How Tech Startups Are Like Major League Baseball [Infographic]

Chances are good that you won’t ever win the World Series.

But, our friends at Your Green Pal realized that developing a tech startup from idea to IPO is a lot like training for the World Series.

First, you have an idea. Or, in baseball terminology, you start t-ball. At the beginning it’s all new and exciting, and you have lots of time to learn and figure things out.

As you grow, you progress things get more intense and difficult, but also more rewarding. High school and college baseball look almost nothing like t-ball. By the time you get to the beta stage of your startup, it’s probably looking very different from the initial idea. But you should also be better.

After beta, you can move on to market fit, and it’s time for the growth. First the farm leagues, then the majors, and finally, the World Series. An IPO may or may not have all the fanfare of the World Series, but for the entrepreneur reaching that goal, it sure feels the same.

Check out the infographic below to see how much your startup journey is like winning the World Series.

Silicon Beach: California’s Other Tech Hub [Infographic]

Everyone wants to be the next Silicon Valley. Across the world, startups are trying to recreate the feel and success of the Bay Area.

350 miles south of the Valley, Los Angeles is already well-known for gorgeous beaches, perfect weather, and Hollywood. But, in the recent years the area–dubbed Silicon Beach–is making a name for itself in the tech world.

For one thing, there are currently 30 incubators in LA. (A few of them gave us some suggestions for getting in to the accelerator program here.)

There are also well-known, outspoken advocates for the area, like VC Mark Suster.

But, let’s not forget the acquisitions. One common test for an ecosystem’s maturity is the number and dollar amount of acquisitions. With last month’s Facebook acquisition of Oculus Rift for $2B, Silicon Beach is holding its own.

No place is really the next Silicon Valley, though. Every city is unique and, when they’re doing it right, bring their own flavor to starting up.

In LA, the average founder age is 38, four years older than their Silicon Valley peers.

Startups from Silicon Beach are also less likely to raise VC money. In 2013 Silicon Valley raised $12 billion from venture capitalists, compared with only $1.7 billion raised in Los Angeles. Whether this is by choice or necessity is a little harder to know.

Check out LA startup MovieLaLa’s infographic below for more details on the emerging Silicon Beach.


MovieLaLa_Silicon Beach Infographic

How to Take a Product Startup From Idea to Market [Infographic]

We talk a lot about software startups around here. Software is relatively cheap, pretty easy to iterate on, and more or less free to “ship.”

Product startups don’t really have the same luxury. Growing your product startup from idea to market can be difficult and expensive. But not impossible.

Just like with software, it’s important to validate your idea before building it. With physical products it can cost anywhere from $50k to $250k to develop your MVP. And that’s just the first iteration! You need to be sure you’ve really got a great idea on your hands before you dive in.

Competitive analysis, differentiation–we know all this from software startups, and it can apply to products as well. Product startups also have to think about markup, shipping, warehousing, and supply chains.

Autodesk and Lemonly came up with an infogrpahic series to outline the process. Check out the first one below:


Make Your Million Dollar Idea:A Product Design Business Plan Infographic

Learn more about this Product Design Business Plan Infographic and small business best practices from Line//Shape//Space.

50 Insane Facts about Bitcoin [Infographic]


Bitcoin, bitcoin coin, physical bitcoin, bitcoin photo

Everyone is talking about Bitcoin. First the crazy high, with Business Insider predicting it could hit $1 million. Then Silk Road imploded and the “Dread Pirate Roberts” arrested.

Most recently Mt. Gox shut down, and a percentage of the Bitcoins “disappeared.”

Despite all this, several mainstream tech leaders are firmly bullish on Bitcoin.

But what does this all mean? What is Bitcoin, and where did it come from? Why has it become such a big deal in the last year?

Bitcoin was created in 2008 by “Satoshi Nakamoto.” At this point, no one knows the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, though plenty have tried to discover it. The technology requires the Bitcoins to be “mined,” a process that produces 3,600 BTC a day. (BTC, by the way, is the abbreviation for Bitcoin.) At the current rate, it’s anticipated that all Bitcoins will be mined by 2140.

Interest in Bitcoin spans all aspects of tech, from drug dealers on the deep web to prominent venture capitalists. Check out the infographic for a few quick facts about Bitcoin. For more information on how it all works, Khan Academy has a helpful video series.

50 Insane Facts About Bitcoins

 50 Insane Facts About Bitcoins [Infographic] by the team at Who is Hosting This


The 20 Greatest Startups of All Time [Infographic]


Sunset at Mt. Everest
What makes a startup truly great?

Is it how quickly (or for how much) you sell? Is it profits? Number of users? Social or cultural impact?

Well, yes.

rsz_incontentad2Our friends at Verge Startups put together an infogrpahic that outlines the top 20 startups of all time. They took into consideration economic factors like market cap and bottom line revenue, but they also considered the cultural impact the company has made.

You’ll see the obvious on the list: Apple, Google, Facebook. But they aren’t the only companies that have affected the digital landscape.

China’s Startup Giants

Chinese companies like Tencent and Baidu are also on the list. We may only hear about them occasionally in the United States, but they have huge followings in Asia. Tencent–established 6 years before Facebook–brings social media, games, and other products to China. While they offer several digital products, including chat app WeChat, their real money is made in virtual goods, a market Facebook hasn’t seemed to be able to break into.

Baidu is China’s answer to Google, bringing search to the largest populace in the world. Obviously smaller than the American giant, Baidu still holds an impressive amount of power in China.

The Original Founders

When we think of startups, we usually think “new” and “innovative.” But there had to be someone who started it all, right?

Hewlett-Packard was founded in 1939, and its founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard are symbolically credited with “founding” Silicon Valley. HP is #10 on the list, with a $52.87 billion. Not the largest, but not the smallest either. Without a doubt, HP had a cultural impact that continues to affect us all.

The Not-So-Certain Successes

The thing about startups is that even when you’re successful you could still fail.

Yahoo, eBay, Groupon, and Zynga all made the top 20 greatest startups of all time, yet many question the stability of any of these companies. Oh, they’re all hanging in there, and no one should count them out yet. But each of these companies has big obstacles to ensure ultimate success.

Yet, like HP, few would argue the impact each has had on culture, and that coupled with still-high market caps–puts them on the list.

Who’s Missing?

So, what do you think? Is this list of the 20 greatest startups of all time accurate? Who did we miss, or who shouldn’t be on there?

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Where to Find the Startup Billionaires…in an Infographic


We all know the dream. A few crazy years of startup life is nothing compared to the fame and prestige of a successful IPO. Oh, and the money. Let’s not forget the money!

In Forbes’ global billionaire list last year, 33% of the top 500 were Americans, and 16 of those are our golden boys. (Yup, all men, unfortunately.)

But, which companies have minted the most billionaires over the years? While the wealth was relatively spread out among the companies you would expect, there were three big winners with 3 billionaires each:

  • Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg ($13.3B), Dustin Moskovitz ($3.8B), and, theoretically, Eduardo Saverin ($4B)
  • Microsoft: Bill Gates ($67B), Steve Ballmer ($15.2B), and Paul Allen ($15B)
  • Google: Larry Page ($23B), Sergey Bring ($22.8B), and Eric Schmidt ($8.2B)

Do  you think Larry and Sergey sit in their offices and argue over that .2 billion while they plot their next world takeover?

Where are the Twitter guys, you ask? The Forbes data was published before the IPO late last year, but Biz Stone was the only founder to become a billionaire from it.

The moral of the story? Sure, there are billions to be made in tech startups. The percentage of people that get there is pretty low, but if you’re reading this you’re probably a startup founder. You like long odds.

Check out the infographic below from for the full story on who made what and when from the world’s biggest tech companies.

Startup Billionaires


How You Can Deliver Great Customer Service–For Free

We all know the Zappos story. Selling shoes online isn’t particularly sexy, but Zappos really made their business about customer service. They treated the customer like royalty with great customer service, quick returns, and surprise gifts like free shipping. Zappos built a legacy doing business this way.

But what does that really matter to the average young startup? You probably feel like you don’t have the time, energy, or money to deliver excellent customer service. Good enough is usually good enough.

Not so fast. While we all know customer service is important, you may be missing exactly how important it is. Customers who are emotionally connected to your brand are:

  • 300% more likely to recommend you (and their friends are more likely to use a recommended product)
  • 300% more likely to become a repeat customer
  • 44% less likely to shop around
  • 33% less price sensitive, meaning they’ll pay a little more for your awesome customer service

So, how can you maximize your customer service? It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Simply connect with them. Put customers at the forefront of everything  you do, and really–no, really!–listen to what they’re saying.

The best customer service is a good product, of course. But if you’re willing to go above and beyond to serve them, you may find yourself quickly outpacing the competition.

Check out Neil Patel‘s infographic of great customer service below.


How to connect with your customers
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

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10 Disruptive Entrepreneurs of 2013 (Infographic)

We’re all suckers for the “disruptive entrepreneur” story. We love to hear about the hard-headed CEO that upended entire industries and changed the way we do business. And, secretly, many of us hope to be that founder some day.

But, what exactly makes a founder disruptive? The guys at used the Gartner Magic Quadrant to rate several companies that broke out in 2013. For a full run down of what they found, click through to the original infographic.

For our purposes, what we loved about this infographic is that of the 10 companies featured, 5 were not based in Silicon Valley and a 6th had offices in New York as well as the Valley.

Rent the Runway is a New York-based startup that rents designer dresses at a fraction of the cost of purchase. The company is useful for weddings and other big events, but the big opportunity could be the magical night every high school dreams of: prom. No more off-the-rack department store dresses for the fashionable 16-year-old.

99 Dresses is also a fashion startup, this one based in Sydney. They aim to help shopaholics purge their closets, but still get their shopping fix by perusing other users’ trades.

Ninja Blocks, also based in Sydney, is getting in front of the “Internet of things.” The product makes it easy to connect all those connected devices, without special installation or coding knowledge.

DuckDuckGo got quite a bit of press when the Edward Snowden/PRISM story broke. The Philadelphia startup boasts a search engine that really does protect your privacy. Now that is disruptive!

Thumb is a social voting app based in New York City. It has an interesting B2B component that could help brands execute quick customer discovery.

Now, granted, the sample is fairly random, and there are lots of disruptive Silicon Valley startups. Still, it’s encouraging for entrepreneurs to remember that great, disruptive startups are being built outside the Valley every day.

Check out the infographic below for more information on the 10 disruptive founders from 2013.

 Disruptive Entrepreneurs
Image compliments of Computer Science Degree Hub

Startup Dirty Laundry: Why Cofounders Fight (Infographic)

Common wisdom is that starting up with a team is better than going it alone. Many accelerators and VCs won’t even talk to first time entrepreneurs who haven’t built a team. There are just too many responsibilities for one person to reasonably handle, especially their first time around.

A great team of cofounders really can make for an awesome startup journey. Good partners share the work load and the stress. That means they understand where you’re coming from when the stress gets to be too much, and they can help encourage you. Along the same lines, there’s nothing better than celebrating success with the people who helped you get there.

On the other hand, two or more passionate people, stuck together with little money and lots of stress? Even marriages crumble in that situation, and the cofounder relationship can also go sour if disagreements aren’t handled responsibly. In fact, according to this Funders and Founders infographic, 62% of companies fail because of conflict on the founding team.

Some of the arguments outlined here are pretty silly. “Who’s going to clean up the pizza?” “I work more than you?” Please. As for the first, just grow up and clean your own mess. And working hard? If you’re worried about how much your partner is working, you may have picked the wrong cofounder.

There are plenty of real fights that come up, though. Discussions about equity can be volatile, but Funders and Founders recommend splitting everything equally and moving on.

And what about work/life balance? Startups can be all-consuming, not just because of the amount of work there is to do, but because if you’re doing it right, you also love the work. Funders and Founders suggests that there should be nothing outside of the company, but we disagree. It’s understood that people do other things, and your company will be better if you recharge every now and then. Communicating openly with your team about other commitments will make this issue a lot easier to navigate.

And what about the size of the founding team? Statistically, two person teams are the most successful. (Good news for the Nibletz team!)

Check out the rest of the infographic below.

fights cofounders have

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Top 10 Fundraising Fails (Infographic)


There are a lot of startups these days. With the explosion of accelerators, more and more companies secure seed funding, which helps them build out their products and business models. After that initial small investment is done, though, it’s time to raise the real money.

We all know this song and dance: raising capital is hard. It’s hard no matter who you are or what your company is doing. (Well, okay. If Mark Zuckerberg ever wanted to start another company, he probably wouldn’t hurt for investors.)

For most of us, though, raising funds is hard work. So, it’s probably a good idea for founders not to make rookie mistakes that will hurt their chances even more. How does the rookie founder avoid rookie mistakes, you ask?

The Founder Institute, an early stage accelerator, developed this infographic to outline some of those mistakes. The number 10 mistake is failing to use charts and graphs in your presentation. While this seems like such an unimportant detail, the rise of–well–infographics shows us that visually displaying data is important. In the case of investors, who may be unfamiliar with your industry, these charts and graphs can help them easily grasp your points.

Another mistake is not connecting the financials to your story. This happens a lot in demo day presentations. A founder is humming right along, drawing the audience in with a compelling story. Then, boom, out of nowhere they’re talking money. Weaving that information into your story is crucial to keeping everyone engaged.

The number one rookie fundraising mistake? Projecting $1 billion in revenue for year 5. Founders throw out big numbers like this because they think investors like to hear it. Investors do like big numbers, but they also prefer projections to be somewhat realistic. To put it in perspective, eight years after founding Twitter has yet to reach $1 billion in revenue. Facebook did it in 6 years. Google did it in 5 years, but if you’re the next Google, fundraising shouldn’t be too difficult anyway.

Check out the infographic for the whole top 10 fundraising fails:


The Founder’s Dictionary: Buzzwords For Every Entrepreneur

There’s a secret language in the startup world. Once you become a founder, words that have no meaning to your regular friends suddenly mean everything to you.

When I first got stuck involved in the startup world, it was months before I had the courage to ask someone what the hell a VC was. I kept thinking it would be awesome if there was some kind of dictionary for this stuff. A cool one, you know, with great design and in an app.

Well, the infographic below is not that resource. Nope, the folks at Udemy and Column Five Media took a much lighter look at startup vernacular here. We all need to take ourselves a little less seriously, and after reading this, I bet you’ll never throw these buzzwords around without giggling a little.

For example, you thought an “angel” was an early stage investor, right? Wrong. Angels are actually the spirits of deceased founders and CEOs who may or may not dwell in the water cooler.

Or, for those of you so impressed with your iteration…turns out an iteration is really just the same product with a number after the name. I.e. iPhone5 whatever.

Check out the whole infographic below for a lighthearted look at the world we’re all living in.



The Founder
by Column Five Media.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


Inside the Investor’s Mind (Infographic)

Without a doubt, Funders and Founders is one of the best places to find startup infographics. Anna Vital has some beautiful graphics that are both inspirational and/or educational.

This one caught my eye as I was perusing the site last night. The inner workings of an investor’s mind are often a mystery to first time founders. What exactly do you need to prove to get investment? What is the investor judging you on, as you nervously ask him or her for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The answer, as this infographic shows, is, “A lot.” There are a million things that go into an investor’s decision to put money into your company. Some things you can control, like the size of your team and the quality of your product. Some things you have no real ability to forecast yet. How many rounds will you need to build your company, and how much will that dilute the original investor’s return?

However, many times the things that are complicated are also simple. What is an investor looking for when he or she is introduced to your company? SoftTech VC Managing Parnter Jeff Clavier summed it up in the “3 Asses Rule”: smart ass team, kick ass product, and big ass market.

Of course, you really can’t know everything an investor is thinking. Even the graphic below is only the thought process of one particular VC. Still, it’s a safe bet that if you’re following the “3 Asses Rule,” it won’t be too hard to raise some capital.

*Infographic from Funders and Founders.

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

How Startup Valuation Works In An Infographic


If you were to ask 10 different startup founders how valuation works or how they got their valuation, you would probably end up with 10 extremely different answers. And all 10 of them probably backed by some bit of logic. As confusing at it is, valuation is probably the most important data for any startup.

Valuation is important because it determines the share of the company they have to give away to an investor in exchange for money.

“Say you are looking for a seed investment of around $100, 000 in exchange for about 10% of your company. Typical deal. Your pre-money valuation will be $1 million. This however, does not mean that your company is worth $1 million now. You probably could not sell it for that amount. Valuation at the early stages is a lot about the growth potential, as opposed to the present value.” Funders and Founders wrote on their blog.

In talking with startups everyday we hear so many different valuations. We talked  with a founder with an iPhone app that hadn’t even hit the market. They had no users, no customers, and no early funding, yet they told us they were looking at a post money valuation of $10,000,000. We’ve also seen startups that had thousands of users, legitimate press traction, and small seed rounds raised value themselves at $1 million dollars.

The infographic below from sheds some light on valuation and how to measure a company’s potential.

The infographic details the valuation process from early stage, through scaling stage, and then through exit.

valuation, funding, startups, startup tips, infographic