience of the founders
Product / Target audience
Ability to fund raise
The size of the founders network
Running capital
Location

Knowing all the variables of success for startups is one of the reasons why at BUILDUP we’re focused on mentorship and access for early stage founders. Along with rethinking the entire accelerator model to provide the best resources and opportunity for startups to succeed.

3) Some industry insiders say to be a successful tech entrepreneur, it’s probably more valuable to join a tech incubator then go to business school – do you agree?

I’ve heard this debate over and over. If you look at the job market, debt from going to college, the “startup stories” around Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs as dropouts it sounds like joining a technology incubator is the golden ticket to success and you will learn all the skills you need.

That is just not true.

One absolute in the debate of incubator vs business school is that no classroom can give you the same value as real world experience. This is where the debate is formed. The experience you gain from joining an incubator as a founder can teach you “some” the lessons of business school. That is just one of the many reasons it’s becoming more difficult to get accepted into popular incubators and accelerators such as 500 Startups and Y Combinator.

I won’t advise any entrepreneur to not go to business school in place of a technology incubator, even if its my own but I also won’t discourage an entrepreneur if he or she is passionate about pursuing their dream to launch a product and join an incubator. It’s truly a personal and financial decision; a risk decision by the entrepreneur.

4) One of your roles is advisor to an organization called ‘Women Who Code’ – why are there so few women who code?

I’m proud to be an advisor for such a powerful and needed origination as Women Who Code. The work that Alaina, Michele, Zassmin have done to create an environment for women to network and learn to not only increase the number of women developers but also provide other valuable opportunities to for women to excel in tech careers.

The reasons I believe there are so few Women Who Code are:
The American/World History of unfair treatment of women in the workplace for salaries and leadership opportunities.
Tech Culture.
Lack of successful women tech founders/role models
Pattern Matching
Sexism in tech

Data on Women In Tech
Women Make up 25% of the tech industry
11% of VC are Women
Women angels represented 19.4% of the angel market
3-5% of Women receive Venture Capital
5% Women are Tech Founders

That’s why programs such as women who code should exist and also why at BUILDUP we’re focusing on inclusion. We’re proud to have Women Who Code a partner for BUILDUP Events.

5) Is the tech startup industry a boys club?

No, I won’t sit here and say the startup industry is a boys club in 2014.
Not when I know tons of women tech founders building amazing products and solutions such as TD Lowe, Raissa Tona and Lisa Falzone.

The startup industry traditionally has primarily been dominated by men, especially in two categories, venture capital and founders.

I will say, yes that the startup industry over the years been an industry boys club. But that’s also goes back to the history of America, corporate workforce, equal access and opportunities for women and other minorities.

We need more women venture capitals and angel investors to support the growing number of women founders in tech. Along with more tech news sites to cover women founders and for everyone look past historical and personal bias, when it comes to making investment decisions.

Most importantly the tech ecosystem should have a zero tolerance for sexism.

6) What are some the trends you’re noticing in tech startup? Last year was big on big data. Is this year more about the ‘smart stuff’ – smartphones, smart watches, smart homes? What’s the trend?

Bitcoin related startups are a trend and will continue to increase over the next couple of years as more developers learn about the potential of the technology.

The “internet of things” will continue to trend, along with more home connected devices.

Health and fitness apps will continue to be a trend especially with the release of iOS 8 and healthbook.

We’re really just getting started with Drones and it will be interesting to see what Drone.vc invest in.

Startups focused on marketplaces and communities such as ProductHunt will continue to be a niche trend.

We’ll also see more focus on simple feature apps like “yo” despite the need for more innovation.

At BUILDUP, we focus on three categories, Global Impact, Innovation and Inclusion.

7) If you were an investor, what sort of a startup would you place your bets on?

If I was an investor I would take risk on investing into teams that fits the BUILDUP.vc thesis:

Global Impact – solving real world problems for the masses.
Innovation
Inclusive teams

I also would invest in digital currency / mobile commerce.
Startups that has potential to create marketplaces and resources for the growing hardware market
Example would be MadeSolid which provides materials for 3D printers.

I would invest in to Health/Tech startups and companies focused on STEM Education for underserved communities.

You can access more of BUILDUP’s research on diversity in tech here: http://buildup.vc/researchandresources/

Originally posted on the Wall Street Journal, Wayne Sutton: Keep Startup Partnerships Mutually Beneficial


The right partnerships for startups can lead to user growth, brand awareness or can be a key way to learn more about potential customers. Partnerships often take place in various ways such as an event partnership, product integration or product placement. For startups looking to partner with a potential company, I would consider analyzing the partnership in three ways: mutual benefits for firms, company values/mission and customer experience.

Mutual benefits are usually why partnerships are formed. The “What’s in it for me?” has to be addressed. Each company participating in the partnership should evaluate the other company’s values to see they align from a marketing or customer perspective. If your customers don’t see the value or understand why your brand would partner with another brand then you should not consider the partnership.

For early-stage startups, event partnerships can be a simple way to get started working with other companies that align. Twillo and Sendgrid partnered on events such as hackathons because they are targeting a similar user base, early stage companies and developers. They have since collaborated on a messaging platformfrom the success of partnering on events.Here are three examples of partnerships that started as mutually beneficial. Some flourish while others parish along the way:

When you look at brand placement partnerships, who can forget the most tweeted selfie of all time? During the 2014 Oscars, Samsung and Ellen DeGeneres took the opportunity of a high-visibility event with celebrities to use the selfie for product placement of their Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It didn’t seem to matter to Samsung that people noticed Ellen still using her iPhone for tweets behind stage. The televised event hosted by Ellen brought Samsung the attention it desired to launch its brand and new product. Samsung in turn donated $3 million to the charities of Ellen’s choice.

Other partnerships can be complex such as Apple’s iPhone with Google maps. From a beneficial standpoint it allowed both companies to provide value to their users and understand location behavior. Then in 2012, Apple decided to launch its own navigation app ending the partnership. But after consumer complaints about the new app, Apple apologized and encouraged consumers to continue using Google maps through their web browsers and shortly returned the Google maps app.  This can be a lesson on how not to end a partnership without thinking about your customer’s behavior first.

If you are looking to establish a partnership with your startup, you can start from a simple email, coffee meeting or conversation at a conference. Planning and communication with staff and marketing departments should be strategic along the entire process. Remember

PitchTo
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.
paper-form

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 http://pitchto.co/join

Entrepreneur Schools
Source: GreatBusinessSchools.org

American Timeline for Entrepreneurship in Colleges

1947 Management of New Enterprises, first MBA entrepreneurship course offered at Harvard.

1953 Entrepreneurship and Innovation offered at New York University

1954 Small Business Management, first MBA small business course offered at Stanford.

1967 First contemporary MBA entrepreneurship courses introduced at Stanford & New York Universities.

1970 First entrepreneurship center, the Caruth Institute of Owner-Managed Business, established at Southern Methodist University.

1975: 104 colleges/universities have entrepreneur courses in 1975. Grows to 315 by 1982, 590 by 1986, 1,400 by 1998

AND NOW:

16: percentage of 2011 graduates that started businesses. That’s up from 5 percent in the early 1990s

2013: More than 2,000, U.S. colleges and universities offer a course in entrepreneurship.

Top 5 Tips for Picking an Entrepreneurship MBA Program

The Entrepreneurship Community

Learn what the entrepreneurship community is like at each school you are considering. Find out what entrepreneurial clubs, startup incubators, events, and research institutes are available to MBA entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship Competitions

Research the entrepreneurship competitions held by each school. Entrepreneurship competitions allow you to present your business ideas to a panel of judges. Winners get a prize or seed money for their business.

The Entrepreneurship Faculty

Find out about the entrepreneurship faculty for the MBA programs you’re considering. How many members of the entrepreneurship faculty are also entrepreneurs or former entrepreneurs? What kinds of businesses have they formed?

The MBA Alumni Network

Learn about the MBA alumni. Not only will this show you if a school has a proven track record in helping MBA entrepreneurs grow their businesses, it will also give you an idea of the networking opportunities available for that program.

Entrepreneurship Internships and Projects

Find out what kinds of projects and internships each program requires. Hands-on experience is one of the most important parts of an MBA program, because it allows you to apply what you learn as you learn it.

See if the program allows you to conduct research or participate in a capstone project. Capstone projects are an opportunity to apply what you learned in a real-world business setting.

Top 5 Entrepreneurial Schools (Undergraduate)

1. Babson College, Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

Babson Park , MA

Tuition: $43,520

Percentage faculty who are entrepreneurs: 100%

Scholarships for entrepreneurship students: Yes

Scholarships money available: $30,000,000

Recent grads who started a business: 11%

Percentage still in business: 90%

Number of entrepreneurship organizations and clubs: 95

2. University of Houston, Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship

Houston, Texas

Tuition: $19,848

In-state tuition: $9,318

Percentage faculty who are entrepreneurs: 100%
Scholarships for entrepreneurship students: Yes
Scholarships money available: $95,000
Recent grads who started a business: 41%
Percentage still in business: 100%
Number of entrepreneurship organizations and clubs: 3

3. University of Southern California, Lloyd Grief Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

Los Angeles, CA

Tuition: $45,602

Percentage faculty who are entrepreneurs: 94%
Scholarships for entrepreneurship students: Yes
Scholarships money available: $17,000
Recent grads who started a business: 50%
Percentage still in business: 100%
Number of entrepreneurship organizations and clubs: 5

4. Syracuse University, Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises

Syracuse, NY

Tuition: $38,970

Percentage faculty who are entrepreneurs: 100 %

Scholarships for entrepreneurship students: Yes
Scholarships money available: $2,622,750
Recent grads who started a business: 12 %
Percentage still in business: 100%
Number of entrepreneurship organizations and clubs: 5

5.Baylor, Baylor Entrepreneur Program

Waco, TX

Tuition: $32,574

Percentage faculty who are entrepreneurs: 100%
Scholarships for entrepreneurship students: Yes
Scholarships money available: $3,340,000
Recent grads who started a business: 67%
Percentage still in business: 75%
Number of entrepreneurship organizations and clubs: 6

Top Graduate Schools for Entrepreneurs

University of Michigan’s Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
Babson College, Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship
Harvard University’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship
Rice University, Jones Graduate School Entrepreneurship Program
U. of Virginia

Top Online Schools for Entrepreneurs

Oklahoma State U.
U. of Florida
Washington State U.
Southern New Hampshire U.
Drexel University Online

Is it for You? 10 signs you might be an entrepreneur.

1. Hate the Status Quo: You are not someone who wants to just go through the motions or sit by idly. Nor do you like following the pack.

2. Easily Bored – You find yourself easily bored, and others start viewing you as a problem. But nothing is wrong with you except that you are bored with activities that aren’t up to your abilities and aren’t challenging. Think Bill Gates, who dropped out of college to become one of the richest men in the world.

3. Fired from Jobs – You’re too creative for your own good when it comes to working for others.

4. Labeled a Rebel – You have been described as a rebel and rule breaker and would defy gravity if you could.

5. Resist Authority – You have a lifelong record of resisting authority from your parents, teachers and bosses. You don’t go along with the agreed upon norms of the group or community you work and live in.

6. Ready to Improve Everything – You always see how you could do things better

7. Bad at Small Talk – You have difficulty making the kind of small talk that so many people get comfort from. This social pattern of relationship and rapport building seems like a waste of time to you and makes you uncomfortable.

8. Bullied – You may have been heavily criticized, picked on and even bullied as a child or teenager. This has caused you to be driven to excel and to prove to the world that you are a force to be reckoned with.

9. Obsessive – You may have been labeled obsessive/compulsive because when you get started on something you have difficulty letting go. All of the great entrepreneurs become completely immersed in their vision.

FACT: Howard Schultz stuck with Starbucks even when his family tried to persuade him not to.

10. Not Normal – Until you get used to the idea that you are in fact different from most people, it could prove to be a problem–or exactly the motivation you need to acknowledge the entrepreneur screaming to get out.

Still think you have it in you to be an entrepreneur? Here are some facts:

1. The average and median age of company founders when they started their current companies is 40.

2. 95.1 percent earn bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent have more advanced degrees.

3. Less than 1 percent come from extremely rich or extremely poor backgrounds

4. The majority of the entrepreneurs are serial entrepreneurs.

The average number of businesses launched by respondents was approximately 2.3.

5.Entrepreneurs are usually better educated than their parents.

Most successful Entrepreneurs who went to college (they didn’t all graduate)

MarK Zuckerberg, Harvard. Facebook.
Bill Gates, Harvard, Microsoft
Michael Dell, U. of Texas, Dell Computers
Jerry Yang and David Filo, Yahoo
Larry Page and Sergey Brinn, Google
Steve Wozniak, U. of California, Berkeley

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Sources:

http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2013/08/30/20-online-programs-mba-entrepreneurship/

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224791#ixzz2hjzw6JDu

http://www.topmba.com/mba-programs/specializations/entrepreneurship/top-5-tips-picking-entrepreneurship-mba-program

http://www.quora.com/Entrepreneurship/What-is-the-best-major-to-pursue-in-college-if-your-goal-is-to-become-a-successful-entrepreneur

http://www.entrepreneur.com/topcolleges/undergrad/0.html

http://www.entrepreneur.com/topcolleges/grad/0.html

http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2013/08/30/20-online-programs-mba-entrepreneurship/

http://onstartups.com/tabid/3339/bid/10561/12-Facts-About-Entrepreneurs-That-Will-Likely-Surprise-You.aspx

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/27/the-10-most-successful-co_n_885319.html#s297894&title=Larry_Page_and

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225359