Tag Archives: Start ups

Help for Startups! – A semi-complete list of startup accelerator programs

Robert Shedd’s list of startup accelerator programs. Click here

The number and worldwide diversity of these programs is absolutely amazing.

Thanks Robert!

A list of Start-Up BLOGS from Venture Hacks

I wish I’d found this (April 2009) list earlier.

Start up BLOGS (A list from Venture Hacks)

by Nivi on April 9th, 2009

“With knowledge being universally accessible, there will be no excuses for non-performance.”    – Peter Drucker

Steve Blank recently asked me to prepare a list of startup blogs for his customer development class. Here you go Steve.

I read all of these blogs. They all have incredibly useful archives. And they’re all written by people who teach and practice, so the advice is practical.

Must read

Eric Ries – Startup Lessons Learned
Fred Wilson – A VC

Marc Andreessen – pmarca

Paul Graham

37signals – Signal vs. Noise

More to read

Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson – Ask the VC
David Hornik – VentureBlog
Dharmesh Shah – On startups
Josh Kopelman – Redeye VC

Should be posting more often

Bill Burnham – Burnham’s Beat
David Cowan – Who Has Time For This?
Naval Ravikant – StartupBoy
Steve Barsh – Barsh Bits

Lawyers

Yoichiro “Yokum” Taku – Startup Company Lawyer

Up-and-comers

Mike Speiser – Laserlike

Steve Blank On the town

Andrew Chen – Futuristic Play

Dave McClure – Master of 500 Hats

Comedy  Venture Capital Wear

Don’t forget to keep it simple – Recomended reading from Steve Blank

From Steve Blank’s BLOG post:    Turning on your Reality Distortion Field

Our product is really complicated

After hearing more details about the features of the product (I think he was heading to the level of Quantum electrodynamics) I asked if he could explain to me why I should care. His response was to describe even more features. When I called for a time-out the reaction was one I hear a lot. “Our product is really complicated I need to tell you all about it so you get it.”

I told him I disagreed and pointed out that anyone can make a complicated idea sound complicated. The art is making it sound simple, compelling and inevitable.

Turning on your Reality Distortion Field

The ability to deliver a persuasive elevator pitch and follow it up with a substantive presentation is the difference between a funded entrepreneur and those having coffee complaining that they’re out of cash. It’s a litmus test of how you will behave in front of customers, employees and investors.

30-seconds
The common wisdom is that you need to be able to describe your product/company in 30-seconds. The 30 second elevator pitch is such a common euphemism that people forget its not about the time, it’s about the impact and the objective.  The goal is not to pack in every technical detail about the product. You don’t even need to mention the product. The objective is to get the listener to stop whatever they had planned to do next and instead say, “Tell me more.”

How do you put together a 30-second pitch?

Envision how the world will be different five years after people started using your product. Tell me. Explain to me why it’s a logical conclusion. Quickly show me that it’s possible. And do this in less than 100 words.

The CEOs reaction over his half- finished muffin was, “An elevator pitch is hype. I’m not a sales guy I’m an engineer.”

The reality is that if you are going to be a founding CEO, investors want to understand that you have a vision big enough to address a major opportunity and an investment. Potential employees need to understand your vision of the future to decide whether against all other choices they will join you. Customers need to stop being satisfied with the status quo and queue up for whatever you are going to deliver. Your elevator pitch is a proxy for all of these things.

While my ex student had been describing the detailed architecture of middleware of electric vehicles I realized what I wanted to understand was how this company was going to change the world.

All he had to say was, “The electric vehicle business is like the automobile business in 1898.  We’re on the cusp of a major transformation. If you believe electric vehicles are going to have a significant share of the truck business in 10 years, we are going to be on the right side of the fault zone.  The heart of these vehicles will be a powertrain controller and propulsion system. We’ve designed, built and installed them. Every electric truck will have to have a product like ours.”

75 words.

That would have been enough to have me say, “Tell me more.”

Lessons Learned

  • Complex products need a simple summary
  • Tell me why I should quit my job to join you
  • Tell me why I should invest in you rather than the line outside my door
  • Tell me why I should buy from you rather than the existing suppliers
  • Do it in 100 words or less.

Ignore Y Combinator at Your Own Risk

“I’m probably the only person hoping the recession wouldn’t end.”

With this one sentence, Paul Graham captures the opportunistic spirit and fearless ambition emanating from his unique, “don’t call us an incubator” venture capital creation, called Y Combinator (YC). While not widely known, YC is growing a cult-like following among young programmers looking for a stepping stone on their path to conquering the world.

Who, What, Y Combinator?
Y Combinator founder Paul Graham is best known for selling Viaweb to Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) back in 1998 for about $49 million. Viaweb subsequently became the backbone of Yahoo! Stores.

In 2005, Graham launched YC as an experimental bootcamp for talented and ambitious hackers. It has since grown into an organized, semiannual program that provides participants with weeks of in-depth mentorship as they develop their startup. The program culminates with a final unveiling to a select group of investors at “Demo Day.” YC also offers seed funding, usually doling out $5,000 per team member in addition to $5,000 per company formed. In return, YC receives a 2%-10% equity stake in the venture. This may seem like a paltry sum, but the goal is to provide just enough “bread” for the teams to get their ideas up and running without ruining their competitive appetites.

Read the rest here

Upstart Advisors – website & BLOG

This blog is for you, whether you are dreaming of starting a business, getting your new company off the ground, looking to raise capital, or just making sure your startup is on the right track. You’ll find topics like: What’s in a business plan, how to determine whether you’ve got a good idea for a business, and how to think about financing your venture. You’ll see that my approach favors speed and flexibility – a combination I find practical for today’s environment. You’ll also find me saying that the most important aspect of business planning is the thinking behind the plan.  Need some help? Click here to learn how UpStart Advisors can help you launch your venture.

Read the BLOG here

Can you “PIVOT”?

  • Most startup business models are initially wrong.
  • The process of iteration in search of the successful business model is called the Pivot.
  • Learn early, learn often.
  • The speed at which you Pivot is inversely proportional to the amount of cash in your bank.

From Steve Blank’s BLOG post You Actually Did This?

The Rise of the Fleet-Footed Start-Up

Eric Ries and Steven Blank think they have a better way to build a start-up, one that takes less time and money to try new ideas and find paying customers. They are leading proponents of the “lean start-up” — a fresh approach to creating companies that has attracted much attention in the last year or so among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, technologists and investors.

Read the full NYT article here

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