Posted at 1:36h, 22 Oct 2013 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

Good morning, All,

We exhibited (bonniefoods) at the Javits this past week, and a huge thank you to the SOS members who volunteered. We literally could not have done it without you. Starting any business isn’t easy, as we well know, and starting a food business is bloody difficult, especially when you have little background and/or experience in the sector, and you’re appealing to a so-called specialty market. In our case, we developed all-natural confections for our Type 2 diabetic other half. They also happen to be gluten free, but unlike other gluten free products on the market, which substitute wheat flour with a rice flour/potato starch combination, we use oats. Rice flour and potato starch are too heavy in carbs for a Type 2. And we had a sneaking suspicion that it would only be a matter of time before Type 2 diabetes hit the gluten free/celiac community. So we changed our marketing this time out and instead of focusing on diabetes, we focused on being the ‘Healthier Gluten Free Alternative.” It resonated. It turns out that it seems Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in the gluten-free and celiac community. It didn’t happen overnight. But it’s happening. And we found ourselves addressing a whole new audience, who were literally lining up for our products.

The lessons:

Do you have a product that addresses multiple problems?
What did you overlook?
We’ve personally been told to focus on one pain point. And we did. It’s one that addresses a large market, but it’s not necessarily the market that’s getting the most attention. Are you sure that you’re focused on the right market/customers?

Get out of your comfort zone. Demo or exhibit, if possible. Talk to your audience and potential new customers. That doesn’t mean your friends/family and associates. That’s usually an echo chamber, educated guesses, or people who want to make you feel good. Talk to people whom don’t know you and who might be potential buyers for your product. They’ll tell you the truth. Listen. Take notes.

If you’re not getting the traction you expected, your instinct might be to pivot. Before you do that, try something simpler: rethink, reposition or rebrand. Or d) all of the above. In an age of fail fast, consider the old standby: do you want it to be fast, cheap or good? Pick two. Sometimes it’s a matter of picking the right one. Or talking to the right audience. Onward and forward.


Advertise with us. Have a special announcement or ad you’d like to place, front and center? Email us at hello@startuponestop.com for rates and more information.


New England Venture Summit, The 8th annual New England Venture Summit, presented by youngStartup Ventures, is the premier industry gathering connecting venture capitalists, corporate VCs, angel investors, technology transfer professionals, senior executives of early stage and emerging growth companies, university researchers, incubators and premier service providers. Whether you are an investor seeking access to new early stage deals, or a CEO or Founder of a new venture looking for funding, visibility and growth, the New England Venture Summit is one event you won’t want to miss. Use code sos to save an addtitional 10% on the Early Bird rate.

Shopify/HuffPo Build a Business Competition, deadline March 31st – to build a business, so enter now! $50k cash prize (but read the fine print – it’s more like $500k), mentoring, and more. Get building!

Daily News Innovation Lab, deadline October 31st (applications being accepted starting October 1st). The Daily News Innovation Lab is powerfully positioned to help grow and launch early-stage companies targeting a known digital-media need by offering unique access to the Daily News in-house team, robust technical infrastructure (hosting, servers, storage) and a massive national audience. Through the Innovation Lab’s Program Service Partners, participating companies will have access to external professional services and receive post-graduation office space. A slate of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors and professionals will offer advice, mentorship and support to the companies. The goal is for graduates to leave with a viable product that has been proven in the market, well positioned to launch a successful business

NYC Next Idea, deadline November 11th. Global New Venture Competition invites teams from around the world to submit their business ideas that can be launched and operated in New York City. Finalist teams will win an all-expense paid trip to NYC in Spring 2014 to present their idea to a prestigious panel of judges, who will decide the prize winners. Prizes include a cash pool of $35,000, free workspace in NYC, pro bono legal advice and mentorship from the NYC venture capital and startup community.  The Competition is looking for ideas that address issues encountered in New York City as a result of the city’s infrastructure, industries, demographics, and space. This includes ideas addressing urban challenges found in NYC, as well as ideas aligned with major industries found in NYC such as fashion, financial services, media and advertising.

DreamIt Health Baltimore, deadline November 11th. DreamIt Health Baltimore 2014 will select up to ten companies from around the world to participate in a four-month accelerator program. In addition to receiving up to a $50,000 stipend and professional services, the startups will be paired with and work closely with exited entrepreneurs-turned-mentors with domain expertise specific to their needs; benefit from an intense startup and healthcare curriculum taught by accomplished practitioners; meet with subject matter experts and investors; and enjoy access to executives, information systems, and data from leading industry players including providers, payers, biopharma, device makers, and federal agencies. Participating teams will also benefit from DreamIt’s extensive network and expertise in guiding the growth of young technology companies. DreamIt Health Baltimore is expected to take advantage of many of the strengths of the region, giving participating startups the opportunity to work closely with Johns Hopkins Medicine for potential pilots and also access to key individuals throughout the region’s wealth of federal health care institutions including the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The program will be led by Elliot Menschik, MD PhD, a Johns Hopkins alum and successfully-exited health IT entrepreneur. Apply individually, or as a company.

ER Accelerator Winter Session, deadline November 15th.  $40k in funding and working with amazing mentors – including yours truly. Don’t wait till the last minute!

NEW TIE Launchpad Enterprise Accelerator, deadline November 15th. A five-month program that provides you with the minds, money ($50K in convertible notes) and access you need to get started. Or to the next level.

NEW NYC SeedStart Enterprise Accelerator, deadline November 15th. We will give up to 10 promising applicants/teams $20,000 each, as well as workspace and advice, in exchange for a small piece of common stock equity (5%). We do not expect to fund “companies” –we expect to fund great entrepreneurs and hackers.

NEW NYC BigApps, Consultant Services RFP, deadline November 21st. New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is seeking a consultant to assist with designing, managing and promoting NYC BigApps, an annual competition for individuals or companies to develop functional digital applications that use public data to address civic problems. Since its launch in 2009, NYC BigApps has addressed the City’s goals of increasing government transparency, promoting technology innovation that generates new businesses and jobs, and improving the quality of life for New York City residents and visitors. Go for it!

Blueprint Health, Deadline November 27th. The application for our fifth class, which launches on January 13, is open. Join the next class of Blueprint Health – Apply to gain access to Community, Customers & Capital! Blueprint Health is a healthcare focused accelerator program based in NYC that helps early stage healthcare companies get started by providing access to a community of mentors, customers, and capital. Their companies have raised over $15 million in seed capital from some of the most well-known and respected healthcare VCs and angels. Companies and floating founders can apply by visiting www.blueprinthealth.org.

For you edification this week:

Speaking of keeping one’s own counsel and not following the herd: How Science Goes Wrong. Too many of the findings that fill the academic ether are the result of shoddy experiments or poor analysis (see “Unreliable research: Trouble at the lab”). A rule of thumb among biotechnology venture-capitalists is that half of published research cannot be replicated. Even that may be optimistic.

Assessing Your Entrepreneurial Readiness. There is no specific set of skills required to become an entrepreneur. Its biggest resource is the entrepreneur himself. Consider the following points to evaluate your entrepreneurial readiness and consider whether or not you are up for the journey:

Launching a startup? Read this advice from successful entrepreneurs and leaders. Some good advice here.

5 Critical Skills for Entrepreneurs. These are 5 essential skills that every entrepreneur needs in order to be successful and effective. The world’s best CEO’s are masters at these skills. You should aim to master these skills also. Agreed.

Twitter now lets you receive direct messages from any follower. For better or for worse, there you have it.

Twitter and Square co-founder Jack Dorsey suggests you create a daily Do and Don¹t List. This is his.

Assessing Your Entrepreneurial Readiness. There is no specific set of skills required to become an entrepreneur. Its biggest resource is the entrepreneur himself. Consider the following points to evaluate your entrepreneurial readiness and consider whether or not you are up for the journey.

Launching a startup? Read this advice from successful entrepreneurs and leaders. Some good advice here.

How to Nail a Group Presentation. Most people suck at presenting to big groups.  It’s a shame because the ability to nail these presentations at key conferences can be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to influence journalists, business partners, potential employees, customers and VCs. So Mark Suster wrote this piece on how not to suck at it.

Feds Demand Supreme Court Thwart Challenge to NSA Phone Spying. The President Barack Obama administration is urging the Supreme Court to reject a challenge to the National Security Agency’s once-secret telephone metadata spying program. In case you forgot that he ran on the platform of  ‘transparency.’

iOS 7’s Most Common Bugs (and How to Fix Them). No operating system launch is without a few bugs, but it seems like iOS 7 has had more than it’s fair share of blunders. From iMessages not working to lock screen exploits, here are some of the biggest bugs, and how you can fix them

Here’s That Inflation Data Our Incompetent Government Isn’t Producing–And It’s Not Pretty. If only they’d use their powers for good instead of evil.

Elevator Pitch/Member News
Hint, hint: Feel free to tell us what you’re working on, or if you’ve been featured in the press…Share, and we will, too!

Vote for AlleyWatch! AlleyWatch is up for a grant from Chase, so please do go here and vote for us. And thank you!
ERA is having its next Info session and happy hour on October 24 with FWD.us at Pioneers Bar: https://erafwdus.eventbrite.com/

Our friends Cowork.rs are opening a new coworking space and they’re throwing a Halloween party/Costume Ball on October 24th. Come see the space, dance to the DJ and, well, have a ball! And they have a tequila sponsor. Gotta love that!

Our next SOS event will be on November 18th: The Great Mobile Debate, with a panel discussion and networking, of course. Hope to see you there! That’s it from us this week, although a request from Yours Truly: we get emails asking us to post this or that to the list. Please go to  https://www.startuponestop.com/ and post from there – even if it’s an event. It does make our lives a bit easier, and we’re less likely to overlook your post! And now, as always, help is on the way…