Web Series Described as Half ‘Daily Show,’ Half Grad School for Tech Geeks
MAY 16, 2012, DENVER — The startup behind “Starto,” a new web series exploring entrepreneurship and technology, will mark their one month anniversary with a Saturday night shindig at Breckenridge Brewery starting at 8 PM. And you’re invited.
WHAT: Starto at One Month Party
WHEN: Saturday May 19, 8 PM to whenever
WHERE: Breckenridge Brewery, 2220 Blake St. Denver
The Starto Loft at ICOSA Media is fast becoming the talk of Denver’s startup community. The first season of the show will include appearances by tech legends such as Phil McKinney (Hewlett Packard) Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Steve Wozniak (Apple), Guy Kawasaki (Apple), and Rick Marini (BranchOut). But it’s the creative and collaborative environment that keeps people coming back to the Starto Loft.
Kerianne Leffew of Innovation Pavilion has volunteered as a crew member and hostess for Thursday night tapings. “One way to know a good TV show is when it makes fun to learn,” she said. “I feel like I’m getting a graduate degree in business, only it’s more fun and more relevant because we map the trends in real time. And the wrap party after each show is like a who’s who for the Denver/Boulder startup community.”
Co-founder Eli Regalado opens the Episode 1 with kung fu kicks and disco moves while announcing an ambitious aim: to connect academia, business, community and government — and create a virtual and actual space for startup innovation, not just for the Denver area, but for the country. With a modest travel budget and affordable web technologies like Skype, they’ve checked in with exciting innovators around the U.S., from Lori Cheek in New York City, to Christian Renault in Cedar Rapids, IA, to Carolynn Duncan in Portland, OR. They’ve also interviewed local success stories such as Tech Stars graduate Bart Lorang (Full Contact), Steve Katsaros (Nokero), and Mike Stemple (Mosoro) who was voted World’s Best Mentor in the Founders Institute.
Now ICOSA Media would like to write a Cinderella story of their own. They see unlimited opportunity in new technology and new legislation, with an unprecedented number of people taking the leap and start a new company. Founder and financier Gayle Dendinger (CAP Logistics) points to the bipartisan JOBS Act, signed by President Obama April 6, which clears the way for crowdfunding of startup companies. “This law has the potential to transform American entrepreneurship in the 21st century. I founded ICOSA Media to accelerate the process, and help make sure that Denver is right in the middle of it.”
To host the show, Regalado recruited Chris Franks whose stage/screen presence, and his passion for the subject matter carry the show. The two first met in February.
“I love starting companies, but even more than starting companies, I love talking about starting companies,” Franks said. “I love the fact that our studio audience and viewers at home are learning right along with me, and then applying what they learn to their work. That’s what we do too. Our startup is a show about startups, how cool is that?!”
In March, Regalado recruited the final piece of the puzzle: award-winning film director Eric Byler (who screened two films at the Starz Denver International Film Festival in 2006, and returned in 2010 with 9500 Liberty). Byler drove to Denver from Northern Virginia with a car full of gear and a track record for doing a lot with a little. Byler and Regalado first teamed up in 2010 to found the social media democracy movement, Coffee Party USA, which now has a network of half a million people. Byler sees Starto as an opportunity to help a friend realize his dream.
“The democratization of media is making it possible for everyday Americans to participate in our democracy like never before. Now, democratization of startup capital will allow us to play a much bigger role in identifying problems, innovating solutions, and choosing a way forward for this country,” Byler said. “My new slogan is ‘entrepreneurship is patriotic.”
The ICOSA Media team plans to offer summer courses on film production and social media, and hopes to make the jump to cable television this fall.
Regalado summed up the mood at the Starto Loft: “We’re riding an unstoppable wave of new ideas and new technology into power echelons that were way beyond our reach just a few years ago. It’s an incredible feeling. That’s why we want to share it with everyone in Denver Saturday night, and everyone in America during the coming year.”
Starto shoots live every Thursday at 6 pm at ICOSA Studio. Tapings are open to the public and followed by a networking party. However, this Thursday May 17 the studio will be dark. Catch up with Chris, Eli, Kerianne and the Starto crew on Saturday night at 8 pm at Breckenridge Brewery, or next Thursday May 24 at ICOSA Studio, 4100 Jackson St. just west of Colorado Blvd. MORE INFO.
Today, however, I got wind of some new MoneyTree data that pulled at my heart strings unlike any data that I had seen before. In fact, I was all of astonished, proud, humbled and inspired. The news? In 2011, Colorado ranked 4th in the country behind California, Massachusetts and New York for seed/early stage dollars invested into startup companies in the state. The state has grown in leaps and bounds with 63 firms investing $290 million into 41 companies in 2011 compared to 2006 when 41 firms invested $89 million into 32 startups.
Wow. I knew that Colorado was kicking tail, but this was really amazing news. It backs up what I’ve been telling people for a long time: Colorado is a top five destination for VC investment and I think it’s only getting stronger.
So why is our nearly average populated state so decidedly above average when it comes to starting companies? It’s combination of many things (great universities, Techstars, lots of engineers, well educated people, great mentors and active community leaders), but one thing really stands out: our entrepreneurs.
Facebook is nearing a billion users, but what could topple the big blue giant? Government intervention, the shift to mobile, and a loss of “cool” all have the power to violently disrupt the social network, or at least cause it to lose its strong grip on the market.
Here’s a look at the four things that could ruin Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of a single site that connects the world.
The thread that runs between all these pitfalls is their potential to make Facebook irrelevant. If you can’t access it, its overrun by ads, there’s something better, or it’s simply uncool, Facebook could fade away.
It’s size, network effect, and wise leadership could protect it from these threats, and honestly, I think Facebook has the potential to be successful for a long, long time. But if you had to bet against Facebook, here’s what you’d be betting on. [MORE]
Despite the hype as it prepares to launch its IPO, the giant social network still has plenty to prove
The Economist, Editorial
OUTSIDE Facebook’s vast new headquarters in Silicon Valley is a huge sign with an image of a hand on it giving a thumbs-up sign. A tiny digital version of the same hand sits on millions of websites and invites Facebook’s 900m or so users to click on it to share content they have found with their pals. Now Facebook is hoping to get another big thumbs-up when it stages its eagerly awaited initial public offering (IPO) of 12% of its equity on America’s NASDAQ stockmarket on May 18th. Assuming all goes according to plan, the flotation will be the largest yet undertaken by an internet company.
On a roadshow across America to promote the listing this week, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 27-year-old boss, and other executives were treated like rock stars. Long queues snaked out of hotels where they were holding meetings, as investors lined up to hang on their every word. Hordes of photographers rushed to take pictures of Mr Zuckerberg, in his trademark hoodie, as he and his colleagues were whisked off to waiting limousines.
This frenzy is further proof, if any were needed, that Facebook has become a global internet idol. Facebulls reckon the flotation, which could raise almost $12 billion (with about half going to shareholders selling up), will help transform the social network into a web powerhouse in the same way that Google used the riches from its 2004 IPO to spread its tentacles across the web. And they confidently predict that Facebook’s shares will start trading well above the range of $28-35 that the firm has set for them—a range that would value Facebook at $77 billion-96 billion. ( According to press reports, Facebook has increased the price range to $34 to $38 a share. At the upper end of that range the company would be worth $104 billion.) [MORE]
There’s a lot of money floating around Silicon Valley right now, and it’s becoming easier and easier for entrepreneurs to get access to the capital they need to get their companies off the ground. Resources like AngelList are trying to level the playing field, and facilitate conversations between founder and investor, and the passage of the JOBS Act will alter the landscape for early-stage companies by giving them access to crowdfunding from the masses. There are even charity initiatives like the ones launched by Execand Motion To Dismiss Cancer that give a select few access to top entrepreneurs and VCs.
At a very fundamental level, the venture capital business is being reshaped. As the Kauffman report points out, most VC funds aren’t generating more than the three to five percent on top of the return one finds in the public markets — the yield investors expect, the report finds. In fact, the report states “VC returns haven’t significantly outperformed the public market since the late ’90s”.
Speaking to a crowd at the Grind work space in New York last week, Fred Wilson addressed this ongoing shift, saying, “there’s two times as much capital in the venture capital business today than we, the professional investors who make up the venture business, can actually put to work intelligently.”
A new app has just taken the App Store by storm — a colorful, rainbowful storm. It’s called Color Text Messages+ and the idea is relatively simple, but clearly appealing judging by the app’s popularity. The app is so popular, in fact, that Facebook Messenger, Facebook, and Twitter have all just dropped down a spot to make room for the new kid on the social block.
In essence, you can now send your friends customized color text messages, complete with backgrounds and various fonts. Yep, a huge chunk of Samsung’s Galaxy Note campaign around personalizing communication on smartphones just went down the drain courtesy of a free app. But that’s not the point — the point is that you can now send a Comic Sans text message inside a colored (or butterfly-themed) bubble.
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Did you know that 1.3 billion people in the world live without electricity? The majority of these households use kerosine in can for light. Not only is this outrageously dangerous, causing over a million deaths every year in fires, they also add 30 million cars worth of pollution into our atmosphere each year. A Denver-based company called Nokero is determined to do something about it. I recently paid them a visit to find out how.
Nokero (short for No Kerosene) was formed in June 2010 to develop safe, affordable and environmentally-friendly technology that eliminates the need for harmful and polluting fuels used around the world.
Investor, advisor, entrepreneur, and company builder Bilal Zuberi decodes the mystery of venture capital investment, and sheds some light on the meaning of the American Dream.
Bilal got a Ph.D. from MIT, learned a few things in management consulting, co-founded a startup, raised capital and hopefully learned humility before becoming a VC. He sats that his passion lies in deep technology based innovations, big ideas, and improving peoples' lives.
The makers of Starto are especially proud of this video because we believe that the two keys to America's success in the 21st century will be (1) a new generation of entrepreneurs and a new cooperative approach to entrepreneurship made possible by new technology, and (2) immigration reform that restores America's brand as the land of opportunity, and allows our labor supply to meet the needs of a GROWING economy.
If you’re sick of interrupting your news feed reading to open and load photos, you’ll like a new Facebook mobile site, iOS, and Android app redesign rolling out today that makes photos three times larger. Shares of single photos now look a lot like Instagrams, as they appear full width so there’s less need to stop and open them. Meanwhile the bigger previews of photo albums will help you instantly assess whether to dive in or breeze past.
As Facebook’s user base shifts to mobile where it can’t show as many ads as easily, it will need to keep mobile session length and return visit frequency high. Making the news feed less tiring to browse should keep us scrolling for longer as we ravenously peer into the lives of our friends our friends. Here’s the before and after photos…of photos.[MORE]
STARTO is a weekly production. Interviews are live and have a physical event around them at the ICOSA Studio. Approximately 100-150 entrepreneurs, academics, members of the business community and students will be in attendance for each event. After the interview segment is taped, a live band will play and drinks will be served for networking. To learn more about STARTO.tv and ICOSA - click here for details. [MORE]
The Six Enemies of Greatness (and Happiness) These six factors can erode the grandest of plans and the noblest of intentions. They can turn visionaries into paper-pushers and wide-eyed dreamers into shivering, weeping balls of regret.
New show created by Coffee Party founder Eli Regalado, and directed by Coffee Party founder and current president Eric Byler.
Want to find out how to fund your Startup? Learn from the best, including Bart Lorang of FullContact, venture capitalist Bilal Zuberi, and Derek Holt of Startup America. Chris Franks hosts the first ever episode of STARTO.
ICOSA Magazine brings you STARTO, THE show for innovators and entrepreneurs.