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.


Austin Startup Boxer Closes $3M Seed Round

Boxer, Andrew Eye, Austin startup, seed roundI was one of the  first people to dismiss the hoopla surrounding Mailbox, the wildly popular startup that provided what appeared to be a good alternative to iOS mail. They were able to get millions of people excited about the app by creating an exclusive sign up / invite list when you downloaded the app. When it was launch day you got to check your phone every few minutes to see how far you were away from getting one of the most overly hyped apps of all time.

Early on I thought I was the only person on earth who thought Mailbox sucked. I was quickly vindicated by fellow journalist Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider, who saw the same shortcomings of the Mailbox app for people who actually get and rely on email.

Luckily for me, shortly after the Mailbox dust settled (and they were acquired by DropBox), I met Andrew Eye at SXSW. Eye was showing off his new app, at the time called TaskBox. Now Taskbox was made for people that get a constant flow of email for work.  You can see some of the reasons I love Taskbox, here.

After spending some time with Eye at SXSW, we were one of the first media outlets that he called when they announced they had merged with Boxer, the latest startup created by Xoogler Jason Shellen, founder of Brizzy and his even newer latest thing, The Secret Agency. They quickly combined features and in June relaunched as Boxer.

Yesterday they announced that they had raised a $3 million dollar seed round led by Sutter Hill Ventures. In addition to having an excellent feature set, Boxer cites their open integration platform and existing integrations with Box, DropBox, LinkedIn and Facebook as keys to their future.

“As mobile devices have become our primary means of receiving and reading email, users have become increasingly frustrated with the primitive experiences provided by stock email apps,” Eye said in a statement. “Now, with the backing from Sutter Hill Ventures, Boxer can continue to execute on our strategy of extending the mobile mail experiencewith relevant third party information and interactions.”

Boxer has assembled a worldclass executive team and advisory board filled with proven entrepreneurs and industry veterans. Originally founded in 2012 by CEO Andrew Eye (former COO Ciphent Inc. 500 #16) and CTO Adam Cianfichi, Boxer added VP of Engineering Ian Ragsdale (former CTO at email startups OtherInbox and Skylist) and VP of Product Timothy Sullivan, (former mobile product lead at Zynga) in 2013.

“Mobile devices have changed the way we work, however the mobile inbox remains much the same as it was earlier this decade,” said Sam Pullara, Managing Director at Sutter Hill Ventures.“Boxer was an attractive investment opportunity because it opens the inbox to third party innovation, and a new era of mobile productivity.”

The Austin based startup launched out of the Capital Factory, which is led by Josh Baer, a pioneer in the world of email.

Download Boxer for yourself here, and find out why it really just works.




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.

CB Insights: Silicon Valley Is The Only Relevant Market For Venture Capital

VCstory2Top research firm CB Insights released some very relevant and interesting data last week. The firm has been diving into their VC data to better understand fund performance and syndicate. In what they call one of their “more polarizing” briefs, they revealed that even today Silicon Valley is the most relevant market for venture capital. Silicon Valley is still producing the most exits.

Their latest data, measuring deal flow across the country, Silicon Valley still represents 52% of VC backed exits, leaving “everywhere else” with an improved, but still less, 48%.

VC, Silicon Valley, Everywhere Else, Rise Of The Rest, Everywhere Else Conference

When purely looking at the value of exits, Silicon Valley is still far ahead of everywhere else. When CB Insights analyzed the valuation of the top 50 exits in the country Silicon Valley companies accounted for 86% to the top aggregate exit valuations of those top 50 exits. In 2012 Facebook’s IPO accounted for a tremendous chunk of the 86% but once removed Silicon Valley still accounts for 54% of the aggregate exit valuations.

New York, Southern California, Massachusetts and Illinois trail behind Silicon Valley.

There are even investors who believe that New York is a waste of time.

CB Insights reports that at a recent dinner in NY hosted by Silicon Valley firm Lowenstein Sandler one VC said “New York is an irrelevant market for us as a venture capital firm. They went on to say that from the investor’s perspective allocating his firm,s time to New York or any other market outside of Silicon Valley was a waste of time.

But there’s hope.

Late last month AOL founder Steve Case announced that his Revolution Venture Fund had raised $200 million dollars that they were specifically going to use to back companies everywhere else. Case’s big mantra is “Rise of the rest,” and that is exactly what’s going on now.

There have always been investors and startups everywhere else. One of the fundamental problems we’ve found since launching Nibletz and the Everywhere Else conferences is that entrepreneurs and investors exist everywhere. The problem lies in the fact that the entrepreneurs believe that it’s best to move to Silicon Valley or in some regards New York City to grow their company. At the same time the investors either don’t know that there are good deals in their own neighborhoods or it’s just flashier to find an investment in a larger city or participate in rounds with Silicon Valley.

Investors like Mercury Fund’s Blair Garrou, Dundee Venture Capital’s Mark Hasebroock, and Drive Capital’s Mark Kvamme all see the value in finding startups worth investing in everywhere else, thus contributing to the rise of the rest. These investors are not alone. At our recent Everywhere Else Cincinnati conference, we had over 40 investors from across the country that represented over $1 billion dollars in deals across Everywhere Else. (Note we still consider New York Everywhere Else and obviously many others do too.)

Events like Big Omaha, Big KC, UpGlobal’s startup summit, and the Everywhere Else Conference Series all unite entrepreneurs from everywhere else to continue developing their own market.

The notion that innovation only happens in Silicon Valley is quite ridiculous. Cars were invented in Detroit. Air planes were invented in North Carolina (some may dispute that). The overnight package was invented in Memphis, Tennessee. In the overall landscape of things, everywhere else far outweighs the rest of the country as far as large corporations being founded and continuing to produce.

Dead Tags Can Hurt Your Startup, ObservePoint Can Help

ObservePoint, Utah Startup, Startups, Startup Interview

The general consensus among website analytics experts is that 20% of tags on most websites for companies big and small are tagged incorrectly.

Provo, Utah startup ObservePoint has found that this discrepancy can amount to big losses for companies dependent on web traffic. The newest trend in web analytics companies are those that are doing “tag auditing”. ObservePoint is one of those companies.

In a recent case study, ObservePoint found that they’ve been able to increase the amount a site can sell ad and banner space for by 100% simply because the traffic site owners are reporting is actually lower as a result of tag “mis-firings”.

The same can be true for the other end of the spectrum as well.  In some cases they’ve seen sites with up to 37% inflation because there are multiple instances of the same tag on a page that fire and then traffic numbers are inflated.

As mobile and web advertising continues to increase ten-fold, media buyers are desperately looking for the most accurate traffic. To find that, there is a need to look past traditional SEO and directly to tag auditing, which is where ObservePoint comes in.

ObservePoint founders Rob Seolas and John Pestana both come from solid web traffic and analytics backgrounds. Seolas was the co-founder of iLead Media an internet sales lead generation startup that was acquired by Think Partnership in 2005. Pestana was co-founder at Omniture which was acquired by Adobe in 2009.

Now they’ve put their collective smarts together to help companies optimize not just their sites but right down to the tags.

We got a chance to talk with ObsevePoint. Check out the rest of the interview below.

What does your company do?

ObservePoint keeps tag and web analytic data honest by going through a site and auditing each page’s tags to verify whether or not they are firing and reporting accurate data

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds

When starting ObservePoint both founders Rob Seolas and John Pestana set out to solve the problem of correcting the accuracy in online marketing and web analytics data. Each founder had a solid background in understanding how companies measure web traffic and produce web leads.

Where are you based?

ObservePoint is located in the Silicon Slopes, or more officially Provo, Utah.

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

Provo is a city about an hour south of Salt Lake City, which has a vibrant start-up community. It was been named to a number of business lists as a top place to start a business. Forbes named it at the No. 1 place for business and careers.

Provo’s technology and start-up pedigree runs deep and many of the area’s tech startups can be linked to Novell and WordPerfect. Since the Novell and WordPerfect days the Silicon Slopes – a name coined by John’s previous partner and Omniture co-founder, Josh James– there have been hundreds of tech companies that have launched and gone on to be acquired by bigger out-of-state companies or private equity. In the past six years that list includes Altiris (by Symantec for $800M), Omniture (by Adobe for $1.2B), (by Permira Funds for $1.6B), Vivint (by Blackstone Group for $2B), among others.

In addition to the acquisitions, Angels and VCs have been active and investing heavily in Provo-area companies like Qualtrics ($70M), ($35M), and Domo ($125M) to name a few. Other non-Utah-based companies like eBay, Adobe, HP and American Express have established significant presences in the area.


Add the fact that Google Fiber recently chose Provo, and it’s been a pretty good year for the region.


What problem do you solve?

Most web analysts know that their analytics data is dirty, but they either don’t know how to detect and clean it up or they know they and their superiors have come to expect it and sweep it under the rug.

A major hurdle is the thousands of hours it would take to go through each page to check AND test each tag to make sure it is firing correctly. At least that’s how it was before ObservePoint came around. What we’ve found is that on average, websites have a 20 percent error rate in their web analytics data due to tagging problems.

When we tell a web analyst they show us the tags and proudly state that the tags are there. However, they don’t really know whether the tag is firing and reporting the data accurately. In addition to tags not being present or firing on the page we have found that some sites have a huge inflation rate because of tag duplication on one page and each of them report that as unique traffic. This inaccurate data is troublesome because companies are basing major decisions on this information.

ObservePoint automates the auditing for all the tags on a website. We run a thorough scan of the site and test each tag to make sure it is firing. After that we present reports of the pages that have problems so they know what they need to fix.

Why now?

The idea and the development and testing of the technology started in 2007. However, we believed that the issue would become more prominent in the next few years and that foresight is paying off because companies are starting to realize that they can’t continue to make decisions based on bad data.

Also, the tag management space has shone a bright light on the headache that is managing each tag. Companies are starting to add a tag management platform, but that can create a false sense of security when it comes to data quality. Really, tag management platforms need to be audited the same way an analytics tag does to ensure that data is collected correctly.

We are called into a lot of new tag management implementations to audit them and companies are shocked when they find that the tag management system hasn’t solved their data quality issues.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

Besides having record revenue years, one of our major milestones happened earlier this year when we were invited into Adobe’s Enterprise Solution Partner Program. That was a big step and one that John and Rob hoped would happen since the beginning.

What are your next milestones?

On the technology front, we’re working on adding the #1 requested capability – that is to audit tags that fire on click. (Currently, only page-load tags are catalogued.) This requires some major back-end technology changes, and that will add a new and improved user interface, better performance, comparison to historical data, and a slew of other features.

We recently passed a milestone of no longer thinking of ourselves as being in start-up mode as we are in growth mode. We’ve been taking on clients for about two years, but our technology is already much more mature than that. We’re well ahead of everyone else in terms of understanding tagging issues and as such, we are now taking on customers at our fastest pace ever and we don’t expect that to slow down for the foreseeable future

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

All our information is on our website: Also, we have a free Chrome plug-in tool that we’ve developed that allows Web analysts and QA people to see the tags on their site right inside the browser. It can be found on our website –

People can also learn more through our social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Should You Really Be Giving Startup Advice [INFOGRAPHIC]

Today it seems like everybody has startup advice. Should you be listening to mine? Well that’s certainly up to you. In fact it’s always up to you who you decide to listen to and who you don’t. However there are a lot of people out there giving startup advice that may not be qualified to do so.

While nobody should just be classified into groups or stereotyped, here are some folks I am wary of. Also, I do have manners so I do at least listen to anyone who can break me of my ADD and actually captures my attention.

Small business and executive coaches with little or no references.

Small businesses are great. They impact the local economy the way startups would like to. They also permeate with an older, more traditional crowd than most startups can. A good friend of mine Pam Cooper, the founder of Boosterville, once told me that when going to small business folks, it’s easier to get money for a day care center or a dry cleaners than a a world changing startup.

Memphis-based self-proclaimed small business expert Tom Pease actually has some great advice for small business owners in his new book Small Business Survial 101. He’s made a lot of money with his copier machine business and tends to offer more traditional SMB advice. He doesn’t know a lick about scalable and high growth potential startups.

There are thousands just like him as well. Now if you’re one of those people who can take the good tidbits from different kinds of folks and form your own conclusions, you may be ok listening to “small business gurus.”

In my opinion, though, if you run into an “Executive Coach” that can’t rattle off a list of 5 millionaires they’re working with, he or she is probably just another out of work sales person.

Startup organizations with founders or directors who have never themselves started anything.

I don’t need you to have multi million dollar exits, but you do need to at least have started something. Even if you’ve failed a bunch of times, you get more credibility points than if you haven’t started anything. You need to be in my world for me to listen to your advice about my world.

There are a lot of folks out there who have come from finance and business backgrounds who know that starting up right now is a hot topic, and they want to be part of what’s cool and hip. That’s great and perhaps there is a place for you in the ecosystem as a “feeder,” but not giving advice.

A lot of people I’ve met who fit that description tend to be less risk averse and eager to throw in the towel. Often they can be too concerned with image to get down and grind.

This is all just my opinion, but most entrepreneurs and startup people will agree with me.

Who should you listen to? Valerie Coffman, a data scientist and entrepreneur, has come up with this flow chart from her website 

Startup Advice, Startup Tips, nibletz




How To Create Value In All Your Business Negotiations

We all want to create value during a negotiation, but that’s only possible if we’re willing to collaborate and connect with our counterpart. Instead of reaching an unstable agreement with an annoyed and resentful associate, we should try to build a relationship that is firm and long-lasting, a relationship that satisfies everyone. It’s important to leave the negotiation table smiling, shaking hands, and happy that we teamed up with a good partner.  Value is directly linked to power in negotiations. The way we use that power influences both the deal and the people’s we’re negotiating with.

Startup Tips, Guest Post, Steve Brown

Share information

You have goals and so does your opponent. The problem is that you haven’t met before and you don’t know too many details about each other. What should you do? If you want to build trust, you should start by sharing information. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to reveal your whole game plan, but you can start sharing small things about yourself to see whether or not your opponent is willing to do the same.

Ask questions

You won’t be able to reach an agreement if you’re not familiar with each other’s goals. Therefore, you should ask smart questions. Prepare your questions before the meeting and you can be sure that your counterpart will do the same thing. The more information you share the better chances you have to come across a mutually satisfying solution. A negotiation involves two parties, so everyone has to be willing to share and receive information. Reciprocity is one of the most important factors that can lead to a successful outcome.

Multiple negotiation problems

Negotiations can’t entail a single problem only. Such complex process involves a partnership that might come with many problems down the road. Keep in mind that a long-lasting partnership requires respect and faith, despite the fact that the parties have to negotiate a price. You have to focus on developing a strong working relationship that brings benefits to both sides. Spot and prioritize the issues when you prepare for a negotiation, and note that a bigger number of issues will boost and improve the number of resources that will eventually be shared, which creates value in the negotiation.

Stevebrown2Use your negotiation skills

Patience, a truly analytical mind, time, and the belief that communication will help you obtain a better result, are essential skills of a successful negotiator. It’s equally important to be a good listener and pay attention to what your counterpart wants. Ask questions if you want to understand the position and requirements of your opponent, and don’t forget to express your own demands and opinions. This negotiation might fail, but maybe you will meet again someday and that’s why you should leave the door open for potential opportunities.

Add resources to create value

If you want to create value, think of ways to add new resources when the problem related to limited assets is leading to a conflict. Contacting another supplier or closing a subcontract with a party that both sides fancy are two ways of handling the problem. You always have to come up with creative solutions that are mutually beneficial if you want to build a long-lasting partnership.

Stevebrown3Trade-offs is vital

Never compromise too much because that won’t create value and it will reduce the resources you can negotiate. Instead, you should go for trade-offs. You give away something and your counterpart offers you something else in return. This approach will surely help you close a better deal. Creating value in negotiations might be a tricky task, and the truth is that it can happen only if both parties are willing to solve the problem in a creative way and reach an agreement that benefits everyone. You can improve a business negotiation only if you collaborate with your partners to reach valuable trade-offs.

Creating and claiming value in negotiations is every business person’s dilemma. You may have a good deal to offer that is valuable and worth taking into account, but you’re expecting the exact same thing in return from your counterpart. Good communication skills and teamwork are essential in a business negotiation. If you want to win, or at least reach common ground, you must be ready to compromise without having to give up your hopes and dreams.

Steve Brown is the writer to this article. He regularly posts his high quality posts in top most blogs. The site is the negotiation specialist and provides their workshops in 12 languages in over 50 countries.


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.

Start-Up Founders Beware

Startups Beware, Robert Hartline, Call Proof, Startup Tips, Nashville startup

The average underperformer lasts 10 months in the average organization. Imagine the amount in salary, benefits, and training that costs you. The numbers are staggering. That is money you could be putting into other pieces of your organization to actually make you money as opposed to helping pay for someone’s Candy Crush habit. If someone is underperforming and can’t seem to fix it, it benefits you and the company to simply part ways.

When that underperformer is in sales, you could be damaging your company’s reputation even more than you realize.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while hiring and running a team of Sales Reps:

  • If you interview someone who seems too good to be true, they probably are. Although there is the occasional exception, a good sales guy generally isn’t looking for a job. When their talk and ego are as big as the city they’re selling in, chances are they will never sell anything.
  • beware1Before you start the process of training a new sales rep, have them dive right into the action. You’ve never really seen this person in action, and the only way to ensure it’s really worth putting all of your time into them, is to see if they’re really cut out for the position. Give them some of your worst leads, the ones you know for a fact will not purchase your product or service. The goal here is not to watch them fail; it’s to see how they react. If they dive right in and can brush off being rejected and make the next call with the same drive and energy as the first, you know this person may be just what you need. Once they’ve proven themselves, you can then train them to the fullest extent. If you get someone who refuses to try or that gets overwhelmed, they probably won’t make it in your company anyway.
  • Your salesperson is saying something right now in an online demo or appointment that can turn off a prospect, and if your team keeps saying it, you’ll waste good opportunities. You should record demos, marketing, and follow up calls with customers; this will prevent wasteful practices that will turn off possible customers. Most people will continue to make mistakes, not because they want to, but because no one is coaching them the right way. Record them and review often at first, and every now and then later.
  • As the founder of a start-up it is very easy to get sucked into hiring sales reps that may not necessarily be the right fit for what you’re looking for. It’s important to take your time and hire the right people. Resources when starting up are generally limited, and wasting them on people who aren’t right for you could prove costly in the long run. Consider asking a mentor or fellow business person to assist in the second interview, as a second opinion, to something you may have missed in the initial interview.


  • beware2A Salesperson working in a start-up is very different than someone coming from an organization with a lot of resources. Be careful with someone with a lot of experience from a fortune 500 company where they got spoon-fed.  You are looking for someone who is a self starter, who doesn’t need hand holding.  If you are in the lean start-up phase, you don’t have a sales manager to oversee that person.  You’re the founder, building your product and looking at the big picture, not making sure that your sales person is out marketing your product.  Think about outsourcing your sales management to a person that works outside your company to only manage daily activity so that they stay on track.  A sales manager working for you on a part time basis should spend about an hour a week on the phone with you and your salesperson just covering activity.  You can find experienced professional sales managers for one sales person for about $400-600 a month.  Many of these people are retired but love mentoring sales people and can provide your staff a coach to reach out to and get feedback.
  • Don’t be afraid of the recent graduates coming right out of school.  They can be molded into great salespeople and can be very coachable, as long as they’re not planted in your start-up and forgotten about.  You will need to nurture them and keep them challenged and motivated.


Remember, accountability and performance are everything when looking for and managing a sales reps. Don’t be the next victim of a bad salesperson.

Robert Hartline, the founder of CallProof, created CallProof to help solve a problem he saw in his company each and every day. He observed that there was no accountability for day-to-day sales activity and decided to build an app to create just that, accountability.



Uber Jumps In To Help DC’s Furloughed Federal Workers

Uber, DC startup, furlough, shutdown, startups

We’re now in the 16th day of the federal government shutdown. Startups are trying to help furloughed employees in whatever ways they can.

Last week we reported that Washington DC-based 1776 had launched a website to help match employees with job opportunities and volunteer work for startups. Sure everyone needs money, but some furloughed employees have expressed the fact that they are also bored to tears. The site gives them an opportunity to work with something innovative and exciting. It gives the startup access to a potentially high qualified employee base.

Now the San Francisco based car hailing startup Uber has responded to the needs of the furloughed federal workers in the DC area.

Through Friday, Uber is offering their UberX product free for two rides up to $20 each.

While the Uber app is known for it’s black sedan and SUV service, UberX is a taxicab alternative. Rather than sedan service, users of UberX are picked up in midrange vehicles like Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry and similar type vehicles.  All of the vehicles seat up to four people.

Uber is introducing the UberX product to the DC market, where their original service is still going very strong. At the same time it allows them to expose the service to the capital’s federal work force of hundreds of thousands which have gone without pay for over two weeks. It is important to note that the promotion is actually open to anyone in the DC area, but those affected by the shutdown will find that the company’s promotion came at the right time.

How does it work?

  • Enter promo code DCLOVESuberX in the Uber app.
  • Slide the car type selector to ‘uberX’—this promotion does not apply to uberTAXI, UberBLACK, or UberSUV.
  • Take up to two free rides before Friday, 10/18, at 11:59PM.
  • DCLOVESuberX covers DC area rides up to $20. Trust us—at these rates, $20 will get you far!

Here is a list of participating businesses:

201 Bar
9:30 Club
Al Dente
Atlas Fitness
Atlas Underground
Art Jamz
Bacchus Wine Cellar
Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club
Blowout Bar
Boundary Stone
Brasserie Beck
Cactus Cantina
Cafe Deluxe
Capella Washington Restaurant
Capitol Hill Fitness
Capitol Lounge
Cashion’s Eat Place
Charlie Palmer Steak
Chef Geoff’s
Chez Billy
Co Co. Sala
Daisy Baby Boutique
Darlington House
DC Improv
Duo Boutique
Edgar Bar & Kitchen
Farmer Fishers Bakers
Fia’s Fabulous Finds
The Front Page
Granville Moore’s
Gymboree – Play & Music
H Street Country Club
Hela Spa
I.M.P. International Spy Museum
Hank’s Oyster Bar
Lauriol Plaza
Liberty Tree
Lisner Auditorium
Mangolens Photography
Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier
Mellow Mushroom
Merriweather Post Pavillion
Mussel Bar and Grille
Muncheez Mania
Pure Barre
Queen Vic
Qi Spa
Redwood Bethesda
Scratch DC
Sculpt DC
Shakespeare Theatre
Skin Beauty Lounge
Smith & Wollensky
Sticky Rice
Spirit Cruises
The Sweet Lobby
Tango DC
Tom Yum District
Tortilla Coast
Tusuva Body & Skin Care
U St Music Hall
Union Pub
Velocity 5 – Arlington
Whitlow’s on Wilson
Willow Fashion
Wildwood Kitchen 
Zest American Bistro


An Online Fashionista Learns Business At #EECincinnati


A few weeks back I literally stumbled across a web post about an upcoming conference called Everywhere Else. The event was to be held in Cincinnati and was geared towards start ups located in the Midwest, with a focus on connecting entrepreneurs with investors. I wasn’t necessarily looking for an investor for our company. However, I decided to register and attend. Cincinnati is only a 6 hour drive from Milwaukee and figured I might learn something and meet some cool people. I’m glad I took the road trip, because I was able to do both!

In 2011, I started a company called I consider myself to be a legitimate “shoe addict” with a shoe collection that is about 80% high heels. I believe women feel the most beautiful, confident and alive when wearing shoes they love. Like most ladies, I didn’t mind spending a good chunk of change on quality shoes, however it was frustrating when they became damaged quickly. For that reason, I started a business to sell protective items for ladies footwear, allowing them to step out in confidence.

It’s no secret the major fashion hubs in America are in Los Angeles and New York, so I often travel to attend various fashion events. Attending Everywhere Else Cincinnati was a bit out of the box for me as it was not at all fashion related. In attending this conference I learned  business is a lot like music. Listening to only one genre of music can be quite boring and in doing so, you miss out on a lot of good tunes. The same applies to business. As entrepreneurs we are all on similar journeys. It’s great to mix it up sometimes and learn from someone in another industry.

The presentations at Everywhere Else Cincinnati were jammed packed with useful information. Here are my top 5 takeaways, which I plan to use help grow Protect Your Pumps.

1.) Dear Countermined, Please go away! Prior to this conference I honestly had not heard of Andrew Warner or Mixergy. (I know shame on me) However, I left feeling very inspired by him and the journey he is on. He gave a great presentation on your true mind (true,useful and wanted thoughts) vs countermined (not true, not useful and not wanted thoughts). I’m excited to implement some of the practices he talked about to shut my countermined down because hanging on to the negativity only holds me back.

2.) 299 is not 300 Jeff Hoffman founder of Priceline knocked his presentation out the park! He delivered an invaluable tip for entrepreneurs, run hard to the finish line! Jeff said doing 299 of something when you are suppose to 300 is essentially giving up and that is the difference between you and the other guy (or gal).

3.) Your Brand is Your Personality Show it off! In my notebook the only word on the page about Patrick J Woods was AWESOME! He talked about giving your brand beliefs and personality. I hadn’t really thought about it in that way and I’m excited to say we currently have some things underway to really develop the Protect Your Pumps brand more and bring it to life!

4.) Start up CEO=Sales(wo)man and Sales Manager Evan Owens said “All Start up CEO’s are salesmen and sales manager. Learn that role and you’ll soon be leading an organization worth talking about.” That struck a chord with me because in the world of so many internet distractions, it is easy to get away from what is going to keep your business thriving which is SALES.

5.) Respect Niche Skills Evan also said “If you meet a guy who claims to be the best at web development, design, seo and social media. He probably isn’t that good at anything.” This is very important because as a start up, lets keep it real money can be tight. We always want to get bang for our buck. However, finding good people who are strong in a particular area is crucial.

My list of takeaways from this conference goes way beyond 5, however I just wanted to share a few. I’m excited to take these lessons and put them in action. I’ll see you in Memphis!

Kathryn Jackson

CEO/Founder Protect Your Pumps

Author of Blog Skipping in Stilettos-Shoes+Substance

Facebook: Protect Your Pumps

Twitter: @KathrynNJackson @Protect_Pumps

Instagram: Protectyourpumps

What Does It Cost to Run a Startup? [Infographic]

There are many costs associated with running a startup. Designers, developers, office space and supplies, and travel all add up. While each company will have costs unique to them, it’s pretty safe to say that starting a world-changing company is expensive.

We’ve always said location makes a difference, though. It’s expensive to live and work in big hubs like San Francisco and New York. Investor money can go further in the flyover states than it can on the coasts.–a startup that connects companies with talented remote workers–produced an infographic outlining the costs of starting up in different cities worldwide. They calculated to the cost of office space and the salaries of 2 developers and 1 designer to find which city was most expensive to start up in.

Surprisingly, New York came in third, behind Zurich and Sydney. San Francisco was only marginally cheaper than New York, and Manila came it at the least expensive. In the Philippines, you can apparently start up for $45,000 a year, which is half the salary of 1 developer in Zurich.

Of course, not every startup needs office space, or 2 developers and designer. Coworking can make office space less expensive, and these days a lot of things can be outsourced. Regardless, it’s interesting to see the numbers support the idea that starting up everywhere else has financial benefits, too.

Check out the infographic from below:


What Does It Cost to Run a Startup? Infographic – Connecting Great Companies with Global Talent

Funding Friday: It Is Possible to Raise Money Everywhere Else


The common theme in the startup world is that it’s very hard to raise money outside of Silicon Valley. But, let’s be real here. It’s really hard to raise money inside the Valley, too. No one said entrepreneurship was easy, and sometimes the best things are difficult to accomplish.

Sometimes, though, it’s nice to see other companies doing it. Whether it’s a seed round or an IPO filing, watching other companies succeed can be a good reminder than we can, too.

With that in mind, here are 5 companies from everywhere else that raised money recently*:

  1. GROUNDFLOOR, based in North Carolina, raised $125,000 in a seed round. Founders Brian Dally and Nick Bhargava are building a new way to invest, starting with real estate. “The banks aren’t invited, but you are,” it says on the website. The two men have plenty of experience between them, and if you’re interested in investments, you should check them out.
  2. Traxo announced a $4.2 million Series A on the company blog last week. Part social network, part travel itinerary, the Dallas-based company is looking to make the travel process easier.
  3. KidsLink calls itself a “family management tool.” Parents can aggregate and organize essential documents and receive alerts about milestones and seasonal events. The team at KidsLink sees their product as a great solution for the lack of technology in most medical and educational institutions. The Atlanta-based company announced $1 million in funding.
  4. Nextly offers a new browsing solution for online content. You can follow streams and save pages to your collection. The Boston-based startup is a well-designed competitor to StumbleUpon. The $600k in another seed round, and are already backed by prominent angel investors like Dharmesh Shah of Hubspot.
  5. NoWait is an iPad app that allows restaurants to text customers when their table is ready. With offices in Pittsburgh, New York, and (soon) Austin, they are definitely everywhere else. The company raised a $1.9 million Series A.

So, take heart, founders everywhere else. With a great solution and a great team, it is possible to raise money outside of Silicon Valley. However, as these founders probably know, raising money just means the work can get started.

*All funding news and most numbers came from the Mattermark newsletter.