Posted at 1:31h, 27 Aug 2013 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

Good morning, All,

We have a member on this list whom we’ll call Frank. For the record, he’s not a twenty-something. He’s not in a particularly sexy vertical. He lost a core team member at a critical juncture. He did find a replacement, and it was someone who was an even better fit than his original key man. Still, it cost Frank a spot in a leading accelerator. But as Yogi Berra once said, when you see a fork in the road, take it.

There was a panel discussion Frank attended, because he needed to speak to one of the panelists, but he could barely get near the podium. Poor Frank. It seemed that anything that could go wrong, was going wrong. He’s not Ivy League educated, which seems to be on the VC Check List. It’s his first startup, so he’s not a serial entrepreneur, successful or otherwise. Sadly, he is not friends with/related to/or otherwise associated with Ben Lehrer. It seems that lately, being any one of those things, gives one a definite leg up in this town. Nor is his father a VC. Frank is the Rest of Us: not someone who started from third base. Frank has a few things going for him: he’s got a market and a long-term vision for his product, and he doesn’t give up. We didn’t choose an easy row to hoe.

No one was talking to the moderator of that panel, so Frank did. She not only found him his first investor: she also turned out to be the mentor he’d always hoped to find. Frank is now well on his way.

Ugly ducklings can turn into elegant swans. Give it time and hopefully, you have the right stuff in your DNA. True entrepreneurs keep going, despite the roadblocks. Remember: getting that first break or the funding isn’t the end of the road: it’s just the onramp. We hear about companies that are acquired for crazy amounts of money after being in business a year, 18 month, whatever. Typically, it takes six years, so readjust your expectations and don’t buy in to all the hype.  No matter what you’re doing, at the end of the day, that’s why it’s called ‘work,’ and that’s what it really takes. On a daily basis. As New York Angels Chairman Brian Cohen once said, ‘Ever hear the term ‘wantrepreneur? Wantrepreneurs live on hopium.’”

We all have our ups and downs, and roadblocks. Sometimes it pays to move sideways. Turn to that person next to you who was somehow put into your path, recognize the forest through the tree and – just be Frank. Onward and forward.


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StartmeupHK Venture Programme, deadline August 26th. InvestHK is aiming to support the growth of high impact ventures on a global scale, by facilitating their access to financial, intellectual and social capital. It also seeks to propel the development of Hong Kong as an entrepreneurship and innovation hub, contributing to the development of a more prosperous economy and society.
12 successful finalist entrepreneurs from around the world will be invited to attend a four-day program in Hong Kong from December 4-7 to pitch to potential investors and business partners, be mentored by business leaders, and attend leading design, innovation and technology trade shows.

NEW  Heads up, Great Britain: Application Form for UKTI Digital Mission to New York 2013, deadline September 2nd.  We are currently recruiting UK-based technology companies to join us for five days of workshops, networking events, pitching opportunities, and much more! Previous missions have seen several UK companies learn more about US expansion strategy, set up physical offices in New York, and network with high-level executives.

NEW  Want to speak at TED2014? Apply to speak at TED@NYC this fall, deadline September 2nd. Who are we looking for? Inventors, teachers, artists, scientists, change agents, storytellers, big-picture thinkers, prodigies, performers, makers, technologists … you name it. (What we’re not looking for: Business proposals, self-promoters, motivational wannabes.) So give it a shot — all the application requires, in addition to biographical details and a link to your 1-minute video online, is the articulation of a great idea (and why you are the best person to deliver it).

The Great Tech Awards, deadline September 5th.  Five startups will be flown to London on Virgin October 14-19 and meet with UK investors and a senior representative at #10 Downing Street and attended the Wired UK conference. Looking to expand into the UK market? Huzzah!

The Booksmash Challenge, deadline September 6th. HarperCollins is issuing a call to developers to create excellent, functioning software and proof of concept apps utilizing the HarperCollins OpenBook API, and in doing so turn opportunities into reality. Use imagination and technology to build software that goes beyond the traditional ways we read and discover books. Grand prize: $15,000

New England Venture Summit, early deadline to pitch your company, September 12th. 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. Early bird rate to attend is now available. Save 50%.

Clinical Trial Visualization Redesign, deadline October 2nd. Eli Lilly, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, invites designers and developers to re-imagine clinical trial information in a patient-centric way. As part of Lilly’s Clinical Open Innovation initiative, which calls on open innovation to help transform clinical research and development, challenge participants are now being asked to focus on the ideas and possibilities for envisioning clinical trial protocols from a patient’s point of view. Clinical trial information can often be dense and difficult to digest from a patient’s perspective. Patients may have questions surrounding the risks and benefits of their participation in the trial, logistics, the role of their personal doctor, and much more.  The goal for this challenge is to redesign that information in a way that highlights key aspects in a visually appealing and user-friendly way. $75,000 in prizes in all. Grand Prize: $35k.

NEW  R/GA (and TechStars) Connected Devices Accelerator, deadline October 11th. Three months, ten companies, up to $120 in funding. This one is focused on any technology-powered startup from around the world with an innovative idea for a product or service in the connected devices space. Your product can be hardware or software, but it should help bring together the physical with digital. Go for it!

The New York Expo and Conference is back – the real one! Free Early Bird registration now available.
The largest business show on the East Coast is now open for FREE early bird registration. 40+ Seminars. 250+ Exhibitors. Unlimited networking. And yes, that is Brian Solis on the home page. He’ll be keynoting and that’s always worth the price of admission. Register here.
Date: October 17th
Venue: Javits Center, NYC

For you edification this week:

Of course, the big news this week was that Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer will be stepping down within the next 12 months, and 5 other Silicon Valley billionaire’s have no immediate plans to retire. In fact, they’re taking steps so that they can live forever .

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Starting And Running A Business. No joke. This is going be a bullet FAQ on starting a business. Yes, it does take a bit more than just being frank.

7 ways to kill the press release (and what the PR world can learn from Tesla). We’ve said it before: make a statement; tell me a story. A good story.

10 Guidelines for Pitching Angel Investors. The average length of a funding pitch to angel investors is ten minutes. Use the time wisely.

How Long Should It Take For a Startup to Succeed. Every startup founder knows implicitly that startup success is a long hard road. Yet we always dream that we are the exception to the rule. So once in a while it’s good to look at some facts to temper our imagination. And, for the record, it takes six years of hard work to become an overnight success.

How to Get Busy People to Take Action When You Send an Email. If you do the math on the number of inbound emails you get multiplied by the time it would take to read them all and respond to those that expect a reply you would be astounded. Yet some simple techniques can help massively improve your ability to get people to take action on your important emails. And they will appreciate it, too.

The Perils of Shiny New Objects. In other words, don’t do what everyone else is doing. Quick read. Mark Suster gets right to the point.

The Maginot Line. The technocracy, hoisted by its own petard – out-technocracied!

Google Crossed The Creepy Line. In response to a class action suit, Google lawyers argued in court that Gmail users, or anyone who sends emails to Gmail users, should not expect privacy. According to the suit, Google regularly opens up, reads, and mines the content in emails to serve up ads it considers relevant to the parties involved. If this is done anonymously, perhaps one could argue “no harm, no foul.” What is “creepy,” however, is that Google employees could access this private information. If they do, it is impossible to know what they might do with it. And remember: we’re just reporting here. Don’t shoot the messenger. Again.

For your amusement: Helpful product reviews written by Amazon customers. Enjoy this collection of some of the funniest, top-voted reviews – especially the insightful review of cow’s milk.

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!

That’s it from us this week. Out thanks to everyone who came out on Tuesday evening for the networking event. Happy to hear that you were all able to connect with people you needed to connect with and, as promised, we’ve already planned next month’s Happy Hour. It’ll be Monday, September 30th at Pioneer’s Bar – conveniently located on West 29th Street. Register now for the early bird rate and of course we’ll be on hand to do introduction. Just ask! Meanwhile, our next Find A Cofounder event will be September 23rd. Details coming soon. Save the date.

Have a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend and due to the holiday, we may not be putting out a newsletter next week, but then again, one never knows. In any event, see you in September and now, as always, help is on the way.