EP11: Viktor Jondal & Peter Ragonetti Explain 3D Printing & Pitch Fleks3D

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Industrial designers Viktor Jondal & Peter Ragonetti pitch their new product Fleks3D that improves 3D printing! They also explain how 3D printing works, and how it is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry.

Listen to the podcast then go to Kickstarter and back their campaign if you like what their doing!

5 Things Every Great Online Startup Needs


Starting a new business is truly exciting. But if you want it to become a successful venture, it’s imperative that you follow the right procedures. This is especially true when dealing with the vicious online arena.

Of course, there is a degree of trial and error involved. Nevertheless, there are some lessons that you should know before jumping it at the deep end. Here are five essential items that will lead you down the pathway to success.

A Great Team

Every business owner should appreciate the fact that their venture can only be as successful as the team behind it. Your innovation and ideas are what will direct the company, but it’s the input of your staff that will drive it forward.

The key is to help them help you. This is the hallmark of a great boss and entrepreneur. The staff is your most important asset, build a better team and you’ll never look back.

A Great Website

No online business can achieve its goals without putting the right structures in place. The company website is clearly the most important, and should be the focus of your attentions until it is perfect.

Whether it’s a store or an online news site doesn’t matter. If you’re going to make money online, you’ll need visitors to stay. It’s important to remember that habits are changing too. Make the site optimized for small devices too, and you’ll be opening your doors to a much larger audience.


A Great Payment Structure

The website offers a great foundation for the online venture. But you cannot convert sales unless your facilities are ready to accommodate. It’s imperative that you accept as many payment options as possible, which is why Payline Data should be considered a must.

Online shopping is supposed to be a leisurely activity. Make it easier for your customers to complete a purchase, and you should reap the rewards of increased sales.

A Great Online Presence

Competition on the internet is fierce. In fact, there are over one billion websites in existence. If you are going to achieve your place in the market, it’s vital that you take the necessary steps to stand out from the crowd.

The best way to achieve this is through a combination of great SEO and social media marketing. Make your website visible and engaging, and there will be no limit to what you can achieve. Failure to do this will simply leave you lost among the crowded online environment.

A Great Relationship With Customers

Visibility is crucial, but it’s only effective if you are sparking interest from the intended audience. As a startup, building a community spirit is key. Make customers feel like participants rather than spectators. You’ll be amazed at the impact great customer care can bring.

This is the one area of business where you can have a huge advantage over bigger companies. Take advantage. After all, repeat business is the key to long-term profits. Apart from anything, those existing customers are likely to tell friends about the great service. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools available.

And there you have it. Follow those five items, and your online ventures should thrive.

The Essentials Of A Graphic Design Startup


Starting a new graphic business is never easy. No one wants to be the bearer of bad news, but most fail before they even begin. To make sure that a new startup doesn’t fail, there are a few generic business rules that you need to be aware of first. Once you have those under control, it is time to move onto the next step – the essentials of graphic design.

There are certain things that every graphic design company needs to succeed, and here are a few just to get you started. As long as you have the following, you should be able to go from strength to strength.

The Relevant Skills

Graphic design is a not an industry that you can walk into and pick up right off the bat. Yes, it is possible to learn the skills through practice. However, most graphic designers have a natural sense and a gift as designing is like art. If you are not a creative person, the odds are that graphic design is not the industry for you. No one is saying that you should give up your dream, but you need to be realistic about what you can offer.


There are elements of graphic design that you may never have encountered in your life. Obviously, that is a problem. Thankfully, this problem is easily rectified with some simple training. By attending training courses, you can learn the secrets of graphic design and the elements that are foreign. Plus, you also get the opportunity to invest more time in your abilities. The result is that the majority of people tend to become better at their jobs. Adobe Illustrator training by Training Connection is one course that graphic designers should obtain. But, there are plenty more.


Unfortunately, you are going to need a lot of cash to get your business off the ground. There is just now getting around the fact as startups need to speculate to accumulate. So, do you have the money? If the answer is no, you may want to reconsider. Even though the idea is exciting, it will soon crumble if you cannot finance the company. Of course, there are alternative sources of finance, so you don’t always need the money in the bank. But, you need to be careful because the repayments can cripple you, and the bank may take collateral. Some people have lost their jobs, the businesses and their homes.

Commercial Awareness

Any business that cannot market itself is not going to survive. The way to make money and to grow is to get people to buy or invest. Investors or customers will only do that when they like what they see, and if they don’t see it, they won’t buy. Think carefully about how you are going to market the business and make people aware of your brand.

Legal Help

A lawyer is essential. They will take you through every part of the process and make sure that you don’t go wrong in a legal sense. The last thing you want is a lawsuit because you neglected the legal side of starting a new business.

CrowdFunding Pitch Show Episode 1: Biometric Match

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We had an awesome premier episode of The Crowdfunding Pitch show on October 10th with the founders of Biometric Match coming on the show to pitch their startup.

Dal Ellinton, the founder has created an amazing platform leveraging bio-metric to enable users to determine how they match up with a potential date, person you want to hang out with or just see what you have in common with friends. The current standard is to answer long questionnaires to answer these questions, but Biometric Match is changing that process forever, rendering these long questionnaires a thing of the past, using emotion-based facial cue system powered by Affectiva.

They’re currently trying to raise $95,000 to go beyond beta and build out a more user friendly platform. Check out their crowdfunding campaign, and back this awesome new technology!

Accelerating Startup Innovation Through Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding concept

Everyday I get pitched a new idea.

Choosing which to get involved in as a mentor, investor or connector is becoming easier as my personal network grows (many thanks LinkedIn) but more importantly because the ability to mitigate risk and prove viability quickly is becoming easier.

This is not to say that raising capital is becoming easier. For those of you who read “Open Letter To Angel Investors & VCs” you will understand where I’m going with this article.

In short, let’s quickly discuss new opportunities available to shorten the window of time needed to get seed stage capital, minimum viable product, and secure beta clients.

Crowdfunding Seed Stage Capital

Let’s face reality. Crowdfunding is the future, and if the SEC will ever get out of the way and allow equity crowdfunding to the masses, our current recession would be over in no time. In the meantime, while the regulators argue about how we can spend our money, let’s talk about leveraging this option to both raise initial seed capital to get proof of concept.

Putting together a great campaign is a skill in itself. It requires creative thought, excellent planning, significant time spent on PR strategy and connection with social media influencers. If you are able to put these pieces together with a great product or service, then communicate it well to the target demographic, it is reasonable you can get enough funding to build your proof of concept.

In the end, it boils down to your social media influence and public relations. If those two are accounted for, your chances of success are reasonable.

In the meantime, don’t forget to put as many things in place prior to the end of the campaign you will need to build the MVP. Whether that be vendors, manufacturers or advisers.

Building Minimum Viable Product

Now let’s assume your crowdfunding campaign was a success.

In the age of 3D printing, access to manufacturing globally and web/mobile development advancements, it never ceases to amaze me how so many startup founders REFUSE to quickly build an MVP (minimum viable product) and get to market.

If your campaign is a success, you have a potential customer base built in by default. Not only can you leverage the buzz created, you also have the ability to communicate with these potential customers and get their feedback on what they would like to see. Instead of hiding everything from them until launch, just ask questions.

It is better to make modifications prior to launch, than wait for the bombardment of feedback when you are slammed with customer service, fulfillment and the other headaches which come with company growth. Making pivots is a blunt reality in business. It is better to account for them as early as possible.

Leveraging Beta Clients

Growing your business requires getting an initial client base, whether you call them beta clients, early adopters or just plain customers.

By going the way of crowdfunding and heavy engagement with your backers, you have the opportunity to build a loyal customer base full of brand ambassadors. Not only is this vital to growing the company in the short term, in context of raising additional capital, being able to showcase a rapidly growing customer base enables proving market viability to investors.

While many investors shy away from crowdfunded projects in the early stages, this position is rapidly shifting as acceptance of crowd based idea validation expands. If you are able to prove how many backers have turned into ongoing customers, you now have an extremely valuable weapon at your disposal.

Accelerating Traditional Capital Raise

Since it realistically takes 6+ months to raise seed stage capital for 99% of startups, it makes sense to spend that same amount of time planning out your crowdfunding campaign with the next step goals as outlined above.

Not only does this enable you to be further down the road prior to raising traditional capital, you also have a much stronger position in equity negotiations and might not even need it. Investors are looking for proof of concept, minimum viable product, initial customer base and growing revenue. All of these are signals of risk mitigation on their investment.

By strategically leveraging crowdfunding, you have the opportunity to both accelerate growth of your company and the time spent raising additional capital. When risk is lowered, you will be amazed at how quickly the doors can open up.

This is just a top level of things to think about when planning your entrepreneurial journey in today’s world of opportunity. I would appreciate your feedback and ideas you can share with others getting ready to make the leap!

St. Louis-based PenPath Brings Data Directly to Writers


“When does an artist or a dancer ever perform with the curtain closed?” Alex Cruz asks.


So, why–he wants to know–are writers’ analytics and social sharing data controlled by the publications they write for? Or, if you’re a blogger, why is it so hard to keep track of things like Google Analytics?

Cruz and his team in St. Louis are solving that problem with PenPath.

PenPath is a comprehensive dashboard that tracks all the relevant data for a given piece of content, regardless of platform or medium. It works just as well for YouTube as it does for Medium.

Rather than needing passwords and code, writers can just paste the url of their article into PenPath and quickly see all their social shares, traffic, and other important data. The site tracks each article by the hour, but you can adjust the settings to see how your shares track over time. You can also see who is sharing the content and engage with them over social media.

Analytics, of course, is a big market, and everyone’s trying to figure out how to get more metrics. There’s already great tools out there like Google Analytics, Chartbeat, Muckrack, and more. PenPath is entering a crowded field, but they think they’re offering something unique that will be valuable to content creators.

And, as a former freelancer myself, I think they’re right. It’s possible to hack together all the different features PenPath offers, but it’s not easy. You have to span multiple platforms, websites, and spreadsheets. PenPath’s solution is simple, and it provides a way to watch the competition as well as yourself.

This week is a big week for the PenPath team. Yesterday they kicked off their crowdfunding campaign over at new software crowdfunding site Ramen. Only backers through Ramen will have first access to the platform, essentially creating a beta pool for the startup.

Cruz and team will also be exhibiting at the Collision Conference in Las Vegas this week, after having attended Everywhere Else Tennessee just last week. (And we thought we were busy!)

Check out PenPath over on their website, but if you want early access to the Platform, don’t forget to support them on Ramen.


How to Have Success in Your Online Business

Learn to Have Success with Your Online Business
You wake up one morning and you have this brilliant idea. You want to start your own business.
You’ve seen other people have success, and you have the desire for the exact same thing. If you are passionate about the kinds of products you will sell to others, you can have a lot of success. While there are always obstacles throughout the journey, if you follow the right steps and take several tips and pointers from other online business owners, you can make a name for your business. A business that is successful as it is well planned and executed.
Why You Should Start an Online Business
In case you didn’t know, there are nearly 30 million online businesses across the globe. There is also a good reason that many businesses have taken the initiative to go online and start their business from there. One of the reasons is because of the exposure. If you have a business where you offer services or products to others, you can reach a huge audience. You are no longer just selling to the locals in your area. You can reach tons of unique demographics. Most importantly, you can sell to people worldwide. It is a major step forward from initially selling to a small group of people who live around the store.
How to Make The Most Of Your Business
One reason you get into creating an online business is to have success. Some of the most successful online businesses have used unique tactics to set themselves apart from the rest. Some of the tactics that you might want to consider include:
• Thinking outside of the box
• Offering something you know people will need or use
• Building your business through social media
There are a lot of original ideas that you can come up with. For example, if you’ve always been a fan of fashion and love messing around with different fabrics, you could ultimately create your own fashion line. You can start of small by making shirts with cool and funny phrases and sayings. Once you have somewhat of an idea on what you want to offer, you can get the opinion of potential customers, especially while using social media.
Social media is important to use because it is a way to keep you in the loop on what is now hot and trendy. It is also allows you to speak with people who are interested in the brand you are trying to make for your business. Discovering more about your business may entice them to want to make a purchase from your online store.
Deciding Which Social Media Platforms You Should Use
Some business owners question whether they are using the right social media platforms. There are plenty of options, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Some business owners have taken time to create videos of their products and services, develop discussion with their customers, and post those videos directly to their YouTube account. If you are selling homemade beauty products, tutorial videos could turn into a huge hit on YouTube, thus resulting in more visitors to your online store. Linking cool social media ideas with what you have to offer is one way to see a positive outcome from your social media interaction.
Because you can write short messages that relate to your business on Twitter, gaining followers and tweeting about current promotions and special with your online store could help you get more attention. Getting involved in any social media sites and keeping track of messages, comment, and other assorted feedback from people is simply important if you want to have success.
Avoid Giving Up On Your Goals
Set goals for yourself and stick with them. Work your best at trying to achieve them by the specific date that you gave yourself when you made the goal. There are times where you might feel frustrated. It’s always normal to feel a bit overwhelmed while doing something as huge as setting up an online store and running it as your primary business. However, the hard work and effort put into developing your business will turn into a great profit.
You can have a successful online business. Come up with ideas that you like and stick with them. It doesn’t matter what you want to offer to the public, whether you plan to create a clothing line of your own or develop apps that people can use on their smart phones. Bring your ideas to life and start selling them. Make sure to have a website where customers can shop so that the transactions are easier on them and yourself. Create social media profiles and keep them active, which means posting  up unique content and information on a nearly daily basis. Provide excellent customer service and  always remember to put the customers first.


A 1-Year-Old Magazine About Farming Is the Talk of the Media World

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Morbi augue risus, sodales nec orci vel, semper tincidunt tellus. Ut massa mauris, volutpat eu hendrerit ac, semper et magna. Phasellus at sem mi. Photo Credit: jmauerer

Read More…

Greek Startup Mageca Builds the First App Store for Interactive Apps




What’s your startup called and what’s your big idea?

Mageca is the first app-store for interactive applications using 3D Sensors that recognize gesture, voice & vision. Our main goal is to create a web space where applications for a variety of uses can be found from the end-user. The latter can vary from a parent playing with its kids at their living room or a healthcare institute that needs a touchless solution for the sterilized environment of an operating room.

Mageca’s mission is to bring HCI technologies into people’s everyday life. We aim to become the reference point for Human Computer Interaction. We strongly feel that touchless technologies, gesture control & motion recognition enabled devices will become the next big thing regarding the way people interact with machines.

What’s the story behind your idea?

The marketplace aims to incentivize developers through offering them a space to promote their work while creating a community between sensors manufacturers, users and creators for the first time.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

We are a team of 3 enthusiastic entrepreneurs that came together 2 years ago. Antonis, is the founder of the company along with his 3 brothers that for the last 14 years have been working together for the last 14 years, building their company from scratch. It all started when they started the process of developing an application (using kinect) for their store- a virtual fitting room.Through this process we realized not only the great capabilities of the new technologies but the pain of users and developers that dont have a specific marketplace.

Galateia joined the team after she came back from London, having graduated from UCL with an Msc at TE Entrepreneurship, given her genuine interest in gesture- recognition technologies and experience working with startups at UK. Mariana, with an experience of 7 years in the retail industry and working as a costumer for the past 5 she is giving her valuable inputs regarding sales.

Our 2 great advisors: Savvas Georgiou, CTO at Daily Secret and Suneil Mishra, working with Primesense the past years are continuously helping with their contacts and deep knowledge of the industry we are operating in.

Where are you located, and what is the ecosystem like there?

Mageca is located in Greece, Athens. The start-ups scene has really exploded here over the last couple of years, and it’s been a real pleasure to watch. In 2013, Greek startups raised more than 55 million dollars in capital.

The country’s economy has been spiraling downwards for the last four years. That, has forced businesses and innovators to aim globally and think big.

Why now?

For Mageca, we believe that this is the ideal time & place to pursue our vision and embrace the opportunity arising around touchless technologies and be first movers in the industry.

What milestones have you reached?

Since we have been running the company since May 2013 we are proud to say that we have already reached significant milestones.

We have already established a network of 750 developers nationwide along with a base of registered users. Another major achievement is the support we have these 2 years from major companies operating in the industry. Microsoft, Intel, Tobii & Softkinetic are the companies providing us with developer’s kits for their new products, to review and use before their official launch.

Furthermore, we have managed to participate in worldwide events presenting our work, such is “TEDxAcademy”, “TEDxAUEB”, “Startup Turkey”, “Startup Berlin”, “Rising Ideas” and we were also sponsoring HackaNUI”. The past 3 months we were one of the winning startup companies participating in the biggest accelerator in Greece: “Cosmote Startup”.

What are your next milestones?

The goals we are aiming to achieve within the next 6 months is to secure a funding round that will enable us maintain the quality of application uploaded on site and further enhance the marketplace with new tools and services responding to the needs of our network of developers and sensors’ manufacturers. We are aiming to have 35 brand new applications uploaded on site within this period and extended customer base, including business clients such is hospitals and schools.

Our new redesigned website and appstore is about to be launched within May, with new apps and our blog with all the news and hot picks to keep an eye on around gesture recognition.

Where can people find out more?

We are always happy to get to know you!

You can reach us via

• Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mageca/566846519998879

• Twitter: @MagecaLabs

• E-mail: info@mageca.com

and of course through the website: http://www.mageca.com/

Flipoutz: The Family Aha Moment That Led to Shark Tank



You’re on a trip. A family trip. And if you’re not a kid anymore, pretend you are one for a few minutes while reading this.

You’re sitting next to your older sister and younger brother, complaining and bickering to your parents about how the car’s too hot or that you’re hungry. The “I’m not touching you… I’m not touching you…” game is played, and it’s an all-around delightful time in the 8’ x 5’ x 4’ box that is your car.

Then Mom turns around and asks a seemingly simple question: “If you could have any toy in the entire world to play with right now [to occupy you enough to make you stop talking], what would it be?”

And so it happened that the Johnson family, in unison and more joyfully than ever, stumbled upon their first aha moment.

The oldest sister wanted self-expression. The middle sister: fashion and something to show off to friends. The youngest, the only boy of the three, something “cool” that he could trade. (For nostalgic value and anyone who remembers, he wanted something cooler than Neopets and Pokémon cards.)

The natural solution to all three: a bracelet and token-like coins, of course.

An uncle in the family, who also doubled as a patent attorney, was pitched the idea and, after a little research, gave them two distinct things:

  1. the go-ahead (that nobody else was doing what they wanted to do), and
  2. their second aha moment.

“That was it,” said the middle sister, Lachlan Johnson, now a freshman at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO. “That was all we needed.”

And so they began: first, by ‘coining’ the name Flipoutz, and, before long, making appearances at every convention and trade show that would let under-18 year olds on the exhibition floor.flipoutz2

Their individually decorated coins that fit snuggly inside silicon bracelets could be traded and tracked all around the world, a feature that eventually landed them a Season 2 appearance on the ever-so-popular Shark Tank.

Shortly after Shark Tank, they sold the company, and the Johnson family children joined the ranks of minors who have experienced a feat few adults three and four times their age have.

Full-time college and high school students now, Lachlan and her little brother, Jake, have since started another company, Joxie, which was, of course, spawned from an aha moment of its own. This time it was with bow ties, though, in a brand they’re calling Beaux Up: “What if you could personalize your bow tie – however and whenever you wanted to?”

Though they don’t have a product line out yet, you should be expecting to see it in stores sometime within the next several months. In the meantime you can follow @Flipoutz and visit them online at their online store. And stay tuned for a follow up article detailing Beaux Up’s creative process.

Tyler Sondag is a startup connoisseur with a hand in anything and everything you could imagine. Hailing from the ever-developing Northwest Mississippi, an alum of Saint Louis University and currently a transplant to St. Louis, Missouri, one of his main missions in life is to get and keep young people engaged in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Follow him on Twitter: @MrSondag.

Flashnotes Helps Students Study–And Make Money



If you’re the smart kid in class, it’s time to stop doing everyone’s studying for free.

Flashnotes.com is a peer-to-peer marketplace for college notes and study guides. Students post their guides on the platform, and each sells for around $10.

Started by Mike Matousek during his senior year at Kent State, the company has grown quickly in the last few years.

In February they closed a $3.6 million Series A led by Stage 1 Ventures.

And, yes, you really can make money selling  your notes online. According to the leaderboard on the Flashnotes homepage, Tony2050 from Florida State has pulled in almost &12,000 so far. That’s better than your average part time job!

Check out our Q&A with Mike below:

1) What’s your startup called?

Flashnotes.com is a Boston-based startup that is becoming an influential leader in the higher ed tech space.

2) What’s your big idea and how does it work?

Flashnotes.com is the student-to-student study materials marketplace. The online platform allows college students to buy and sell course specific study materials — study guides,notes, flashcards, video tutorials, and live video help. My company is on a mission to provide college students with the two things they need most – more money & better grades. Our Pays2Study™ approach empowers smart college students to make money from their own study material, while helping other students study smarter to get better grades.

At Flashnotes.com,  we want to create an environment that allows college students to have access to the information they need to be successful in their courses. Currently, 42% of college students drop out and it’s often because they are falling behind. Flashnotes.com is on a mission to provide these students with the materials they need to get over that hump by serving content in a variety of forms.

3) What’s the story behind your idea?

I founded Flashnotes.com in 2010, when I was a senior at Kent State University. My idea for the company came when I was taking a statistics class that many of my classmates struggled with. The course came naturally to me, and it wasn’t long before students were hunting me down for my study guides and notes. Soon after, Flashnotes.com was born, and is now used by college students at universities and colleges across the country.

4) Who are the founders?

As mentioned previously, I founded Flashnotes.com while I was a senior at Kent State University.

5) Where are you located?

Flashnotes.com is located in Boston’s Faneuil Hall marketplace.

6) What’s the startup scene like there?

Boston’s innovation economy is thriving, and it really is a hub for technology startups and young entrepreneurs. In recent years, an entire Innovation District has emerged along the South Boston Waterfront, and with so many local colleges and universities, there’s no shortage of talent for the city’s burgeoning community of web and technology startups.

7) What milestones have you reached?

In the last year, Flashnotes.com has seen rapid adoption at colleges and universities across the country with a 175% growth in users. In the last two months we also raised $3.6 million in Series A venture funding and acquired Moolaguides, an online study materials marketplace with a strong user base in Florida.

8) What are your next milestones?

This year, Flashnotes.com is focused on expansion to additional colleges and universities across the U.S. We’re also looking to empower students with registered disabilities with our online marketplace and are actively looking to work with universities’ disability offices to offset program costs, increase note-taker retention throughout the semester, and enable these students to have access to critical course material. 

9) Where can people find out more?

To find out more information about Flashnotes.com, readers can visit our website at www.flashnotes.com, like us on Facebook,  or follow us on Twitter, @Flashnotes.

Chimpmint Takes on Buffer, Feedly, and All Those Other Guys



Those of us in the tech world know all about social media marketing and finding and sharing content online. We know that it’s good for our brands and reputations, and a lot of us think carefully about how we want to handle social media.

incontent3Your average small business? Maybe, but maybe not. And without some level of social media savvy, they can get lost in the crowd.

That’s where Chimpmint comes in. They’re looking to curate and share content for small businesses who don’t necessarily have the time or motivation to learn social media marketing. There are plenty of tools that do what they do, but Chimpmint is honing in on the customers who will be overwhelmed by the more popular tools.

They face a few challenges, though. Most significantly, marketing to small businesses–and convincing them they need this–could prove difficult. The companies they’re talking about can often be averse to the Internet in general, much less social media.

Also, you know, Buffer, Feedly…

Check out Chimpmint’s Q&A below. Then hop over and let them know what you think.

What is the name of your startup?

Chimpmint Content Curating & Sharing

What’s your big idea?

If traditional marketing is land and social media is the ocean, then many startups, small businesses, and personal brands are lost at sea.
Every brand, at one point or another, has the same two core problems when it comes to social media marketing:

  1.     I don’t know what to post on social media to build my follower base and to engage with them.
  2.    I don’t have the time to post.

So how does Chimpmint help? To solve the first problem, we search, find, and present related content to that brand. Doesn’t matter what you sell, if you have a brand, then we have quality articles, images, and videos  that relates to what your brand. To solve the second problem, Chimpmint helps you share efficiently. Already in our first release, we’ve gotten great feedback on the simplicity of our scheduling feature. And like an infomercial, it gets better! Our next upgrade is coming soon and it’ll will be a game changer. We plan to make social media management as relevant to a business owner as checking an email.

What’s the story behind your idea?

Once upon a time, about 11 months ago, my partner Maurice Prosper and I were working in the web development. One of our early clients, Stacy, owned a small furniture store. To our surprise, just a month after finishing Stacy’s new website, she left us a message stating her dissatisfaction.

What was wrong? The website worked like a well oiled machine.

So we asked Stacy. She told us she feels the site isn’t worth the cost since the traffic to the site stayed the same.  So we started our search on Google for a product that can drive traffic to Stacy’s website with social media. Right away, we knew it had to be simple, because Stacy didn’t want to learn social media marketing, and preferably a ‘Smart Software’ that educated users while getting the job done. Unfortunately, we never found this magical software. That’s when we had our “aha moment”.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Maurice Prosper and Michael Tibebu. We met in Mr. Thomas’s history class in high school. Good ‘ole times.

Where are you based?

Chimpmint is based out of Austin, Texas but we service any and all businesses since we provide our services via the internet.

How are you different from the competition? Buffer comes to mind…

We simplified our software while being able to improve efficiency. Our competitors see the demand but see only one layer of the problem. As stated in Question[1], just a scheduling feature isn’t going to cut it for Stacy the store owner. Neither is a bare content aggregate. Chimpmint is the only web application that solves both those problems, while keeping simplicity of the product for our user’s learning curve and user experience.

What milestones have you reached so far?

We just celebrated our 3 month anniversary. That being said, since then we’ve gotten users on Chimpmint giving us great feedback and advice. We’ve legitimatized our online brand @Chimpmint with well over 400 followers. All of which we’ve attained by using our own product. Our blog (blog.chimpmint.com) returning readers. We also showcased at South by South West in Austin, Texas in front of thousands of tech lovers and investors.

What are your next milestones?

Chimpmint next milestone is to reach our goal of signing up our first 1000 businesses. We still have spots open. Sign up at www.chimpmint.com we wont disappoint.

Where can people find out more?

People can find out more about Chimpmint by emailing hello@chimpmint.com.

They can also reach us via our feedback button located on the bottom right corner on www.chimpmint.com

Our first 1000 businesses get a year long free subscription to Chimpmint. Don’t miss out guys, it’s a good time to register at www.chimpmint.com.

TapShield Launches New Products to Keep Everyone Safe–From College Kids to Executives



Today Orlando-based TapShield announced the release of an enterprise-grade platform that improves safety across college campuses and for global companies. The system essentially turns your smartphone into a “personal mobile safety device,” keeping you connected with safety officials and loved ones.

Let’s take college campuses.

incontent3We’re all familiar with the blue poles placed around campus, supposedly to call campus security if you feel threatened. But, in a real emergency, who has time to run to the blue pole, dial the 10 digit number, and explain the situation–all while fending off an attacker?

No one.

Instead TapShield connects campus security with every device that downloads the app. When a someone calls in, security can immediately dispatch thanks to GPS technology and other relevant caller information. According to the company, this improves response times by as much as 47%.

TapShield has been tested at the University of Florida for the last 6 months.

“The TapShield solution is easy to use and allows our dispatchers to quickly view GPS location and key caller information so emergency reporting is fast and efficient,” said Chief Linda Stump of the University of Florida Police Department. “I believe this helps our department provide pervasive security in a way which resonates with our students.”

It’s not just for emergencies, though. Features like Entourage alerts contacts when you’ve left  one place. If you haven’t arrived to your destination in a reasonable time, contacts are alerted again so they can check on you.

My favorite feature might be Yank, which–when activated–sends a silent alarm to authorities if the headphones are pulled from your phone.

TapShield doesn’t want to only focus on personal emergencies, though. They’re thinking big.

For example, during the Boston marathon bombings last year, many people weren’t able to let their loved ones or companies know they were okay because cell service was packed.

“If CNN has breaking news about a global terror threat, TapShield lets businesses know which one of their executives or traveling employees might be in that area,” said Jordan Johnson, TapShield CEO. “TapShield facilitates a real-time, two-way communication with employees anywhere in the world using devices they already own.”

The challenge for TapShield might be the dreaded feature creep. In my interview with Johnson, the list of features was so long it was hard to keep them straight or figure out what exactly TapShield was looking to do. There was always one more thing to talk about.

Maybe this will work in TapShield’s favor. With so many use cases, the system could gain widespread adoption as people use it in different ways. Or, all the options could be overwhelming, and people could choose not to use it at all. The trick, of course, is selling it to campuses and corporations.

With more campuses on board, and corporations seeking them out, TapShield might have that one covered.

How Incorporation Can Help a Startup

stock1Startup founders face many questions during the process of turning their dreams into a viable, money-earning business. One of the most important questions that must be addressed in the process involves the legal structure of the company. Business owners need to decide whether or not to incorporate their business.

Types of Corporations

No two business models are exactly the same. For this reason, there are several types of corporation structures to accommodate every owner’s needs. The IRS allows businesses to choose to be taxed as either a “C corporation” or an “S corporation,” according to LegalZoom.  Both structures have their benefits and disadvantages.

The S corporation structure is popular with many small-business owners because it has only one level of tax. Companies in this structure pass corporate income, deductions, losses and credits to their shareholders for federal tax purposes, according to the IRS. When setting up an S corporation, business owners should check with their state to understand what the exact requirements are.

Another common type of corporate taxation structure recognized by the IRS is the C-corporation. This structure is somewhat similar to an S corporation. However, there are also some significant differences. The most important difference between the two is that C corporations are subject to double taxes. This means that not only are the company’s shareholders responsible for paying taxes, but the company is as well. In this structure, the shareholders are responsible for taxes on the company’s dividends. At the same time, a business in this structure must pay taxes on its net income. As with S corporations, business owners looking to form a C corporation should consult and understand their state’s requirements to do so.

Benefits of Corporations

Determining the legal structure of your business is an important step to take when turning your dreams into a reality. There are several types of corporations recognized by the IRS, and the benefits of setting up one of these structures are almost endless.

There are five reasons why small businesses should incorporate. Perhaps the most significant is that a corporation protects the entrepreneur’s personal assets if debts or legal judgments are claimed against the business, according to E.J. Dealy of Fox Business. In essence, becoming a corporation allows for business owners to thrive while protecting their own assets in the event of an unfortunate incident.

Another major benefit of becoming incorporated is the increased exposure. When a business is first starting out the number one task is to attract customers and stand out above the crowd. One way to do that is by incorporating your business. As an incorporated entity, it may become easier to attract the clients and vendors needed to help your company succeed.

Becoming an incorporated business not only affects the present status of the company, but it may also impact its future. Taking the steps to incorporate ensures that the business can remain open in the event of major changes.

Incorporated businesses have the opportunity to make use of tax deductions for normal business expenses. Whether the business is a flower shop or a photography studio, owners have the opportunity to deduct supplies and other necessary purchases from their taxes. There are 75 business-related expenses that companies may be able to deduct from their taxes, according to Mark J. Kohler writing for Entrepreneur.

Prior to submitting a tax return, business owners would benefit from combing through their business expenses with a certified public accountant. This should be done to ensure that no deductions are missed and that all deductions are legitimate.

The business world is constantly changing. The benefits of incorporating may be applied to a company that is currently operating under a sole proprietor status and wants to change to a corporation. They can also be applied to a corporation that is just in the process of forming for the first time.

The Next Step

Once business owners have chosen the corporation structure they wish to enter into and have considered its benefits, it is time to put their wishes on paper legally. There are many forms that need to be created, signed and filed during the process of forming a business for legal recognition. Some business owners may choose to file this paperwork on their own. If an owner prefers to have help with these documents, they may choose to use a service such as LegalZoom to complete the process for them.

Establishing the legal structure for a small business is important. The type of structure determines the types of protection afforded to business owners, both personally and professionally. Choosing to operate as either an S or C corporation can offer many benefits to both the owner of the company as well as its shareholders. These benefits can affect the company in the present and may also help preserve it for the future.