Education Startups Have You Applied For LAUNCHedu At SXSW?

SXSWedu, SXSW, Startups, EdtechLast year when we decided to head down a little earlier than we traditionally do for SXSWi, we were quite surprised at what we saw with LAUNCHedu and SXSWedu.  For those unaware, SXSW hosts an entire conference a week earlier than SXSW Interactive, SXSW Music and SXSW Film. That conference, SXSWedu, celebrates education, technology, and edtech startups.

Like the SXSWi accelerator, SXSWedu has it’s own startup track called LAUNCHedu which functions almost like the SXSW Interactive accelerator.

The pitch and startup contest pits the best of the best educational startups from across the country against each other in front of startup influences like Mitch Kapor from Kapor Capital. Many VC’s and angels have found that SXSWedu finds startups on the cusp of greatness.

At last year’s event we met great startups like Common Curriculum, a Baltimore based company that has created an easy to use platform for teachers to develop curriculum. We also got to spend time with MatchBox, a startup that has put the college application process entirely on an iPad. We even got to spend time with Clever, the startup that won the K-12 category at LAUNCHedu. This company provides a platform that connects educational software providers with legacy student information systems and makes it all talk to each other.

If you’re an edtech startup and meet these requirements than you want to head over to the SXSWedu site before November 8th and register. 

It’s been said that SXSWedu is growing faster than the SXSW Interactive festival grew when it was first added. It falls the week before SXSWi in March.

Click here to see our coverage of SXSWedu


5 Tips On Design From Dave McClüren Swedish Design Genius: More At Warm Gun!

500 Startups, Dave McClure, Warm Gun, Design conference, startups


daveswedish1. Design is color. And by color, I mean primary colors, everywhere.

2. Comic sans is so hot right now.

3. Design for conversion, not for aesthetic. So long as it adheres to point #1.

4. When your design induces seizures, you know its good.

5. Designers & startups are like Dolce & Gabbana. Put them together + its magic!

500 Startups is at it again with one of their awesome one day conferences for creatives, startups, and innovators. This time the focus is measurable design. 500 Startup’s Warm Gun conference takes place November 22nd, and you’ll get to enjoy intoxicating amounts of design knowledge from some of the best speakers in the world.

You’ve heard of Tryptophan right? That’s what makes you sleep the day away after Thanksgiving dinner. Well at this 500 startups conference, you’ll experience 500-o-phan, a chemical overdose of 500 awesomeness which will leave you napping the following day. Hence, the reason it’s only a one day conference.

In true 500 Startups fashion they’ve left the pikers on the side and promise only the hottest “gun slingers” and “hot shots”. You won’t find any posers, just people that know what they’re talking about in regards to design. Here’s the lineup so far.

Jared Spool, CoFounder and CEO UIE
Julie Hovarth, Designer, GitHub
Cap Watkins, Product Design Lead, Etsy
Joshua Taylor, Product Designer, Evernote
Andrew Watterson, Designer, Asana
Luke Wroblewski, CEO & Co-Founder, Polar
Carrie Whitehead, Product Manager, Zappos
PJ McCormick, UX Design Lead, Amazon
Joshua Porter, Founder, Hubspot
Marc Hemeon, Senior UX Designer, YouTube
Karen Hanson, VP of Design Innovation, Intuit
Frederico Holgado, Lead UX Developer, MailChimp
Michelle Haag, Director of Design, Ebay
Michael Boeke, Product Manager, BrainTree
Christine Tsai, Partner, 500 Startups
Christen O’Brien, Partner, 500 Startups
Frank Yoo, Mobile Product Lead, Lyft
Drew Domm, Design lead, Sosh
Cesar Salazar, Venture Partner, 500 Startups
Bjorn Jeffery, CEO & Co-Founder, Toca Boca


500 Startups is looking for startups that use design to dominate – consumer, b2b, they want it all. Are you transforming something mundane or necessary into beauty so stunning that unicorns weep? Are you using design to inform, inspire, and delight your users while watching your conversion multiply? Are you making everyone’s day better, one UX at a time? Apply for the Double Rainbow Double Unicorn Startup Design Award for a chance to rock the mic & score a 25k investment from 500 Startups.

Warm Gun is November 22nd at Hotel Kabuki 1625 Post Street in San Francisco.
You can register here.

And don’t forget about this amazing conference:


Startup Communities Guru Brad Feld To Kick Off Early Stage Symposium In Madison

Brad Feld, Startup Communities, Everywhere Else, Madison eventThe Wisconsin Technology council has booked Startup Communities Author/Guru, Foundry Founder, and Techstars Co-Founder Brad Feld to kick off their “early stage symposium” event on November 5th in Madison. Feld will be speaking to the group of entrepreneurs and innovators via telepresence at 8:30am the morning of Tuesday November 5th.

As an added bonus all of the attendees to the early morning kick off lecture will also receive a copy of Feld’s book Startup Communities, which serves as the unofficial bible to building and strengthening your startup community/ecosystem.

Feld has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he helped start Mobius Venture Capital and previously co-founded Intensity Ventures. Feld’s role in TechStars began in Boulder and has since spread to six other locations while helping to spark the growth of tech business accelerators nationally.

In addition to his investing efforts, Feld has been active with several non-profit organizations and is chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, co-chair of Startup Colorado, and on the board of UP Global. Feld writes the widely read blogs Feld Thoughts, Startup Revolution, and Ask the VC.

“We’re excited to have Brad Feld address this year’s symposium and to help set the tone for a continued conversation about Wisconsin’s evolving startup scene,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the two-day conference.

The rest of the event will feature:

• Presentations by more than 20 companies selected for the Wisconsin Angel Network investors’ track. Investors from across Wisconsin and beyond will attend.

• The annual Elevator Pitch Olympics, which provide 90-second presentation opportunities for 15 or more additional companies. A panel of investors will judge the contest.

• More than a dozen panel discussions or plenary sessions featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector.

• “Office hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts on a variety of topics in small discussion groups or one-on-one.

• SBIR/STTR awards luncheon to recognize grant recipients from the past year.

• The annual “First Look” forum featuring selected campus-based technologies.

• Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies.

• A first-night reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

More info on the event can be found here.

More on Brad Feld can be found here.


UpGlobal Partners With State Department, Google Doubles Down

Up Global, Google for entrepreneurs, startup weekend, startups

October is a big month for UpGlobal, the new entity created when Startup America and Startup Weekend merged back in May. Next week UpGlobal will hold its first regional Champions Summit under the new umbrella. Since its formation, Startup America held quarterly summits for their regional champions. Now, after taking the summer quarter off, the two days of best practices, town halls, and networking continue. This time around they will incorporate Startup Digest curators and Startup Weekend leaders when the conference opens next Tuesday in Iowa.

Leading up to the big summit, UpGlobal had two major pieces of news that will help further their efforts to empower entrepreneurs and their communities around the world.

The first is a partnership with the US State Department, formally announced by President Barack Obama in a videotaped address he made to the attendees of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  ” In partnership with Up Global, we’ll help support 500,000 new entrepreneurs and their startups around the world,” President Obama told the audience.

UpGlobal oversees these four key initiatives to help grow entrepreneurs across the globe.

  • Startup Weekend:  A 54-hour event that educates aspiring entrepreneurs by immersing them in the process of moving an idea to market.
  • NEXT:  A five-week course for early-stage startup founders to better understand their product or service, become ideal candidates for accelerators or incubators, and fully integrate proven entrepreneurial methodologies.
  • Startup Digest:  The world’s largest curated source of information, news, and resources for anyone interested in entrepreneurship.  All content is tailored to reflect the local community, and subscribers receive a personalized digest each week.
  • Corporate Connections:  A platform that builds connections between startups and corporations based on shared goals and industries.  The platform allows startups to develop corporate partnerships, mentoring relationships, client and vendor relationships, and licensing opportunities in new and meaningful ways.

UP Global will work with the U.S. State Department, with the help of the Department of Commerce and USAID, to bring programs like these to new corners of the planet, tailor them to the needs of specific communities, and help secure the resources and network to bring these efforts to life.  This collaboration will help achieve the objective of doubling the reach of entrepreneurship programs and resources by 2016 by:

  • Connecting:  UP Global and the State Department will work together to help establish new UP Global chapters in 500 new countries and augment existing resources available to aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Leveraging Networks:  The State Department will draw on its extensive networks in target countries to bring in local business leaders and prominent American entrepreneurs to reinforce UP Global’s programs and events.
  • Drawing attention to the cause:  UP Global and the State Department will coordinate to get information out about the entrepreneurship resources available through UP Global, including, when appropriate, through social media channels and outreach to local press.

The next big news for Seattle based Up Global was that Google, who has been partnering with Startup Weekend since last year through their Google For Entrepreneurs initiative, has doubled down and taken over as lead sponsor for Startup Weekend.

Upstart Business Journal said:

“…the Google partnership is especially powerful for the financial and technical support it can provide. UP is one of over 70 organizations that Google for Entrepreneurs has provided assistance to since formalizing a year ago. The entity within the search giant has been ramping up in recent weeks, announcing a new Google Hub network in seven non-coastal cities and plans to grow it to more.”

Google has replaced the Kauffman Foundation as the lead sponsor of the organization.

Find out more here and here.


Barcamp Jonesboro = IDEA Tech Festival November 8th & 9th

Idea Tech Fest, Jonesboro startups, startup event, startup conference, BarcampBrian Rogers and the folks behind Barcamp Jonesboro have made a pivot, changing the name of Barcamp Jonesboro to IDEA Tech Festival. With that they’ve turned the event in to two days (this time around), featuring a startup pitch contest and a full day of presentations.

The IDEA Tech Festival founders plan on growing the festival event after event and hope that in the coming years it will turn into a week long festival including a festival, technology trade show, hackathons and more. They also plan on holding these events twice a year beginning in 2014.

As for this year, the first IDEA Tech Festival is about 3 weeks away, on November 8th and 9th.

November 8th kicks off IDEA Tech Festival with a startup pitch contest at 6:00pm at the Brick House Grill in Jonesboro. Investors, entrepreneurs, startup leaders and media will all be in attendance to see the best of the best of what Jonesboro’s tech scene has to offer. Up for grabs is a $1000 cash prize, and other prizes.

November 9th is dubbed “Tech Talks” and will be held at the ASU Delta Center. The schedule for Saturday’s talks can be found here. The event promises to bring great content for developers, entrepreneurs, freelancers and artists. Tech Talks will be in three different tracks; Creative & Marketing, Development & Technology, and Business & Finance.

This is a great step for Jonesboro’s tech and startup scene. Find out more here.

Rob Woodbridge and The May-Boss-Weil Continuum of Mobile Apps

Rob Woodbridge Everywhere else cincinnati

Rob Woodbridge gave an interesting talk during Everywhere Else Cincinnati. “The Top 4 Mobile Business Models and how to Optimize Them for Revenue” was a title that may seem bland and boring. So many times at conferences you see sessions entitled things like, “SEO for eCommerce,” or “Optimize Your Facebook page for Conversions,” or “The Perfect Investor Pitch,” or some such thing. More often that not, these are the sessions that attendees leave after 5-10 minutes out of boredom. However, this session ended up being one of the most enjoyable of the conference.

Rob Woodbridge Everywhere else cincinnati

In the first, of what actually proved to be many, sessions that required audience participation, Woodbridge called four audience members to the stage – interestingly one of the participants was Jared Steffes who spoke the following day. Woodbridge lined the four up on the stage, three on one end and one on the other and Woodbridge in the middle (Not sure how I did not get a picture of the formation, but @_everywhereelse got a pretty good one here). This formation represented what Woodbridge dubbed the May-Boss-Weil continuum of mobile apps.

May-Boss-Weil Continuum

Woodbridge’s continuum is a really good way to think about the life-cycle of mobile apps. There are more than 1.7 billion applications available in the various app stores and with the average number of apps per smartphone at 41. Woodbridge argued that the great majority of these apps are crap. But, some really useful applications live on forever.


The May of the continuum represented the Mayfly. The Mayfly has the shortest lifespan of any animal on the planet, lasting from one to three days. This section of the continuum contains the majority of mobile applications, and was represented with the three audience members. This end is were the one-off apps live: the fart noise makers and the knock offs of Angry Birds.


The Weil in the continuum is named for Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering at Google who argues that in the near future, technology will enable humans to live indefinitely. This end of the continuum is where the Google Maps and Twitters and Evernotes live, possibly forever.


Rob Woodbridge Everywhere Else Cincinnati

The Boss is named for the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. The Boss sits right in the middle because, as Woodbrige put it, he is not really retired and he is not really going 100% anymore; he is neither too old, or too young, just the Boss. Woodbridge argued that this is the part of the continuum that application developers should shoot for.

The continuum holds because, Woodbridge went on, application developers are chasing the almighty download. This is a losing strategy, and there are many other metrics that are a much better indicator of quality than downloads; namely average monthly/weekly/daily usage. According to Woodbridge, “Chasing downloads is chasing death.” Rather, the best approach is to build something that is great, and monetize in one of the four ways outlined in Woodbridge’s discussion:

1. Brand Reinforcement

This strategy really only applies to established companies and works best for physical products. Woodbridge brought up the examples of the Krispy Kreme and Stella Artois applications. The Krispy Kreme app lets users know when they are close to a store and will notify the user when the donuts are “Hot Now.” The Stella application allows users to find close bars that serve Stella and sort by various filters such as distance and rating. This value-add approach is a great way for established brands to engage mobile.

2. Freemium

For the freemium approach to work, you must build a really awesome product that people use. Evernote is the best example of a freemium application. The success of Evernote particularly, and the freemium model more broadly, lies in the usefulness of a product. The oft-quoted remark from Evernote’s CEO Phil Libin speaks to this: “The easiest way to get 1 million people paying is to get 1 billion people using.” Build something awesome, and people will pay for an upgrade.

3. Premium

This one is fairly simple, just charge for the app. Be it $.99 or $999.99, charging an upfront fee is a simple way to monetize an application.

4. Data

This is a unique approach. Woodbridge brought up the example of Ubiqui Health. Prior to launching any product, Ubiqui surveyed doctors and patients about health issues, particularly which issues with a real lack of information and data available. It soon became clear that there was a real lack of data around migraines. Thus, they built a migraine tracking application and sold the data to pharmacies and doctors. There are plenty of ways to employ this approach, but it takes some creative thinking.

While, certainly, there are many different avenues through which to monetize a mobile application, the four highlighted by Woodbridge offer the greatest chance at success. Woodbridge finished on a note that we can all agree to, “Banner ads fu*king suck!”

Andrew Thompson is the Managing Editor of TechFaster


New Mexico Hosting 3 Startup Weekends November 15th, Including Teen Albuquerque

Startup Weekend, New Mexico startup, Taylor Chavez, Teen startup weekend, Teen StartupsNew Mexico is a beautiful state. We make an annual trip out to Russell’s Truck Stop and Car Museum every January on the way to CES. It’s not a state that comes to mind when you think startup hub, but since we’re the voice of startups everywhere else, we’ve covered New Mexico quite a bit. Well they continue to find ways to cultivate their startup community.

In November New Mexico will be hosting three Startup Weekend events. Now the only other states (as far as we can tell) that have hosted three Startup Weekend’s in one month are California, Texas, and Florida. So that says a lot right there.

As the Albuquerque Business First put it, New Mexico will see 162 Startup Weekend hours in November instead of the typical 54. What’s even better is that one of the Startup Weekends is all about teenagers. To take that a step further, the new Teen Albuquerque Startup Weekend was started by a girl.

Taylor Chavez (14), attended the first Startup Weekend Mexico with her father Lawrence, who was a coach for that event. The teenager was so intrigued that when Startup Weekend rolled around to Albuquerque last June she went as a participant and joined a team called Crimson Curriculum, which she described as a STEM education tool that uses Lego’s to teach kids complex engineering concepts.

What makes this story even better is that I found that information out from Chavez’ TedX talk that she did last month called “Let Me Tell You About My Summer.” She tells the standing room only audience at TedX Albuquerque about Startup Weekend with the same excitement other girls her age would talk about seeing One Direction, Taylor Swift, or Justin Bieber.

After you watch her TedX video you’ll see why she was an integral part of her Startup Weekend team’s presentation, which went on to win first place.


Teenagers participating, and even winning, traditional Startup Weekends isn’t new. Back in June we brought you the story of 14 year old Nathan Eyal, who won Tampa Bay’s Startup Weekend. We’ve also told you about Las Vegas tween Ethan Duggan who launched his app at SXSW. And of course there’s the story of 14 year old Emerson Walker, who won Cincinnati’s Startup Weekend and has already received venture funding for his startup.

This time around in Albuquerque though, the event has been organized by teenagers for teenagers. We’re looking forward to hearing more about Albuquerque’s Teen Startup Weekend next month. If you’re a teenager in the area you can register here  for the event that runs November 15th- 17th. 

Farmington, New Mexico’s first Startup Weekend event is also November 15th-17th. This is the traditional tech startup focused event. You can register here.

Finally, Las Cruces Startup Weekend is also November 15-17th and if you’re close to Las Cruces you can register here.

Co-Founders Lab Heads To Nashville’s Entrepreneur Center Next Week

CoFounders Lab, Nashville Entrepeneur Center, startup event

When Shahab Kaviani sat down and had some time to reflect about his previous startup, HyperOffice, he realized that the cofounding team behind that startup drove its success. He admits that they bootstrapped almost the entire project. He also says in hindsight their timing was lousy, but the cofounding team kept the startup together.

Finding the right cofounders should actually be at the top of the priority list in any startup. CoFounders lab is one of many startups that look to match people with cofounders. FounderSync is one of those startups that uses an online approach. FounderDating uses a hybrid online offline approach merging an online community with in-person events.

Unlike other events that can turn out to be unorganized get togethers where  people only talk to the people they know, Kaviani has gone to great lengths to make sure that CoFounders Lab events are laser focused on one thing, introducing cofounders to each other.

Also unlike other events and startups claiming to connect cofounders, there’s no prerequisite, vetting process, or cliques you need to join to be part of the network. CoFounders lab goes beyond founder dating by cutting out all the superfluous clutter aimed at boosting egos and not connecting founders to help people build real companies.

CoFounders Lab is now headed to Music City USA–Nashville, Tennessee–next week on October 15th. They’re hosting their event at the brand new state of the art entrepreneur center and hope to connect founders with each other and get some real companies off the ground.

The event is Tuesday, October 15th starting at 6:30pm and it’s free. You just need to register here.

Make sure you mark your calendars for Everywhere Else Tennessee, the national startup conference focused on startups “everywhere else” pulls into Memphis Feb 17-19th 2014. More here.


CEA Teams Up With UpGlobal To Expand Eureka Park, The Startup TechZone

CEA, UpGlobal, Eureka Park, Startups, CES 2014

Two years ago when we covered the first Eureka Park at the International CES in Las Vegas, we were amazed by the amount of good quality startups showcasing there. Last year when we embarked on Eureka Park it had doubled in size and also offered some great talks from the likes of Scott Case, Tony Hsieh and Brad Feld (just to name a few).

This coming year (January 2014), CEA has partnered with the new UpGlobal (the global partnership between Startup America and Startup Weekend) to expand the Eureka Park TechZone.

Now in its third year, the Eureka Park TechZone will span more than 2,000 square meters and showcase more than 200 exhibitors at the 2014 CES. Eureka Park will be located on level one of The Venetian and returns as the vibrant hub for the entrepreneur and startup communities to learn, connect, and inspire.

“The Eureka Park TechZone provides a stage for new companies with technologies for which we don’t yet have product categories, to market their innovation to venture capitalists, media and buyers. Eureka Park’s continued success solidifies the International CES as the ultimate proving ground for innovators of all shapes and sizes in consumer technology,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, International CES and Corporate Business Strategy, CEA. “We are thrilled to once again partner with UP Global and the National Science Foundation for the 2014 CES, and can’t wait to experience the ‘Eureka’ ideas that will fuel and transform our lives in the years to come.”

Also new for 2014, the Academia Tech TechZone will be floored within Eureka Park. Academia Tech focuses on the unique technologies coming from colleges and universities. The TechZone will showcase a collection of academic institutions at the 2014 CES, with Columbia University, N.C. State, University of Texas at Austin and Penn State University already confirmed as exhibitors.

CEA today also announces the launch of the Eureka Park: NEXT TechZone, a dedicated area at the 2014 CES, designed for mid-stage startups that have launched a product within the past year. Eureka Park: NEXT will be located on level two in The Venetian Ballroom.

Check out our previous coverage of EurekaPark at the International CES by clicking here.


Softbank’s Joe Medved: Diligence Is For Entrepreneurs Too

Joe Medved, Softbank Capital, Investor, Startup, Everywhere Else Cincinnati
The national VC investors and angels who spoke at Everywhere Else Cincinnati loved the concept of talking to and educating entrepreneurs from everywhere else. In the months leading up to Everywhere Else Cincinnati, we fielded a lot of emails from investors asking about pitch contests and deal flow. Joe Medved joined Blair Garrou (Mercury Fund), Mark Hasebroock (Dundee Venture Capital), Mark Richey (West Capital Advisors/Draper), and Bob Coy (Cincy Tech) on the stage at one point or another during the conference to help educate early stage startups and entrepreneurs. The general consensus was if entrepreneurs are more in tune with the investor community, a lot of time will be saved.

Medved took that idea to the extreme by cramming down probably an entire college course worth of entrepreneurial content into a 30 minute talk and equally robust slides.

Our Managing Editor Monica Selby already covered the truth about getting VC attention, almost immediately after Medved left the stage.

Medved’s presentation was filled with important information. Equally as important as getting VC attention is the fact that due diligence is just as important for the startup as it is for the investor. Too many times startups are so excited about getting a “yes,” they are willing to take money from anyone.

Entrepreneurs need to make sure that the investor is the right fit for their startup. Does the startup see eye to eye with the investor? Does the investor bring value to the startup outside of just money? Taking on an investor is a partnership almost like a marriage. Just as a marriage, it may take a while to get into but it’s a lot harder to get out of. In that respect it’s even harder to get an investor out than it is to get divorced.

Medved offers these tips for doing due diligence on your investors:

  • References! Speak to entrepreneurs the investor has backed before, including those who have crushed it and been crushed.
    – Is there healthy engagement with the investor? And their team?
    – Where can they help & what types of board members complement them?
  • Leverage their network for customer references
    – On top of your existing customer references, ask to pitch your business to potential customers in their network
  • Follow on investments
    – If they’ll follow, how frequently do they?
    – How much would they reserve?
  • If you’re working with a fund what is their capital health
    – What percentage of their fund is invested and reserved
    – If they’re raising soon, is your individual lead in good standing?

All of these points are very important to a startup. As painful as it may be for your pocketbook or bank account or even your startup, if the answers to these questions aren’t comfortable for your team, product and startup you may need to look for another investor.

Follow Joe Medved on Twitter @joevc

Check out more coverage from Everywhere Else Cincinnati here.


A Startup Walks Into A Bar And Orders…


Six decade old advertising agency archer>malmo gave an amazing discussion at SXSW 2013 called “When Bad Names Happen to Good Startups.” It was a candid look at naming mistakes startups make. While sometimes names are an afterthought based on a url’s availability, the folks at archer>malmo and their investment arm  a>m ventures, preach the importance of a name because it’s the foundation of your brand.

Patrick Woods, a>m ventures Managing Director, says “say nodaddy to godaddy” referring to the practice of naming a startup for a URL. That was just the beginning of an amazing presentation at our Everywhere Else Cincinnati conference earlier this week.  What transpired after a brief introduction had the entire audience talking for the rest of the conference. In fact, shortly after the discussion The Cincinnati Business Courier’s Andy Brownfield was so blown away he posted this story.

So the story goes like this: archer>malmo’s Senior Copy Writer Justin Dobbs is a close friend of Woods. “He’s one of the most creative guys I know,” Woods told the audience. So it was a feeling of shock, or possibly being blown off when Woods was recently looking for a gift to get a male friend for his birthday. He figured he would turn to Dobbs’ creative edge to help him come up with something truly amazing. Dobbs’ suggestion? A bar of soap. But not just any soap,

Dobbs suggested a bar of Duke Cannon. Now Duke Cannon is a man’s soap. Its brand isn’t just a brand; it has a personality. Brand is bold, and masculine and their branding is something Woods was successful in driving home.

Their website and brand image is filled with personality. “Tested by soldiers, made in the USA” is one of the rotating graphics that dons the companies web page. “Veggie Burger’s Don’t Mind If I Don’t” is another.

“Duke Cannon doesn’t dine with vegans and he could give a damn about your iPad,” it says on the company’s about page.

Duke Canon’s personality is that of a man, a man’s man. If he walked into a bar he would undoubtedly order something hard.

That’s one question Wood’s asked the audience at Everywhere Else Cincinnati. “What would your startup order at a bar?” “What would your startup order to eat?” was another.

Woods said startups that use simple descriptors may have found the perfect way to tell what their startup does, but they’re so simple that they are insulting to users.

Duke Cannon has a brand voice and startups need one too. “Startups almost feel like they need to sound like a startup. Don’t try to sound like a startup,” Woods said to the audience.

“When you develop a strong personality, you start moving your startup from a product to a brand,” Woods told Brownfield. “Personality is what your brand says when you’re no longer speaking.”

Nibletz would order a Redbull and Vodka and pizza.

Find out more about a>m ventures here.


Jeff Hoffman: 10 Tips For Entrepreneurs I Learned Along The Way: Lessons From Everywhere Else Cincinnati

Jeff Hoffman, Priceline, Venture Camp, startup tips, Everywhere Else Cincinnati
Monday afternoon Priceline and Ubid founder Jeff Hoffman took the stage. For decades Hoffman, an entrepreneur his entire life, has spoken to big corporate CEO’s, sales forces, and countless others in the business world. Over the past two years, when we hear “startup conference” and “Priceline fuonder,” it’s been Scott Case, the founding CTO of Priceline and the founding CEO of Startup America. Case drives home excellent points about startup communities.

After spending most of his career creating business plans (successful ones at that), Hoffman has now turned to building entrepreneurs. He is a founder of Venture Camp, a reality show and accelerator that had it’s inaugural session in an Indianapolis mansion. After the success of the first cohort on film and with their companies, Hoffman is looking to expand the program.

Hoffman told the story of his entrepreneurial journey to the audience at Everywhere Else Cincinnati. He started out as an entrepreneur not because he wanted to make huge amounts of money but because he wanted to at least attempt to fix broke things he came across.

“I set out… to deal with problems that no one is fixing,” Hoffman told the crowd at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati.

Although uBid and Priceline have been wildly successful Hoffman said “big companies don’t just appear. Even Priceline was a small startup”.

Hoffman then started in on his 10 points of entrepreneurship:

1. Find Your Purpose– People who are focused on purpose far exceed the people who focus on money. Find the purpose that drives you. To illustrate this example, Hoffman told the story of an employee he had named Chris whose purpose was to get his family out of a trailer and into a real house and nothing was going to stop him.

2. Work Backwards from your goal. Set your goal and work backwards. Set your goals and then find out each step to get there, and then do them.

3. Get engaged in the world around you. Sit next to someone you don’t know. The more engaged you are, the more ideas you come across. “I’m amazed with the network I built because I was just out somewhere doing something,” Hoffman said.

4. Solve a real problem.

5. Win a gold medal at one thing– Find something, and tune out everything else.  Hoffman explains that many entrepreneurs don’t like this because they worry about the next idea. He then explained that the people that get to work on their next ideas are the ones who won a gold medal on their first idea. He turned to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as an example: “Bezos always wanted to sell everything, but he became so damn good at selling books, the best damn book seller in the world and with that gold medal built out Amazon. People trusted him on their book sales experience; now they’ll buy anything from him”. Gold Medal= credibility

6.Build a great team- Hire someone smarter than you. “Don’t you want to be the manager with 7 people on the all star team, not the one who has a shitty team because you didn’t want players better than you?” Hoffman asked. Hoffman added that he told his Priceline team once that they could completely change industries on one Friday morning, and they would still win.

7. Get out of your office. The best companies build their product for customers. When Hoffman has a good idea he grabs his car keys to go out and find someone with a wallet who likes the idea.

8. Launch Something- MVP doesn’t mean put a crap product out there. If you go too lean, you’re putting your reputation on the line. “I remember you. You’re Jeff, the crap guy.” Don’t over do the lean thing just to rush something out there. Do two functions of your five function product and crush them. Lean is like throwing shit to the wall.

9. Find a mentor.

10. Work Hard.. success is no secret, work hard. – Hoffman saved his best personal story for last. He’s good personal friends with Evander Holyfield. One day he was visiting with Holyfield who was finishing a workout and Hoffman was spotting him. Holyfield was doing an extremely difficult exercise that he does 300 times a day. Hoffman was counting with Holyfield and then apparently lost count at 299 or 300. Holyfield needed his friend to be absolutely certain whether it was 299 or 300. When Hoffman wasn’t sure Holyfield went down one more time and did the exercise again.

When Hoffman asked Holyfield why he did that, the heavy weight champion told him “The difference between 299 and 300 is the difference between heavyweight champion of the world and just another boxer.”

Needless to say Hoffman does 300 every single time.


Cincinnati Startup Modulus Wins Everywhere Else Cincinnati 2013 Startup Champion

Modulus, Startup News, Everywhere Else Cincinnati, Startup ContestModulus founder Charlie Key wasn’t looking to win a startup pitch contest when he signed up for this week’s Everywhere Else Cincinnati conference. Key is very active in the local Cincinnati startup community and likes attending startup events. The Modulus team ended up leaving the event with the big ass trophy.

Startups in the Startup Avenue at Everywhere Else Cincinnati participated in the CincyTech, and Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Startup Poker Run. Over 50 investors and VIP’s at the conference were given five poker chips on Monday morning when they checked in. From 1:00pm-5:00pm that afternoon the investor group was told to check out all of the startups and hand out their chips to the startup they thought was the best. At the end of the afternoon the 5 startups with the most chips got to pitch to the crowd and to a group of judges.

West Capital’s Mark Richey, Draper Triangle’s Will Indest, a>m ventures Patrick Woods and Cincy Tech’s Avi Ram served as the contests judges.

The five finalists were:

Energy Harvesters- a Boston based startup that uses kinetic energy built up through walking and footwear to charge cell phones.

Kids360 a Memphis based startup that helps parents have  a better piece of mind in emergency situations while their children are in the care of others.

Tixers- a ticketing platform aimed at season ticket holders and others that eliminates the risk of tickets not selling on Craigslist or StubHub.

Spacefinity- a Pittsburgh startup in the sharing community that allows people to rent space in their homes, sheds, garages, basements and other areas for others to store their stuff (AirBnb for storage).

Modulus– a scalable application platform for developers that offers node.js hosting, MongoDB and performance analytics in the cloud, based in Cincinnati.

All fives startups made engaging 3 minute pitches and then were put through a 3 minute Q&A session with the judges.

Modulus was the judges’ favorite with Tixer in 2nd place. Modulus was crowned the Everywhere Else Cincinnati 2013 Startup Champion. They received a huge trophy, bragging rights, and startup services including a branding consultation with archer>malmo (a>m ventures) and an investor meeting with Cincy Tech.

Key was surprised that their team had won, and they quickly took their trophy back to the office and shared it with their social networks.

Find out more about Modulus here. 


8 Mandates To Finding Your Meaning From Elevate’s Jake Stutzman At Everywhere Else Cincinnati

Jake Stutzman, Elevate, Startup, Startup Tips, Everywhere Else Cincinnati

At most startup conferences, there’s a speaker or two who makes everyone get up from the chairs and do something, get the blood flowing, meet new people–you know orchestrating meaningful collisions. That speaker at Everywhere Else Cincinnati didn’t come until Tuesday afternoon when Jake Stutzman the founder of Omaha’s Elevate took the stage.

Stutzman, whose firm spearheaded the “experience” part for Everywhere Else Cincinnati, wanted to make sure that the attendees in the room were doing what they were supposed to. After testing moving the group closer to the front and closing the gaps, he tested the audience participation and moved on with explaining 8 mandates to finding your meaning as part of his discussion, “Find The Meaning Find The Money”.

The eye opening talk led off with Stutzman throwing some basic words on the screen and asking the audience to say what brands those words represented in their minds. For instance when he put the word “coffee” on the screen the crowd quickly blurted out Starbucks. For computer, most said “Apple”, and for the word “Phone” most shouted out iPhone, although one person went retro yelling out “Motorola Razor”.

While most of the brands said here made the list of the “World’s Most Valuable Brands”, they are extremely valuable because they own the category in people’s minds. How does a product go beyond just a product and become that category owning brand? Stutzman mapped it out clearly with these 8 mandates. “Usefulness only lasts until something better comes along,” Stutzman told the crowd. Need an example of that, just look at Blackberry.

These 8 important mandates are:

1. Know Yourself

2. Know Your Audience. Who’s your audience? Is there an audience for your product? How do you engage that audience?

3. Know Your Competitor and your category. Do a competitive audit, and know what your competitor does

4. Be Different.

5. Cast a Vision

6. Make it accessible, have brand identity, create memorable experiences and make sure your brand is infused in everything

7. Be Consistent. Consistency is the key to all of this. “It’s the difference between a chaotic brand and a charismatic brand,” Stutzman said.

8. Empower brand champions, find those champions for your brand those people that are extremely loyal and give them the tools to help grow your brand. These brand champions will work for you because you want to.

Nick and I got to experience all of this first hand starting with a two day workshop at Elevate’s Omaha, Nebraska office. There the Elevate team asked us hard questions about exactly what we wanted to do, who attended our conferences, who read our website, who shares our content. Who do we want to come and what do we want them to do? This is why Elevate is so much more than a design firm.

Elevate helped our brand appeal to multiple senses. Visually how was everything going to look? How were we going to direct people and what were they going to do on site?

Moving into 2014 we will have three conferences and continue to work with Elevate, who will help us make sure we continue to drive home these mandates.

Find out more about Elevate at