Category Archives: Entrepreneurship News

Exploring the Startup Scene in Asia – Bali Startup Weekend 2017

Exploring the Startup Scene in Asia – Bali Startup Weekend 2017

Startup Weekend Bali 2017 – Ubud, Bali

Last month our Founder/CEO, Tyler Jensen, had the opportunity to be part of an all-star judges panel at Hubud’s Startup Weekend Bali. The event, organized by Hubud and backed by Techstars, was part of a 2017 global movement of Startup Weekends – with the tag line “take your ideas from concept to creation in just 54 hours” all of the events are geared to follow the same model consisting of open mic pitches, team building and building minimal viable products.  It doesn’t matter what you do or where you come from, Startup Weekend is designed as an event that brings all sorts of people together.

  • Day 1: Open mic pitches where attendees bring their ideas and try to inspire others to join their “team.”
  • Day 2-3: Assembled teams focus on customer development, validating ideas, start up methodologies and building a minimal viable product.  Teams present their ideas and prototypes to a panel of experts / feedback received & winner chosen. Winners are featured globally.

I sat down and talked to Tyler about his experience in Asia and Bali last week:

Tyler, what can you tell us about the Hubud Bali Startup Weekend event and the teams that presented?

There were people from all over the world at the event. It was truly an international startup scene, not just local.  People were there pitching their ideas on Friday night with the intent on recruiting people to be a part of their team. Team sizes ranged from 2-8 team members and the teams spent 2 days working together to develop their ideas enough to present to the judges panel on Sunday.

Did you pick up on any differences between the US Startup Scene vs. that in Asia and Bali?

One thing that stood out to me came from an all Balinese team. This team in particular, was looking at replicating a successful idea in the US wedding industry. While this isn’t a new idea or concept, I think there is still a tremendous amount of opportunity in developing countries for entrepreneurs to replicate successful ideas in western culture.

Many people are trying to replicate the successes in Silicon Valley. Is this similar to what the Balinese team or any other teams were doing?

Yes; but on a much smaller scale. I did spend some time in Shanghai as well and China is still trying to replicate the successes that we have seen for years in Silicon Valley. Companies that focus on meeting user needs dominate Silicon Valley – innovation comes from identifying a need and then figuring out how to meet that need and get a product to market quickly. Business strategy, communication and innovation strategy are very closely aligned. These larger markets are focusing more on breakthrough technologies whereas in developing countries there is more risk aversion and reinventing the wheel isn’t always a smart or viable option.

How would you characterize the entrepreneurs and people that you met in Bali?

I mentioned this before but I would characterize the overall landscape as being a truly international startup scene.  People seemed to be in Bali for a variety of reasons — some for business and others for personal reasons or adventure.  The cost of living is very inexpensive so it gives an entrepreneur a lot of flexibility to work and live. Because the country is still developing I wouldn’t expect to see tech or other high growth companies popping up but the cultural richness and diversity is inspiring.

For more information on Hubud and Techstars continue reading below.

*Global Startup Weekend events comprise over 1,600 events in over 700 cities and 120 countries and is considered a “global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals and teams to found successful startups.” (https://hubud.org/specialevents/startup-weekend-bali/)

Who is` is Hubud?

Hubud (“Hub in Ubud, Bali) is a unique international headquarter where people from all over the world can unite and be inspired by ideas and each other in beautiful, lush rice terraces of Ubud, Bali. Hubud offers Co-working, Co-Living and many special events and programs throughout the year. Founders and members value community, connectivity and creativity .  Click HERE to learn more…

 What is Techstars?

 “Techstars is a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market wherever they choose to live. With dozens of mentorship-driven accelerator programs and thousands of community programs worldwide, Techstars exists to support the world’s most promising entrepreneurs throughout their lifelong journey, from inspiration to IPO.” Click HERE to read more…

The Startup Garage at Hera Venture Summit 2017

The Startup Garage at Hera Venture Summit 2017

The Startup Garage had the opportunity to be a partner of the Hera Venture Summit for the 2nd year in a row. This annual event, hosted by Hera Hub, Hera Labs, and Hera Fund, brings together experts from both sides of the investment table to share best practices, provide learning opportunities and foster networking. The theme of this year’s event was “Building Bridges” – with the intent to focus on building bridges between female founders and funders in the greater CaliBaja region.

This year’s opening keynote was given by Vicki Saunders (http://www.vickisaunders.com), Founder of SheEO. SheEO is a leader in global innovation in the female entrepreneur marketplace whose model serves to finance, support and celebrate female entrepreneurs. SheEO operates in cohorts where women pool funds together, which are then loaned out at low interest to 5 women-led Ventures selected by Activators. Activators range from corporate executives, successful entrepreneurs, women leaders, students, mothers, daughters, etc. ranging in age from 14-92 making for quite a unique community (https://sheeo.world).

Other Keynote speakers included:

  • Andrea Guendelman, CEO BeVisible LatinX — Creating a Collaborative Community for LatinX
  • Elissa Freiha, Co-Founder, WOMENA (female angel group in UAE) — A Womentum in Mena
  • Lisa Odenweller, Founder Beaming — Be your BEAMING Self

The summit also included an expo hall with many wonderful businesses and refreshments, several panel discussions and an interactive Fast Pitch, Fast Due Diligence & Fast Funding session.

As part of the event programming, TSG provided the following Top 8 Success Tips for Entrepreneurs:

Startups take time. Create a plan that avoids too much false or unnecessary urgency.

Having a false sense of urgency can keep us from putting our energy into the right things at the right time. It’s true – success doesn’t just happen – it requires careful, detailed planning and action. Be sure to enlist the help of business plans, checklists and project management platforms, to prioritize and stick with daily, weekly, monthly, and annual goals.

Don’t focus too much on the product/service. Balance your focus.

All too often entrepreneurs become so excited over their product or service that they get lost in their own enthusiasm. The core of the business might be the problem the product solves; but it’s imperative to give equal weight to other key comments of the business like, the team, the marketing strategy, and the business model and customer feedback.

There is plenty of investor money out there for companies who reach the milestones investors care about. Know what investors care about and focus on that.

Remember as an entrepreneur your perspective and mindset, often times differs from that of an investor. There are a few key things that you will need to show and/or achieve in order to get them to sign over the check.

– Business Plan

– Personal Investment

– Capital and Milestone Timeline

– Market Validation

– Prior Success

Founders are the biggest problem for most startups. Get out of your own way.

We call this “the founder’s dilemma”, and it’s a big one. Founders don’t let go easily. Surrendering control, delegating tasks, and learning to be a leader rather than a micro-manager can take time. Recognize the dilemma and start delegating tasks early on (even if it feels uncomfortable).

A healthy founder leads to a healthy startup.

Founders are the core of the business. Inspiration, motivation and success start with you and then ripple out to the organization at large. Your business is your responsibility – treat it with care by caring for your health and wellbeing. To be efficient and firing at a high caliber it’s essential to embrace a healthy physical routine and check in with your mental state. Moderation is key — working non-stop leads to startup burnout.

Know your exit strategy.

Knowing your end game makes every decision easier. Having clarity on your exit plan — whether it’s not exiting, Merger & Acquisition, or IPO — affects how you run your business day to day.

Planning is critical.

The lifecycle of you startup depends upon planning, documenting, and communicating even the most mundane tasks.

Take on the student role and always be learning.

The smartest founders are the ones that don’t know all of the answers. Being a lifetime learner evokes greater innovation and creativity. Knowledge is power and will help increase awareness of the world around you.

 

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!

5 Reasons to Attend The USD V2 Pitch Competition For Entrepreneurs

5 Reasons to Attend The USD V2 Pitch Competition For Entrepreneurs

On Thursday April 28th University of San Diego School of Business will hold an exciting competition in a “Shark Tank” like setting.

Top student entrepreneurs from USD and Tijuana will compete for a total of $100,000 in cash and invaluable mentorship and support.

The Startup Garage Team Compiled The Top 5 Reasons this is a must attend event:

1. There’s is no cost to attend.
It’s a completely FREE event although space is limited.
*HINT sign up early to reserve your seat.* When was the last time you had the opportunity to spent time with like minded entrepreneurs in a beautiful setting at no cost?
Register here

2. Absorb expert advice and insights from keynote speaker Tim Suski.

Tim co-founded one of the fastest growing boutique fitness franchise in Southern California, (The Rush Cycle Franchise) and also launched a technology platform used by 500+ businesses across the globe.

3. Fuel your entrepreneur inspiration.
The students pitching include a unique blend of entrepreneurs, each with their own innovative story and journey to share.

USD Current Student Entrepreneurs includes:

Lacy
Lacy is a bra washing machine (patent pending) that carefully protects bras and
delicates from the damage they normally endure during traditional washing methods.

FoldedColor
Technology company FoldedColor is an e-commerce solution for custom printed
packaging, offering standard and customizable folding carton options through a web-
to-print interface that includes instant pricing, an intuitive design editor, virtual 3D
proofing and online checkout.

TechMeetsTrader
This free social community for stocks and options investors, TechMeetsTrader
makes it easy to capitalize on investment opportunities and to learn from
experienced traders.

Like Cats and Dogs
Like Cats and Dogs produces a safe pet toy for both cats and dogs.

Bi-National Track Entrepreneurs Include:

AGROSOL
AGROSOL offers a fertilization, fumigation and geographical scanning system
performed by drones.

Baja Saver
Baja Saver generates clean and cheap energy through a product as small as a home
refrigerator that is 100 percent self-sufficient, more effective than wind and solar
systems and a better return on investment.

Ñapanga
Ñapanga produces and distributes a microbrew with a female focus.

FXR
FXR is an app used to request certified professional services for home repair and
maintenance.

4. Learn the art of pitching a Startup first hand.
Feel the presenters emotion and techniques when listening to a pitch, and tune into the panelist (potential “investors”) asking hard hitting questions.

5. Anyone can benefit from attending the V2 Pitch Competition.
Networking is key. “Meeting the right people and making connections to the San Diego start-up community is key to the success of any venture. We are lucky to bring in a unique crowd to the V2 Pitch Competition filled with investors, Entrepreneurs, alumni, and community partners. V2 has become an evening to connect, celebrate, and support our thriving San Diego and CaliBaja start-up ecosystem.” Regina Bernal, Entrepreneurship and Experiential Learning USD

Now that you’ve decided to join us, be sure to say hello to The Startup Garage Team!

We’ll have a table set up from 5-6pm at the Venture Fair prior to the event to answer any burning Startup Questions

How to Create a Social Media Profile For Your Business

How to Create a Social Media Profile For Your Business

As a startup or small business owner, you have to be smart with the resources you have.

Oftentimes, traditional marketing doesn’t exactly fall within your budget. That’s why social media is a great alternative in generating the results you want to achieve.

It’s not only low-cost, but it also gives you direct exposure to current and prospective customers

So, you’ve formed your business and want to start marketing through social media. Now what?

Here are a couple tips to think about when creating your profile:

Start with a Social Media Strategy

Even before selecting which channels you’ll use, you need a detailed strategy that will keep your marketing efforts on track. The first step is to figure out how you want to portray your brand. For best results, align your social media approach with your company culture and make sure it addresses your business goals and audience needs. Always strive to establish your brand’s own identity on social media so that your company can stand out among its competitors.

Choose the Right Social Networks

There are many different social media platforms to choose from today – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram – and depending on your strategy, you should be able to determine which ones are right for your startup. Look specifically at the target age group of your audience, the location of your business and the nature of your services when making the decision. One last tip: keep social media profiles limited to a couple of networking platforms. This way, you can easily monitor them, keep them up-to-date and interact with your followers more closely.

Build a Community

For long-term growth and success, the best thing you can do is build an online community of supporters who give your startup additional exposure and promote brand awareness. You can do this simply through personal interaction, relationship development and customer satisfaction. In general, customers greatly appreciate companies that put in effort to engage with their followers and connect with their audience.

Listen Instead of Talking

The biggest mistake you can make on social media is not listening to your followers. When used correctly, social media platforms allow you to garner valuable feedback. Respond to comments, mentions and feedback even if they’re negative. Social listening is an excellent tactic to monitor what people are saying about your brand.

Experiment

Sure, going the traditional route in terms of strategy is great, but every now and then, it’s great to think outside the box – as long as what you’re doing doesn’t compromise your brand’s integrity. Being creative and innovative will generate new ideas and develop the mindset you’ll need to resolve any problems later on.

Evaluate your social media strategy regularly

Startup companies can get overwhelmed by the fast pace and growth, but it’s important to take a step back every now and then to measure and analyze your results. Tracking performance data, such as growth, engagement and sharing, is the best way to identify which tactics are working and which ones aren’t. Things change with time and social media is no different. Therefore, it’s important to assess your startup’s social media business plan regularly to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your profiles.

A Few Last Words

Social media takes time and energy, so don’t be disappointed if the results you want don’t automatically unfold. Be patient and devote the appropriate amount of work into each account. With time, your profile will reap the benefits of company visibility and audience engagement, which eventually leads to paying customers and investors.

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

Crowdfunding For Equity: Title III and Equity Crowd Funding 101

Business Plans and Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding For Equity: Title III and Equity Crowd Funding 101

What is Equity Crowdfunding?

Equity crowdfunding is on the rise after the signing of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was signed by President Obama in April 2012.

Simply put, it is a type of crowdfunding that enables broad groups of investors to fund startup companies and small businesses in return for equity.

Three years after the JOBS Act was initially passed, Title IV (Regulation A+) went into effect, allowing larger companies to accept capital from both accredited investors (the wealthiest 2% of Americans) and non-accredited investors (the other 98% of Americans). This expanded when Title III (Regulation CF) was enacted in October 2015, which also allowed early stage companies to accept capital from both accredited and non-accredited investors.

More About Title III (Reg CF)

Title III allows startups and small businesses to raise up to $1M from the general public – an unprecedented way to raise capital. More specifically, investors who have less than $100,000 in both income and net worth may invest at least $2,000 per year, and as much as 5 percent of their income or net worth (whichever is less) per year.

Investors whose income or net worth is greater than $100,000 may invest up to 10 percent of their income or net worth (whichever is less) per year.

Thus, Title III gives companies that are historically underserved by the current capital markets an equal opportunity to equity financing.

On May 16th, Title III will officially go into effect.

Process

Choosing a Funding Portal

Under Title III, companies must use an online intermediary (either a broker-
dealer or crowdfunding portal registered with the SEC and FINRA), to facilitate a
fundraise. Experienced portals with a deep understanding of the regulations
surrounding Reg CF can help ensure that their campaigns are compliant with SEC rules.

Filing a Form C

Companies raising under Title III do not need to get SEC approval to initiate their
raise. They must, however, prepare a Form C and file it with the SEC 21 days prior to launching an offering. This form includes basic information about the company, its employees and the terms of the raise.

Disclosure Requirements – Financial Information

In addition to Form C, necessary financial information will depend on the size of
the intended investment needs:

 Under $100k – Internal financial statement review

 $100k-500k – CPA reviewed financial statements

 500k-1M – 3rd Party audited financial statements

 1st time crowdfunding issuers offering more than $500,000 would be permitted to provide reviewed, rather than audited, financial statements.

 Disclosure Requirements – Ongoing Reporting

Providing progress reports not only build trust with investors and keep them informed, but they’re also a very much required part of the disclosure requirements. Upon the successful closure of your campaign, you will be required to provide ongoing updates to your investors in the form of an annual report, which will include similar information that was included on the Form C.

In summary, what are the benefits and pitfalls of Title III?

Benefits:

 Title III can be an efficient way to quickly startups raise capital from the crowd

 More investors equate to more supporters in your startup

 Reporting requirements give founders and investors an opportunity to

Pitfalls:

 Current statutory disclosure obligations and costs are overly burdensome

 Legal and accounting fees may be higher than traditional capital-raising

 Title III does not include a “testing the waters” provision (like Reg A+ maintain a more open and transparent dialogue methods does) so that issuers can gauge interest before incurring burdensome filing and preparation costs

Remember, Regulation CF will become effective 180 days after the final rules are published in
the Federal Register on May 16, 2016.

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

Entrepreneur Mindset: Lottery Players and Startup Unicorns

Startup Unicorns From The Startup Garage

Entrepreneur Mindset: Lottery Players and Startup Unicorns

4 MindSet Similarities Between Startup Unicorns and Lottery Players

As of March 17, 2016 CB Insights’s real time unicorn tracker, lists that 155 Startup Companies are valued at $1 billion or more with a total cumulative valuation of $550billion. 
A steady increase of 111 new companies since February 2014.

Although, the exclusive startup unicorn club appears to be more obtainable than previous years, the chances of winning big, like the lottery are few and far between.

In fact, the number looks to be just above 1% of all Startup companies, will obtain a billion dollar valuation.

The questions then become, has the media surrounding $billion valuations and the public hype of startup founders personal wealth and company culture, created a false hope for entrepreneurs?

Perhaps over sensationalized stories serve the same purpose as the MegaMillions billboards displaying the jackpot size, driving more players to enter the game, and encouraging people to start companies for the lure of being Megarich?

In Jan of 2016 a record breaking $1.6B Powerball jackpot, brought the North American lottery to new heights, unleashing a new breed of fortune hunters. I witnessed successful startup founders scramble to buy in, who never before considered playing the lottery.

A million dollar winning is no longer is enough, however the lure of a billion dollars cash out is the new Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket for Startup founders and Lottery Players.

The Entrepreneur Mindset and Lottery Players Mindset

Risk-Takers

“Millennials don’t buy lottery tickets, they launch startups.”
A lotto player buys in for the mental reward of a chance of being rich.
A startup founder spends hundreds of dollars every week for the same reward: a very small chance of being rich, in order to be in charge of their own destiny.

Both Entrepreneurs and Lottery Players are natural risk-takers, 43% of entrepreneurs (compared to 34% of non-entrepreneurs) believe that risks must be taken in order to be successful. Risk-taking is almost synonymous with entrepreneurship, in order to start and support your own business, you’ll have to put your career, personal finances and even your mental health at stake.

However, with great risk comes great reward, even with the odds stacked against you.
Did you know, the odds of matching every lottery number are 1 in 175,223,510, according to Powerball.com. Are those good odds? A person has better odds of playing in the NBA (1 in 6,864,000), being a movie star (1 in 1,505,000) or becoming the president of the United States (1 in 10,000,000).

Persistent

By definition, persistence is the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people.
True winners never gives up, “you gotta be in it to, win it,” strikes a cord for both entrepreneurs an lottery players.

Success takes thick skin, in order to crush the odds you can’t let anyone or anything stand in the way of reaching your goals.

Hopeful

Entrepreneurs and lottery winners, must fully committed to finding a way to beating the odds.
Both play the narrative of the “Hero’s Journey” with follows a basic pattern of stepping outside the ordinary world to embrace the call of adventure, while encountering a variety of tests, all for the big reward. Overall, an attitude of hope prevails even in the face of loosing lottery tickets, and unfunded startup businesses.

Big Dreamers

The good thing about startups and lotteries, are they give you back that ability to dream really big.
The lotto boasts:
Someone’s going to win why not you?

Dream Big. Win Big.
Your ticket to dream.
Dream Bigger.
Give your dreams a chance!
Dollar and a dream.
Give Your Dream a Chance

The Startup Garage team applauds the HopefulPersistent Risk-Takers in all of you who are willing to dream big!

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!

Who Top Startup Founders & Entrepreneurs Follow on Instagram

Who Top Startup Founders & Entrepreneurs Follow on Instagram

We all need inspiration in our life, even successful Startup Founders & Entrepreneurs turn to visual content giant Instagram, for daily encouragement or perhaps a welcomed distraction.

The Startup Garage Team complied a list highlighting a handful of standout accounts they follow on Instagram, and what their personal photo posting style reveals.

Tony Hsieh @Downtowntony

Better know as the CEO of Delivering Happiness at Zappos.com

Follows 102 accounts on Instagram



His personal highlights include:


@Lifeisbeautifual An electric annual a music, art, food, festival in downtown Las Vegas
@Seniorstylebible An 81yr old retired Playboy bunny’s now style blogger
@Natgeo or the long tail version & legend National Geographic
@Tyrabanks professional Smizer Tyra Banks
@Ivankatrump the daughter of The Donald

Tony’s personal posting style is a fun mix of landscapes, art, dogs, with fun photo captions. That being said he hasn’t posted since 12/28/15. We hope to see more from Tony in 2016.

Biz Stone @BizStone

The american entrepreneur best know as the co-founder of Twitter.

Follows 59 accounts on Instagram

Personal Highlights include:

@therock or Dwayne Douglas Johnson outside the wrestling ring

@kevin Kevin Systrom the Ceo & Co-Founder of Instagram

@gregyaitanes Greg Yaianes emmy award winning director of the TV show Grey’s Anatomy

@Sacca Chris Sacca Silicon Valley venture investor, invested in Uber

@Zuck Mark Zuckerberg founder of Facebook

Biz’s personal posting style is family centric, he’s definitely a family man and loves using the early bird filter. He posts in the range of once a week.

Kevin Systrom @kevin

The godfather or Co-founder of Instagram
follows 619 Instagramers

Personal Highlights include:

@modernoutdoors Modern Outdoors visually storyteller thru exploration

@zachking Zach King is risen to Vine superstardom thru is fun 6 second videos

@Adele Adele chart breaking English singer and songer writer

@victoriabeckham aka Posh Spice

@Domperignonoffical Dom Perignon prestigious champagne

Kevin’s personal posting style includes almost daily posts. He loves his selfies with the interesting and the famous, plus he’s clearly a foodie & cocktail enthusiast.

Sheryl Sandberg @sherylsandberg

CEO of Facebook
follows 1670 Instagram accounts
Personal Highlights include:

@johnlegend John Legend R&B song writer and singer

@goodmorningamerica Good Morning America top headlines live from Time Square
@starwars Star Wars, May the force be with you
@sheplusplus She++ is a Stanford based community for female techies
@benparr Ben Parr author of “Captivology:The Science of Captivating People’s Attention”

Sheryl’s personal post are a mix of global humanity and feminism, with some carefully sprinkled photos of her life outside of activism and Facebook.

Elon Musk @elonmusk

Tesla Motors founder
follows 13 accounts on Instagram
Personal Highlights include:
@nasa exploring the planet and space
@norakirkpatrick an american actress seen in “The Office”
@talulahrm Talulah Riley an english actress seen in “Pride and Prejudice”
@adeo Adeo Ressi CEO of Founder Institute

Elon’s personal posts are best described as coffee, cars, and space, he’s posts are rare and he tends to go on post sprees of similar images.

Ashton Kutcher @Aplusk

TV star turned tech investor
follows 105 Instagram accounts
Personal Highlights include:
@Lauraprepon Laura Prepon better known as Alex from Orange is The New Black
@ddlovato pop singer & songwriter Demi Lovato
@Garyvee Gary Vaynerchuk digital media mastermind
@taylor swift Taylor Swift pop star singer and songwriter
@pk514 PK Creedon NFL Publicist

Aston’s personal style are inquisitive selfies, scenery, and cowboy boots.

Lori Griener @Lorigreinershark

As seen on QVC and Sharktank
follows 34 Instagram accounts
Personal Highlights include:
@kindofwild cute pet videos
@mindykaling Mindy Kaling comedian and star of “The Mindy Project”
@clean_and_delicious Dani Spies Health & Weight Loss Coach
@shanedawson Shane Dawson Youtube celebrity
@kyrenian Altug Galip travel photographer and adventurer

Lori’s personal style similar to Where’s Waldo and in this instance where’s Lori..see her here see her there, where’s Lori today? Along with some splashes of inspirational quotes.

Have your Entrepreneur Instagram questions answered, but still have questions about raising capital for your Startup, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Top 8 Success Tips For First Time Founders

Top 8 Success Tips For First Time Founders

As a Startup entrepreneur it’s easy for your work to become your life, and 8 years to effortlessly slip by.

I founded what has become The Startup Garage in January of 2008 with passion for helping entrepreneurs start and launch companies of impact.

Our business, team, and services have evolved, transformed, and changed many times over. Yet, throughout the years the fears, issues, and struggles seen amongst first time founders have remained the same.

As a Startup founder, regardless of where you are geographically or financially, there appears to be common threads, and snags all of us face at one point or another along the journey.

In 8 years of service, The Startup Garage, has helped over 200 companies, non-profits, social enterprises, find success. In celebration of our 8 year anniversary, I’d like to share with you.

My Top 8 Success Tips:

Startups take time. Create a plan that avoids too much false or unnecessary urgency.

Having a false sense of urgency can keep us from putting our energy into the right things at the right time. It’s true, success doesn’t just happen, it requires careful, detailed planning and action. Be sure to enlist the help of business plans, checklists and project management platforms, to prioritize and stick with daily, weekly, monthly, and annual goals.

Don’t focus too much on the product/service. Balance your focus.

All to often entrepreneurs become so excited over their product or service, that they get lost in their own enthusiasm. The core of the business might be the problem the product solves. But, it’s imperative to give equal weight to other key comments of the business like, the team, the marketing strategy, business model and customer feedback.

There is plenty of investor money out there for companies who reach the milestones investors care about. Know what investors care about and focus on that.

Remember as an entrepreneur your perspective and mindset, often times differs from that of an investor. We’ve designed a helpful infographic here>> Achieve Investor Milestones
to keep you visually in tune with achieving the milestones investors care about, to communicate with them in a language they understand.

Founders are the biggest problem for most startups. Get out of your own way.

We call this the founder’s dilemma, and it’s a big one. Founders don’t let go easy, surrendering control, delegating tasks, and learning to be a leader rather than a micro-manager can take time. Recognize the dilemma and start delegating tasks even if it feels uncomfortable.

Healthy founders leads to healthy startups.

Founders are the core of a business inspiration, motivation, and success starts with you, then ripples out to the organization at large. Your business is your responsibility, treat it with care by caring for your health and well-being. To be efficient and firing at a high caliber it’s essential to embrace a healthy physical routine, and check in with your mental state. Moderation is key, working non-stop leads to startup burnout, and doesn’t help anyone within your startup.

Know your exit strategy.

Knowing your end game, makes every decision easier. Having clarity on on your exit plan, whether it’s not exiting, Merger & Acquisition, or IPO affects how you run your business day to day.

Planning is critical

The lifecycle of you startup depends upon planning, documenting, and communicating even the most mundane tasks.

Take on the student role and always be learning.

The smartest founders, are the ones that don’t know all the answers. Being a lifetime learner, evokes greater innovation and creativity. Knowledge is power and will help increase awareness of the world around you.

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!

14 Key Insights From The Lean Entrepreneur Author Brant Cooper

14 Key Insights From The Lean Entrepreneur Author Brant Cooper

The Startup Grind San Diego hosts monthly fireside chats, featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors.

The Startup Garage Team had the pleasure of attending Dec 10th event featuring San Diego Startup pioneer Brant Cooper.

Brant is the author of The Lean Entrepreneur, which supports organizations in jump-starting their innovation practices. He travels the globe helping to teach and educate entrepreneurs and intraprenuers,
through the simple objective of empowering individuals to make the change they want to see in the world.

We found Brant to be humble, entertaining, and very inspiring.

The TSG team couldn’t help but share 14 Key Insights we picked up from his talk.

San Diego Startup Community Verse Silicon Valley

The comparison needs to stop. We’re not Silicon Valley, we’re never going to be Silicon Valley. We don’t want to be Silicon Valley or we would be living in Silicon Valley.

Women Entrepreneurs

We’re one generation away worldwide from woman dominating entrepreneurship.

Women Entrepreneurs
are now economically empowered to start their own businesses.

Large Enterprise & Startups

Help Larger Enterprise by teaching entrepreneur skills. Make large enterprises value creation machines, so that they can give back new value to customers, as opposed to just being focused on wealth.

The Transformation to Value Creation Machines

It’s fun to be in a startup, but you can start being this way in a large organization too by being more entrepreneurial, closer to their customer, faster, and more agile.

College and Entrepreneurship

The real unicorn is someone who drops out of high school and hits it big.

Incubators and Accelerators – Mentorship

The biggest difficulty around the world aside from Silicon Valley and maybe NYC is the mentors, finding quality mentors that really know how to do startup mentoring is really hard.

Most Eco-systems are pulling people from large businesses, their heart is in the right place, and they can give great advice on a particular industry, but when it comes to founders issues, entrepreneurism, specific technologies, a lot of mentors don’t know what a startup is all about.

Entrepreneurship Best Practices

Top Ten Things Entrepreneurs Don’t Do…Read a Top Ten List.
The thing that’s overlooked the most is hustle.
It is the relentlessly pursue part that is actually going to make your idea a success.

We’re in a Customer Centric World

The rise of UX & Design.
The productivity gains we’re going to find are on the end user side.
You’ve build a satisfied customer experience, now you need to surpass the threshold and build passion, not with your product.

Crowdfunding a Book

It’s a great way to get a marketing budget, while helping build a community around the value proposition of the book. Be cautious, taking money from people that aren’t in your market segment is always a big no no, and actually dangerous.

Lean Principles

The idea around lean is the elimination of waste. Don’t waste your time, money, resources, creativity, inspiration in building products nobody wants.

Emerging Industries in SD

There’s a lot of people that think an eco-system can choose what industry to develop. Rather An eco-systems gets chosen, industries are chosen based upon who exits.

Entrepreneur Complaints

Entrepreneurs no matter where they are alway complain over a lack of money.
You can build your startup here (SD) and not have to move if you build out your business model.
You can complain about a lack of seed money, but if you build a successful business model you can raise money, bottom line.

Government and Startups

There’s a lot of mythology around the government money and innovation. The government even in the US has funded in some way almost all innovation we have ever done.

Startup Marketing

You should be able to see some organic growth that shows that there’s some buzz around the product, without spending any money on marketing.
Too quickly we’re into building the product and all the features, then now I need a marketing budget, and I need to spend a bunch of money on marketing in order to create a buzz.
Rather, the product better start the buzz, marketing is for amplifying the buzz the product creates, not for creating it’s own buzz.

Watch the complete interview here>>
Brant Cooper at Startup Grind San Diego

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!