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Posts Tagged ‘startup’

NorthSharkTank

North was recently quoted dropping some knowledge in the article, Real-Life Lessons From Shark Tank on Entrepreneur.com.

Here’s an excerpt:

Know when to pitch. Entrepreneurs with a well-developed product and proven financial success have the best luck with the “sharks,” says David Brody, a managing partner at the venture analysis firm North. “Nothing builds momentum like demonstrating you know how to make a cash register ring,” Brody says. Krinzman cited the entrepreneurs who failed to net funding for their “fun house” in Times Square as an example, saying they sought capital in the idea phase of their business planning.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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The crew at Venture 360 (a North venture…) has just teamed up with Marc and Clint over at Startup Weekend to bring their throngs of ambitious entrepreneurs some valuable insight and to support Startup Weekend in their mission to foster more innovation around the globe.

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Startup Weekend is a 54 hour startup event that provides networking, resources, and incentives for individuals and teams to go from idea to launch. Yep, you read it right. Attend a weekend and you’ll be able to network with like-minded local developers, innovators and entrepreneurs. Be apart of creating a company. And as they like to say about their events, they’re “No Talk. All Action”.

Attendees of upcoming Startup Weekend events will not only receive some pocket-pleasing discounts on Full Venture 360 analysis reports, each formed team will receive complimentary access to the Venture 360 analysis software to help them develop their business plans and put their weekend ventures on the right track.

The strategic partnership will kick off at the upcoming Women 2.0 Startup Weekend in San Francisco, August 28-30, 2009 and the Startup Weekend Redmond @ BizSpark on the exact same weekend. Both events will have excellent turnouts, so we recommend you snatch up a ticket fast.

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entlogo-2009North was recently quoted dropping some knowledge in the article, 5 Lifelines For You Startup on Entrepreneur.com.

Here’s an excerpt:

Evan Solida was stuck.

Solida, founder of Cerevellum, which sells digital rearview mirrors for bicycles, had posted his business plan on several websites promising to connect him with investors in exchange for a few hundred dollars.

Time passed. Investors never came.

It’s a familiar dilemma for many startup companies: Solida knew he needed help but didn’t know where to find it.

“You almost feel like you’re at a used car dealership,” Solida says “You’ve got all these people who know you’re out there looking for something–in this case, money from investors–and they prey on that.”

Solida eventually found North Venture Partners, a consulting firm that helped him streamline his product offerings, set up an advisory board and take other steps to professionalize his business plan.

North is one of many resources available to startups seeking direction and funding.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

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Is Your Revenue Model Automated?


The purpose of this element is to determine whether or not the company can automate the revenue model. Transactions and sales take time (time is money); even retailers spend a fortune on making checkout happen just a few seconds faster. For a business to successfully scale and grow, a turn key sales process will prove invaluable. If each transaction requires many human hours and long contractual negotiations then the revenue model will surely suffer.

Transactions that happen automatically without any human interaction (web sales) are certainly the most effective in terms of volume of transactions. The ability for a company to sell its wares at any time makes sure they are leaving no money on the table. A key to speedy growth is the ability for a business to sell their stuff 24/7/365.

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Quick simple transactions that make sense to the consumer are more likely to achieve smooth predictable growth than an overly complicated model or processes. If the transaction process is overly manual, time consuming or difficult, than even the best unit economics may start to break down quickly.

Some key questions we ask when taking an in-depth look at a new venture’s ability to automate their revenue model: Does the business have a long sales cycle (>90 days)? Can it make money quickly (<5 days) without any human interaction?

This is just one of the key criteria forward-thinking investors use when evaluating the strength of entrepreneurs and their new ventures. How do you measure up? Go to www.venturephenomeproject.com to read all 80 criteria and swap knowledge with other entrepreneurs & investors.

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Innovation is the backbone of our economy.

Without it, we simply won’t have the game-changing economic growth needed to end the global financial crisis.

Even with nearly six million new businesses started every year, the process for creating American innovation remains remarkably inefficient.* The time, effort, and capital wasted on genetically-flawed businesses represents the loss of tens of billions of hard investment dollars and millions of jobs, with only small fraction of companies actually surviving the gestation process.

With so much as stake, creating successful new ventures simply cannot be a congressional afterthought, or a hobby for the wealthy. To accelerate economic growth, the time is now to focus on creating sustainable new ventures faster and with more efficiency than ever before.

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Borrowing from the scientific principles that led to the mapping of the human genome, the Venture Phenome Project is building a Phenotype map of the genetic and environmental factors that ultimately influence the success or failure of a new venture. By tracking and measuring these factors over time, this collaborative research effort is able to “crack the code” on early stage investing.

What Does This Mean To You?

For entrepreneurs, this represents an opportunity to get rare visibility into what a strong venture investment looks like through the eyes of an actual investor. After all, if you’re an entrepreneur and aren’t building your business around the actual criteria you’re being evaluated on, who does that benefit?

For investors, the Venture Phenome Project is a platform for learning from and sharing wisdom with both seasoned investors and forward-thinking entrepreneurs. No one benefits by spending time focused on a venture that has bad DNA. This is your chance to improve your venture evaluation process. By shedding light on the critical factors that influence successful investments, you can make more informed investment decisions.

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If you’re interested in becoming a more efficient investor or entrepreneur, here’s the good news; the results from this interactive research project are open to the public. The information gathered on this site is yours to consume. To make the process more impactful, the best insights will be aggregated into a bi-annual publication to provide a concise and clear blueprint of the venture Phenotypes and their significance in the creation of value.

At the end of the day, all of us (investors and entrepreneurs) are seeking the same result; a significant return on both invested time and capital.

We’re in a state of crisis. The time to optimize entrepreneurship is now.

Check it out, and leave your thoughts…

www.venturephenomeproject.com

* SBA’s Office of Advocacy, 2006 County Business Patterns

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This  element is designed to look for a key trait in the management team of nearly all successful new ventures: speed. While some people can drive a car comfortably at 100 MPH, others start to panic and constantly ride the brakes. Key entrepreneurial instincts and the ability to move quickly (combination of confidence, analysis, and risk) are core to moving nearly all business ventures forward. Can the team keep up with the aggressive pace a start up demands? Or are they a group of “over-thinkers” who have a tough time making decisions? What questions do you ask to find out if the management team has what it takes to accelerate?

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There is certainly a balance we look for in this category.  Swiftness of execution is an essential component for any startup, but there is a good deal that needs to be sorted out before the plan is followed through.  A great analogy here is to think of painting: preparation is 80% of the work. Obviously, figuring out how to turn the crank and make money with your business as quickly as possible is the goal, but putting all your resources into a plan you suspect is the right one before actually knowing for sure is a recipe for disaster.  In other words: you must first do the planning before you can start executing at full speed.  You don’t want to be sprinting down a dead end, do you?

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How fast are you going? Go to www.venturephenomeproject.com and share your experiences with investors and entrepreneurs.

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needleinhaystackThe scarcity of capital for early stage companies in recent years has lead to the creation of literally thousands of businesses focused on helping entrepreneurs raise money for their start-ups. At North, this subject is close to our hearts, as we’ve made it our mission to make the entire process for fostering, filtering, and funding entrepreneurial innovation more efficient.

While some individuals and companies are taking strides to optimize entrepreneurship and inspire innovation, others unfortunately seem to be falling into the all too familiar trap of playing “follower,” when today’s economy desperately needs leaders. While there’s certainly value to extract from a few of these businesses, many unfortunately are coming up short of industry expectations, launching the exact same set of features and functionality as those that came before them.

“They have taken their cue from the Gold Rush when the truly crafty business-people made money not from prospecting but by selling shovels to the prospectors. Likewise, today’s money-raising services have found a low risk means to separate the cash-starved entrepreneur from any money he or she may have left.” – Antiventurecapital.com

In this section, we highlight a few of the emerging ideas, ventures, and individual brand names that either have or are in the midst of trying to bring much-needed efficiency to the early stage venture market. Are any the long-awaited silver bullet that is going to help accelerate economic growth when now we need to create innovation faster than ever before?

You be the judge. Let’s take a closer look at the Pitch Farms.

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We’ve already spoken at length about the recent proliferation of the “Pitch Farms,” those online destinations that promise to connect start-ups with the investor community. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably very familiar with the usual suspects that offer up their virtual cork board for some type of fee (usually a recurring monthly one): FundingPost, FundingUniverse, EFactor, and GoBigNetwork to name just a few.

David Rose, Founder and CEO of Angelsoft, considered one of the “smarter” pitch farms, outlines both the opportunity and the shortcomings of these destinations when he said, “…there are many, many web sites out there which purport to connect, or ‘match’, entrepreneurs seeking funding with potential investors. By our own count, there are probably three or four dozen, and that’s without looking very hard. The reason there are so many is that it’s like shooting fish in a barrel: how many starving entrepreneurs wouldn’t want to come to a web site that promises them cash?!”

Mr. Rose originally launched Angelsoft to Angel groups software that enabled submissions, file management, and group communication tools. It was a lot of the infrastructure that traditional Angels needed to scale and to update their current submission processes and makes them more “new economy ready.” However, Angelsoft has since morphed into another massive deal farm for the start-up community. Perhaps pleasing their engineers on staff, they now offer up a dizzying array of features and software updates. So many in fact, it makes an average Angel investor feel as though they’re playing around on their kid’s Facebook page.

angelsoftscreenshotEven with the questionable, confusing, and clearly off-target features, it’s not hard to tell that Mr. Rose has his sights on consolidating the entire early stage venture market. With 442 Angel groups, over 14,000 investors, and a staggering 2,000 new venture applications per month, they now have an Open Deal pitch for $250 a pop that allows an entrepreneur to get their plan in front of all 14,000 investors with the click of a mouse (if those investors were actually logged on and could even find their way to the Open Deal room…).

“The sad reality, however, is that while it is extremely easy to get hungry entrepreneurs to list their plans, it is well-nigh IMPOSSIBLE to get investors to show up on the other side of the curtain…for the simple reason that (a) the ratio of investors to entrepreneurs is about 1:1000, and (b) investors are so deluged with opportunities that they simply don’t go out LOOKING for plans; plans come to them!” says Mr. Rose who in his own words admits he’s got an efficiency problem on his hands.

Recently Angelsoft started to actually push deals onto the unsuspecting investors of all the third party Angel groups that use their software. This pushy intrusion comes in the form of a bi-weekly unsolicited email filled with recent venture submissions. Angel groups that signed up for Angelsoft to help manage their Angel group now find themselves competing for their own investor members attention with the unrequested (and often unwanted) deal flow being shoveled onto their members by an Angelsoft email server that seems to have its dial stuck on “spam.”

“With Angelsoft, all of the personal aspects of Angel investing seem to be removed from the equation. My materials are submitted through Angelsoft forms, and then disappear into some system that encourages a group of busy angels to evaluate the opportunity in a black box. Do they like it? Do they hate it? Do they even read it? I have no idea, since I have never heard anything!” comments a disappointed entrepreneur.

For all the aggressive email action and striking numbers on this site, one has to wonder, is it really delivering on quality deal flow or just polluting the Internet with more “not ready for prime time” quantity? As of this writing, Angelsoft reports that just 1.32 percent of start-ups on their site have been funded, and that the average number of “views” for each submission is only 5.3 (Which means an average submission is viewed by only 1 of every 3,000 investors that Angelsoft claims to represent). For entrepreneurs and investors, the verdict is still out on whether this site is more “soft” than true “Angel.”

The following excerpt is taken from Breaking Through The Broken: The Transparent Guide To Overcoming The Inefficiencies In Early Stage Venture Capital.

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