Category Archives: Startup Culture

2019 Major Startup Events

2019 Major Startup Events

The Events Every Startup Should Know About in 2019

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best conferences in the coming year to keep an eye out for. Don’t have these on your calendar yet? We’d recommend you do !

Startup Grind Conference

The Startup Grind Global Conference provides an environment unlike anything else – where our community of startups, partners, investors, thought leaders, and worldwide directors come together for 2+ days of invaluable education, connection, and inspiration.

Where: Palo Alto, CA

When: February 12 – 13, 2019

SXSW Conference

Featuring a variety of tracks that allow attendees to explore what’s next in the worlds of film, culture, music, and technology, SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.

Where: Austin, TX

When: March 8 – 16, 2019

Ceres Conference

The Ceres Conference 2019 will convene more than 600 influential investors, senior corporate executives, policy makers and capital market leaders to reaffirm the business case for sustainability and share best practices to empower leadership, build solutions, and drive change.

Where: San Francisco, CA

When: April 29 – May 1, 2019

Collision Conference

Collision is the fastest growing tech conference in North America. Now in its fifth year, Collision has grown to over 25,000 attendees and is in for a big change in 2019.

Where: Toronto, Canada

When: May 20 – 23, 2019

Launch Festival

LAUNCH Festival is the largest startup event in the world. For the past 10 years we’ve hosted Festival in San Francisco, featuring fireside chats with Silicon Valley technologists and pioneers, demonstrations of cutting-edge future technology, and exciting startup competitions with founders and teams from all around the world.

Where: Sydney, Australia

When: June 18 – 19, 2019

Industry: The Product Conference

Over 3 days, 1,200 attendees from over 30 countries will learn from renowned product leaders and share the latest methods, tools, and frameworks that they use to build, launch and scale world-class software products.

Where: Cleveland, OH

When: September 23 – 25, 2019

Disrupt SF

If you’re serious about startups, we’re still keeping it as real as ever. At Disrupt, everyone is a startupper – no matter if you’re a founder, investor, hacker or tech leader. So much more than just on-stage interviews, Disrupt is where you’ll find the renowned Startup Battlefield competition, a virtual Hackathon, hundreds of startups in Startup Alley, Workshops and legendary networking at our After Parties… and we’re in San Francisco, right where startup dreams began.

Where: San Francisco, CA

When: October 2 – 4, 2019

**This will be an ongoing post as new dates/conferences become available.

For more information on fundraising, our Founder/CEO, Tyler Jensen has created several eBooks on the topic.  We invite you to browse our website to request free downloads.

Are ICOs the Future of Startup Fundraising? Cryptocurrencies are Giving Founders a New Platform for Fundraising

Are ICOs the Future of Startup Fundraising? Cryptocurrencies are Giving Founders a New Platform for Fundraising

Cryptocurrencies are giving Founders a whole new platform for fundraising.

As a strategic business consultancy that offers Fractional CFO services to entrepreneurs and startups we get a lot of questions about raising capital.  While the general consensus among experts is to first raise traditional angel and seed rounds some founders are exploring the use of cryptocurrencies and/or ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) vs. Series A or B rounds.  The rising popularity of cryptocurrency is allowing Founders and startups to get creative in their fundraising efforts.

What is Blockchain?

In a nutshell: “The basic concept of cryptocurrency is pretty simple… Rather than asking the public for investments of old-fashioned money, the inventor issues a new virtual currency tied to a specific product, each unit of which represents a defined share of future profits. Just like shares in an actual stock market, these coins or tokens can then be freely traded or collected, letting those who truly believe in a project build an actual financial stake in its success.”  (“How to Fund Your Startup with Cryptocurrency” — Catrinel Bartolomeu)

How does it work?

Some founders will attempt to raise capital through an initial coin offering which, in simple terms, is when a company wants to fund itself through cryptocurrency. People can “back” the ICO by contributing other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or, more commonly, Ether (the name for Ethereum’s coins/tokens). It is basically a crowdfunding campaign that, instead of using platforms like Kickstarter, uses blockchain platforms.

Pros and Cons

While Blockchain technology and Social Enterprise are creating new options for Startup Fundraising, it’s important to look at the pros and cons of using ICOs vs. traditional fundraising methods.  Serhiy Kozlov (CEO and Founder of Romexsoft) does a great job highlighting some of the pros/cons of using ICOs to raise capital.  Below is a summary (full article can be found here):

BENEFITS

Traditional Funding Comes with Strings/IOC’s with Far Less.

A clear advantage for the founder. Initiating an ICO with a unique currency that can later convert to Bitcoin or Ether, takes a lot of regulation out of the mix.  Banks and traditional VC funding can may have tight contracts and legal responsibilities.

ICO Funding is Cheaper.

When the middleman fees and interest are cut out of the mix, getting funding is cheaper. There is also more freedom for the founder to set terms.

Flexibility for the Investor.

Investment returns on ICOs can be more accelerated than returns with traditional funding. Investors like this.

Flexibility for Startup Founders.

One great thing about ICO is that funding can come from a variety of currencies, both fiat and crypto. This may attract more investors than traditional funding which usually occurs in a single currency.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES

Lack of understanding regarding governmental rules and regulations, regarding investing and receiving investment capital.

There are legal risks involved in an entrepreneur seeking funding via an unregistered token, even when it goes through registered blockchain platforms, like Bitcoin and Ether. In the case of the U.S. SEC, for example, just incorporating outside of the U.S. will not grant ‘immunity.” As well, the SEC has recently established rules regarding equity investments in crowdfunding activities.

Over-Valuation. 

Some of the amounts being raised through ICOs are staggering. Early investors in Bitcoin and Ether are eager to invest more and more in new ventures, and founders are “tempted” by the easy money to raise far more than they actually need or would get via traditional financing.

Lack of Control and Protection. 

This, of course, is an investor’s not a startup’s problem. But it is a weakness that, if not “fixed”, may sour investors over time. Unethical or fraudulent “startups” really have little-to-no fiduciary responsibility to their investors. Smart Contracts, such as those through Ethereum are a start, but the promoter has ways to alter those arrangements.

It’s Too New. 

As mentioned earlier in this article, the concepts of Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and ICOs are still foreign to many investors, and certainly to individuals who have money to invest but see this cryptocurrency “stuff” as somehow fake money. It will take time for the entire concept to become mainstream and for weaknesses to be eliminated.

For more information on fundraising, our Founder/CEO, Tyler Jensen has created several eBooks on the topic.  We invite you to browse our website to request free downloads.

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.

 

Is This a Crazy Idea?

Is This a Crazy Idea?

“Is this a crazy idea?” This question gets raised quite often during our consultations at The Startup Garage. Tyler Jensen, CEO and Founder of TSG, believes that “it doesn’t really matter whether your idea is crazy or not – what matters is the journey you’re willing to take and whether you’re able to learn and evolve throughout the startup process.” Great ideas aren’t always obvious, so here at The Startup Garage, we believe that even the craziest ideas can be a launch pad toward success when paired with a founder that is willing to listen and evolve.

Even bad ideas can evolve into huge successes

In his article “Embracing Bad Ideas to Get To Good Ideas”, entrepreneur John Geraci points out that even bad ideas can evolve into huge successes — “Apple started off selling DIY computer kits, PayPal began as a way to beam money between Palm Pilots, YouTube began as a video dating site.  Each of these, in their day, must have seemed like bad ideas.  Yet these companies have become the biggest players in now-enormous fields.” Our case in point — leading entrepreneurs are able to listen, adjust and let their bad ideas evolve into more favorable ones.

Sometimes the biggest fish are “just nuts”

Geraci goes on to cite Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen (Andreessen Horowitz) who believes that “the biggest opportunities, and the real money, lie in areas where no consensus exists on whether an idea is good or bad,” and that, “if you are doing it right, you are continuously investing in things that are non-consensus…you are investing in things that look like they are just nuts.” While your goal as an entrepreneur is to raise capital, having an investor decline funding your business can allow you to take a step back and make adjustments.

So, next time you are wondering whether your idea is crazy we say go ahead and embrace it. Click here to read Geraci’s full article, which includes suggestions on how to get even your worst ideas to work for you.

Top 5 Startup Tips from the 2016 SDVG Venture Summit

Top 5 Startup Tips from the 2016 SDVG Venture Summit

 

Last week, The Startup Garage had the pleasure of attending the fourteenth annual Venture Summit in San Diego, hosted by the San Diego Venture Group (SDVG). The event brought together more than 35 of San Diego’s ‘coolest companies’ as well as venture capitalist firms. The diverse audience included attendees from tech, software, consumer goods, life sciences, health, and other industries.

An array of valuable information was shared over the course of the event. Here are some of our favorite business tips for Startups shared during the Venture Summit:

1. Tell your story in a clear, concise, and passionate manner. Entrepreneurs are often so ingrained in their business that when they pitch their vision to potential investors, their message seems robotic and potentially unclear. It is crucial to investors that you tell your story with both passion and direction. Investors understand that your company is your baby, that you’ve invested an excruciating amount of effort, time, and finances to see it succeed. Be excited to share your baby with investors and really show them how passionate you are.

2. Target your story to your audience. The ability to tell your story effectively does not come easy. It is highly recommended to practice with as many investors that are willing to listen. From that practice, you develop a keen sense of understanding of their perspective and you will be better suited to modify your story to fit your target audience.

3. Keep your story organic and fluid. The ability to flex your pitch on the spot demonstrates mastery and confidence. Practice makes perfect. Practice your story alterations to yourself in the mirror to keep your story fluid and relevant. Being able to tailor your presentation based on your audience will allow you to connect more effectively with investors.

4. San Diego is a booming start-up community, leverage your “neighbor”. With the rising living costs in places like San Francisco, companies and employees alike are searching for other areas where exciting growth opportunity exists, and San Diego is rapidly become a top hub for Startups. We’ve witnessed a growing number of industries and companies calling San Diego home; CourseKey, CureMatch, eSUB, and Freetz to name a few. The blend of technology, sunny weather, and beautiful beaches has attracted entrepreneurs from all over the world, and will continue to do so for the coming years – so start building your network today.

5. Ask for constructive feedback. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs receive a “No” from investors, and are afraid to ask them for feedback. Don’t be afraid of asking them for a few words of advice or why they decided not to invest in your company. A simply phone call can go a long way in helping you develop the perfect pitch and, ultimately, finding the best investor for your company.

In a given year, a venture capitalist firm comes across 1,000 potential deals, 50 of which undergo the due diligence process, and only 1 of the 1,000 is invested in. Having the right tools, team and support system is critical.

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 Craft an Effective Mission Statement For Your Startup

How to Craft an Effective Mission Statement For Your Startup

When developing a business, an important component of your overall strategic plan is a mission statement.

This brief statement declares the purpose of an organization and defines the reason for the
company’s existence. It provides the framework to help guide the company’s strategies and actions by spelling out the business’s overall goal.

Ultimately, a mission statement helps guide decision-making internally, while also articulating what your business is all about to customers, suppliers and the community.

An effective mission statement is clear and concise, yet resonates with both employees and those
outside of the organization. It captures, in a few succinct sentences, the essence of your business’s purpose in a way that inspires support and ongoing commitment.

So, how should you go about crafting one for your business? Here are some helpful tips:

Involve others

The best way to develop a mission statement is to brainstorm with those connected to your business. Ask employees, customers and investors what they see as your biggest strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to see how others see your company and your brand so that you have more than one perspective. Not only will you get a more comprehensive statement that’s reflective of your company culture, but your employees will be more invested in it because they helped form it.

It takes time

Crafting a mission statement of value requires time, thought and planning. Typically, it’s recommended to set aside several hours – a full day, if you have it – to piece together everyone’s ideas and arrive at a finished product. Though time-consuming, this process will solidify the reason for what you are doing and help clarify the motivations behind your business.

Make it count

Even though mission statements are short, every word counts. Your statement should not only be memorable, but it should inspire action, as well. However, there’s no need to make it overly complicated – just state the purpose of your company and your reason for starting it in the first place. Its value only comes from when stakeholders can use it as a guide when making day-to-day decisions.

Spread the word

Once your mission statement is complete, display it internally and externally with pride. Post the statement in the office, print it on company materials and be able to recite it to potential customers who walk through the door. This way, you can ensure everyone who reads it understands the direction of the company and why you’ve chosen that focus.

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

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!