Tag Archives: Building Your Startup Team

How to Launch 13 EdTech Startups in 54 Hours

How to Launch 13 EdTech Startups in 54 Hours

Sound like an impossible task?

Step inside Startup Weekend NYCEDU, a 3-day event that occurred March 27- 29th 2015 in New York City.

Within the four walls of The World School, teams of entrepreneurs, educators, developers, and designers collaborated to bring education technology concepts into creation in a mere 54 hours.

#SWnycedu kicked off Friday night with an open mic in which 42 individuals pitched their Startup business ideas to an audience of 150 Edtech enthusiasts in efforts to join their team and bring once novel ideas to life. Pitches included statements like “This isn’t just a weekend thing, I’m looking for co-founders for the company.” A statement, that evoked both present opportunity and future possibility, for those bold enough to believe in the concept.

Upon conclusion of the pitches, teams formed (in this instance 13 teams) based on the most popular Startup ideas. The rest of the weekend was spent deep in the trenches of Startup brainstorming sessions, product development and execution.

Edtech product developments ranged from more traditional learning apps like Poly, a parent to teacher translation tool, to those WizArt, which connects the art curious to the art educated for a unique educational experience.

In the spirit of competition breeding innovation, the 13 newly formed teams raced against the clock in order to present a viable business model to a panel of judges on Sunday evening. Also evident with the 54 hour Edtech journey was the comradery amongst event attendees and the formation of longstanding business and personal friendships.

“ I was personally blown away by not only the quality of the work (in speaking to one of the sponsors during demo night, he thought a number of the companies could turn into viable businesses), but also the depth of relationships built. By Sunday night, it was clear to me that many meaningful connections had been made. I also think we had the right space and the right people to produce some really thoughtful and potentially influential prototypes.” Said Laura Patterson Communications and Marketing lead for NYCEDU 2015.

Startup Weekend NYCEDU grand finale included a 5 minute pitch given by each of the 13 Startups with a 2 minute window for Q & A from the panel of 4 judges. The judges included: Preeti Birla from Innovate NYC Schools, Wiley Cerilli from First Round Capital, Christy Crawford from Bronx Community Charter and Jason DeRoner from TeachBoost.

As a witness to the 13 pitches, all were inspiring and shined a new light on game changing education hacks that certainly have the power to transform our educational institutions to various degrees. However, only 1 Edtech Startup reined supreme, Mr. Cesar App, which captured 1st place at SWnycedu.

The Mr. Cesar app was inspired from the following problem:
“The average student guidance counselor ratio in the US is 470 to 1. For minority, low-income students, that ratio doubles to 1000 to 1. In this environment, many high achieving, under-resourced students who might have a fighting chance at highly selective schools end up placed at local colleges with lower graduation rates and quality of education.”

Be sure to keep Mr. Cesar App. on your radar along with the 12 other Startups that launched over March 27th weekend as this won’t be the 1st or last time they’ll be reinventing education on and offline.

Do you have a Startup Business Idea or want to support those that do? Startup Weekends powered by Google for Entreprenuers have hosted over
1,500 events to date, spanning 726 international cities, yielding over 13,000 startups created by over 123,000 entrepreneurs. Check out the event calendar, get involved and launch a Startup in 54 hours there’s never been a better time in history to do so!

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

Recruiting a CTO Co-Founder for Your Startup

Recruiting a CTO from The Startup Garage

Recruiting a CTO Co-Founder for Your Startup

Many technology based startups are founded by entrepreneurs without technical backgrounds.

The tech companies that are successful,
quickly realize the importance of bringing on a technical co-founder.

The biggest mistake that a non-tech entrepreneur can make when launching a tech business is to neglect bringing on a tech savvy co-founder very early on. Otherwise, it is like launching a bakery or restaurant without a chef.

The benefits of having a CTO as part of your founding team are extensive:

  • A CTO can put together a technology plan with technical specifications, high level system architecture, wireframes, timeline, and budget.
  • A CTO can hire a development team to build the idea and determine if an in-house or outsourced development team would be best.
  • A CTO understands the code and backend features that will allow him/her to update your technology going forward.
  • A CTO significantly reduces risk for investors and therefor increases your likelihood of successfully raising capital.
  • The biggest challenge with finding a qualified CTO (i.e. experienced developers and/or engineers with strong project management skills) is that they are in high demand and have many employment options in front of them.

    Below are a few tips to help you successfully recruit a CTO co-founder:

    1. Be a leader. Whether you are bringing on a CTO co-founder, an investor, or an employee, people like to rally behind leaders. Your passion for your product, your financial and time commitment to your company, and your ultimate belief in the solution that you offer will go further towards rallying people for your cause than anything else.
    2. Demonstrate the opportunity. Surely a co-founder wants to be compensated for their work, either in equity, salary, or a combination of both. However, a co-founder is more interested in the potential impact the company can have. Similar to investors, co-founders want to know that your product solves a major problem in the marketplace, that you are differentiated from your competition, and that you have tested and proved your assumptions. In many ways, your business plan is as useful of a tool for attracting talented team members as it is for attracting investment.
    3. Constantly be searching. Similar to applying for jobs, you cannot leave any stone unturned when searching for a co-founder. Start by leveraging your LinkedIn network. First, look for people in your network that might be potential candidates. Next, look into your network’s network and ask for introductions to potential candidates. You can also look into sites that match entrepreneurs with sought after talent such as Startup Agents or CoFounders Lab. Lastly, attend as many startup networking events, meetups, and conferences as possible. You never know who will be that next person you exchange business cards with.
    4. Define Your Criteria and Evaluate Candidates. It is important to understand what you are looking for in a co-founder before you begin your search. Start by determining minimum expertise and skill requirements, desired personality traits, and key roles the person must be able to perform. You may want to start this process by looking at yourself and identifying your gaps and weaknesses. Additionally, you will need to have thought through the compensation plan for this individual. Are they receiving equity, a salary, a mix of the two? Is their equity position vested based on key milestones and company benchmarks? If so, what are the terms of the vesting schedule?
    If you have a question about your Startup or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    Artificial Intelligence: The Trend For Tech Startups

    Artificial Intelligence From The Startup Garage

    Artificial Intelligence: The Trend For Tech Startups

    Looking to get funded in 2015?

    Why not add some elements of the “The Terminator” & “The Matrix” to your Startup Business model.

    Funding increased 302% for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Startups in 2014. Pouring in over $309.2 million in over 40 deals. That’s more than 20-fold in just 4 years from $14.9 million in 2010.

    Artificial Intelligence Startups are those that work in NLP, machine learning, deep learning and predictive APIs among other core applications.

    The rebirth and mini-boom of an Artificial Intelligence industry can give thanks to iconic tech entrepreneurs and investors like Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Amazon. Google set the funding stage in January 2014 with $400M acquisition of Deep Mind Technologies.

    Deep Minds Technology’s recent achievement includes a computer that learns how to play video games similar to humans, while possibly mimicking short-term memory of the brain.

    It’s examples like these, which mesh together science fiction and startup innovation, that has investor interest in A1 so hot. “Many AI companies have raised significant money without any product plans.” Said Scaled Inference Inc. Founder Olcan Sercinoglu.

    Falling technology costs have also helped catapult AI startups. Processing large amounts of data, the core of AI work, is now cheaper as computer chips have gotten faster and the costs associated with storing and accessing data have dropped.

    The backbone of any great startup is “What Problem Inspired Your Business? And What is your Solution.” AI Startups ultimately provide clever tools to solve both corporate and consumer problems. “Solving Intelligence,” by building learning algorithms to better understand and predict human behavior, among other uses.

    Consumers and investors alike are witnessing and investing in, computer brains or AI tools, resulting in an increasingly powerful edge to the information age.

    The evolution of human super intelligence is at a noticeable tipping point, set to have a massive impact at both an individual and global scale. As a Startup Entrepreneur the questions remains will you be part of the problem? or part of the solution?

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

    The Startup Garage’s Top 10 Best Blogs of 2014

    The Startup Garage’s Top 10 Best Blogs of 2014

    2014 was a momentous year for entrepreneurs and startup companies around the globe. Through out the year The Startup Garage has shared our knowledge, resources, and insights with you in efforts to skyrocket your success.

    Below our Top 10 Best Blogs of 2014, we hope you find them invaluable and worth referencing time and time again.

    How To Evaluate Your Startups Business Model

    The business model is the means by which your company makes money for the value that you deliver to your customers. Learn how to create a strategy to monetize your product or service. Find out more here: How To Evaluate your Startup Business Model

    What Type of Funding is Best for My Company?

    There are three main sources of funding, family, friends, and founders.
    Learn to how determine which funding source is right for you.
    Find out more here: What Type of Funding Is Best For My Company

    How To Raise Startup Capital In 120 Seconds

    A quick pitch should serve as a teaser of what’s exciting and noteworthy to come next. The intention of a 2-minute pitch is to deliver a heavy dose of substance, content, and sizzle regarding your Startup’s investment potential.
    Find out more here: How To Raise Startup Capital in 120 Seconds

    Infographic What’s Your Entrepreneurial Vision?

    Behind every entrepreneur or startup founder there is vision, mission, and purpose on how to serve the world at large.
    What’s your vision?
    To Make the World More…
    Beautiful? Smart? Fun?
    Find out here: Infographic What’s Your Entrepreneurial Vision

    How To Determine Market Traction For Your Startup

    Market traction is proof that somebody wants your product; it communicated momentum in market adoption. The more market traction you can demonstrate the less risk there is in the investment.
    Find out more here: How To Determine Market Traction For Your Startup

    Social Media A Startup Must-Have

    5 Reasons why Social Media is no longer optional for your Startup Business. Find out more here: Social Media A Startup Must-Have

    How To Define a Small Business Vs. A High-Growth Startup

    A startup company, also referred to as a high-growth startup, is a company with a business model that is designed to be repeatable and scalable. This is directly opposed to a small business,
    Find out more here: How to Define a Small Business Vs. A High-Growth

    How To Write a Term Sheet For Your Startup

    Technically speaking, a term sheet is a non-binding agreement that demonstrates a basic set of terms and conditions under which an investment is made, typically by either an angel or venture capital investor.
    Find out more here: How To Write a Term Sheet For Your Startup

    How Long Does It Take to Raise Capital?

    The average time is somewhere between three to six months for both you Angel round and your Series A round. It really breaks down into three major steps.
    Find out more here: How Long Does It Take to Raise Capital

    Why A Business Plan Is Essential When Crowdfunding Your Startup

    Letting the crowd fund your startup doesn’t mean allowing your business plan to go unwritten. In the business world, approximately 543,000 new businesses get started each month and funding those businesses comes from a variety of sources. Find more here: Why a Business Plan is Essential When Crowdfunding Your Startup

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

    How To “Winterize” Your Startup For Success

    How To “Winterize” Your Startup For Success

    4 Tips To Get Your Startup Ready For Winter

    Startups businesses, just like automobiles, require winterization in order to keep running smooth and stealth during the cold months ahead.

    In this article, I’ll highlight the key components found in winterizing an automobile to help aid in Startup triumph.

      The Engine | The Motor of a Startup Machine

    Behind every Startup business is the revving motor of an innovative product idea. A product or service, which solves problems and inefficiencies, while streamlining consumer inconveniences. It’s fair to say that outside “temperatures” like the stock market, banking institutions, and technology, influence the internal temperature of a Startups engine.

    Is the motor of your Startup adjusting to the current and future market temperatures, or is your product sluggishly cruising down memory lane?

    For automobiles driven in freezing temperatures, a thinner less viscous oil is recommended. What if the same holds true for Startups? In times of the “freezing” temperatures (whether in funding, manufacturing, or building a team) a thinner/leaner approach is taken.

    The Lean Startup
    movement pioneered by Eric Reis, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, favors the #MVP or Minimum Viable Product. A product development approach, that places consumer interest first, in effort to eliminate risk and increase return on investment.

    Make winter a time to flush out Startup ideas into form, inviting and encouraging direct feedback from prospective customers.

      The Battery | The Energy Supplier of a Startup

    Don’t get left out in the cold. A thriving business’s greatest power source is the startup team, which supplies invaluable knowledge and resources. It’s true, teams like car batteries; need to be reliable, dependable, and have the ability to start and deliver regardless season or circumstances.

    Winter is the prefect opportunity to check in with team members to review how energy/time are being “spent,” to ensure each team members input and output are firing in alignment for the common good of the Startup business.

    The fate of your Startup Company depends a large part on your team. Evaluate and examine what inspires, motivates, and increases the voltage for your team members.
    Perhaps it’s a monthly happy hour? A weekly creative brainstorming session? Working remotely once per week?

    Hit on the power switch, and get your team is wired for success.

      The Tires |Startup Traction

    The road to success for your Startup business is full of twists, turns, and various terrains. When a business is moving at Startup speed, proper traction is required.
    Snow tires like Market Traction grip the startup roadside to increase performance and eliminate the risks and uncertainty involved in slippery startup slopes.

    Market traction is a safeguard for both founders and potential investor, in communicating evidence of market demand and the future momentum of the company.

    Winterize your Startup by researching, documenting, and analyzing the following:
    • Profitability
    • Revenue
    • Active Customers
    • Registered users
    • Engagement
    • Partnerships/clients
    • Traffic

      Emergency Kit | Tools for Startup Survival

    No one enjoys getting stranded in the cold, but when you have a well-equipped emergency kit, the situation becomes more bearable.

    A Startup business survival kit should include the following 3 items:

    • An air-tight business plan
    • An Investor pitch deck
    • A strong Entrepreneurial network

    Cheers to your continued success regardless of the season!

     

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

    Social Media A Startup Must-Have

    5 Reasons Why Social Media Is Key For Startups from The Startup Garage

    Social Media A Startup Must-Have

    5 Reasons Why Social Media Is No Longer Optional For Your Startup Business

    Reason #1) Have you heard of a Website?

    Does your Startup business have a one?
    Chances are unless you’re stuck in 1994, it’s fair to say any successful business on and offline has a website.
    Social Media Platforms are the WWW.’s for a new generation.
    A generation of people, who know the power of the World Wide Web, and value instant connectivity both locally and globally.

    Reason #2) “Your network is your net worth”

    Well, what if your network was endless? We’re talking Billions of people Network/Networking just fingertips away.
    Individuals exchanging key Resources, Connections, and Knowledge.
    Investors, Advisors, Customers, Partnerships and even your Competition… all-waiting for someone to strike up a conversation.

    Reason #3) Brand Equity

    Behind any successful Startup there is a well-cultivated brand.
    Wikipedia said it best, “Brands are one of the most valuable assets a company has.” The consumer’s perception of a brand increases both financial and market appeal. Social media provides the ultimate stage for a Startups brand personality to develop. As well as a massive instant audience ready to grow, evolve and help mold the business.

    Reason #4) Startups = Innovation

    As a Startup company it’s essentially your social responsibility to stay on top of technology and cutting edge trends. You are The Early Adapter, The Visionary, and The Magician, who predicts and creates the future for the rest of us. Social Media tops the technology and trend lists, providing a turnkey foundation to build Startup empires.

    Reason #5) “Like” it or Hate it, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and others are our present and future.

    The names and features might change, but their presence and influence in our lives are unavoidable.
     

    Have questions? Feedback? Intrigued?
    Tweet us @Startup_Garage We’re happy to help.
     

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

    3 Southern California Universities Are Awarded 3.75 Million Dollars to Stimulate Technology Innovation

    Southern California Universities Get Funded from The Startup Garage

    3 Southern California Universities Are Awarded 3.75 Million Dollars to Stimulate Technology Innovation

    The fall 2014 semester has started for college students across the United States.

    However, for a select group of USC, UCLA, and Caltech students, September 1st will mark the beginning of a new type of curriculum and collaboration.

    Thanks to the National Science Foundation (NSF),
    USC, UCLA, and Caltech students will have the opportunity to join an exclusive technology hub,
    The Innovation Corps program or I-Corps.

    The I-Corps is an entrepreneurship network for scientists and engineers.

    The 3 year 3.75 million dollar joint grant into the 3 Southern California Universities encourages instruction and communication beyond University laboratories. The program fosters a collaborative education system and research infrastructure, allowing for scientific discoveries to be adapted into the commercial marketplace.

    Ultimately, transforming research studies into useful product and services to positively impact the social and economic landscape.

    “The NSF I-Corps initiative is a paradigm shift, that will facilitate cultural change in universities and research centers. It is no doubt one of the nation’s signature programs for promoting entrepreneurship and startup creation.”

    The new Southern California innovation hub or “node,” joins five pre-existing I-Corps regional nodes located in New York City, Northern California, Washington, D.C, Michigan, and Atlanta, along with fellow newcomer Texas.

    “NSF expects the new Southern California node will draw upon the deep well of talented people in that region, strengthening an already robust national innovation network.”

    I-Corps Southern California is anticipating partnerships between the schools of medicine, business, and engineering.

    If accepted into the program, participants will join a three-person team, which includes a NSF- funded researcher, a business mentor, and a graduate student. The team then receives a 6-month $50,000 grant, to turn an idea into a real world product or service.

    I-Corps have been around since 2011, with roughly 50% of the 319 student faculty research teams going on to create a Startup.

    Anticipate Fall 2017 to be a revolutionary time in Southern California’s Startup history.

     

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

    How To Name Your Startup?

    How to Name your Business from The Startup Garage

    How To Name Your Startup?

    Welcome to video Fridays from The Start Up Garage


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

    Key Take Aways From Video:

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

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

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

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

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

    Complete transcript below:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    San Diego Startup Events July Wrap-Up

    San Diego Startup Events July From The Startup Garage

    San Diego Startup Events July Wrap-Up

    CyberTech & CyberHive — IoT Pitch Night

    Monthly

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

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

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


    1Million Cups at Co-Merge

    Weekly

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

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

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

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


    3D Printing Meetup @ FabLabSd

    Monthly

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

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

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


    Marketing Mondays @ EvoNexus

    Bi-Weekly

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

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


    Obrary Launch Event @ PreFabSD

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

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

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

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


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