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The startup challenge: Raising money to make dreams become reality

The startup challenge: Raising money to make dreams become reality | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Finding funding as a startup can be a scavenger hunt, with nuggets of information hidden by bureaucracy and scattered across the Internet.

You’ve got a brilliant, multimillion-dollar business idea and want to start a startup. Great! … Uh, now what?

To steal a joke from a 1998 South Park episode, the void between ideation and value creation often looks like: Phase 1 — Start company. Phase 2 — ?????. Phase 3 — Profit!

How startups develop the second, mystery phase depends on how strong their resolve to raise cash is, how developed their contact network is and how much risk they’re willing to take. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more: www.Business-Funding-Insider.com


Via Enzo Calamo
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This article in the Montrealgazette is written for the Quebec #startup community, but it accurately describes the #funding process and a variety of options #founders have when looking for money.

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How to Raise Money Without Begging Investors

How to Raise Money Without Begging Investors | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Check out these different ways to raise money for your startup idea.

Trying to generate funds for your new business idea, especially an attempt to raise money online, is fiercely competitive and can easily become discouraging -- if you let it. But as we all know, the most tenacious and driven entrepreneurs are most likely to succeed.

Approaching VCs and angel investors with your pitch is one way to get funded, but what's the next step if it's not panning out? Check out these 3 ways to raise money without begging investors to give you a shot. Read more: click image or title.

 

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km


Via Pantelis Chiotellis
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This #ounder is sharing some great experience for the #funding process.

 

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ventureLAB's curator insight, March 8, 2016 2:02 PM

This #ounder is sharing some great experience for the #funding process.

 

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Advice for inventors: turning your bright idea into a business

Advice for inventors: turning your bright idea into a business | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
The journey from great idea to commercial product can be long and costly – but help is available

It was 2008, when the late inventor John Reid and entrepreneur Arpana Gandhi got talking at a fundraising event for landmine victims. In a long career, Reid had invented, among other things, the plastic security tag used to deter shoplifters.

Reid told Gandhi about the Dragon torch, a product he had developed to disable landmines. Despite its promise, problems such as a lack of raw materials meant it had never come to market. “I explained that I’ve got a good track record and a commercial background, and that was one of the things, unfortunately, that John was not very good at,” Gandhi says now. The two decided to combine their strengths – and that is how Disarmco was born.

There are 120m landmines worldwide, and the principal method of disposal is to blow them up. But that requires carrying explosives across borders, which naturally attracts suspicion. “Because of these conflicts in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, everybody is awfully twitchy,” says Gandhi.

 
Reid – who, sadly, died in 2014 – was very good, says Gandhi, at taking technology used in one area of life and applying it to another. The Dragon torch works like a firework: it directs a very hot flame at the munitions so that the landmine is burnt rather than exploded.
Both Gandhi and Reid had put money into the company but needed more funding to test the product. Attempts to attract venture capital failed, says Gandhi: “People are risk-averse, especially within a sector that they don’t understand, and nobody is prepared to do the due diligence to understand that we’re not going to be using this in a detrimental way, we’re using it for a humanitarian purpose.”
So Disarmco used a very modern method of raising funds: it put a request on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube and within six months had raised just under £150,000 (£30,000 more than the original target). The torch has been tested and should be commercially available later this year – though the company also has other products on the market.
Disarmco’s story demonstrates that the journey between having a good idea and creating a commercially viable product can be long, bumpy and costly: half of UK startups fail within five years, and that is partly down to the difficulty of attracting investment.

Read more, click on title or image.


Get your Free #BusinessPlanTemplate here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

"Our work with Growthink was very helpful for creating a business plan to focus our efforts in the short term and increase our value over the long term."
Jack Bergstrand, CEO
Brand Velocity, Inc.


Via Zonata
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Crowdfunding to test new ideas is a great platform.

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Growthink Products for Capital Raising and Business Planning

Growthink Products for Capital Raising and Business Planning | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

How do successful startups and entrepreneurs really get funded?

I don't indulge very often in self promotion. However, when I see so many entrepreneurs looking for funding in many of the social media... I wonder.

I have to give them the right information to help them find the right ways to succeed!

Following is a page from my site at Business-Funding Insider. This works. Get the information and follow all the steps. You will get funded.

Don't keep on begging for investors in the wrong places where scammers and thieves try to victimize you. Follow this advice:

Read this 'Introduction and Review of Growthink Products' to help you raise all the capital you need, and plan your business to grow into 8 figures, and exit profitably!

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The occasional self promotion. Some people and organizations have the know-how. This is one of them. Check it out.

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The Entrepreneur Handbook: 120 Awesome Resources for Every Entrepreneur | Alltopstartups.com

The Entrepreneur Handbook: 120 Awesome Resources for Every Entrepreneur | Alltopstartups.com | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Whether you are starting a new business or scaling your business to new heights, these are some of the most useful entrepreneur resources you will ever need.

ByThomas Oppong. Published on May 6, 2014.

Whether you are starting a new business or scaling your business to new heights, these are some of the most useful  entrepreneur resources you will ever need. My hope is that this post will be a great resource list for all your entrepreneurial needs. This is a huge list of blogs, tools and general resources I think could be useful for every entrepreneur.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Great business blogs and resource sites

1. Inc. Start-up – Advice for founders of start-ups and start-up entrepreneurs on writing a business plan, running a home-based business, naming a start-up business, how to incorporate, financing a start-up, buying a small business, and starting a franchise.

2. OnStartups – Run by HubSpot cofounder Dharmesh Shah, On Startups offers advice and insights for entrepreneurs.

3. For Entrepreneurs—A blog for startups and entrepreneurs, written by David Skok, a five time serial entrepreneur turned VC (now at Matrix. Partners)

4. Startup Lawyer — Ryan Roberts’Startup Lawyer breaks down the legal issues of startups.

5. Mashable on Small Business – Essential business advice for starting and growing small businesses.

6. About.com for Entrepreneurs – Help and advice for going from the idea stage to business plan to the marketplace and beyond.

7. Mixergy – Successful CEOs share their experiences with the masses.

8. Small Business Administration. Find information, links and resources to help you start and grow your business, including SBA-guaranteed loans.

9.  Accounting Coach – Accounting coach will introduce you to some basic accounting principles, accounting concepts, and accounting terminology.

10. NYT Small Business – Find breaking news & money news on mortgage rates, mutual funds, the stock market, bonds & notes, company research, earnings reports and market insight.

11. Chris Dixon — A General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. He is also a contributing writer for TechCrunch.  A seed investor turned VC, Dixon takes a macro view, considering industry-wide trends.

12. Quora (Startup Founders and Entrepreneurs page) — Quora’s question-answering website has some fantastic responses from establish entrepreneurs and investors for entrepreneurs.

13. Wall Street Journal’s Small Business How To Guide – WSJ small business guide covering how to start, fund, run and manage your small business.

14.  Forbes on Entrepreneurs — Forbes entrepreneur section, specifically on how entrepreneurs are running businesses and advice from entrepreneurs.

15. First Round Review — A compilation of startup-centric content. Case studies on the experiences of individual entrepreneurs and companies.

16. The Funded – An online community of entrepreneurs to research, rate, and review funding sources worldwide.

17. Paul Graham – Super awesome timeless essays about venture capital and entrepreneurship.

18. Springwise – Your essential fix of entrepreneurial ideas.

19.  Big Think – Blogs, articles and videos from the world’s top leaders and thinkers.

20. PSFK – A go-to source for ideas and inspiration.

21. StartupDigest - Free weekly email to help you meet people and learn more.

22. The Startup Toolkit – Tools and guidance for all startup founders.

23. Both Sides of The Table – Upfront Ventures partner Mark Suster’s blog runs the gamut from sales strategies to fundraising and startup culture.

24.  Chic-ceo – Slick site for women with the entrepreneur bug, but its downloadable tools makes this a must-visit for all.

25. How-to Guides on Entrepreneur.com — How-to resources for kick starting  your new business.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Tools and apps exclusively for startups

Use these startups resources (mostly free) to launch your idea, gather feedback and grow your new business. Whether you are wondering about how to put your idea out there, how to make a good presentation or learn from the best you will find some of these resources useful.

1.GroupTalent – Top teams of developers and designers, on-demand.

2. Docstoc – Discover the best professional documents and content resources to help start and grow your business

3.  CustomerSure – Simple, web-based customer feedback software.

4. Crowdvi.be – Get instant answers from over 50 million people.

5.  AYTM (Ask Your Target Market) – Market research has never been this easy.

6.  Term Sheet Generator – Generate a venture financing term sheet.

7.  Cofounda - App platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors.

8.  Feedbackify – Simple, private website feedback.

9.  Appfigures – mobile analytics and sales data.

10. Mopapp – mobile analytics, sales data, rankings.

11.  UserTesting.com – Low-cost website usability testing.

12.  Prezi - The zooming presentation editor.

13.  CircleUp - Like AngelList with a crowdfunding twist.

14.  AngelList - A platform for startups. Standardizing the pitch deck.

15.  Idea Flight - Get your ideas off the ground.

16.  CapLinked - Making private investment easy, secure and social.

17.  Go BIG Network – Helps entrepreneurs find funding.

18.  Intern Avenue - Find interns. Intern directory.

19.  A VC – Musings of a VC in NYC.

20.  Startup Weekend - Global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs.

21.  LiquidSpace - Airbnb for workspaces. Book last minute or plan ahead.

22.  OpenDesks – Find and share places to meet and work.

23.  Founders Den - Invite-only shared workspace and private club in SoMa neighborhood.

24.  TechHub – A physical space for tech startups in London.

25.  Prosper–  Prosper can help you get the seed funding you need to launch your own online business.

26.  Unbounce – Easy landing page creator and tester.

27.  Mobile Roadie - Full CMS, no coding app builder for iOS and Android.

28.  Chupa - The marketplace for buying/selling mobile app components.

29.  Grow VC - Get visibility with the right investing audience.

30. Appbackr - Crowdfunding for mobile apps.

31.  LaunchRock - Setup a “Launching Soon” page in minutes.

32.  LegalZoom: An inexpensive, fast, and easy to use online legal document service that can help you file the appropriate paperwork for your startup.

33.  VCgate - Venture capital firms, angel investors and private equity firms directory.

34.  Envestors - Pay-to-pitch investor network.

35.  Startup Compass - Benchmark your startup’s KPIs against more than 10k internet startups.

36.  Startup Tools-Complete list of startup tools by Steve Blank

37. KickoffLabs – Find new customers with a viral landing page in less than 60 seconds.

38. RocketHub - Launch, fund and fly.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Mobile app development tools

These are some of the best mobile app development resources out there that guarantees stunning app for mobile devices.  These tools offer drag-and-drop interfaces, fast and easy mobile prototyping with support for designing some of the best Android, iOS and Windows mobile apps.

1. Ooomf – Create a beautiful landing page for your iPhone app in minutes.

2. Appcelerator – Mobile app platform for building on Android, iOS and mobile web.

3. GameSalad Creator – Create, test and publish your own game. Drag and drop.

4.  Parse – Add a powerful and scalable backend to your app in minutes.

5.  Mobile Roadie - Full CMS, no coding app builder for iOS and Android.

6.  Proto.io – Silly-fast mobile prototyping.

7.  StackOverflow - Question and answer site for programmers.

8.  Kendo UI Mobile – Build HTML5 apps that look native on any device.

9.  Tiggzi – Cloud-based mobile app builder.

10. Verious - A mobile app component marketplace.

11. justinmind – Rich interactive wireframes to define mobile apps.

12. UXPin – User experience design tools for professionals.

13. Chupa – The marketplace for buying/selling mobile app components.

14. Distimo - Providing valuable insight into the app store marketplace.

15. App Annie - App store analytics and market intelligence.

16. Kontagent - User analytics for the mobile web.

17. Applingua - iOS app localization (translation) service.

18. AppMakr – Point and click solution for building rich content based apps.

19. Flurry - Analytics, traffic acquisition and monetization.

20. Crittercism – Gives you real-time, actionable crash reports for mobile apps.

21. PhoneGap - Easily create apps using well known web technologies.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Incubators & Accelerators

Incubators and accelerators can be a great option for any young company or even idea to get off the ground. These programs offer everything from funding, connections with top investors and mentors and collaborative work environments.

1. Y Combinator – Has funded over 380 startups (3 months).

2. TechStars - Mentorship-driven seed-stage investment program (3 months).

3. The Brandery - Accelerating startups by building powerful brands (14 weeks).

4. KickLabs – Ready to start acquiring customers? (3-6 months).

5. i/o Ventures – Early-stage startup program focused on mentorship (3 months).

6. Capital Factory – Entrepreneurs like entrepreneurs (10 weeks).

7. NYC SeedStart – Focused on advertising, ecommerce, digital and mobile (12 weeks).

8. Tech Wildcatters – Mentor-driven and led by entrepreneurs (12 weeks).

9. Seedcamp - Early stage mentoring and investment program (1 year).

10. Excelerate Labs – Amazing mentors, Chicago resources, high-profile demo (3 months).

11. Springboard - Mentorship-led accelerator program (13 weeks).

12. Dreamit Ventures – Helping build great companies.

13. The ARK – Mentorship-driven tech startup accelerator (3 months).

14. Betaspring – Mentorship-driven accelerator focused on tech and design (12 weeks).

15. InnoSpring - Start in Silicon Valley, grow in the US and China.

16. BizSpark - Microsoft accelerator for Windows Azure (3 months).

15. Media Camp - Startup academy camp for media innovations (12 weeks).

18. Founder Institute - Helping founders to build great companies (4 weeks).

19. AlphaLab – Funding, mentorship, education and more (20 weeks).

20. 500 Startups –Provides early-stage companies with up to $250K in funding.

21. Startup Chile –Apply from anywhere in the world, start in Chile. $40k grant per project (24 weeks).

22. MEST – Entrepreneurial program designed to foster the growth of tech companies in Africa (24 weeks).



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Crowdfunding resources

If you can’t find funding from angels, how about seeking help from the crowd.

1. Seedrs - Equity-based crowdfunding platform.

2. Crowdfunder - Equity crowdfunding for your business.

3. CircleUp - Like AngelList with a crowdfunding twist.

4. Grow VC - Get visibility with the right investing audience.

5. appbackr - Crowdfunding for mobile apps.

6. Kickstarter - World’s largest funding platform for creative projects.

7. Indiegogo - Fund your passion.

8. Crowdtilt - Group fund anything.

9. Invested.in - Raise money, reach goals, build community.

10. Funding Circle - Online marketplace where people lend to businesses.

11. Sponsume - Fund your project through social networks.

12. RocketHub - Launch, fund and fly.

13. SellAnApp - Make app ideas happen.

14. Petridish - Crowdfunding for science startups.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km



Via marcduke
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great set of resources. Use them.

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Rhonda Hunter's curator insight, August 21, 2014 4:21 PM

In need of customized services, check out LEGG Lincoln Entrepreneur Growth Group at www.lincolneda.org under the Entrepreneur tab.  While you are there don't forget to check out "Tools for Business" it is a wealth of local Lincoln County information that will help you start or grow your business.

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VENTURED AND GAINED

VENTURED AND GAINED | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

For the entrepreneur with a great idea, more options for obtaining seed money are available than ever before, venture capital experts in the San Diego area say.

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers Money Tree report found that nationally there were venture capital investments of $9.5 billion in the first quarter of 2014, the highest level since the tech bubble burst more than a decade ago. In San Diego, 23 deals totaling $243 million were reported for the period, with biotechnology leading the way.

“A lot of the entrepreneurs feel there’s been a lot of contraction over the last several years over the number of funds and partners available,” said Don Williams, national life sciences leader at Grant Thornton in San Diego. “While that’s true, I don’t think that’s diminished the opportunity to obtain funding. If the entrepreneur has a good idea, the right idea, and provides the solution to a problem, he’ll be able to successfully find funding.”

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

On crowdfunding: “It’s not a replacement for venture capital. It’s an augmentation. It’s a great way to raise small amounts of capital to build exciting products and test ideas.”


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Infographic: What's the best small business funding for you?

Infographic: What's the best small business funding for you? | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

SmallBusinessHeroes.co.uk has put together this nifty comparison table with the key considerations for each form of funding.

To view the infographic in detail, click on it on click on the title.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Maybe a little over simplified, but this infographic gives a basic understanding of different funding methods. Good overview to help you make up your mind.

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P2P lending: What's to worry?

P2P lending: What's to worry? | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Former FDIC chair Sheila Bair explains why a good idea needs more regulation. (Investors are making good money extending credit to their fellow Americans via crowdlending platforms!

Brother, can you spare a loan?

Investors are making good money extending credit to their fellow Americans via peer-to-peer lending platforms (P2P), such as Lending Club and Prosper. P2P is also good news for borrowers -- most of whom are consolidating debts -- because they can often get interest rates lower than those offered by banks.

Mon dieu! Decent investor returns. Cheaper loan rates. Could this actually be a good financial innovation? Perhaps, but I see some causes for concern.

Securities regulators fret about potential fraud, since the companies don't always document borrower incomes. The cops also worry that investors can't understand how the companies determine the likelihood of default. Says David Massey, North Carolina's Deputy Securities Administrator: "Peer-to-peer investors generally don't have direct access to the information that might let them know whether they're buying into a loan that's going to pay them back, or whether they're taking a flier on a situation that's going to end in a default."

To read the full article, click on the title.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here:

http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Via Therese Torris, Marc Kneepkens
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Therese Torris's curator insight, December 28, 2013 5:13 AM
Expresses concerns that the cost advantage of crowdfunding over community banks might come only from lighter regulation
Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, December 28, 2013 12:43 PM

Good introduction to Peer-to-Peer lending. A good alternative for some.

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How Funding Works - Splitting The Equity With Investors - Infographic

How Funding Works - Splitting The Equity With Investors - Infographic | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
This infographic shows how funding works for a hypothetical startup splitting equity with angel investors, venture capitalists and IPO.
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great chart, says it all. Thanks Anna Vital.





This article and chart offered to you by:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com  Your site for information about funding, investors, free business plan templates, free llistings.


Get a Free Business Plan Template:  https://growthink.infusionsoft.com/go/freebptemplate/gt4045/

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12 of the Hardest Questions Venture Capitalists Will Ask You - AlleyWatch

12 of the Hardest Questions Venture Capitalists Will Ask You - AlleyWatch | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Fundraising?  Make sure you know how to answer some of the toughest questions VCs will throw at you..
 




Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Pick up your 'Free Businesss Plan Template' here:

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How Smart Angels Will Leverage Crowdfunding - Forbes

How Smart Angels Will Leverage Crowdfunding - Forbes | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Equity crowdfunding has a large and growing base of global supporters and advocates.
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great article with great insights and analysis of where crowdfunding is headed.


Looking for funding? When using equity crowdfunding, you're still going to have to produce a business plan, especially dealing with Angel Investors, every single one of them will want to know what 'the plan' is.


Consider working with a Growthink Business Plan Template, it creates results. This is what Andy Kessler, Founder of Turning Earth (http://turningearthllc.com/), says about it:


"I was able to pick up a template that I could actually figure out how to use, had all the key components in it, and basically just drop in my idea... We, in fact, were able to raise money."


This is where to get full information and order it:

https://growthink.infusionsoft.com/go/businessplan/gt4045/


Get a free Business Plan Template here:

http://www.business-funding-insider.com/free-business-plan-template.html

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6 Questions Every Business Plan Should Answer

6 Questions Every Business Plan Should Answer | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
What investors, mentors and advisers look for in business plans.
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

www.Business-Funder-Insider.com provides information and articles to improve your business presentations.


Get your free Business Plan Template here: http://www.business-funding-insider.com/free-business-plan-template.html


or check our 'Growthink's Business Plan Template Review'
Can you write your business plan in 8 hrs or less? http://www.business-funding-insider.com/business-plan-template.html

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10 Myths about Startups

10 Myths about Startups | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
There are some prevalent myths and preconceived notions about startups that are simply not true. Here's 10 of them.
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great article, every startup should read this, it will at least make you think.


Hint: need a little help getting your thoughts and ideas organized? Get a free business plan template. It'll get you going: http://www.business-funding-insider.com/free-sample-business-plan.html

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7 Amazing Ways To Get Your Startup Funded | StartUs Magazine

7 Amazing Ways To Get Your Startup Funded | StartUs Magazine | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Having trouble getting your startup funded? Follow these 7 easy steps and see for yourself how every investor will want to work with you.

If only there was a magic formula that would get your business started right away! Unfortunately, there is no such thing and if you are thinking about opening your own startup, you are in for one long, sometimes tiring process!

They say that good things come to those who wait. Actually, good things come to those who work day-to-night and bring their passion into everything they are do. Then again, isn’t this the beauty of this whole journey? As overwhelming as the road might feel, there is no greater accomplishment, than knowing that you have managed to complete it.

Now, even if we are unable to give you that drop of magic, we can provide you with some advice on how to find funding for your startup. There are so many options of doing it that for an inexperienced person, it may seem both confusing and overwhelming. Read more: click image or title.

 

Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more: www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

 

 

 

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Or, rather, 7 steps to get your #startup funded.

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You Too Can Now Invest in Startups! What Could Go Wrong?

You Too Can Now Invest in Startups! What Could Go Wrong? | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
The SEC has finally approved rules to allow anyone to buy equity in a company–so-called equity crowdfunding. Here’s what you need to know.

You, your mom, or that random guy down your block will all soon be able to join the ranks of startup investors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission voted this past week to approve so-called equity crowdfunding rules for investors, an effort spawned by the passage of the JOBS Act way back in 2012. What that means is that startups or small businesses looking for investors can go through brokers or online platforms to find them—and those investors can now be, well, anyone.

This is a pretty big deal. It marks a shift in the kinds of capital that startups and small businesses can raise. Startups today often turn to venture capitalists, angel investors, bankers, and other accredited investors, but access can require the right connections, which are often hard to come by outside major financial hubs like New York, San Francisco, and Boston.

'Even if you're truly invested in investing in a startup, the odds are against you.'

Now, entrepreneurs can turn to the crowd. And if you’ve part of the crowd that’s always wanted to invest in a startup, you may soon be able to in ways that you couldn’t before. But there are some things you need to know. Since the passage of the JOBS Act, experts have worried about putting safeguards in place to protect unsophisticated investors, as well as protections for startups to minimize fraud. The SEC is hoping that its new rules will address those concerns. Here’s what you need to know. Read more: click image or title.




Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com



Marc Kneepkens's insight:

A new way for small companies to raise #capital. Not only for #startups but also for any small or medium size company. #Crowdfunding is legal now, but with certain restrictions. Good information in this article, bot for #investors and #entrepreneurs.

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Richard Branson on How to Raise Money When You're Just Starting Out

Richard Branson on How to Raise Money When You're Just Starting Out | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
There are other options besides big time investors.


Editor's Note: Entrepreneur Richard Branson regularly shares his business experience and advice with readers. Ask him a question and your query might be the inspiration for a future column.

Q.: G’day Richard. I am a young engineering student with little to no practical experience as an entrepreneur. I think I’ve got a great idea, a ready and capable team, but have little money to pursue commercializing my novel product. I fear that potential investors will not take me seriously because of my age (21) and inexperience. How can I convince seasoned investors to believe in my team and invest in my idea? -- Jordan Gruber, Australia

My friends and I came up with the name “Virgin” one day when we were 15 years old, sitting around in a basement. I was keen on the name “Slipped Disc” for our new music venture, but then one of my friends pointed out that when it came to business, “we’re all virgins; why don’t we call it that?” In our case, inexperience proved to be a huge asset -- if we’d gone with the safer option, I’m not sure that many people would be working out at Slipped Disc Health Clubs or banking at Slipped Disc Money!

Innovation and entrepreneurship thrive on the energy of people who are dipping their toes into the water for the first time. Budding entrepreneurs with fresh outlooks have the freedom to think quite differently, which is tremendously exciting to potential collaborators. However, as you’re finding out, Jordan, translating a new concept into a product can be very daunting.


While you might not yet have the right connections or an “in” with major investors, other people out there do -- experienced businesspeople, in your sector or in others, who were once in your shoes and went on to be successful. These people are potential mentors who can help you on your way.

Mentoring is a subject that is very close to our hearts at Virgin; I myself have benefited from many mentors throughout my life. However, don’t consider mentoring as a quick way to gain useful contacts. A good mentoring relationship is based on more than that -- it’s a way to learn valuable lessons from the mistakes someone else has made.

Additionally, I noticed in your message an emphasis on convincing “seasoned investors” to back your idea. While securing huge sums of money from major business figures might seem like the ideal way to propel a business forward, the reality is that very few ventures win this kind of funding. A better alternative might be an online crowdfunding platform. Websites such as Indiegogo not only have the potential to fund the creation of a prototype to get your business up and running, but they also can result in significant publicity.

Another option is taking out a small business loan. In the U.K. we launched Virgin StartUp, a program that provides loans of up to 25,000 pounds to companies trying to get their ideas off the ground. It is well worth your time to look into similar initiatives in your area, and decide whether a loan is the right step for you. As an added benefit, both crowdfunding and small business loans will mean that you can retain full ownership of your business -- you won’t have to give any equity away to investors.

Here are three steps that can help you discover which approach is best for you:

1. EVALUATE AND RESEARCH.

Always be honest with yourself about your abilities, the work you’ll have to put in to get your company up and running, and the amount of money you’re hoping to raise. Research all the options that are available, and evaluate how they would affect your end goal.

Ask yourself: Is your crowdfunding target realistic? How much of a stake in your business are you willing to give to potential investors?

And if you want to find a mentor who can help give you direction and guidance, make sure you find a suitable one. Find out what they do, whether they’ve mentored others before and which sectors they are interested in.

2. GET ON PEOPLE’S RADAR.

Attend industry events such as seminars and conferences. Talk to as many people as possible, and do not immediately launch into a pitch of your product. Be sure to listen and learn from what people have to say.

Networking doesn’t stop at face-to-face contact, either; interact on social media, join LinkedIn groups and keep the relationships going online. When you do approach potential mentors or investors, or if you launch a crowdfunding campaign, you’ll have a degree of visibility.

In fact, the more proactive you are in building your profile, the more likely it is that potential investors will feel confident enough to put their faith in you -- and their money in your company. Remember that the more relationships you build, the better the chances that your network will put you in touch with the people who can help your business.

3. KEEP AN OPEN MIND.

Remember to be flexible. While winning investment might look like the best option now, don’t discount any other opportunities that come your way. For example, crowdfunding might not have the prestige of an investment from a big-time entrepreneur, but it will connect you directly with future customers, and you will have more control over the process.

Keeping an open mind is especially important when it comes to mentoring. Don’t see mentorship as a quick fix for problems, and do not brush off advice. Consider your connection with a mentor as a long-lasting business relationship that can teach you lessons and reduce the potential for failure. But also remember that, as with anything else, you’ll get out of mentoring what you put in.

Making sure that your potential business is a success is not contingent upon gaining a large investment. Many successful companies -- including Virgin -- started with modest funds. Right now, investors might seem like they are the gatekeepers between you and your dream, but the one person who can make your business succeed is not an investor, or even a mentor. It is you.

Good luck!


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Slipped Disc? Always think very carefully about your company name.

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Chinese startups get taste of Silicon Valley with TechCrunch

Chinese startups get taste of Silicon Valley with TechCrunch | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
San Francisco-based TechCrunch brought a taste of Silicon Valley to Beijing this week, with more than 50 startups showcasing their innovations to tech fans and investors at a two-day event in the Chinese capital.

Beijing (CNN) -- San Francisco-based TechCrunch brought a taste of Silicon Valley to Beijing this week, with more than 50 startups showcasing their innovations to tech fans and investors at a two-day event in the Chinese capital.

The conference attracted some of the most forward-thinking and dynamic Chinese technology wannabees, including ANTVR, a wearable gaming device company.

The startup attracted a long line of visitors eager try out its very first product, ANTVR kit.

Consisting of a headset and a controller, ANTVR claims the kit can provide a "fully immersive experience" by projecting a high-definition image onto users' retinas without distortion and provide an experience similar to an IMAX movie.

During the demo, the player is thrown into a pitch-dark room and told to find the source of a sound, which leads to a pale ghost with blood trickling down her face.

Qin Zheng, founder of ANTVR said the kit is compatible with all major gaming consoles and will hit both Chinese and overseas markets by the end of the year.

The 27-year-old said ANTVR went through the same difficulties as many startups in China — it was hard to find proper platforms to release products and raise funds.

Qin founded the company half a year ago, and to get started raised initial funding of $231,095 on U.S. crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

"Fund-raising is hard (here). I think this is why everybody rushes to crowdfunding sites," Qin said.

Lu Gang, head of Technote, TechCrunch's partner in China said that Chinese startups face a unique set of challenges.

"I think Chinese startups (face) much tougher competition, like copies," said Lu. "We've found so many copycats."

By bringing TechCrunch to China, Lu hopes to bring the originality and creativity that Silicon Valley is known for and inspire Chinese companies to invent something that "really makes a difference."

"I think the TechCrunch brand obviously stands for original work for entrepreneurs, and for creating something out of nothing, which is ideal. I think this is what everybody's striving for," says Lu.

"We want to encourage people here to be truly innovative instead of copying."


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What businesses should consider with equity crowdfunding

What businesses should consider with equity crowdfunding | Pitch it! | Scoop.it


Crowdfunding websites raised more than $5 billion in 2013. That said, there are some complications with crowdfunding that businesses should consider.

When it comes to getting funding for your latest business venture, crowdfunding may seem like a no-brainer. Crowdfunding websites raised more than $5 billion in 2013, and to get a piece of that wealth, all you have to do is set up an online profile and watch the dollars roll, right? Not so fast. While crowdfunding can be a viable way for entrepreneurs to raise capital, it’s more complicated than many people realize, and it might not be right for every business.

Equity crowdfunding could help some entrepreneurs, but it comes with rules and costs, and it won’t be appropriate for every business. A few things to keep in mind:
To read the full article, click on the title or image.


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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, July 13, 2014 7:46 AM

Equity crowdfunding is a whole different deal than 'rewards' or charity crowdfunding. The rules are tight and expensive. Take a look at this article, it summarizes the situation.

Kishor Kafle's curator insight, July 29, 2014 11:30 AM

dear sir

 I am the Broker legal representative of Fernando Valle Pons the Principal of the HOLDING project... please read below
 My name is Fernando Valle Pons, (Nando Pons) Spanish nationality with actual residence in Eastbourne, England. (Just moved from Guangzhou, China where I spent my last 10 years). During my entire professional life I have enjoyed the freedom to work "my way" and develop the business model needed for great success at any given time and the results have been outstanding overpass sing not only sales budget but expectations. Today after having lots of successes under my belt, I have a MEGA project and as always I have designed the business model in order that is easy for everybody to join and have a JOB and a BUSINESS and never look back. The project needs 100 million Euros funding. (Euros due that the $US Dollars has devaluation and I cannot be short of budget) The businesses will have a lot of income and will fold every month during first 3 years (producing over $6 billion US Dollars profits ) (For such reason, I may consider to take 50 million Euros funding... the difference, we will build our own Intelligent premises with few months delay upon generating income from shares sells) therefore I can take as a LOAN or as a JOINT VENTURE or as PARTNERSHIP with Investor/s. The project is: 1. An Offshore main Company as a HOLDING and owner of all other companies. 2. An Offshore BANK as a payments and collections solutions to our own ACR (Affiliates Clients Referrals) + High Yield investment programs (PPP's etc.) 3. An Import / Export TRADE company in China mainland as the supplier of daily consumable products working for small profit just to maintain infrastructure in China and with a strategy to repatriate all investment (intelligent premises, inventories etc.) out of China  mainland. 4. A total of 30 E-commerce online B2C companies that are sold to the ACR as their own investment (they agree according to the research and the Affiliate program and willing to invest) I become my own competitor before anyone tries to copy and paste my own business model (did the same in 1995/6 with great success 5. In a later stage a Private Club 6. An a Gaming Company. The only Gaming Company that does not use debit / credit cards therefore has NO CHARGES BACK (Only talented people can design such Gaming business with ZERO RISK).  The people who will run such MEGA project: CHESS88 team, ITWEB team, PID team, ADMIN two teams. As you can see, I have surrounded myself with people that pose talent attitudes like me. 1.             This HOLDING businesses is feasible due my (Nando) talents, skills, experience, contacts in the Chinese Government and because I have done a massive Market Research, conducted interviews, surveys, studied the unemploymentph     phenomena, l learned how to profit from the social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn etc. In the next 5 years I, Nando, want to accomplish:

ü         30 million people network in my businesses in the next 5 years

ü         $8 billion US Dollars profits in 3 years

ü         Ensure earnings of $2 Billion US Dollars per year every year and growing

A   And spend my wealth by building a FOUNDATION (NGO) and dedicate to Children's programs to provide Food, Shelter, Health, Scholarship, etc.

Any interested INVESTOR/S. please send me your funding proposal and PLEASE if your proposal includes any up front FEE or sort of EXPENSES before providing the funding, SAVE YOUR TIME. (Any Bond insurance or any other sort of legal expense once I have the funding).
Meanwhile I will send you a set of files as Summary and Business Strategic Plan therefore you get to know who the teams are, the ACR's and how the businesses provide MILLIONS OF JOBS AND WEALTH TO ALL ASSOCIATES. You will also find copy of my (Nando) Resume CV and a draft of PARTNER AGREEMENT with my best offering as PARTNER AHHHH! for the ones that ask how much SKIN I have in the project, the answer is very simple $5 million me and my CHESS88 team have spent in Market Research, Surveys, Contacts, (including politicians from local Government) and test all Teams that will join. Kind Regards Nando Pons, CEO & Consultantchess88@chess88.comSkype: tradebiz Guangzhou, Chinawww.chess88.com
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Crowdsourcing Your Startup Portfolio: 6 Crowdfunding Experts Weigh In

Crowdsourcing Your Startup Portfolio: 6 Crowdfunding Experts Weigh In | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Equity crowdfunding not only gives people access to one of the hottest asset classes — startups — but it does so by inserting an added level of transparency and interactivity. Sitting in the office or at home, an interested person with little experience investing in private companies can now identify, research, and invest in deals that were solely the purview of closed-door, clubby meetings. Equity crowdfunding enables people to crowdsource their investment ideas by piggybacking on what the top angel investors are doing with their money. By tracking and following their moves, new investors can build a diversified portfolio of high-quality startups.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Startups have an incredible tool with crowdfunding. This article demonstrates this with great quotes from industry experts and a ton of information.

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, April 3, 2014 9:11 AM

Equity Crowdfunding is taking off. Good resource article.

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Strategies: 7 keys to crowdfunding success

Strategies: 7 keys to crowdfunding success | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Want to raise money for your new product, company, or creative project? A hot new option, crowdfunding, has all kinds of people — entrepreneurs, small-business owners, inventors, investors, artists, speculators and crooks — excited.

For many years, entrepreneurs and aspiring small-business owners had only two options when seeking investors.They could beg financing from a small group of those closest to them, what's referred to as friends, family, and fools. Or if they had a truly promising concept, they might be lucky enough to raise money from angel investors or venture capitalists.

To read the full article, click on the title.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Good intro to the Crowdfunding concept. Pitching your idea or startup business is a bit different than pitching it to professional investors. Take a look at the 7 keys here to get a better understanding.Want to get more in depth information? Check out this video presentation, very affordable and high quality information: 'Crowdfunding formula.': https://growthink.infusionsoft.com/go/newmoneysource/gt4045/

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Law Opens Financing of Start-Ups to Crowds

Law Opens Financing of Start-Ups to Crowds | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Entrepreneurs looking to the crowd to finance their big ideas just got a little extra help from the government.

On Monday, federal legislation goes into effect to allow small start-ups to ask for equity investments publicly without having to register the shares for public trading.

Business owners will now be able to raise up to $1 million a year this way.

The legislation is part of the 2012 “Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups Act,” or JOBS Act, meant to encourage the growth of new businesses. Entrepreneurs say it will address a central problem they face: that raising significant capital often depends on having personal connections to investors. Under prior rules, this had to be done privately until a business was ready to enter the public markets.

“How many entrepreneurs are there across the U.S., even in the Midwest, who have these great ideas but no way to tap into that capital?” said Todd Dipaola, an entrepreneur in Venice, Calif. His start-up, ForeFund Capital, is a would-be platform to let real estate entrepreneurs raise money from potential investors.

But others, including noted tech investors like Fred Wilson and Rick Webb, are less optimistic. They warn that by deregulating the raising of equity investment — at least in part — the legislation has the potential to unleash a cascade of abuses by luring investors to what may be risky and untenable business ventures. And some critics have questioned whether it will even help entrepreneurs, because if a company raises more than $500,000 it will have to produce audited financial records — a significant expense for a young business.

To read the full article, click on the title.


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'Crowdfunding formula' a presentation by Growthink's CEO
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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, September 23, 2013 9:36 AM

Different opinions, but new options for Startups. Good article, summarizing the new regulations.


Get some more exposure for your campaign here, with a FREE listing: http://www.business-funding-insider.com/crowdfunding-campaign.html

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Three Professors Share Crowdfunding Research--Tune In To Learn How To ... - Forbes

Three Professors Share Crowdfunding Research--Tune In To Learn How To ... - Forbes | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Three Professors Share Crowdfunding Research--Tune In To Learn How To ...


Via Therese Torris
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This is excellent, if you consider a crowdfunding campaign for your startup, a must read.



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Therese Torris's curator insight, June 4, 2013 3:23 AM
3 insights about successful campaigns
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9 key things to mention when pitching your software startup

9 key things to mention when pitching your software startup | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
When it comes to pitching investors on something like software, the presentation is often more pivotal than the product itself. It's not something that can sit atop a conference table; ...
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent Points. Even if you're not pitching a software startup, take a look, very intelligent answers from succesful startup entrepreneurs.


Study the way investors think and the questions they ask. What is it that they want to know?


This article complements this other one:

http://www.business-funding-insider.com/business-plan.html



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JOBS Act green light unlikely until fall

JOBS Act green light unlikely until fall | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Signed into law in April of 2012, the JOBS Act has created much buzz within the start-up industry. The act lays out provisions meant to help businesses raise money directly through ordinary investo...


On the SEC's timing, and the aspect of FRAUD in Crowdfunding!

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent information!


New to Crowdfunding:? Here is an article with some of the basics: http://www.business-funding-insider.com/crowdfunding.html

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Real Business - Crowdfunding: what it's really all about

Real Business - Crowdfunding: what it's really all about | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Crowdfunding has the potential to become a valuable source of business funding. Can the model break into mainstream finance?
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Some interesting comments in this article. Making it real!


Basics for Crowdfunding: http://www.business-funding-insider.com/crowdfunding-startups.html

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