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A VC’s 10 startup secrets he wishes he had known as an entrepreneur

A VC’s 10 startup secrets he wishes he had known as an entrepreneur | Pitch it! | Scoop.it


Much of what I’ve learned during this multi-decade-long adventure I’m sharing openly as some simple “Startup Secrets” and Case Examples to frame discussion with the goal of helping entrepreneurs to avoid common pitfalls. Here are ten to get you going.

 

Startup Secret #1: Don’t be afraid to say “no” more than “yes.”

As a startup, you will be defined as much (or more) by what you say “No” to as what you say “Yes” to. Perhaps the single most important Startup Secret is to find your focal point.

 

Startup Secret #2: Recognize what is right “4U”

As you work to position your startup and develop your Value Proposition, focus on addressing what I like to call the 4Us:

-- >  Is the problem Unworkable? Does your solution fix a broken business process where there are real, measureable consequences to inaction? Will someone get fired if the issue is not addressed?  

-- >  Is fixing the problem Unavoidable? For example, is it driven by a mandate with implications associated with governance or regulatory control?

-- >  Is the problem Urgent? Is it one of the top three priorities for spend? 

-- >  Is the problem Underserved? Is there a conspicuous absence of valid solutions to the problem you’re looking to solve?

 To read the full article, click on the title.


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


Via iNeoMarketing, Luis Costa, Marc Kneepkens
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iNeoMarketing's curator insight, January 12, 2014 8:09 PM

Too soon to crown a piece of writing "article of the year?"


It's applicable to any entity looking to launch a product. Absolutely brilliant!!!

Cinda Cupido PhD's curator insight, July 8, 2014 6:35 AM

Great article. Much food for thought for entrepreneurs starting out or starting over! 

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Startups, Entrepreneurs, be better informed before you 'Pitch it'!
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Xiaomi Betting Big On Small Startups; Plans To Invest In More Than 100 Of Them | Androidheadlines.com

Xiaomi Betting Big On Small Startups; Plans To Invest In More Than 100 Of Them | Androidheadlines.com | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/Jdd8

Xiaomi Inc., headquartered in Beijing, China, may not be the most easily recognizable brand in the US, but it is the world's 3rd largest smartphone OEM aftter Apple and Samsung, and the biggest in China, having recently surpassed Samsung in that market. For the uninitiated, Xiaomi designs, develops and sells not only smartphones, but mobile apps, accessories and smart consumer electronics. It was only last year, that they ventured out of their home base in China and immediately proved to be a big hitin other Asian markets most notably, in India. Last December, Xiaomi became the world’s most valuable technology start-up after it received US$1.1 billion funding from investors, making it a $46 billion company. US-China investment firm GGV Capital has also invested in three different Xiaomi-backed companies since and is actively funding Xiaomi-backed firms as part of its Internet-of-Things bet.

However, Xiaomi has no plans to sit on its laurels and plans to move full steam ahead in its quest to become what their CEO Lei Jun calls an “ecosystem empire”. But even though they’ve grown exponentially over the past few years, they are increasingly facing challenges on their home turf from domestic technology companies like LeTV, that are betting big in the smart devices business.

Earlier this week, when Xiaomi backed robotics company Ninebot who acquired Segway in an acquisition, it was a big step for Xiaomi because it marked the first time one of their group companies had bought a globally recognized brand. Talking about that acquisition and his plans for Xiaomi going forward, the company CEO Mr. Lei Jun, while interacting with reporters, said that Xiaomi wasn’t concerned about challenges coming from their hardware competitors. Its strategy, he said, is to grow the company into an “ecosystem empire” with the focus being on software that can link up anything, anywhere. The company already offers smart products including, but not limited to smart bulbs, smart air purifiers, smart televisions etc. Now with new-found financial muscle, Xiaomi can radically increase its already burgeoning product portfolio simply by investing in new partners in all corners of the Internet-of-Things industry. With a view to achieving those goals, Xiaomi he says, has already invested in more than 20 startups and plans to invest in a hundred more and help them achieve growth, said Mr. Lei Jun.

By Kishalaya KunduIntern Writer



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km
Rather than the typical client/vendor relationship I'm used to, Growthink has been more like a strategic partner and trusted advisor. Not only did they provide me with a dynamic business plan but they have given me invaluable advice and feedback along the way. They have exceeded my expectations in every way possible during this exciting but uncertain time of starting & ultimately growing my business.  
- Jerry D. Erickson, President/CEO


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Xiaomi is becoming a powerhouse in Asia. They profit margins are much lower than Apple's, but they are  building and gaining market share.

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7 tips for nailing a startup pitch to a boardroom full of VCs | VentureBeat | Entrepreneur | by Hila Shitrit Nissim, Viola Group

7 tips for nailing a startup pitch to a boardroom full of VCs | VentureBeat | Entrepreneur | by Hila Shitrit Nissim, Viola Group | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/5f9N


As a member of the investment team at Carmel Ventures who has attended countless pitches for over a decade, I have observed that the way you tell your story can be just as important as the story itself.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a first time CEO, pitching a startup isn’t easy, and if you’re not blessed with a natural flair for storytelling, then you need to work even harder because you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Most of the founders pitch us their dream of changing the world (or at the very least of disrupting a certain industry), and they understand their vision more intimately than anyone else. So why is it — despite their drive and ambition — that so many struggle to articulate that vision?

Of the hundreds of startups that approach us every year, only a couple of dozen are offered the opportunity to present to our entire forum of partners and principals. When they do, it’s their chance to “sell” themselves and their startup as convincingly as possible — with passion, confidence, and above all clarity.

As a rule of thumb, if we haven’t clearly understood the gist of your idea within the first three minutes, you have a problem.

Here are seven tips for increasing your chances for a successful boardroom pitch with VCs: Read all 7 tips here: http://snip.ly/5f9N




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

Hey Dave,
Your BP template help me achieve the goals I've been trying for 5 years. The template led me to produce an effective tool to attract the investors I need.
Thanks
Robert

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Real experience from the other side of the fence. The author has been in VC boardrooms for a decade and tells you what's important when delivering your pitch.

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This Entrepreneur Raised $70 Million by Ignoring Some Popular Startup Advice

This Entrepreneur Raised $70 Million by Ignoring Some Popular Startup Advice | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/QxSK


In the early days of his business, Wattpad founder Allen Lau faced a crisis. How he solved it would lay the foundation for astronomical growth.

In 2007, Allen Lau stepped into a coffee shop in his hometown of Toronto to meet with his business partner, Ivan Yuen. The topic of discussion that day: decide what to do with Wattpad, their struggling business. When Allen sat down, he pushed his coffee to the center of the table and said to Ivan, "I just spent our total revenue from last month on this coffee, so we have to share it."

The moment was a low point for Allen, one that stood in sharp contrast to the optimism he had felt a year earlier on a flight home from Vancouver. Earlier that day, he had met with his friend Ivan in the food court of the Vancouver airport to talk about their mutual interest in mobile reading platforms. That conversation gave birth to Wattpad, which the two men envisioned as an online community where people would share their writing--stories, poems, fanfiction, serialized novels, etc.--and readers would consume the user-generated content on mobile devices. It would be a place where writers and avid readers could find each other and interact.

At the time, Google had just bought YouTube, which was just over a year old, for $1.65 billion. Allen and Ivan believed Wattpad had similar potential. After all, as Allen saw it, human beings have been sharing stories for thousands of years--around fires and town squares prior to the written word. Wattpad would tap into this basic, human drive, but on a massive, global scale. Allen imagined millions, eventually billions, using the platform. Read more:http://snip.ly/QxSK




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

"I am here to thank Dave and all contributors for their passion to assist and guide others along their way. I began receiving your emails some time ago and have just begun to realize that they are responsible for my now beginning to implement the business idea that has been growing in my head for the past 25 years. I now have a clearer picture as to how to begin and proceed. I have had ideas on paper but now I know what steps to take to move forward. My fear has abated (finally!...thank you)"
N Creed

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Timing is everything. Sometimes you can be too early. These guys did the right thing, and eventually it paid off.

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Hey, entrepreneurs: Get a job | VentureBeat | Entrepreneur | by Mark Weiner, Centrify

Hey, entrepreneurs: Get a job | VentureBeat | Entrepreneur | by Mark Weiner, Centrify | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/YN6M

Why you should be an employee in Silicon Valley before you become an entrepreneur.

Most young entrepreneurs today want to bypass the whole employment thing and go straight to being the boss. Like their heroes — Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, et al — they imagine they can change the world without any on-the-job training.

The reality, of course, is that 99.99 percent of young entrepreneurs aren’t in the same league as those guys. And for people like that, there are a number of very good reasons for pressing pause on the entrepreneurial dream, at least for a few years, to gain the invaluable experience of actually working at a Silicon Valley company.

Over the course of my career, I’ve held leadership positions at seven different startups, six of which had successful exits. Here’s my advice to the next generation of startup founders.

Don’t jump into entrepreneurship right away. Your first step should be to join a growing company in Silicon Valley. This is where you can build your network, gain leadership experience, and really learn how the startup model works. Yes, entrepreneurship is your ultimate goal. But beforehand, take some time to map out how you’re going to get there. Read more: http://snip.ly/YN6M


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Gathering experience in different functions is definitely a good idea. Also, most entrepreneurs lean more to either being technical or an administrator. Leadership does not come out of thin air. It grows with experience.

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The Top 20 Start-Up Accelerators in the U.S. - HBR

The Top 20 Start-Up Accelerators in the U.S. - HBR | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/8FNi

A quantitative ranking.

Start-up accelerators have become a prominent feature of the entrepreneurship landscape in recent years. New programs appear nearly every month, and in many ways, accelerator participation has become a rite of passage for budding entrepreneurs. Yet, with the proliferation of programs, the newness of the phenomena, and little to no publicly available data on outcomes for the programs and affiliated start-ups, it is hard for entrepreneurs to determine which programs are most effective and, more importantly, which specific program would be the best fit for their particular start-up’s goals. With this challenge in mind, we set out over the last few years to both foster conversation about the accelerator model, and help entrepreneurs gain visibility into the strengths of individual programs.

To begin, our research enterprise the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project releases an annual ranking of accelerator programs. To construct these rankings, we collect detailed, confidential data directly from accelerator programs. We then calculate quantitative measures to better understand how programs stack up on several important outcomes, and supplement those measures with a broad survey of each accelerator’s graduates. As a non-commercial, academic-based enterprise, we provide a neutral ground for accelerators to share confidential data, which allows us in return to provide the community with rank-based benchmarking and aggregate statistics without revealing confidential information about individual start-ups. Read more here: http://snip.ly/8FNi



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

Hi Dave, (Growthink CEO)

You are a wonder. Your Financial Business Modelling put in the Excel format is an excellent way to make entrepreneurs understand the basic concept of finances. Your direct involvement and assistance in my case is very much appreciated.


Khai Levinh
Managing Director
Media Blender

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Accelerators are doing a great job everywhere. Take advantage of them.

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How to Really Get Startup Seed Funding - Inc.

How to Really Get Startup Seed Funding - Inc. | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/swQS


Want to know how to get funding? Your startup exists to fix a problem. Tell them how you're doing that. Investors want to know the why, not the what. Here are tips to solve this!


If you really want to get startup seed funding, you should consider downloading Startup Seed Funding for the Rest of Us by Mike Belsito--it's free for a limited time on Amazon, but well worth the "investment" if you miss out on the complimentary days.

However, if you are not a bookworm, there's good news: I've done the heavy reading for you and summarized Belsito's tips into an easy to digest blog (if only all aspects of a startup were so simple!).

By "the rest of us", Belsito means the not ber popular startups likely focusing on tech and probably located in Silicon Valley. There are three major themes of the book, starting with building your team. Raising money is a job in itself, and you have to remember that investors are looking at idea strength as well as business strength.

Read more here: http://snip.ly/swQS


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

The Growthink group was very easy to work with and took the time to understand our business and needs carefully. I was surprised at how quickly they picked up the nuances of our business and were able to communicate our thoughts into an organized structure that has helped jump start our future plans. 
- Adam Unger, Principal

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Good article on Inc.

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Is your startup’s technology worth investing in? My perspective as a VC firm’s CTO

Is your startup’s technology worth investing in? My perspective as a VC firm’s CTO | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

As investors, we want to choose winners. We want to put our money on an excellent team and a superior technology that’s addressing a lucrative market with a unique offering. But how do we know that your team is excellent and whether your technology is indeed superior?

When we first meet you, it’s difficult to tell because we don’t know you well enough and don’t understand your technology deeply enough to feel assured. Sometimes we are tempted to invest because we see the potential, but fear that you might fail.

So we ask questions, many questions. We won’t necessarily invest in your startup if your answers about your technology are good, but we’ll certainly feel uncomfortable investing in it if they’re not. Read more, click on title or image.



Get your Free Business Plan Template 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 VC Girl
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

How do #investors assess your opportunity? What kind of questions do they ask? In what order? What are they looking for? Here is an article that describes this process in detail. You get a very clear picture of what they are looking for. Must read for any start up looking for funding.

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VC Girl's curator insight, March 13, 12:49 PM

An insightful piece about what VCs consider when evaluating a startup's technology in order to determine whether it's worth investing in - written by Carmel Ventures CTO Ofer Brandes.

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, April 7, 12:55 PM

It's important to understand the VC perspective when looking for funding. Do you qualify?

Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Just Story It! Biz Storytelling
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Here's Why Startups Need Storytelling (or any biz)


Karen Dietz's insight:

It seems it's the day for SlideShare programs! Here are 14 slides that quickly lay the case for business storytelling. And what I really like is that if focuses on intentions and results. This is good -- otherwise we fall into "let me tell you a story so you'll buy my product", also called transactional storytelling.


Transactional storytelling doesn't get at the true power of business storytelling. This Slideshare easily shows us why.


After you view these 14 slides, another SlideShare will load that goes through what makes a good story. Well -- the focus is on the hero story, which is one kind of story. The author gives some really good examples. 


Enjoy!



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

"I am here to thank Dave and all contributors for their passion to assist and guide others along their way. I began receiving your emails some time ago and have just begun to realize that they are responsible for my now beginning to implement the business idea that has been growing in my head for the past 25 years. I now have a clearer picture as to how to begin and proceed. I have had ideas on paper but now I know what steps to take to move forward. My fear has abated (finally!...thank you)"
N Creed


Via Karen Dietz
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great SlideShare. We all need stories. Have a startup? Tell its story. Have a pitch? Tell a story. Catch the attention. Use the imagination. Have a team and want to create a culture? Tell a story. And so on.

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Karen Dietz's curator insight, March 10, 12:23 PM

It seems it's the day for SlideShare programs! Here are 14 slides that quickly lay the case for business storytelling. And what I really like is that if focuses on intentions and results. This is good -- otherwise we fall into "let me tell you a story so you'll buy my product", also called transactional storytelling.


Transactional storytelling doesn't get at the true power of business storytelling. This Slideshare easily shows us why.


After you view these 14 slides, another SlideShare will load that goes through what makes a good story. Well -- the focus is on the hero story, which is one kind of story. The author gives some really good examples. 


Enjoy!


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it

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One evening there was an Investor…

One evening there was an Investor… | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

A couple of weeks ago I was in NYC and I had the chance to attend 3 different pitching events involving start-ups at different stages of maturity. Social commerce, copyrights, focus groups, data arbitrage, health, fashion, market places… The first (astonishing!) finding is that Venture Capitalists are humans and as The Dress showed up and as Wittgenstein would confirm, they filter, as all humans, the reality through their own coloured glasses. Can we find a common denominator in the way they think, on what they expect from a pitch and on what could persuade them to fund your company? Maybe yes…

Before you start thinking to look for Angel Investors and Venture Capital, the FIRST and the most important question you should ask to yourself is: Do I really need to get funded? In USA 600.000 new business are launched every year and only 1% of them got funded by VCs. Be sure you deeply grasp the difference between angel investors, seeding and venture capital. If you need 100K, 200K, 500K go for angels or seeding. If you need near or more than 1 million look for venture capital. Usually you first start with angels/seeding and then you move to VC. How to understand if you need VC funding? Well, if you do have a solid business idea that can grow with little capital, do it yourself or with seeding. If you do have an innovative and great business idea not flying without big investments and you are aiming for a long term growth, look for VC. It’s not easy to get in contact with VC firms. The best way is to be introduced through your seeding fund or by your angel investors. Be aware that as soon as you get VC funding you don’t own anymore the 100% of the business. In short: if you don’t need the money don’t take the money.

What investors consider as a key element to invest? If we are talking about tech start up, well the technology side could be a key factor, both as a novel technology or as a different approach to a component. Efficiency and back-end scalability are also key elements. A strong technology not only permits to scale faster, but it acts as well as a barrier to new entrants, preventing competitors to weaken your position. (Porter is nodding) Don’t build on someone else platform: your core business shouldn’t depend by someone else business. Get a full understanding of what APIs can do for you and build an ecosystem around your own technology.

What are the industries considered worth to investing in (by VCs)? Read more: click on title or image.




Get your Free Business Plan Template 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.


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

How, why and when to get funded, this article sums it up well, includes Anna Vital's infographic "How Valuation Works".

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The Best Way to Ask Friends and Family for Seed Capital

The Best Way to Ask Friends and Family for Seed Capital | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

snip.ly/Orsw


With just a fraction of startups receiving venture capital financing, approach your social circles, with these five pointers in mind.

There is no amount of lipstick that you can put on the problem: You need capital. And if you are like most entrepreneurs, you need capital quickly. It’s the people who have known you the longest who will likely be the first to bet on your success. Nonetheless, it is still tough to put hat in hand and go out and ask friends and family for funding.

In many ways raising capital is much harder than the other aspects of executing your vision of a business. According to Fundable, a popular crowdfunding platform, friends and family invest about $60 billion a year in startups and  almost 38 percent of startups receive funding from this source. With only .05 percent  of startups backed by venture capitalists in 2013, those in your closest circle are most likely to be the ones writing those early checks.  

My company, SeeItFit.com, raised its entire seed capital at the desired valuation. Yet as is true for every young business venture, there are always lessons to be learned. Here are five of the things I wish I knew in advance about raising initial capital: Read more: snip.ly/Orsw



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

"It has been an absolute delight working with you and this will be just a beginning in my relationship with Growthink.
I am very satisfied with my business plan and financial plan. Your work is outstanding."
Michael Mundi
Mundi Homes

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Raising capital is not easy, and very often it start with friends and family. Here are some good tips to keep it clean and clear.

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The One Simple Tool for Transforming Your Relationship With Investors

The One Simple Tool for Transforming Your Relationship With Investors | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Creating a MAP will take no more than an hour of your time every month and will keep the lines of communication open, ensuring relationships with investors remain strong, and ultimately helping early-stage startups succeed.

Venture capitalists poured an eye-popping $48.3 billion into new U.S. companies in 2014 -- the most since 2000. The 2014 total was up 61 percent from 2013 and was more than double the total invested in 2009. But once new businesses have secured funding, how can entrepreneurs foster a strong ongoing relationship with their investors?

As the co-founder and president of monthly subscription service Petbox, I have found one simple tool that can ensure a strong relationship between early-stage startups and their investors: a monthly MAP, or marketing action plan.

The concept behind the MAP is simple: It provides a full report of everything that happened in the previous month and spells out your goals for the next 30 days.

To get the best out of this guide, make sure your MAP is detailed and specific. Bring your investors in on your process and your progress...  Read more: click on title or image.




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

"It has been an absolute delight working with you and this will be just a beginning in my relationship with Growthink.
I am very satisfied with my business plan and financial plan. Your work is outstanding."
Michael Mundi
Mundi Homes

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Investors expect to stay in touch and be informed. This tool is excellent and will 'over-deliver' in their eyes.

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5 Global Cities of the Future

5 Global Cities of the Future | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/BoBH


Look to these five emerging startup hubs for opportunities to launch or expand internationally, so your reach can finally match your ambitions.

If you're still pondering whether to head to Silicon Valley for your next startup, you're not thinking big enough or far enough. Over the coming decade, the 600 largest and best-connected cities on the planet will contain a fifth of the world's population, capture almost two-thirds of its economic growth, and encompass more than half of global GDP, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. And, as great as the Bay Area and Boulder and Austin are for launching a startup, you'd be only scratching the surface here when it comes to corralling talent, tapping the world's next big market (hint: they speak Arabic), or being present for the next tech breakthrough.

America's entrepreneurial spirit is too big to be contained by borders. Here, we present five global alternatives to traditional hotbeds of startup creation and growth. Each city offers unique advantages to American entrepreneurs, and each is a regional--or even global--hub in its own right. Some are great places to launch a business or expand into new markets. Others offer access to expertise or technologies that may not yet be available in the U.S. Many are home to some of the world's best workers, as well as to partners who will help you scale.

For example, Istanbul and Dubai are gateways to the modern Middle East, a market that is growing faster than (and is younger and bigger than) that of the United States. Santiago, Chile, has made a name for itself as one of the most foreign-entrepreneur-friendly cities on the planet, and as a test bed for launching into Latin America. Tallinn, Estonia, is one of the world's most internet-connected cities, with a deep pool of technical talent thanks to all the Skype alumni running around. Shenzhen, China, aspires to be the Silicon Valley for hardware makers, a place where accelerators are eager to help you build, test, refine, and make a million of something all in the same day. If these cities aren't already on your radar as lands of opportunity for your company, let this serve as notice that they should be. Read more: http://snip.ly/BoBH



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

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The world is changing dramatically. Centers of innovation are being created all over the globe. Here is a great article, with a beautiful pictorial and facts of 5 cities that are truly exceptional. Don't think anymore that the US or Europe are the only places where innovation or growth are taking place. There is an awesome world out there. Travel and go look for yourself.

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The 6 Key Components of Writing a Business Plan

The 6 Key Components of Writing a Business Plan | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Having prepared a good business plan before starting your venture can often be the difference between startup success and failure.  I am not saying you need a 50 page detailed report, as investors don't typically have the time to read them anymore.

 But, it is more about taking the time to think through the below 6 key components of a preparing a business plan, to make sure you know what you are up against in your industry and have reasonable foresight into where the business is heading in terms of go-to-market strategies and financial returns for the company and its investors. Click on title or image to read the full article.


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

Growthink really understands how to create compelling business plans and raise capital, and Growthink's Capital Raising Products succeed in infusing this knowledge.
-John Morris
Managing Director, GKM Ventures,
Board of Governors, Tech Coast Angels



Via TechinBiz
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

A business plan is your focus and compass when setting up a successful business. Investors or banks will require it, but even your team and yourself will benefit from having one.

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Why Startups Like Uber, Airbnb, and SpaceX Succeed, While Others Fail | Singularity HUB

Why Startups Like Uber, Airbnb, and SpaceX Succeed, While Others Fail | Singularity HUB | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/5kaF

What's most important for the success of your project? Is it the team? Funding? Timing? Idea? Business model? Recently I heard Bill Gross, one of of the most brilliant entrepreneurs of this century, offer a compelling answer—one that changes my views on the formula for success.

This blog is a summary of Bill Gross's excellent talk.

5 Key Success Factors

Bill investigated how 5 key factors affected the success of the 125 companies in his portfolio at Idealab and 125 companies outside of his portfolio.

The factors he considered were:

  1. The Idea: How new is it? Is there a unique truth in the idea? Are there competitive moats you can build around it?
  2. The Team and the Execution: How efficient is the team? How effective is it? How adaptable?
  3. The Business Model: Do you have a clear path to revenues?
  4. The Funding: Can companies that can out money-raise others succeed where the others would fail?
  5. The Timing: Are you too early? Just early? Too late. Right on time? Did that matter a lot?

Of these 250 companies, Bill picked 10 in each category: five companies that turned into billion-dollar companies, and five that everyone thought would be billion-dollar companies but failed.

The question: Which variables accounted more for successes?

Read more here: http://snip.ly/5kaF





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

Hey Dave,
Your BP template help me achieve the goals I've been trying for 5 years. The template led me to produce an effective tool to attract the investors I need.
Thanks
Robert

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Timing is important. Essential though is execution and the team. You can have the greatest idea or plan, you still need to make it happen.

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Aiming To Bridge The Gap Between Startups & Investors; Entrepreneurship Evangelist Prajakt Raut Launches Applyifi.com - Inc42 Magazine

Aiming To Bridge The Gap Between Startups & Investors; Entrepreneurship Evangelist Prajakt Raut Launches Applyifi.com - Inc42 Magazine | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/G7UT

Aiming to nurture and mentor early stage ventures and to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and potential investors, entrepreneurship evangelist and startup mentor Prajakt Raut has announced the launch of Applyifi.com. It is a private platform for startups and early-stage companies to create a comprehensive and elegant online investor pitch deck and get funded.

Speaking on the launch, Prajakt Raut said, “We want to make it easier for startups to reach potential investors. Also, we wanted to significantly expand the angel investor community in the country by making it possible for senior professionals, recently successful entrepreneurs and HNIs to discover curated and assessed startups that they can co-invest in.”

Read more here: http://snip.ly/G7UT



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

Hey Dave,
Your BP template help me achieve the goals I've been trying for 5 years. The template led me to produce an effective tool to attract the investors I need.
Thanks
Robert

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This initiative will help investors sort through the multitudes of startups pitching them, and also help the startups make better presentations with a thorough assessment.

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Wgordon3's curator insight, April 12, 11:27 AM

Applyifi is helping #startup #founders think through the details of how to do it.....great ideas.

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How To Negotiate Successfully With Angel Investors

How To Negotiate Successfully With Angel Investors | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

1. Understand the Nature of Angel Investment

Angel investing is particularly associated with Silicon Valley, but this practice is used all over the world. Angel investors are often already successful entrepreneurs, but they may be anyone with money to invest in a startup. In return for the funds that the investor provides, the angel gets a pre-specified share of the business, in effect owning a percentage of your company.

 

Most angel investors then sell this stake in the business in the future for a profit. However, if the business fails, they don’t get anything in return. Because of the high-risk nature of an angel investment, some investors prefer to take a highly hands on role within the company. They also will need to see proof of your startup’s growth prospects before beginning negotiation.

 

2. Nurture Existing Leads

Treat relationships with potential investors as you would those with any other business leads. If there are any individuals who have shown interest in your company, follow up with them at least once a month to update them on your progress. This way, they’ll feel that they won’t be jumping into an unknown investment.

 

3. Track Results From Day One

Angel investors are interested in measurable results. To attract attention, keep track of all of your data from the get-go. No matter how small your business may be, spend time recording leads, profit, and website traffic. This provides proof of the progress you’ve made from day one.

 

4. Look Beyond Money When Evaluating Investor Value

Naturally, angel investment is attractive to entrepreneurs in need of startup cash. However, it also provides the opportunity for other benefits. Many investors are experienced entrepreneurs who have already learned valuable lessons through trial and error. If they have a financial stake in your company, they will most certainly wish to impart their wisdom to ensure its success. Look at the experience and networking potential of an investor as well as his or her net worth.

 

5. Have a Two-Way Conversation

You will undoubtedly put a great deal of time into refining your pitch for investors, but don’t forget that you’ll be entering a business relationship that’s ideally mutually beneficial. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the investor during your negotiations. Find out more information about the individual’s investment history, resources, industry experience, and expectations. Follow up with references from past beneficiaries and consider all points carefully.

 

An overbearing or shady investor can often be dealt with in the same way that you would deal with a difficult boss, but there’s more at stake in this case. It may be impossible to separate yourself from a difficult investor in the future, so take care to do your research before you enter into any contract.

 

6. Follow Up

Don’t give up if a worthy investor has passed on your offer at this time. Continue updating your records and refining your pitch. It may be that you’ll find more interested parties in the future, or perhaps you’ll get a second chance with your pitch. Finding and negotiating with angel investors isn’t easy, but when done successfully, it can become a mutually beneficial, (and hopefully very lucrative) relationship for both sides.


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


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's not just a matter of contacting an investor. It's a process and being professional all the way will make the difference.

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, September 24, 2014 10:55 AM

It's all about building relationships. You'll work with an investor for a long time, chose well.

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How to deal with investors: Rajan Anandan, Raghunandan G and K Ganesh share some tips & tricks - The Economic Times

How to deal with investors: Rajan Anandan, Raghunandan G and K Ganesh share some tips & tricks - The Economic Times | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/TmVc


I have invested in 50 startups and a reference from any of their founders makes things easier for me, says Rajan Anandan, MD Google India.
Choose investors wisely and keep them happy till a successful exit. Masters of the startup universe share tips and tricks.

Rajan Anandan; Managing Director, Google India and Angel Investor

"I never have a second meeting with an entrepreneur—one is enough to know whether the startup team and idea is good to build a business. But for that one meeting there is plenty of ground work to ensure a high quality discussion with a concrete outcome .

Choose investors wisely and keep them happy till a successful exit. Masters of the startup universe share tips and tricks. Read more here: http://snip.ly/TmVc




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

Hey Dave,
Your BP template help me achieve the goals I've been trying for 5 years. The template led me to produce an effective tool to attract the investors I need.
Thanks
Robert

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Advice from top Indian entrepreneurs in the Indian Economic Times. Worth reading, comes from experience.

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7 startup early warning signs to watch for

7 startup early warning signs to watch for | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/95jq

You’ve probably heard talk of startups pivoting. Conventional wisdom is that among the reasons for startups to effect a change of direction is an acknowledgement that things may not be going quite to plan. The question for the startup founder is when should that realization set in? Let us look at seven early warning signs you should pay attention to – the fat lady may not be signing just yet but chances are she’s waiting in the wings clearing her throat.

  1. Stuck on the sales plateau: The initial wins came easily enough – your immediate network and references liked what they heard from you and signed up but over the last few quarters it seems like new customers are getting harder and harder to find. Another version of this malaise is the loss of older customers through the revolving door at the same rate as the entry of new customers. The net impact is a monthly billing figure that refuses to shift into higher gear.

Read more: http://snip.ly/95jq



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The Growthink team took our thoughts and ideas and transformed them into a well researched, operationally sound, top notch business plan. Most importantly, they kept us involved in the process and challenged us to build a better business model. I have and would recommend Growthink to any business.  
- John Gumersell Jr., Founder, Metroforce

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Written from experience this article warns for the pitfalls that #startups face when trying to get into a higher gear, but facing running out of steam.

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These Are The Top 20 US Accelerators | TechCrunch

These Are The Top 20 US Accelerators  |  TechCrunch | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/iBlz

By Yael Hochberg

Startup accelerators have become a prominent feature of the tech landscape in recent years, with more and more programs popping up every month.

In many ways, they have become a rite of passage for thousands of entrepreneurs who apply to and join programs annually.

Yet, with so many programs to choose from, and little publicly available data on each program, it can be hard for entrepreneurs to figure out which programs are most effective and which specific program would be the best fit to help launch their startup. We founded the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project with this challenge for entrepreneurs in mind. Read more: http://snip.ly/iBlz




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"No matter how small a company may be, we believe that Growthink’s standard of excellence does not change from one client to the other and we would certainly welcome the opportunity to work with Melissa and her colleagues again."
Shannon Lindsay
Publisher
Southern Beauty Magazine

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Startup #Accelerators are everywhere now. Here's the list with the top 20.

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Elevator pitch: the investors’ version | VegaShark: Relentless Web evangelist Lost in random thoughts

Elevator pitch: the investors’ version | VegaShark: Relentless Web evangelist Lost in random thoughts | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

The aim of this post is to report what 5 Venture Capitalists shared during a training session for entrepreneurs. I hope that reading some investors’ perspective will boost your confidence and will help you to raise faster and more money than expected!

There are plenty of articles and books advising you on how to start up your start up, on how to prepare a perfect business plan, the ideal deck, your invincible elevator pitch. Probably what you’ll find below is neither original neither new to your ears.

#1 Quoting almost literally an investor: “Get rid of the mindset that is hard to get money. You must believe in yourself. The more you can have the confidence in yourself and in your business, the more you can convince the person on the other side of the table”.

#2 Look for the VC strategically valuable for you. Not all investors are alike. Check Crunchbase, visit VCs’ websites and blogs, be focused and targeted. If you can get referenced is even better: VC world is a small community. Pay attention to the size of the fund, where their portfolio is located, when the fund was raised: if they are the end of a lifecycle, they will probably be less prone to investment. Before pitching do your own portfolio of investors. Read more: click on title or image.





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

"It has been an absolute delight working with you and this will be just a beginning in my relationship with Growthink.
I am very satisfied with my business plan and financial plan. Your work is outstanding."
Michael Mundi
Mundi Homes


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Learning the perspective of investors is imperative to obtaining results when looking for funding.

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No one wants to buy from startups | VentureBeat | Business | by Chris Lynch, Atlas Venture

No one wants to buy from startups | VentureBeat | Business | by Chris Lynch, Atlas Venture | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/RcwY


I spend most days (and way too many nights and weekends) thinking about, evaluating, visiting, and coaching startups. It’s a never-ending series of pitches from people telling me they are about to take over the world to become the next Salesforce/Splunk/EMC, etc. But rarely, as part of their presentations, do they admit or imply the simple truth:

People buy from startups because they have to, not because they want to.

They really don’t. Sure it’s fun to talk about startups. It’s a cultural obsession. Get my 15 minutes of fame. Be an overnight sensation. And it’s no wonder. Anybody who manages to bolt a new idea onto a workable business model has the potential to be rewarded handsomely. That’s a potential reality, if you’re willing, able, and lucky enough to make it happen.

But, all things being equal, given the choice between buying from an established, safe, well-known company or a bunch of ponytails and greybeards crowded around some folding tables in a converted warehouse … You can guess how that decision goes the vast majority of the time. Read more:  http://snip.ly/RcwY



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

"It has been an absolute delight working with you and this will be just a beginning in my relationship with Growthink.
I am very satisfied with my business plan and financial plan. Your work is outstanding."
Michael Mundi
Mundi Homes

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The great challenge startups deal with is disruption. This VC explains it in detail. People don't like change. Structured environments don't do change. All they want is improvement. Read this is if you think that your next innovation is really going to change the world and find out what you're up to. Then act accordingly.

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The Hidden Co-Founder | TechCrunch

The Hidden Co-Founder  |  TechCrunch | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/bnlP


One Friday in Cambridge a few years ago, a tech guy and his fiancée were planning their wedding, which was due to take place in the city a few months later. That day they had to check out the wedding venue, meet people involved with the service, choose the flowers, food and wine and, perhaps, be a bit romantic.

But the tech guy didn’t do any of that, because he was six weeks away from the IPO of his company and spent all day dashing into corners to call lawyers, bankers and his team in San Francisco.

That guy with the big phone bill was me and my then-fiancée is now my very understanding wife. Despite the chaos I wreaked on our personal lives around the time of our wedding (note to all: never get married and IPO within a few months of each other), she let me focus on my work when I needed to, quietly catching the balls that were very important to us both as fast as I dropped them.

Afterwards, holed up in a hotel for (finally) a romantic dinner, she didn’t let up, leading the conversation to go over everything that was going on in the IPO process and interjecting with support and advice at every juncture.

I’ve found that “hidden co-founders” – husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends and even parents – are often a crucial factor in the success of a startup. Why? Because being a founder and entrepreneur is not like a regular job. Startups are under-funded, under-connected and under-resourced compared to their competition. The way you beat these odds often requires super-human effort and commitment. This places you under strain, and the primary nature of this strain is physical. You have to travel, with no notice and at inconvenient times, often around the world. You have to focus entirely on the company and its mission, often pulling all-nighters and usually working through weekends. Read more: http://snip.ly/bnlP




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"It has been an absolute delight working with you and this will be just a beginning in my relationship with Growthink.
I am very satisfied with my business plan and financial plan. Your work is outstanding."
Michael Mundi
Mundi Homes

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Paying attention and respect to your closest supporters is imperative and of the highest importance. Great article.

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38 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know

38 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/qU1X


I'm a 38-year old startup entrepreneur, and I've had my share of ups and downs. Here are the things I've learned along the way.

I read a great post a couple of months ago, written by a friend of mine, for females, that really inspired me (even as a male). As we get older, we begin to see things more clearly. Things we once thought were important become secondary. We start to truly understand what life (and business) are all about.

At my age (I'm 38), I'm not claiming to know everything (or an expert in anything for that matter), but I do believe I've learned a few things. As I approach my 40′s, I thought I'd share the lessons (sometimes hard) that I've earned--and learned:

  1. Nobody cares about what you say, only what you do.
  2. Funding is not the end, only the beginning.
  3. Once you take on funding, the stress gets worse, not better.
  4. Don't beg for investment dollars. They're paying to be your partner, not the other way around.
  5. Arrogant and disrespectful investors will never be good partners. Ignore them.
  6. Never, ever ever, pay to pitch.
  7. TechCrunch is overrated. Unless you sell to startups, it doesn't do shit. It's good for the ego though.
  8. Some people only care about people who they think are popular. They'll only acknowledge you when you appear to be more connected then they are. Get rid of these people.


Read more here: http://snip.ly/qU1X



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

Growthink really understands how to create compelling business plans and raise capital, and Growthink's Capital Raising Products succeed in infusing this knowledge.
-John Morris
Managing Director, GKM Ventures,
Board of Governors, Tech Coast Angels

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16 Common Questions About Fundraising | Andreessen Horowitz

http://snip.ly/vlS6

by Stephen McDermid


For most companies, fundraising isn’t about $100-million rounds and “unicorns”. It’s often an anxiety-ridden, lonely, frustrating process filled with uncertainty and self doubt. Despite the stories out there, raising venture capital isn’t easy for most startups.

Entrepreneurs are always evaluating tradeoffs, such as valuation and structure (which we’ve written about before here). But there’s much more, so we’re sharing the below list of questions we often hear to help shed light on the realities of raising capital.

1. When should we raise capital; how do we time it right?

You should only raise capital when you’re “ready” to execute a process, but determining when you’re “ready” is the hard part. You’re never actually ready: There’s always another close milestone that’s going to increase your valuation, there’s never enough time to prepare. At some point you just have to push yourself out there and begin.

In the best case scenario, raise capital when these three criteria are true:

1) You have sufficient cash runway to provide you flexibility in the fundraising process so your back isn’t up against the wall (yes, that old adage ‘raise money when you don’t need it’ is true!). Runway = negotiating leverage.

2) You’ve achieved the necessary milestones to get the valuation you think you deserve.

3) You’re thoroughly prepared to deliver a knock-out pitch and efficiently respond to diligence requests.

 Read more here: http://snip.ly/vlS6



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"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.

.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Here is a funding insider from the VC company Andreessen Horowitz describing what the fundraising process is like by answering 16 questions. Excellent stuff! Read it, please.

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The Anatomy of a Compelling Elevator Pitch #Infographic

The Anatomy of a Compelling Elevator Pitch #Infographic | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Master the art of the 60-second elevator pitch and watch your sales go up.

As organizations flatten out, employees don't have to corner senior management in an elevator to get their thoughts heard. They could just schedule a meeting, or even walk up to a leader's office or desk. So is there even a need to have an elevator pitch at the ready?

Absolutely. Although accessibility to managers has increased, the amount of time those managers have at their disposal has decreased. And that means the clearer, crisper, and more concise you can make your idea, the more likely it is that your senior-level listener will tune in.

Salespeople trying to connect with C-level prospects should have a variety of pitches at their disposal, but each should adhere to the principles of the classic elevator pitch. This infographic from Bplans explains each component of an elevator pitch to ensure you hit the highs and provide all the necessary information. Just remember that brevity is a virtue -- according to the graphic, an ideal elevator pitch should clock in at a minute or less.


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

Growthink really understands how to create compelling business plans and raise capital, and Growthink's Capital Raising Products succeed in infusing this knowledge.
-John Morris
Managing Director, GKM Ventures,
Board of Governors, Tech Coast Angels


Via Brian Yanish - MarketingHits.com
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