Rise Up Radio Interview with Tyler Jensen Founder of The Startup Garage

Rise Up Radio San Diego with Tyler Jensen

Rise Up Radio Interview with Tyler Jensen Founder of The Startup Garage

You are listening to James Carmody and Jared Kelley here, in studio for SDriseup.com

We are looking to hear stories in your life about local leaders in San Diego.

Whether it is the small business owner, your Pastor or leader of your church, your kid’s school teacher or maybe it’s their Little League coach.

James:

With us in the studio now we have Tyler Jensen, who is the owner of Startup Garage. I am super-excited to hear about Tyler’s background, his journey in life and how he is making a difference in the community.

Tyler:

James, I like start ups and I love my garage. I am just so excited to dig into combining those things two things…

James:

Or maybe use it as a guide to combine.

Jared:

I think the play on it is that we are taking start ups out of the garage but that’s where they start. I know I am tinkering on toys in there and stuff, there are 360 video cameras in my garage and having fun…

Jared:

That is why I love start ups too, I have to say that. I am fascinated with that game.

James:

Yes, taking a risk and getting things off the ground.

Jared:

Tyler, welcome to the show; welcome to the fun we are going to have here. Tell us a little bit about your journey and what you are doing with Startup Garage.

Tyler:

Yes, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here and to share all the good that you are doing in the community. So, I launched Startup Garage about 5 years ago, as a result of having some struggles earlier on in my previous company. I really made a lot of mistakes earlier on in my first company.

Jared/James:

Yep, we all do that

Tyler:

And I realized that I made a lot of silly mistakes that I could have avoided and so that inspired me to help other people who are starting companies. People who have great ideas and passion and motivation, with ideas that can help improve the community, their families and themselves. So, that really gets me up out of bed every morning.

Jared:

Not only does it get you up out of bed. You have helped over 200 companies, non-profits and social enterprises. That is not light work.

Tyler:

It doesn’t feel like work, honestly. So, I think that’s the key. I wake up on Saturdays and sometimes I don’t have anything committed and sometimes I just start working again because I love it and it’s really fun, and people are coming up with some amazing ideas. People are really amazing when they are given the time and creativity to put something into action.

James:

Give us the background on Startup Garage. I know you started it back in 2010, so you are about 6 years in, what does it look like when someone comes to you, as you engage someone? What are you helping them with?

Tyler:

Typically, we have two different types of entrepreneurs who will come to us: one who we call the Lifestyle Entrepreneur and one we call the High Growth Entrepreneur.
The real difference is the high growth entrepreneur is looking to start something technology and really looking to scale really fast, maybe $100M in revenue within 5 years. They are going to need a lot of capital.

The Lifestyle Entrepreneur is really your traditional small business owner, maybe they are a sole proprietor, maybe they want to start a coffee shop or something like that and they just need help. So, on the high growth side we help them through the fund raising process and we do that through helping them build business plans, financial modeling, investor decks and we coach them on the fund raising process because as an entrepreneur we think certain things are important and investors almost think the exact opposite.

On the lifestyle side, it is really about education. On the small business side a lot of people have these great ideas and just really don’t know what the next steps are. They are really not that difficult but without access to someone who has gone through it before, it’s even more challenging and they make a lot of mistakes and sometimes even get stuck. So, we have an accelerator program on the lifestyle side that we just launched and I’m pretty excited about as well.

Jared:

Wow!

James:

Really cool!

Jared:

I think that it would be beneficial to sit down and have a conversation. Not on the radio, I probably need to break out my financials and see…because I personally fall more on the lifestyle side, that I just love being involved with people and I know a couple of venture capitalists, so I think that’s probably the point that most of them look at…everyone thinks it’s all about profit and that’s important, it is important to have revenue but I think that most partners are also looking on like “who is this guy, what is his story and what’s happening?”

I think again, that is more my passion, the lifestyle side, as it’s about just empowering and encouraging people to say: who are you, what are you doing and you have some passion around there right? Passion drives efficiencies and it drives innovation, and when you are sitting there doing the grind (and that’s important to have some grind and hustle) but if you are just doing a 9 – 5 to get a pay check, then look at that and see if that is really what you want to do.

If you have that entrepreneurial spirit it is just inspiring to sit down with people like Tyler who will tell you “I’ve been through the struggle and you could probably do a pretty sick billion of a widget company yourself.”

He said: “I’ve got these talents how do I help other people and how do I multiply this?” I commend you for doing that and I know that that space is not an easy one. So, it’s fun and you like to work on your Saturdays but you probably get some notes once in a while in the finance space and growing through that.

James:

Sure. Speaking of passions folks, one of the things that you may be very familiar with if you are listening here is that Tyler Jensen is also the founder of VAVi Sports. I know firsthand I’ve played in multiple VAVi leagues in my 13 years as a San Diegan.
I’m sure Jared has, I know my wife has and my friends and clients have. Tell us how VAVi got started? It’s such a thriving, amazing organization now. Where did you get it started and how did you guys come to San Diego and where we are at today?

Tyler:

I’m originally from Virginia

James:

An East coaster like myself. I’m from Massachusetts.

Tyler:

Okay, nice. I went to University of Virginia and moved back right after I graduated in 2008, with big dreams (most 21 year olds are full of ego and full of confidence). I came out with that and ran out of money in about 3 weeks after I got here – the 21st day.

James:

Where did you go, to the beach and the bar?

Tyler:

I was looking for a job. So, I came out here and I got offered a job to run a political campaign. I ended up running a U.S. congressional political campaign for about a year. One of the women and I on that campaign started talking about wanting to start a business. I had just moved here and I saw the need to start building a community beyond just the bar scene.

At 21 I was living in Pacific Beach and you just went to bars and that is how you met new people but I wanted something different than that. We came up with the idea to have that community built around sports. I certainly wasn’t very good at sports, I’m okay…I’m average at best and so was my friend. So, it wasn’t about the super competitive sports, although VAVi does have some competitive leagues now. We just got started right after the campaign. We printed 5000 flyers.

James:

What year was this?

Tyler:

2002 – right after the campaign we printed 5000 flyers, set up a one-page website and we bought vavi.com. The day we launched and got the flyers in the mail, VAVi.com expired and we didn’t know that. A Chinese company bought it and so we had to launch govavi.com. We went around the beach and handed out flyers to get it started. We started with one volleyball league and now it’s got about 35,000 members here in San Diego. I sold it back in January 2008. So, it’s been quite a journey.

Jared:

I’ve also played in those leagues and I’m just like you, I’m not the super-competitive, achiever mentality person but I know my role, I’m not the greatest out there on the field but it was a great place to go play those sports and have fun. I think that’s why entrepreneurs are needed and leaders are needed, just to see those gaps and fill them.

So, if you are sitting at your desk or in your car having that thought in your head: “man, there is something here that can I can help do,” that’s what your role is, if that’s your passion find a way to do it. I’m not going to get `Gary Vaynerchuk’ on us right now but if it’s good – do it…make it happen.

James:

Tyler, it’s such a pleasure having you on air, someone who this entrepreneurial mindset and you have made such a difference here in the community. How many people play in VAVi sports nowadays?

Tyler:

I’m not sure exactly what it is anymore because I sold it a number of years ago. I’m trying to think…

James:

Ten…twenty people maybe?

Tyler:

Probably. There were probably 3,000 people in a given week playing in some sort of event when I sold it.

James:

Right, that’s amazing. That’s the adventure, right? And at Startup Garage, you are impacting local entrepreneurs in a major way and they are impacting their communities.

Tyler:

Yes, and that’s really what motivates me, to contribute entrepreneurs of impact to the community. So I am impacting the entrepreneurs. I’m not, like you who said you like to network and get out there and do all that. I’m a kind of introverted guy, so I figured out how do I make the biggest impact if I don’t have to go out and be in big crowds all the time? I got enough of that through my VAVi days. I moved up to Encinitas and hide out up there.

James:

Oh, that’s fantastic. Tyler Jensen making a big impact, empowering others through entrepreneurship to give back to their communities.

Jared:

Tyler, let’s go into Startup Garage just a little bit more, and maybe you can say some of the companies or maybe not. What does it look like for a couple of companies that are coming in and talking to you, and what are you doing with them?

Tyler:

I will give two examples: one for the high growth type company and one for the lifestyle type company because it’s a little bit different of a process. On the high growth side I will be kind of vague about all the details because of confidentiality.

I’m working with a company that came to me about a year and a half ago wanting to get into the solar space and had a concept and really needed cash, lots of cash to be able to execute on that idea he had. We helped cultivate that idea and put it into a business plan and through a really complicated financial model (as it turned out to be pretty complex for this particular one) and crafted the investor deck so that investors would respond to the story as well.

When an entrepreneur goes in they just want to talk about their product or service because they are so product/service-centric and they think that’s the best idea ever as they are putting their lives into it. It may be a great idea but investors want to know more.

So, we crafted all that together and put that investor package together. He went out to investors and has successfully raised several rounds of capital now. After the first round I continued to help as a part-time CFO on the team. I think he is nearing about $2 million raised, and really seeing a lot of traction and solar going in a lot of homes.

Jared:

Wow! You are like the Shark Tank Prep Crew.

James:

Folks, if you are at home, we’ve got the red beard and red haired Mr. Wonderful

Tyler:

You are hired as my branding consultant.

James:

I could run with that.

Jared:

And then for the lifestyle side what does that look like?

Tyler:

The lifestyle side was really motivated because to work one-on-one with myself and the team it costs a good chunk of change, and on the lifestyle side we found all these people, a lot of whom are my friends, coming to me and saying: “I really need your help…I want to get this off the ground.” I just didn’t have the band width to help them for free, and the finances just didn’t make sense.

So, I finally came up with the idea to do a group setting where we created this accelerator where we can take this whole group of people and teach them a lot of the same things but in a way that is going to be more beneficial to them.

They are not going to need to raise money from angel investors or venture capital but they are really going to need to get their service and their target market dialed in and all those pieces figured out, and learn the basics of business because a lot of them in this group do not know the foundation of business which can really catapult them to the next level.

So, they come and they sign up for a class. We are just finishing our first ever Lifestyle Business Accelerator class; we are in week 9 of 12, so we have 3 weeks left: Marketing, Sales and Small Business Funding. Then we are going to another class which (I think) starts on May 17.

It is a 12-week program and whenever there are 12 weeks we do 12 classes where you are going to learn and be interacting with others about the basics of business and getting your business plan done. There is also going to be 7 co-working nights, so you get together with your little pod within this group and work together.

So, there is learning and support, you are developing this little community of entrepreneurs that you can lean on. There is going to be 5 other nights of guest speakers where you are going to get to go and see other entrepreneurs talk about a number of different topics that are applicable to someone getting a new business up off the ground.

So it’s a 12-week program. We’ve made it really affordable, it’s only $1,500 for that whole program and so you end up with a business plan that you have created yourself, plus your business idea has changed from the idea into a real business that you can communicate to others and sell and make money.

Jared:

I think I’m an entrepreneur because my heart is just beating like it’s on fire right now…

James:

It’s so exciting!

Jared:

…and I can speak for myself; but if you are sitting in the same seat of: “what do I do next? I’m kind of lost in this thing…I have a great idea…” This is a solution that will provide high-tech coaching, have consultants come in and $1,500 is like a drop in the bucket – that is very affordable.

James:

Absolutely. And maybe you are sitting at home listening to us right now and you are working for a corporation and you are not stoked about it…you are not excited about it and you’ve had this passion project rolling around in your head, and you are like “how the heck do I even do this?” For $1,500 you could really play around with that idea, get some good training from Tyler and his crew and see if that has legs.

Tyler:

All the events are planned for in the evening as well, so if you have a full time job it’s after work. We definitely did it with that in mind, like “hey, if you want to get out of a job…” We just advise people “hey, don’t quit your job.” [Laughter] It’s going to take some time – not yet.

Jared:

So, please reach out. You can visit us on www.sdriseup.com, we have all of Tyler’s information there and how to get a hold of him and the company.
You have events all the time.

Let’s go into another event which I think is really really amazing and putting out that flag on the ground of rising up and being different, being part of your community. You are going to be talking about building a business to create impact, so the title of the business is very simply: Build a Business to Create Impact and that’s on April 12.

Again, we have information on that on our website, but Tyler, tell us more about what that event is.

Tyler:

That event is going to be a sampling of this lifestyle business accelerator. We are going to have a number of the different contributors coming in to do 5 minute instead of doing a whole class so you can get a flavor of who is going to be a part of this accelerator program and see if it’s a fit for you.

To be really fun, we are going to get that running up and moving and then we are going to dive into some business where we are going to be introducing the Business Canvas Model, which is a one-page business plan. You will do some actual learning which will move your business idea forward even if you decide not to take that class.
It’s from 6:00 – 8:30 in the Del Mar area.

Jared:

That one-page business plan that I looked at on your website, www.startupgarage.com, it is very clean but a very powerful tool. There’s a lot of information on that one-pager. So, if you’ve enjoyed this, please understand that you’re an entrepreneur and you’re a leader.

If you haven’t enjoyed it and you are just saying “hey, I know a lot of people like this,” be a leader in your space. If you are walking your dog wave to your neighbor, that’s leadership. Be a part of the community that you are in. That’s what this show is about.

James:

Folks, thank you so much for tuning in. Let’s continue to empower others, empower our neighbors, family, friends and co-workers. Tyler Jensen, with Startup Garage, it’s been a pleasure having you on.

If you have a question about your raising capital for your Startup or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Furry Innovation: Pets Are Startup Businesses New Best Friends

Furry Innovation: Pets Are Startup Businesses New Best Friends

It’s no denying it, we love our pets and we’re willing to spend countless amounts of money in order to enhance their health, happiness, and even appearance.

According to the American Pet Products Association an estimated $58.5 billion was spent on pets in 2014. With nearly $330 million on pet costumes for Halloween alone.

From OnDemand Pet Adoptions to “Furspray” the newest way to decorate your pet for special occasions, Pet Startups combine the love of animals with a high-growth business opportunity. However, along with business opportunities comes fierce competition.

Currently listed on Angel List, there are 490 Pet Startups with an average valuation of $3.7 million across a pool 1,012 Investors. Leading the pack and setting the investment stage are DogVacay and Bark&Co.

DogVacay offers an on demand approach to petsitting near home, having securing 4 healthy funding infusions since 2012. Including: $1 million dollar seed round in May 2012, $6 million Series A round in Nov. 2012, $15 million dollar Series B round in Oct. 2013, and $25 million in Oct 2014.

Bark & Co. leveraged an untapped business model of a monthly subscription box of dog goodies with BarkBox and continued to expand across several other major properties:

BarkPost: Your daily dose of doggy news
BarkShop: Spoil your pup with the very best
BarkBuddy: Find fluffy adoptable singles in your area
BarkLive: Amazing experiences for you and your dog

Also securing a steady funding infusion including: $25,000 in Jan 2012, $1.7million in July 2012, $5million Series A round in April 2013, and $15million Series B Round in July 2014.

Funding is so red hot for Pets Startups, if the U.S. pet products industry collectively was a Fortune 500 company, it would be bigger than Google, Dell, UPS, or Coca-Cola.

Meanwhile, like any high-growth industry, it’s attracting a new breed of startup entrepreneurs with furry ambitions.

Here are a few “underdogs” that captured our attention here at The Startup Up Garage.

XcDogs: Based out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and it connects people who travel with their pets to locals willing to pet-sit short-term who is actively seeking funding at this time.

CleverPet: a local San Diego Startup which with a “Smart” pet gadget that educates and interacts with your animal companion in your absence. CleverPet had a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign of $180,623 and appears to have a variety of undisclosed funding in Sept 2015.

Urban Leash: offers on demand dog walking and cat-sitting services from anywhere at anytime, who a secured a $99,500 seed round in Nov 2014.

AllPaws is OkCupid for Finding Pets to Adopt, Swiping left and right and sifting through profiles is a regular practice for people looking for love nowadays.

Through the website and app AllPaws, the same approach is being used for those looking for a four-legged soulmate. AllPaws raised $1 million in capital in April 2013.

Will the Pet Startups above disrupt the pet industry as we know it?
Only time will tell, if they’re barking up the right tree.

If you have a question about your Startup business idea or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

SEC Oks Equity Crowdfunding with Regulation A+ Changes to the JOBS Act

SEC Oks Equity Crowdfunding with Regulation A+ Changes to the JOBS Act

On March 25, 2015 the SEC amended Regulation A, commonly referred to as Reg. A+, to further implement Title IV of the JOBS Act.

The amended regulation seeks to create an environment where emerging enterprises can efficiently raise public capital through crowdfunding.

Historically, Reg A has not been widely used for two reasons:
1) the $5M offering size limit was perceived as too low

2) the blue ski registration and qualification requirements were too onerous.

To address these concerns, Reg A+ increases the offering size limit to $50M in a Tier 2 offering and up to $20M in a Tier 1 offering.

Additionally, certain Reg A+ companies will be able to avoid the SECs blue sky reporting regime.

Reg A+ are public offerings, similar to an IPO, however the regulatory obstacles are far lower thereby making this type of investment much more accessible to all investors, accredited or otherwise.

This is particularly welcoming to small and medium sized businesses that struggle to raise capital from high net worth investors or institutions. These small and medium businesses can now raise capital from a much larger pool of investors (commonly referred to as the crowd) which will increase capital formation thereby growing jobs and the economy as a whole.

There are still many nuances associated with Reg A+ but overall the SEC’s amendment is widely seen as a step in the right direction. Some of the differences between Tier 1 and Tier 2 regulations are outlined the chart below:
Equity Crowdfunding From The Startup Garage

If you have a question about your Startup business idea or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Looking 3 Steps Ahead: What Comes After the Startup Ideation Phase

Looking 3 Steps Ahead: What Comes After the Startup Ideation Phase

What are the next steps after you come up with an idea for a new business?

After the ideation phase of a business, many teams loose focus. Fortunately, there is a tried and true blueprint that successful companies in all industries have followed in order to take a business entity from a spreadsheet into the real world.

Here are the three steps that all would-be Startup companies should consider after the initial visualization.

1 – How do you evaluate the current target market and market saturation? 

Identifying competition should be first on the list of any start up. This will help a company to more accurately define its own role in the marketplace, narrowing the sales funnel and eventually increasing the ROI of all marketing efforts. 

A high percentage of the first funds that you receive for your business idea will likely be earmarked for a highly detailed differentiated market analysis. Google Trends and the Google Keyword Tool are a great place to start, but the search should definitely not end there.

A startup company should consider geographic and demographic data from across the board in order to identify the audience that is making the current purchases of the products that it is considering selling.

More than 50% of businesses now include Facebook and Twitter commentary in their overall assessment of market saturation. If there are many comments about a product or industry trend, but most of the comments are negative, this means something much different than commentary that is overwhelmingly positive.

Researchers should be attuned to the fact that Facebook is prone to be much more negative than Twitter regardless of issue.

2 – How do you determine if your idea is profitable and scalable?

Profitability is a function of the perceived market value of your product, which can be approximated by a price/value industry matrix, minus the expenditures of your company per unit produced. With a volume that outpaces your fixed costs, you have a viable business structure, at least in theory.

Scalable ideas must incorporate variable costs such as taxes, marketing, promotion, distribution and government compliance into the equation. These kinds of calculations may require some professional assistance, but they should be determined before the initial start of production.

50% of businesses, and 60% of investors, want to see some sort of breakeven analysis in an initial business plan in order to help determine the overall viability of a would-be company. This should definitely be included; however, it should not be the end of the marketing analysis. Although it can be quite difficult to project profitability without a round of sales, every company should attempt to do this without exaggerating results, especially if multiple rounds of funding will be required to retain viability.

3 – How do you secure the flow of your marketing information to your customer?

One of the first things that an embryo company should consider is its niche in the marketplace. This is incredibly important in order to solidify the proper distribution of the marketing message. No matter how big or small a company, compliance with the current flow of information is critical. Business no longer runs the world of business – telecommunications does. This will only become more apparent as time goes on.

Currently, less than half of the Fortune 500 is mobile compliant by the standards of Google. 70% of those companies barely pass muster. 100% of these companies are spending millions in order to become fully compliant.

As of April 2015, any company that is not fully compliant by Google standards will begin to
lose visibility within the search engine, especially within the mobile search market. If this is a priority to a multibillion dollar company, this is a virtual death sentence to any high growth start up.

Guest Blogger Cameron Johnson is a business consultant and entrepreneur.
Over the course of his career he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international business conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media

The Correlation between A Startups Seed Round and Series A Round

The Correlation between Your Seed Round and Your Series A Round from The Startup Garage

The Correlation between A Startups Seed Round and Series A Round

Here at The Startup Garage we are often asked, “Has it become harder to raise capital for Startups nowadays?”

 

The answer is, yes and no.

On the one hand, the total dollars invested in U.S. startups in 2014 reached its highest point since the dot-com boom in 2000, according to Bloomberg. On the other hand, there are more startups competing for these dollars than ever before.

One of the hardest rounds to raise, and subsequently one of the biggest hurdles to startup success, is the Seed round. This round is potentially the riskiest round for an investor as most startups raising Seed capital have yet to accomplish any significant milestones that prove the concept.

The technology or product development is usually in its infancy,
The team is lacking,Traction is nominal if present at all, and The key benchmarks for success have yet to be proven. As a result, many good ideas never make it out of the gate.

Those that successfully navigate the Seed round significantly increase their chance at entrepreneurial success and at raising their next round of capital, the Series A round.

When raising a Seed round the question becomes, “How large of a seed round should I raise to maximize my chances of raising a Series A round?”

Smaller Seed rounds seem like a quick fix because they are simpler and faster to raise as they typically require less investors.

However, in order to raise a significant Series A round, the startup needs sufficient capital to accomplish enough milestones that will attract Series A investors. As a result, we see a direct correlation between the amount of capital raised in the Seed round and the amount of capital raised in the subsequent Series A round.

According to data from CB Insights, companies that raised both a Seed round and a Series A round can be categorized as follows:

  • Small – Below the 25th percentile (<$360K for Seed, <$2M for Series A)
  • Average – Between 25th and 75th percentile (between $260K and $1.5M for Seed, between $2M and $7M for Series A)
  • Large – Above 75th percentile (>$1,5M for Seed, >$7M for Series A)As depicted in the chart below, nearly half of all large Seed deals became large Series A deals. Most of the other large Seed deals went on to raise average Series A rounds with a small number raising a small Series A round.

For companies that raised small Seed rounds, 57% went on to raise an average Series A round, and only 13% raised Series A rounds of $7M+. Lastly, 63.8% of companies that raised an average Seed round went on to raise an average Series A round.

Moral of the story: if you plan on raising a Series A round, don’t cut yourself short during your Seed round.

Seed Funding From the Startup Garage

If you have a question about your Startup business idea or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Building Online Brand Presence as a Startup

How to Build Your Online Brand From The Startup Garage

Building Online Brand Presence as a Startup

Launching a new high growth startup is a way to build a business from the ground up.

Whether you are providing content, products or even services to potential customers.

Knowing how to build an online brand presence when getting a startup up and running is essential.

Especially when working in competitive fields and making a professional name and reputation for your brand.

Build a Creative Team

One of the most important factors to keep in mind when building an online presence for a startup company is the ability to cultivate a creative team to work with each day. Having a creative group of individuals who are dedicated to the vision you have for your startup helps with streamlining plans and moving forward in the right direction in any industry or field.

Get Engaged With Social Media

In order to ensure customer retention putting social media and social media marketing to use effectively is essential. Not only is it important to share updates on various platforms but it is also vital to communicate and get engaged with users who are also potential customers. Ask questions, request input and be sure to speak directly to those who want to know more about your startup to build a proper reputation while getting noticed in the industry you represent.

Use the Power of Influence

Using the power of influence both online and off is another way to spread the word regarding your startup business. When you have team members who engage with their online fans and followers it is much easier to share news, information and even product releases with hundreds and thousands of users simultaneously. Utilizing the power of influence is also a way to establish a professional reputation, helping others to gain trust in your business and brand, boosting sales and increasing generated revenue and profit.

Host Contests and Giveaways

One way to help build an online brand presence for a startup you are launching is to do so by hosting contests and giveaways. Giving away free branded merchandise and relevant gifts gives you the ability to spread your company’s name to promote loyalty and to keep customers coming back for more.

Using social media to host contests and giveaways is another way to build momentum for your brand with the use of sharing and spreading the word with other family members and friends of the current fans, followers and customer base you have. Giveaways and contests also showcase your dedication to delivering high-quality products and services to those who want to know more about your brand and business model, ultimately generating sales and additional income.

Consider Fundraisers and Crowdfunding

Getting a startup company off and running with success requires a bit of capital, which is not always easy to obtain based on your history as an entrepreneur and any experience you have in the field you represent.

Consider the option of launching an online fundraiser or working to create a crowdfunding campaign to spread the idea of your startup while gaining loyal fans and supporters of your business and its plan altogether.

Crowdfunding could be an option if you are not familiar with taking out business loans or seeking additional assistance from venture capitalists. Using a crowdfunding campaign is often free of charge and provides you with total control of the amount you need to raise and what the money invested is likely to be used for in order to continuously build the products you want to sell and share with the world. It also acts as a source for social validation. If consumers are unwilling to buy into your big idea then it may be a sign to rethink your business plan.

Get Creative with Press Releases

Any time you have a startup you want to promote gathering the interest of the media and press is stressful and at times, nearly impossible. Crafting creative press releases gives you the ability to appeal to local news, international news stations and even online blogs and communities who follow startups and products that are relevant to your own.

Understanding all aspects of building a brand presence for a startup is a way for you to get more out of the potential exposure required to continue experiencing success. With the use of the right tools, marketing and communication it has never been easier to garnish interest while attracting potential customers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

Guest Blogger
Cameron Johnson is a business consultant and entrepreneur.
Over the course of his career he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international business conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media.

The Entrepreneurial Advisory Council

The Entrepreneurial Advisory Council

The Entrepreneurial Advisory Council hosted its first workshop.

The event titled, “Making Your Startup Investor Friendly” took place on Wednesday, October 8th 2014 in San Diego, CA.

The Entrepreneurial Advisory Council is a group of professionals that serve San Diego’s growing number of innovators, entrepreneurs, and startup businesses.

The council’s expertise includes legal, financial, capital formation, and business planning services. The common thread among all members of the Entrepreneurial Advisory Council is their commitment to building meaningful connections that lead to successful business ventures.

Michael Acheatel, the President of The Startup Garage, is one of the Council’s co-founders and was a speaker at the event. His presentation focused on the milestones that investors care about at each stage of the funding and milestone timeline. He took the audience through the 7 major categories of startup milestones – business planning, team building, market traction, legal, operations, product development, and founder leadership – and highlighted how these milestones evolve throughout each round of funding. He specifically focused on the early stages of funding from friends, family, and founders as well as angel investors.

Michael was followed by his fellow co-founders of the Entrepreneurial Advisory Council – Hass Sadegi, Rob Domingue, and Joseph Erle. Hass is the Principal Owner of Sadeghi Legal and offered his advice on how and where to legally structure your startup as well as how to avoid exorbitant lawyer fees down the road based on appropriate planning in the early stages.

Joe is an insurance broker with 5th Ave Insurance and spoke about the types of insurance that investors require and how to reduce risk for the company.

Rob is the Director of Transcend Valuation and spoke about valuation and how to both create and determine value in a company.

Lastly, the panel opened up to a Q&A session where they received several excellent questions from the audience.

With good food, a great audience, and 4 experts with unique insights on what investors like to see in a startup, the event was deemed a complete success.

The Entrepreneurial Advisory Council will host a workshops once every quarter in San Diego.

Whether you have a question about your Startup or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

How To Name Your Startup?

How to Name your Business from The Startup Garage

How To Name Your Startup?

Welcome to video Fridays from The Start Up Garage


A place where The Startup Garage’s team, answers questions directly from viewers

Key Take Aways From Video:

1) What do you want your Startup to be remembered for?

2) A lot of companies make their name very descriptive, and get pigeon-holed in that one niche, and then in the future want to expand into different markets because they’re stuck with that name.

3) The best name you could come up with is one where people want to wear it and people want to put it on a sticker somewhere and people want to do the advertising for you. If you can get people to do your advertising for you then you have a really great name.

4) One thing to really consider in the digital age is the URL and what the .com is going to look like, creating an effective online presence

5) Is this business name going to fit the mold of the company as I’d like to see it in the future?

Complete transcript below:

Question= “How do I go about naming my startup?”

I like to start with a couple of pretty basic questions. Really what do you want to be remembered by? Is it something that is really going to make you stand out? Or is it to blend in? A lot of financial institution types give themselves very descriptive, by the book names to get that initial market share. And then once they do they kind of achieve that first step, and then they go “Oh we wish we positioned ourselves a little bit more edgy, you know make it stand out a little bit”.

Standing out, going that route often once you get there is a good way to go, so something to think about. A lot of companies make their name very descriptive, and get pigeon-holed in that one niche, and then in the future want to expand into different markets because they’re stuck with that name. You know a lot of companies think “Oh we have this name and this brand, and if we change it they won’t know who we are”. And that is the case you have to be careful about it, but really don’t be afraid to re-brand yourself.

The name doesn’t carry as much weight as you think it does. The best name you could come up with is one where people want to wear it and people want to put it on a sticker somewhere and people want to do the advertising for you. If you can get people to do your advertising for you then you have a really great name. There’s definitely some routes you can go with how to name it. The Startup Garage for example we named our space, our virtual space as the Startup Garage, which was really brilliant if you ask me.

Another route to go is sort of creating a new name with the sounds that your market can relate to. A good example of that is Nike. And then one thing to really consider in the digital age is the URL and what’s going to look like. Te dot com credibility has carried a long way. The perception of having a dot-com is that you’re established, you know you have that space so that’s something to consider, Although don’t be afraid to get a little bit adventurous with your URL because the truth is that of they want to find you they will.

But one thing to really be concerned with the URL is the spelling. A lot of times misspellings direct traffic to the wrong space so you have to be pretty careful about that and make sure it’s well thought out before executing, so keep those questions in mind when choosing a name for your business and just think longevity. Is this business name going to fit the mold of the company as I’d like to see it in the future?

Whether you have a question about your business plan or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

San Diego Startup Events July Wrap-Up

San Diego Startup Events July From The Startup Garage

San Diego Startup Events July Wrap-Up

CyberTech & CyberHive — IoT Pitch Night

Monthly

Free monthly event hosted by CyberHive, an incubator and shared working space dedicated to cyber security and high tech companies — this “pitchfest” gave 7 different companies the floor to present for 3 minutes (and not a second longer) in front of a panel of judges and other like-minded individuals.

It was an interesting range of companies pitching from a variety of disciplines including: Cybersecurity, Internet of Things, Big Data, Analytics, sustainable technology, software and apps. Afterwards the judges and the audience gave valuable, and constructive feedback and awarded the top 3 companies with prizes as well as a free trial using their shared office.

My personal favorite was Cause Based Solutions (3rd place), which has created a debit card system that nonprofit organizations can offer to the supporters. Basically it rounds up every purchase consumers make to the nearest dollar and donates the difference back to the non-profit.


1Million Cups at Co-Merge

Weekly

This hour long, weekly event hosted at Co-Merge, the co-working space in downtown San Diego, offers 2 entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their company for 6 minutes, followed by a 20 minute feedback and a Q& A session.

Before starting it is emphasized that the forum is not intended as a chance to seek investment, but instead as a way to practice their delivery/ pitch and gather feedback from the startup community, so they are better prepared when an investment opportunity occurs in the future.

During this event in particular Price Patrol, one of The Startup Garage’s clients, presented their sample pitch that they intended to use for angel investment. The slogan was “what you want at the price you want.”

They are developing an app that will allow consumers the ability to find out where specific products are available at the most affordable price in their local region. With the app, consumers will also be able to reserve items so that they are available once they arrive at the brick and mortar storefront, as well as receive notifications when the products reach a certain price point that they set up beforehand.


3D Printing Meetup @ FabLabSd

Monthly

This is a must-attend, monthly event for forward thinkers. Perfect for those with experience in the new 3D printing field and anyone who just wants to learn more.

Much to my surprise, San Diego is actually one of the leading areas for 3D printing startups. Allen McAffee, the event organizer, created the event in an open forum style, allowing everyone to mingle and network.

It was an eye-opener to learn about how 3D printing can be used as a means of social entrepreneurship. McAffee is currently involved in a project to create prosthetic limbs for kids — with production costs of less than $20 and the ability to print each one in 5-10 hours.


Marketing Mondays @ EvoNexus

Bi-Weekly

Hosted by 2 marketing experts with several decades of experience, Randy Gerson and Chris d’Eon, these bi-weekly meetups at the EvoNexus Incubator office in downtown are the perfect event for anyone looking to advance their knowledge in the ever-changing digital marketing world, discuss strategies with other industry professionals and make connections before and after the event. (The free pizza/ refreshments are a nice perk too)

The discussion turned to finding leads, giving me an overview of tools out there that can be used to gather potential client information. As unsettling as it seems that most of our personal information is readily available to those with enough energy or cash to gather it through the internet, the fact of the matter is that it’s there, it’s not going away anytime soon, and you can either ignore it or use it to your advantage.


Obrary Launch Event @ PreFabSD

Hosted at PreFabSD, a co-working space for creatives and designers in non-tech industries, Obrary (A play on words of “Object” and “Library”) introduced some of their newest products that they have a kickstarter campaign for. Many of the products they introduced were modified using high-powered laser cutters that allows a single piece of plywood to be bent into a box.

Their long-term strategy is to become an open marketplace for product collaboration. What this means is that members will be able to use design files from their database, tweak them for their own preference, then submit the modified design back into the database for others to use.

This “outside the box” approach seems to have unlimited potential in regards for what it can be applied to and it puts the power of design into the consumers hands.

Overall, the month of July offered a variety of Startup events well worth attending.


The Startup Summer scene in San Diego is just heating up. If you have an event you’d like for us to attend or spread the word on please Tweet us @Startup_garage