Tag Archives: Startup Phase

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!

San Diego High-Tech Startup Scene Booms

San Diego High-Tech Startup Scene Booms

In March of last year Forbes Magazine named San Diego the best city to start a business in 2014.

Apparently the magazine was onto something, as demonstrated in the recently released San Diego Innovation Report by Connect.

According to the report, which tracks and compares economic data in the region from the past year and a half, the strength and impact of the Innovation Economy in San Diego is growing and strong.

1h 2014 report saw the most new innovative Start-Ups ever created in San Diego in a 6-month period. SD entrepreneurs started a record high 228 high-tech companies, which secured $470 million in funding in the first half of last year.

The startup growth spurt includes:

• 128 Software Startups

• 43 Communications Computer & Electronics Startups

• 39 Life Science Startups

• 7 Environmental Technology Startups

The $470 million dollars in Venture capital funding was raised among 53 San Diego companies, and includes the following breakdown:

• $234 million to 20 Early Stage Companies

• $14 Million 3 Start-up Stage Companies

• $17 million 11 Connect Springboard and graduate companies

In addition to venture capital funding, companies raised $200 million in initial public offerings, $620 million in private placements and $1.6 billion in follow-on public equity offerings.

“We are delighted to celebrate the new start-ups born in San Diego, as well as the growth and expansion of the start-ups that attracted $470 million in venture capital to our region. These first half results demonstrate a thriving economy fueled by the growth of knowledge-based industries. More start-ups were founded in San Diego in the first half of 2014 than any other period in our city’s history. Additionally, more jobs were created and innovation economy jobs are higher-paying than the average job, which is great news for job-seekers.” stated Greg McKee, CONNECT’s chief executive officer.

Great news indeed, 885 new jobs at an average annual salary of $114,730 were created by San Diego start-ups created in the 1st half of 2014. This was a 40% increase over the number of new jobs created by innovation start-ups in the 1st half of 2013, and more than 50% increase over the 2nd half of 2013.

2014 marks a tipping point for San Diego, a notable time of reshaping the technology startup scene both locally and globally.
San Diego is no longer simply a vacation destination. It is a destination for dynamic startup businesses, which are invested in assembling and transforming a community of entrepreneurs and the innovation economy.

The Startup Garage team is committed to serving our Startup Community of San Diego. We are dedicated to helping make the world a better place to live, work, and play.

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!

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!

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

    How To Define a Small Business Vs. a High-Growth Startup from The Startup Garage

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

      Difference between a Small Business and a High-Growth Startup

    A startup business differs from a small business in one primary aspect: Growth.

    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 which is typically more of a lifestyle business that is not primarily concerned with scalability, but aims to sustain a particular level of income to enjoy a particular lifestyle.

      What is Scalability

    To better illustrate the difference between a small business and a high growth startup let’s define the term scalability.

    According to Investopedia.com, scalability is defined as, “A characteristic of a system, model, or function that describes its capability to cope and perform under an increased or expanding workload. A system that scales well will be able to maintain or even increase its level of performance or efficiency when tested by larger operational demands.”

      Examples of Scalability

    An example of a small business – i.e. a business that does not easily reach scale – is an auto repair shop.

    Any particular auto repair shop can only reach a certain capacity of workflow given the size of the location and the number of employees. In order to continue growing, the company will need to expand to a second location, purchase duplicate equipment, hire new staff and new managers, and market the business. While this growth is achievable, it is not an operation that is easily scaled.

    An example of a high-growth company – i.e. a business with high scalability – is a consumer electronics company. It may be a costly endeavor to create a prototype for a consumer electronic device, obtain intellectual property, and secure manufacturing and distribution.

    However, once these obstacles are in
    place, the company can quickly and easily grow without very many obstacles other than operating capital. In fact, as the company continues to scale, the operation is streamlined with economies of scale, such as the cost per unit reducing as the unit production size increases.

    Another key difference between small businesses and high-growth startups is how the two think about funding, as they typically have different sources of capital available to them.

    High-growth startups typically rely on several sources of capital at different stages of the startup process. Early on, the
    startup relies on friends and family funding followed by angel investors and venture capital firms.

    However, small businesses typically don’t have access to the angels and VCs and therefore rely on friends and family money, bank loans, and grants.

    The primary reason that angels and VCs don’t get involved with small businesses has to do with the issues of scalability, outlined above, as well as a lack of
    a potential return on their investment.

      Return on Investment

    For the most part, small businesses do not make good investment opportunities for angels and VCs for two reasons:

    1) their lack of scalability limit the potential for a significant return, and

    2) most owners of small businesses are seeking a lifestyle business and not necessarily one that they plan to sell in the
    short to medium future. In order for angels or VCs to partner with a company, the business must have an exit strategy that creates a liquefiable event in which the investor gets their capital returned to them along with a return on that investment.

      Should I Launch a Small Business or a High-Growth Startup

    Some questions to ask yourself when determining if a small business or a high-growth startup is right for you include:

    1) Why are you starting this business? Are you looking to work hard, grow a business, and sell it? Or do you want to start a business that supports a certain lifestyle?

    2) Does your product or service have a huge market?

    3) Will the success of your business require outside expertise or guidance, or do you have the knowledge and experience to make this business a success?

    4) Is your product thoroughly differentiated from other products on the market?

    5) How much money do I need to get started?

    6) Is this business scalable?

    Overall, there’s no right or wrong answer. Sure, high-growth technology companies are certainly the trend now, but starting a small business will always hold it’s appeal.

    The Startup Garage applauds the Entrepreneurial spirit in all of you!

    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!

    Startup Weekend San Diego Powered By Google for Entrepreneurs Kicks Off

    Startup Weekend San Diego from The Startup Garage

    Startup Weekend San Diego Powered By Google for Entrepreneurs Kicks Off

    Google, which began in a garage nearly two decades ago, celebrates the entrepreneur in all of us in community events throughout the world.

    The objective of these events is to encourage entrepreneurs to learn, connect, and create companies that will change the world.

    Today, Friday November 14 2014- Sunday Nov 17th is time for participants of Startup Weekend San Diego to turn innovative ideas into reality. Over a mere 54-hour period teams of individuals will turn cutting edge ideas into newly launched companies that will be pitched to a panel of judges on Sunday evening. Participates will also be part of the Global Startup Battle, a virtual competition, where founder teams go toe to toe against nearly 200 cities. A feat, which will require various talent pools, excellent communication skills, and the ability to move at startup speed.

    This year’s event MEGA event will blend Web, Mobile, and Maker innovation. Tackling both hardware and software into makeable products. The first Startup Weekend San Diego ever to include hardware prototyping. Physical product or inventions will have the opportunity to gain hands on experience in using 3D printers, a laser cutter, electronics prototyping equipment, along with expert coaching

    There perhaps has never been an environment more appropriate to do so.
    This year #SWSD will be held in the new downtown San Diego library.
    A $185 million dollar modern construction, designed by esteemed architect Rob Quigley. Toped with an iconic steel and mesh dome, the structure promises to be the ultimate thinking cap for creative discovery.

    With Forbes Magazine naming San Diego the best place to launch a Startup in 2014, there has never been a better time in history, to immerse yourself and your business within the local Startup community. The Startup Garage is passionate about entrepreneurship and dedicated supporting the San Diego and Global Startup Community. We are proud to be sponsor, and coach at the event.
    Please stop by our booth and introduce yourself.

    Cheers to a Successful and Empowering Startup Weekend San Diego Powered By Google for Entrepreneurs.

    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 Determine Potential Startup Costs?

    How to Determine Startup Costs? From The Startup Garage

    How To Determine Potential Startup Costs?

    Startup expenses are the costs incurred before the business opens its doors.

    Many first time entrepreneurs underestimate the amount of startup expenses that it will take to launch their business.

    Before you start making your first expenses, it is important to create a plan of your initial financing so that you know exactly what it will cost.

    When creating your startup expense plan, it is important to understand the different types of costs your startup will incur: expenses and assets.

    Expenses are the costs that occur during the startup phase for operations, such as travel, rent, supplies, marketing materials, legal fees, and business incorporation fees.

    Assets, also referred to as capital expenditures are one-time costs of buying assets such as inventory, property, or equipment.

    Determine Your Startup Costs

    To estimate your startup costs, start by brainstorming all of the various expenses and assets that your company will phase before you begin selling to customers.  Next begin to assign actual costs.  You may need to do some searching online, call service providers, and reach out to professionals.  Some of the most common expenses and assets include:

    –        Legal

    –        Collateral (sales and marketing literature)

    –        Inventory

    –        Consultants

    –        Accounting

    –        Rent and deposits

    –        Research and development

    –        Assets (leasehold improvements, fixtures, signage)

    –        Long-term or fixed assets (land, plant, equipment, furniture)

    –        Website or app development

    Timing is Everything

    Remember, your startup costs are incurred before you generate any income from the business.  Be sure to develop a budget for all of your startup costs as well as some additional funding as most businesses are not profitable for some time.

    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!

    I Have An Idea For a Product. Where Do I Start?

    I have a product idea. What's next? from The Startup Garage

    I Have An Idea For a Product. Where Do I Start?

    Welcome to video Fridays from The Start Up Garage

    A place where Tyler Jensen, The Startup Garage’s founder, answers questions directly from viewers

    Key Take Aways From Video:

    1. You want to start is with your research, specifically around the industry, market, and competitive analysis.

    2. For the industry research, you want to know the size of that industry,

    who the major players are, and who the trade associations are in that industry.

    3. For ompetitive research. You want to get out there and look at all the potential competitors; these are both direct and indirect.

    4. For market research. These are all the potential markets that you might be able to sell your product in and to.

    Complete Transcript below:

    Question= “I have an idea for a product…. Where do I start?”

    That’s probably one of the most common questions we get from entrepreneurs. We give pretty much the same recommendation for everyone who asks that question. Where you want to start is with your research — and your research is around the industry, market, and competitive analysis.

    On the industry side you really want to understand the name of your industry. Sometimes you cross over into multiple industries, so you want to know the different names that you may cross over into. You want to know the size of that industry. Who the major players are. Who the trade associations are in that industry. And just really learn about what goes on into the entire industry that you want to be a part of.

    The second part is your competitive research. You want to get out there and look at all the potential competitors; these are both direct and indirect. Don’t skimp on this issue — the best part about competitive research is that you are going to get a ton of ideas and it’s going to improve your product idea as well, so just make sure you get out there and do as much competitive research as you can.

    And the final area is your market research. These are all the potential markets that you might be able to sell your product to. This is the one we find that entrepreneurs get stuck on the most — given that they think they could sell their product to everybody. But you really need to break it down into small segments to understand why each of these different segments would buy your product. This is probably the longest part of the startup process is to really spend a lot of time learning all this information. Check back and we’ll let you know where you can find this information.

    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!

    Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents

    Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents from The Startup Garage

    Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents

    When starting a business, one thing to think about is security. Not just the security of your business in general, but security of your ideas and what you have created. This is where things such as trademarks, copyrights, and patents come in to play. These are ways to assure that your business is safe from plagiarism and knockoffs. Trademarks are used to protect things such as business logos, names or anything that is put on your product to distinguish it from other products. A copyright protects things that are written such as any literature, books, music, or visual and performing art. A patent is the protective right against anything that is a physical invention.

    Most startup companies will want to trademark their businesses to ensure that no other company has or uses the same name or logo. Trademarking can be done simply online at the United States patent and trademarking website www.uspto.gov. An attorney is usually not required for trademarking, but it may help things go a lot smoother. The average cost for trademarking is between $200 and $500.


    Theoretically, a completed work is copyrighted, but sometimes it is important to file a copyright to avoid infringement. If your new startup company needs a copyright, whether it is for a book, or significant document, it can be easily done online as well. First you must visit www.copyright.com, and then choose the type of work you are copyrighting, and fill out the application. It is that simple, and it will only cost $35 online or $50 if you would like to file the physical papers by sending them through the mail.

    Patents are the most important protection devices for inventions. A patent will ensure that your invention can not be copied by anyone else to make profit. This is why the patent process is a little bit longer and more difficult. First, you must ensure that your product has not already been invented. You can find this information by looking at www.uspto.gov. Now you must decide which category your invention falls under; utility, design or plant. A utility patent is for an invention of a machine or article of manufacture. A design patent is for an invention of a new and original design of an article of manufacture. A plant patent is exactly what it sounds like, a patent for an original plant that was created and reproduced.

    Next you must fill out the correct application at Uspto.gov. In most cases an attorney is highly recommended. This is important to make sure that your patent is filed and protected correctly. Patents are not cheap so it is important to make sure that everything is done correctly and uniformly. A patent runs anywhere from $1,500 to $15,000 depending on the type.

    A business is important to protect, and so are your ideas and inventions. The use of trademarks, copyrights, and patents is imperative to providing the protection needed against infringement, plagiarism, and stealing.

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

    Driving Economic Development with Inclusive Business

    Driving Economic Development with Inclusive Business from The Startup Garage

    Driving Economic Development with Inclusive Business

    An Inclusive Business is a business model that strives to benefit the community by directly including low-income populations into their business cycles, whether as producers or consumers of the good or service. It is a strategy that aids a large and often forgotten section of the community through social initiatives while still fostering business growth and for-profit policies. A main driving force behind Inclusive Business models is to create sustainable means of support for the society without the use of welfare.

    Inclusive Business models vary slightly in the way they approach social issues then the Social Enterprise models discussed in our previous blog. Social Enterprises are organizations that blend their business between financial and social returns on investment in attempts to raise social awareness and aid to their cause, and to funnel monetary support to both the company’s growth and social issue as well. Though extremely similar concepts, Inclusive Businesses are created with the direct intent of benefiting one social issue – the poor. Going further, Inclusive Business models do not just raise awareness or financial aid for their cause; rather, they take frank and hands-on approaches towards achieving their goals. This is done by utilizing local suppliers for the company, creating products and services that are targeting towards the low-income community, or by making a point in employing a large majority of low-income persons.

    The Inclusive Business model theorizes that if companies target the low-income community, who on a global economic pyramid are our base and largest sector, we can slowly integrate them towards more modern and formal economies. Through employment, a sector that primarily works in labor now will begin to gain human capital through formal training as well as an income that introduces them to new financial markets. As consumers, the community can be endowed with new products and services that specifically match their needs. With all of these segments of the business cycle fully turning, we would see a rise in local employment, skill, and income which in turn would drive economic development and growth.


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