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Startups, Entrepreneurs, be better informed before you 'Pitch it'!
Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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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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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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500 Startups Keeps Its Commitment To Invest In Women In Tech | TechCrunch

500 Startups Keeps Its Commitment To Invest In Women In Tech  |  TechCrunch | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/20aP

The best thing women in tech can do is to invest in other women,” 500 Startups managing partner Christine Tsai told me by phone earlier today. That’s exactly what the early-stage investment firm has been trying to do over the last five years, and it seems to be succeeding.

Its commitment starts with the makeup of the organization itself, but extends into the portfolio companies that 500 backs, as well. Half the managing partners and staff at 500 Startups are women, and at least one-third of the investing team are women. More than a quarter of the companies in the 500 portfolio are led by female CEOs, according to the firm.

Read More: http://snip.ly/20aP


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

"With Growthink on your side, you are in a win-win situation. They placed themselves in my situation and analyzed my business as if it were their own business. I could never recommend any firm but Growthink to provide business planning services at this level of quality."
Prem K. Kapani, CEO

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

“"We are committed to working with women. We are investing in women because we want to make money and we feel they have been overlooked. Others have been touting it, but we haven’t really been publicizing it,” he told me. “Is this self-promotional? Sure as hell is. But the numbers speak for themselves.”

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Startups, A Rich Man’s Game | TechCrunch

Startups, A Rich Man’s Game  |  TechCrunch | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/aWLW

Despite the Silicon Valley echo chamber, starting a company remains easily among the most risky career moves for workers. The stress of the job can easily lead to burnout or long-lasting mental health issues. Failures, despite being lauded in some corners, still too often harm a founder’s future career prospects.

But the greatest risk of building a new company is almost certainly financial. In addition to the opportunity cost of lost wages working on a startup, there is the serious burden of fueling a company’s early expenses before an accelerator or venture capitalist comes in and drops some capital. It is a common form of founder braggadocio to talk about the $20,000 credit card debt that they are carrying to see their dream come to life.

The kerfuffle over the Crunchies this week was just the latest episode of a long fight over access to entrepreneurship. So far, that war has been mostly focused on women and minorities, but there has been far less discussion about financial inequality when it comes to startup founders. Read more: http://snip.ly/aWLW



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:

A start up is a risky venture. Leverage is the key, but the effort can be enormous and take its toll. Think twice before doing it. Creating a regular healthy company and growing it organically may make more sense.

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The Smart Way to Start a Successful Company While Keeping Your Job

The Smart Way to Start a Successful Company While Keeping Your Job | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/16Zh

Moonlighting isn't your only option.

Most aspiring entrepreneurs face a dilemma. They want to start a new business but they don't want to give up their jobs--and the security of their paychecks--until they absolutely have to. On the other hand, launching a successful company is consuming enough without combining it with full-time employment.

What do you do? Most either sacrifice sleep and family time while they struggle to serve two masters, or they leave their jobs and live on savings, spouses, parents, or investment money until the company begins generating revenues.

There may be a third option: Create something your company needs and make your employer your first customer. That approach worked beautifully for serial entrepreneur Steve Elliott when he founded his newest company, agile software development tool AgileCraft.

http://snip.ly/16Zh



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

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great idea!

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17 Venture Capital and Angel Investors to Follow on Twitter

17 Venture Capital and Angel Investors to Follow on Twitter | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/44QO

Follow these super knowledgeable startup investors for insight and advice.

Do you keep a list of venture capitalists on Twitter? You need to add these people now. Social VCs are an incredible source of insight for all entrepreneurs and investors, but particularly for early-stage founders. The VCs listed below have seen the companies they work with face countless different scenarios and situations. They work with dozens of portfolio companies and get pitched hundreds (even thousands) of times a year. Some have been investing in and advising companies for decades; others for just a short time, but with enough huge wins that the rest of us need to sit up and take notice. If you want to learn more about the VC game or even get funded yourself, tune in to these Twitter accounts: Read more here: http://snip.ly/44QO




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

Nobody has compared to Growthink. We've gotten interest from angel investors and venture capitalists already.
 And Dave's emails... I love them. They're short and to the point. It's just been a great, great thing.
 Thanks."
 Nancy Hollencamp
The Aubrey Rose Foundation

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Techstars Closes $150 Million Fund for Early-Stage Investments - WSJ

http://snip.ly/lgpc  By Yuliya Chernova

Techstars closed a $150 million early-stage fund, a much larger pool of money than it previously had, that will enable the firm to capitalize on the global network of startup founders and advisers it has built out in recent years.

Techstars launched its first startup accelerator in Boulder, Colo., in 2007. Since then it has spread around the country and internationally. Nearly 500 startups have gone through its programs. (Venture Capital Dispatch recently looked at the performance of these companies.)

Its accelerator graduates went on to raise about $1.1 billion in venture capital. Techstars’ larger network, including the companies in which its 1,500 advisers have been involved, raised even more capital.

The network, for example, includes Uber Technologies Inc., the private company with the most venture capital ever raised, at $2.8 billion. Early Uber employee Ryan Graves was a mentor at Techstars advising its accelerator startups. Techstars invested in one of Uber’s earliest rounds in 2009 through the connection with Mr. Graves, according to Techstars co-founder and Managing Director David Cohen.

But the firm didn’t have much money to capitalize on the successes. Its 2009 fund was just $5 million, and a 2012 second fund was $30 million. The Uber investment came out of the first fund, according to Mr. Cohen. He called the first fund a “rocket ship,” but declined to specify return figures for either fund. Read more here: http://snip.ly/lgpc


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

Growthink helped me with two business plans. I liked working with Anna Vitale because she was a professional yet personable and that gave me a sense of trust. Keep up the good work.”


Phil Marcu

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Techstars’ runs accelerator programs in 11 U.S. cities, as well as in London and Berlin. It also has employees in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Landis Thompson's curator insight, February 4, 1:54 PM

...and Incubators are on the rise!

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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




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:

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



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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.

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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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7 Leading Accelerators For Overseas Startups Coming To Silicon Valley

7 Leading Accelerators For Overseas Startups Coming To Silicon Valley | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Silicon Valley has become the epicenter of the startup universe, and with that comes a virtual tsunami of startups from all parts of the globe.  These young companies are flocking to the home of Uber, Snapchat and Airbnb for a chance to change the world.  They need venture funding, business relationships, mentorship, A-list talent and most of all strategic guidance.

Many of these startups seek out incubators and accelerators to help them plug into the Silicon Valley ecosystem, make connections and move fast.  But how does a startup choose from the hundreds of accelerators out there?  What makes one accelerator better suited for overseas startups than another?

We’ve taken an in-depth look at how accelerators operate in the Valley and come up with a short list of key factors that determine their success in dealing with foreign startups:

....

     Pitch & Presentation Training — The majority of overseas startups need help communicating their ideas.  English isn’t necessarily their first language, and they must be able to articulate their vision and plan to investors.  Also, Silicon Valley has a certain style of pitching.  Short, concise pitches that are laser focused on the big opportunity, product market fit, team, traction and market size.  Many overseas startups simply don’t understand how to do this correctly.

...

Read more here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/drewhendricks/2015/02/17/7-leading-accelerators-for-overseas-startups-coming-to-silicon-valley/



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

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The best list of accelerators/incubators in Silicon Valley. The article describes all the reasons for working with these accelerators and names the best seven of them. I highlighted one of the mean reasons for foreign startups above, the "Pitch & Presentation Training", but there are many more. Excellent piece of information.

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What do I need to do to launch a tech startup that will be acquired by a top tech company? - Fortune

What do I need to do to launch a tech startup that will be acquired by a top tech company? - Fortune | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/mzLp

Their ideas often are counter-intuitive and don’t seem likely to work at first.

I highly recommend this essay by Paul Graham: How to Get Startup Ideas. One of Paul’s best thoughts is:

The verb you want to be using with respect to startup ideas is not “think up” but “notice.” At YC we call ideas that grow naturally out of the founders’ own experiences “organic” startup ideas. The most successful startups almost all begin this way.”

Read More: http://snip.ly/mzLp



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

Great info. Loving your business plan template, makes writing a plan almost fun.


Craig Heppell
Nambour, Queensland

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This comes from a question answered by Michael Wolfe on Quora, great insight.

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How This Founder Turned Slow Burn Rate into a Big Exit

How This Founder Turned Slow Burn Rate into a Big Exit | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/rKYH

“Imagine your mom and dad needing to sell their home so that you can pay back your investors. Suddenly, that money seems very real.”

When Tasso Roumeliotis started Location Labs in 2001, the dot-com collapse had left a smoking, desolate venture capital landscape in its wake. The founder, whose mobile security app business was acquired this past September for an estimated $220 million, remembers the carnage well. In fact, his first go at fundraising was so difficult that Roumeliotis made a vow that he wouldn't make the rounds again unless he absolutely had to — and that meant curbing burn rate.
“It was so dire, it took us so long, and the terms were so onerous, I didn’t want to raise money ever again,” he says. “We viewed every dollar as something sacred. That was our mindset from very early on.”
With his very tight-knit early team, Roumeliotis turned his conservative, cost-conscious approach to spending into a hallmark of Location Labs' culture. For the many startups trying to do the same thing today, he provides a template for the low-burn strategy that not only yielded a huge return, but made the company stronger in the process

Read more: http://snip.ly/rKYH



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:

Wow! Amazing approach that really caught the attention of investors. Incredibly responsible (does that exist?). What an example. Read if you look for or get any kind of funding. Must read.

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How to start a startup without a technical person - Oxygen Accelerator

How to start a startup without a technical person - Oxygen Accelerator | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

The most common question we receive from budding entrepreneurs is how to find a technical co-founder. However, finding a CTO in an active tech hub such as London is anything but simple.

There is a common perception that one cannot start an innovative company in this day and age without a developer and consequently the demand for them is insatiable – which is even giving breeding ground for new practices such as acqui-hires. As a result, the surprise in our community was widespread when we recently accepted a company to our accelerator programme consisting only of “business people.” Naturally, this begged for the question: How do you get a startup accelerator ready without a technical person? We sat down with Vidsy OA14 to find out. Read more by clicking on image or title.



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 marcduke
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Smart solution, before hiring that expensive developer/CTO. Create customers, prove it.

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YC for Hardware

YC for Hardware | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/gQq2

As YC has grown, we’ve funded more and more hardware companies.  Hardware companies have very different needs from pure software companies, and we’re delighted to announce a number of new resources for YC hardware companies. 

First, we’re excited to announce a partnership with Bolt, which we kicked off a couple of days ago.  Bolt’s partners and engineering staff will advise YC hardware companies on product development and manufacturing, and YC hardware startups will be able to work with Bolt’s staff at Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop facility with no cost to our companies as part of the partnership. Their facility is the the best prototyping shop I’ve ever seen.  Also, Bolt's partners are some of the best hardware people I've ever met.

Second, we’re also happy to announce a number of new deals for our hardware startups--across-the-board discounts & expedited services, free consultations and prototyping, and volume pricing for YC startups.  These range from 3D printing and rapid injection molding, to PCB fab & assembly, metalworking, design expertise, RF and carrier testing, early access to dev kits, product photography & international scaling.

Some of our deal partners include Novatel, Proto Services, The Build Shop, Jatco, Studio Fathom, Fictiv, DIX Metals, The Collaborationist, and Tempo Automation, and YC startups CircuitHub, Octopart, Tilt and Upverter.  YC hardware startups Pebble, SoundFocus, MadeSolid, Cruise and Rigetti Computing have offered to help out with machine & equipment needs.  And we’ll be working on many more deals for YC hardware startups in the coming months; please get in touch with if you can help our startups make better hardware faster.

Third, we’re building a mini-electronics prototyping shop in Mountain View, to supplement the much larger Pier 9 lab on the Embarcadero.  This way, hardware startups can do some quick PCB rework as needed, or make a 3D print anytime during the week. Read more: http://snip.ly/gQq2


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great resources for hardware startups.

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6 Great Business Models to Consider for a Startup

6 Great Business Models to Consider for a Startup | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/e4ma

Be sure to describe the consumer pain to be relieved by the enterprise and how big a wedge can be driven between what customers are willing to pay and the costs.

People often throw around the term business model in discussing startups.
But just what is a business model? Which ones work best and why? How do you know if your startup has the right one?
A business model explains which consumer pain your startup chooses to relieve, why your solution works better than competing ones and how big a wedge a company can drive between what customers are willing to pay and the costs.
I recently spent three hours with some clients, executives from Beijing, to discuss these questions: I presented several business models and their financial benefits.
After sharing the idea of the business model canvas, developed by Alexander Osterwalder to help entrepreneurs design a customized business model, I gave the Chinese executives an hour to "paint" a new business idea. (We did not use the interactive tool; they wrote their choices on a white board and addressed the class in Chinese. With the help of a translator, I asked follow-up questions.)
They did so brilliantly, picking two business ideas that clearly passed these three tests.
Read on for a quick review of the six most interesting business models I presented, some of which they found inspiring.

Read more here: http://snip.ly/e4ma



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

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Study business models and pick the right one for your business. Starting out the right way is essential.

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Ian Harris's curator insight, February 7, 8:47 PM

A really insightful expose' of several business models that may help you to configure a new business. Excellent!