YES!!! Denver Hutt To Speak At Everywhere Else Cincinnati

Denver Hutt, Everywhere Else Cincinnati, startups, Bad Ass Startup Chicks

Denver Hutt (center) surrounded by entrepreneurs. (photo: Facebook)

We’ve got some great news to report this Friday morning! Indianapolis bad ass startup chick Denver Hutt says she’s feeling up to speaking in a couple of weeks at Everywhere Else Cincinnati.

Hutt is a true startup champion. She’s a connector, an entrepreneur, and a startup junkee. The native of Santa Monica, California moved to Indianapolis for college and by choice stayed there to start pursuing her entrepreneurial career, which includes running the Speak Easy startup and coworking space.

She’s been a hustler all of her life right up until, and now through, the point where she was diagnosed with cancer. When (with her permission) we first reported the news back in May the startup world was devastated. Hutt is a person who’s known to go to as many events as she can. She’s a networking machine, and she really gets things done.  Her story also became a lesson for entrepreneurs with the go-go-go lifestyle to take a minute to take care of ourselves.

Prior to this news Hutt was one of the first women featured in our Bad Ass Startup Chicks spotlight.

While Denver is putting up a tremendous fight, the way only a die hard entrepreneur could, she’s unfortunately not out of the woods just yet. Fortunately for us though she’s well enough to make the trek from Indianapolis to Cincinnati for Everywhere Else! She is looking forward to reconnecting with many people that she met at our Memphis conference back in February.

We ran a follow up piece in August and challenged Denver to make it to the conference.We’re so glad she’s accepting the challenge!

What? You don’t have your Startup Avenue booth or Attendee ticket yet? Get them below.

 

 

Chicago Startup Dabble Trying To Save Itself With Honesty

Dabble, Women owned startup, Chicago startup, startup failure

Dabble is a great Chicago-based startup that’s trying to serve as a marketplace for people to take specialty classes on anything from guitar playing to bridge playing to designing websites. The market place for this kind of startup is getting kind of crowded, but the two women behind the wheel, Erin Hopmann and Jess Lybeck are doing whatever they can to chug along.

In all fairness Dabble is doing a little better than just dabbling. Mashable reports that they’ve raised $500,000 in two angel rounds. They’ve received a bunch of good press locally and regionally. In fact they are often compared to other startups with similar ideas as one of the first to market.  Add to that the fact that they are on pace to double sales in 2013 and you may be wondering why the need to “save themselves”.

Well at one point, after closing their angel rounds, Hopmann and Lybeck took on a few more employees and salaries for themselves. At this point they’ve cut back down from 7 employees to 3 and also stopped taking a salary. It would seem sales aren’t sustaining the company and they are looking for another big round of funding to get it over the hump.

So they’ve decided to try something a little different. Both Hopmann and Lybeck are penning a blog called “30 Days of Honesty.”  “What do you do when you’re struggling with a company you love” is the headline at the top of their blog. In it they talk about the trials and problems they are going through right now as they run out of runway.

The hope is to help other entrepreneurs, and at the same time maybe find that special investment that will get them to the next level.

The women told Mashable that they’ve already received responses from customers who offered to pay more to keep the startup afloat. Other entrepreneurs have written in with encouragement, ideas, and words of wisdom, and they also just set up an appointment with an investor who had read the blog.

Today (September 10th) marks day 16 of their quest.

What comes next? Hoppmann says she may have to find work if the company doesn’t turn around. “If it’s a month from now, and there’s not some hope for taking pay out of Dabble by the end of the year, I will go and seek out something that is a source of income,” she said in the interview

They aren’t the first ones to talk about a startup failing. There was an anonymous Tumblr called “My Startup Has 30 days to Live,”  and even our good friends at WorkForPie penned a thought provoking post as they were running out of runway earlier this summer.

What happens next for Dabble? You can keep up with their plight here. Hopefully they will find both the knowledge and the money they need to continue. If not, hopefully they’ll dust themselves off and start again.

What’s it like to fail? Lucas Rayala, the founder of Minnesota startup Altsie, who chronicled the failure of his startup in TechCrunch will speak on that topic at Everywhere Else Cincinnati.

Juggling Motherhood And Entrepreneurship

Female Founders, Guest Post, YEC, startupAs a young entrepreneur, your business is likely to take over your life. Never mind the 9-to-5, being captain of your own ship can be more like 9-to-9. But then you didn’t start your own business because you were afraid of hard work, did you?

As a business owner who always has a multitude of projects going, is location independent (i.e.: a lifestyle of almost permanent travel) and as the mother of a toddler, I know what it’s like to be juggling too many balls. If I’ve learned anything about how to get things done and be happy with what you’ve achieved, it’s this:

Learn to leverage time zone differences
As a location independent entrepreneur – or if you work with clients, customers and partners in different parts of the world – time zones can leave you scrambling to catch up with clients and customers at odd times of the day and night but they can also be used to your advantage:

  • Set project deadlines to take advantage of the fact that your clients may well be sleeping, leaving you to get ahead with your work.
  • Process emails at a time when you know your clients have finished for the day so you won’t get an influx of new ones as soon as you clear your inbox.
  • Send work that needs feedback when your clients are starting the day so they can have it ready for when you start yours.

Instead of seeing it as a tricky challenge, there are plenty of ways you can turn working with global clients in different time zones to your advantage.

Perfectionism is over-rated
Motherhood has taught me that “good enough” is good enough. It can be very easy to spend (waste) time getting everything so that you’re 110 percent happy with it. Your website needs a few more tweaks. That proposal needs to be refined some more. That product needs a bit more testing.

But when you are pushed for time – which you usually are as a nomadic, entrepreneurial mother – good enough has to do. That extra five percent  that you know wasn’t done? No-one else is likely to notice it’s not there, they probably won’t know it was even meant to be there. Get used to shipping things that are good enough, gather feedback and then perfect.

Follow your own path
As a young entrepreneur, you no doubt have lots of people giving you advice. You’ll read columns like this, soak in the advice of people you respect and try to emulate the success and approach of those you admire.

Don’t.

The only way you’ll find true success is to follow your own path. What worked for others might work for you or it might fail. What someone else says you should do might be a good fit or it might totally bomb. Nobody knows better or is as passionate about your business as you are. And nobody knows you, better than you do.

What you try might not always work out. But what you learn from those mistakes and failures will be key insights into what will work for you next time. If you look around at the people whose success you admire, you’ll probably notice a common trait: they did things their way, no matter what anyone else advised. Be bold and do the same.

Use your hidden strengths
You’re young, you have energy, you have time on your side. Obvious, yes? But have you realized that these are real strengths you can leverage as a young entrepreneur?

Before becoming a parent, I wish I’d known how difficult it is to juggle parenthood with being a business owner; never mind living a life of travel to boot. I often wonder what I did when I had all day to write a single blog post and didn’t manage it. I look back at what I’ve achieved since being a mother and realize how much I could have achieved before I had the parental responsibility , and didn’t.

You can work twice as hard, fail twice as fast, and learn twice as many times as entrepreneurs older (and supposedly wiser) than you can, and you’ll probably still be under 30 with all of that experience under your belt. If you’re not a parent or you have fewer responsibilities than some of your peers and competitors, use this as a competitive advantage – when the time comes, you’ll be glad you did.

As a young entrepreneur, if you can get good at getting things done early on in your business no matter what pressures or responsibilities you face, you’ll already be ahead of the game. Make it your goal to stay that way.

Online entrepreneur, community builder and digital publisher, Lea Woodward is the founder of Kinetiva – an organization dedicated to helping people with a natural talent create a sustainable business from their talent.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

We’re looking for a few good female founders!

Nominate Your Favorite Female Speaker for Everywhere Else Cincinnati

Everywhere Else Cincinnati, EECincy, Female Founder, Startup Chicks, SpeakersEverywhere Else Cincinnati is fast approaching, and the Nibletz team is working like crazy to make it the best event everywhere else. We’ve already announced tons of speakers, and we have even more waiting for unveiling.

But, we want YOU to be involved, too! We need to know who you want to hear speak at Everywhere Else Cincinnati. Fill out our quick survey, and we’ll send personal invitations to the fan favorites.

Here at Nibletz, we love to celebrate women starting up. We have our Bad-Ass Startup Chick series that highlights awesome women starting awesome companies. At our Memphis event, the Kick Ass Female Founders panel was one of the most popular. In fact, women swept the pitch contests at the Everywhere Else Memphis conference.

Female founders face unique challenges, and the best ones do it with so much grace, you’d never know starting up was hard. They have amazing stories that entrepreneurs–male and female–can learn from. And we want to make sure our Everywhere Else Cincinnati attendees are getting the best in-the-trenches stories possible.

That’s why your input is so important to us. The survey is super-quick (2 questions!), and you can make sure the best women get a prime spot in our lineup.

So, let us know: which women should we invite to Everywhere Else Cincinnati?

By the way, after you nominate your favorite women speakers, make sure to get your early bird ticket. We’re selling out fast!

 

Jordanian Woman Builds Top-Notch Foodie Site

Jordanian startup, woman owned startup, startup interviewNadia Shomali started her company for the same reasons a lot of entrepreneurs do. She had a problem and built her own solution. She originally intended to only use the site herself and share it with her friends. She had no idea how many other people needed a food collection site! As the popularity grew among her friends and acquaintances, Shomali realized she may have a business on her hands.

Foodlve.com is a fully integrated site for foodies. Shomali describes it as merging all the most important features:

  • Google for food
  • Pinterest for food
  • Tumblr for food
  • Store for food…
  • All in one account.

On the Oasis500 website, the company says they “provide the opportunity to learn, add, and promote everything about food in a fun and interactive environment. Our users have access to informative articles, interesting recipes, engaging videos, and so much more.”

nadia

Shomali at Oasis500 training

Drawing on 12 years of experience in web design, development, and marketing, Shomali built the original version herself. Now, she leads at team of 9 as they continue to improve and market the site.

Although Shomali started foodlve.com on her own, she credits Amman-based incubator Oasis500 with much of her team’s success.

“Through Oasis500 we could get the angel investments, the support, and the weekly mentorship meetings that helped to create a very strong business model,” she says.

Oasis500 is the first early stage/seed investment company in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. They hold boot camps around the region and invite the most promising companies to incubate at their Amman headquarters. The invitation includes capital, access to other angels, and mentoring. The company big vision is to launch 500 startups in the MENA region in the next 5 years.

Foodlve.com is one of those companies. Four months into their incubation, they’ve brought on additional investment from Leap Ventures. Shomali was also very proud to share that in those 4 months, they’ve also reached 4 million page views a month.

We talk about female entrepreneurs a lot at Nibletz. I was curious to know if starting up as a woman in a predominantly Muslim country was any different than a woman starting up in the US.

When I asked, though, Shomali–who is a Christian–had answers very similar to the women I’ve talked to stateside: It’s challenging to start up as a mother (she has twin 3-year-old girls), but her husband and family are very supportive. That answer could have been taken from one of my own on the subject!

Shomali and her team aren’t slowing down, though. With the growing popularity of their current site, they are looking to launch a new one called karazak.com. The version of foodlve.com will focus on the Middle East only, and Shomali describes it as an Arabic Pinterest.

There is a growing wave of entrepreneurship in the MENA region. With woman like Nadia Shomali and the foodlve.com team, the future is looking bright.

Check out foodlve.com and, if you speak Arabic, the new karazak.com, which is coming soon.

EECincyBanner

Back to Basics: How Online Content Can Drive Business Sales

Each month, companies introduce hundreds of new tools to help business owners attract traffic online and generate leads and sales. Some business owners spend an incredible amount of time and money buying and learning how to use these tools, only to achieve mediocre results. Fortunately, one tried and true strategy — content marketing — remains a simple way to attract the targeted traffic you need to grow your business.

Sarah Ware, content marketing, startup tips, Markerly

What is Content Marketing?

Simply put, content marketing is the process of crafting and publishing engaging, useful content that your prospects want to read.

In most cases, the content is not an advertorial designed to sell your services or products, but an article or post designed to build visitor interest and keep readers coming back to your site. By publishing content that is useful for your readers, you can build a sense of trust that makes visitors want to buy from you.

whale2

For content marketing, trust is everything.

Advertising through content campaigns can take several forms. One of the simplest ways to distribute articles and other content is by publishing these pieces on your business website or blog. You can distribute press releases to hundreds of free and paid sites to tell potential customers about news, product launches, and other information related to your business or industry.

You can also promote and distribute content via social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. This gives you the added advantage of social distribution because people who see value in your content will naturally want to share your posts with their friends, family members, and business associates.

How Can Content Marketing Help Your Business?

Learning how to advertise through content offers several advantages that can help you build online visibility and attract new customers to your business:

  • Well-crafted content can help your site and blog pages appear prominently in search engine listings. When you write and publish exceptional content that provides information relevant to your business and target audience, search engines will likely place high value on your content pages. This means that they might appear on the first page of results for a particular search instead of being buried beneath thousands of other page listings. Of course, in order to rank high, you need to focus on one or two keywords that are relevant to your content. Resources such as the Content Marketing Institute can provide you with valuable information on crafting content and including keywords.
  • Engaging, useful content helps visitors perceive you as an expert in your industry. Helping people improve their lives through online content builds trust while establishing you as the “go to” authority to meet their needs. As a result, when it comes time to make a purchasing decision, your company becomes the obvious choice.
  • You can use content as the start of a “sales funnel” that naturally leads visitors to a purchasing decision. As noted above, your content should not be overtly promotional; however, skilled copywriters can weave in phrases and subtle “calls to action” that can motivate readers to take an additional step, such as signing up for an email newsletter, requesting product information, or attending a free webinar. You can also use tools like HubSpot to help you manage your sales funnel so you can more effectively guide prospects through the sales process.

Getting started with Hubspot:

hubspot1

 

Hubspot is an automation tool that allows the user to preset interactions with customers or site visitors. It starts with interaction. The first step is to draw readers in via social media or email. The next step is directing that traffic to the website or blog. The last step is to organize visitors for further actions. Hubspot isn’t alone in using this traffic flow. This is just how the cogs of content marketing turn.

hubspot2

 

Hubspot automates the process of sending emails, analyzing customers, and adding delays. The actual interface looks something like the screenshot above.

  • Online content can give you valuable information about your visitors. By inviting interaction via blog comments, social media posts, and feedback forms, you can learn about your potential customers’ needs and wants. If you provide them with valuable content, they will be happy to share their thoughts, opinions, and suggestions. You can also use analytical tools such as KISSmetrics and Markerly in conjunction with content marketing to learn even more about your visitors and prospects.

Getting started with Markerly:

markerly1

 

Markerly provides brands with detailed reporting on how different demographics engaged with different bloggers, quotes and photos. Markerly helps brands discover what is and isn’t working with their content campaigns, and uses that data to turn content viral.

Getting started with Kissmetrics:

kissmetrics-1

Kissmetrics allows users to get in-depth data on the customer. It looks something like this. It keeps track of how often the customer visits, what they buy, how much they spend, as well as activity before and after they signed up.

How Can You Help People Find Your Content?

In addition to social media posts and search engine listings, you can use a variety of other strategies to help visitors find your marketing content. You can add your blog to a directory such as BlogHer to put your content in front of interested readers. If you have time, you can increase visibility by writing guest posts for relevant blogs and websites. Also, visiting similar blogs and leaving thoughtful, relevant posts can attract potential customers to your site.

Getting started with BlogHer:

 blogher1

 

BlogHer is a specialty directory that helps get blogs written by women out into cyberspace. Interested contributors simply have to meet the guidelines, apply, and get listed. Some of the guidelines include a 30 day old blog, written by a woman or a group of women, or certain exceptions for interested men. Choosing an applicable niche is a great way to get your blog out there.

Content marketing is not a shortcut to success. In order to make this strategy successful, you should commit to consistently publishing well-written, insightful articles and posts. There is no “magic button” for attracting traffic; however, content marketing is among the most reliable strategies available.

Markerly makes publishing tools that we’ve proudly been using since their alpha stage over a year ago. Right click on anything on Nibletz and watch Markerly go to work. For more info visit markerly.com

Why Brands are spending $43 billion on stories this year, and you should too!

EECincyBanner

Memphis Woman Led Startup MentorMe Headed West for A NewMe

MentorMe, Brittany Fitzpatrick, NewMe Accelerator, Memphis startup

Last year, just before Christmas we got a chance to help with the Upstart 48 Hour Launch event in Memphis, Tennessee. This event, like Startup Weekend events, was a weekend-long startup building hackathon with a twist. The twist? It was for women-led startup projects only.

We saw several great startups. Some are still going strong, and we even met our employee #1 at that event.  Danielle Inez’ Pink Robin Avenue ended up winning the weekend competition and a free booth at Everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference. Another great startup we saw was Mentor.Me, or just MentorMe now.

While the startup, led by Memphis woman Brittany Fitzpatrick, didn’t win the competition, Fitzpatrick immediately turned on her entrepreneurial prowess and before the end of the evening she had crowdfunded, in person, her own booth for the conference.  That showed what kind of passionate, hardworking entrepreneur Fitzpatrick really is.

MentorMe is a matching service for mentors and mentee’s, kind of like “match.com for mentors.” Fitzpatrick has a strong background in mentorship and quickly discovered that mentor/mentee mismatch was a huge problem nationwide.

Fitzpatrick ended up quitting her job at Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charities and going all in with her startup. She went through the spring session at the Memphis-based Seed Hatchery accelerator and continued to grind.

Marston-1Last month Fitzpatrick participated in the NewMe Pop-Up accelerator in Memphis, where her startup MentorMe came in 3rd place.   That win also got her a spot in the NewMe accelerator program in Silicon Valley, which starts next week.

NewMe is an invite-only 12-week accelerator for technology startups led by underrepresented minorities. Private investment firm CB Insights reported in 2010 that African Americans represented just 1 percent of Internet company founders nationally. Furthermore, although women represent more than 50% of the U.S. population, they represent only 35 percent of those launching their own ventures.

“As an African-American woman and a tech startup founder, I am always happy to align myself with efforts to change the ratio so that we can create a startup community that is more reflective of the diversity we see in the community-at-large,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement.

“From upstart 48 hour launch last winter, through Seed Hatchery I’ve had the privilege of seeing both Mentor.me and Brittany grow from idea to full fledged startup. Brittany quit her day job, dug in, and made this opportunity happen for her. We’ll miss her for the few months while she’s out west for the NewMe Accelerator, but we’re looking forward to her coming back home to Memphis and being another success story for the Memphis startup ecosystem,” Seed Hatchery Managing Director Eric Mathews told Nibletz.

Find out more about MentorMe here at getmentorme.com

EECincyBanner

Why Brands Are Spending $43 Billion On Stories This Year–And You Should Too

Did you know that 90% of consumers find custom content useful, and that 7 in 10 consumers prefer content campaigns over display advertising? That’s why it’s so important to focus on a content strategy – it builds trust and relationships with your customers.

Even though content campaigns have many shapes and sizes, the main goal is the same — attracting customers to you through quality content. Over at Markerly, we call them STORIES.

Markerly, Sarah Ware, Guest Post, startup tips

Why STORIES are Important

S EO. Stories build your SEO. The more content that you have out there, the higher the chance that Google will feature you.

TRUST.  Stories build trust with your audience. Educate your potential customers instead of being overly sales-y.

ORGANIC. Incorporating a pull strategy to attract customers to you, instead of a push strategy attracts customers more organically.

RETARGET. When you use Markerly for your content campaigns, you will target niche audiences that are most likely to engage with your content. If you want to target married women who live on the West Coast that are into fashion, we can run a retargeting campaign to that specific audience.

INSIGHTS.  Another benefit of using Markerly for your content campaigns is the ability to run polling within the content. While running your campaign, you can ask the readers questions about your brand and we can collect emails and demographic information .

EVERGREEN. Unlike display ads, content never disappears from the web–it’s always there, searchable, and improving your SEO and thought leadership.

SOCIAL. You’re not going to share a display ad, but you will share a thoughtfully written post.

STORIES and Your Brand

STORIES are the most organic and effective way to build your brand online, and that’s why over 43 billion dollars have been spent on content marketing this year alone! Whether you are already advertising through content, or you are exploring your brand’s options, you’re in good company. Over 39% of marketing, advertising and communications budgets are dedicated to content marketing.

Taking the time to incorporate a pull strategy to attract customers to you through quality content instead of the generic push strategy (spraying ads out that add no value) is the future of advertising and already yields better results and conversion rates. We’re excited that more and more brands are moving towards STORIES so that they can improve their ROI and take their market insights to another level.

Markerly makes publishing tools that we’ve proudly been using since their alpha stage over a year ago. Right click on anything on Nibletz and watch Markerly go to work. For more info visit markerly.com

 

Stopped.At Launches In Super-Super-Beta

stopped.at, startup,, startup launchAs the Entrepreneur-In-Residence of the new Upstart Accelerator in Memphis, Mara Lewis has spent the last week telling women to just do it. Women have to fight perfectionism, and if they try to make a product perfect before it launches, it’ll never launch.

“You iterate. You put it out there. It can’t be pretty. If you wait until it’s perfect, you’ve waited too long.”

Lewis’s co-founders back in California were shocked when she took her own advice and made the announcement about their own product: Launch it. Put it live.

And that will forever be the story of stopped.at’s launch into the world. But, of course, it really isn’t the beginning. The beginning happened two years ago when Lewis and her team pivoted their old “Foursquare for the Web” site and began formulating stopped.at.

In the last two years, they have perfected an algorithm similar to Pandora. A user signs up for stopped.at, drags the bookmarklet to their browser, and goes about their business. As they use the web, they “check in” on each site via the bookmarklet. Over time, stopped.at’s algorithm will begin to read the traits of the websites a user visits. Then, it suggests new sites, apps, or services the user might be interested in.

Stopped.at has all the features we love about social sites. You can connect it with your Facebook or Twitter account and you can follow friends. There’s also a rewards system. For each task you do, you earn rewards, which you can then redeem for prizes.

They also have “folders,” similar to boards on Pinterest. Using the folders it’s easy to create collections of the websites, apps, and services you use every day. Then your friends can browse your folders and discover their next must-have app or website. This feature is the one stopped.at’s team is most interested in testing during beta. They want to know if and how people will use them and if they are a good value for the site.

Right now stopped.at is only available on the web. “One regret is,” Lewis admitted with a sigh, “at the time, I wish we had done mobile-first. But, we know it, and we recognize it, and it’s top of our priority list.” Since more than half of American adults use their smartphones to browse the Internet, stopped.at will probably see a lot of growth when they launch on mobile.

The team hopes to launch out of its “super-super-beta” at the end of August, and the goal is to have 50,000 monthly users by October.

Lewis has been at the entrepreneurial game for a long time. This is her third company, and this version of stopped.at has been in production for 2 years. Kyle ran into Lewis during SXSW this year, where she pitched in the Dolphin Tank.

Those of us in the tech world could find stopped.at to be the perfect engine to discovering the best apps and websites out there. Join the public beta and let the team know what you think.

 

I’m Up All Night To GetLusty, Check Out This Chicago Startup

GetLusty, Erica Grigg, Chicago Startup, Chicago TechWeek, Sex Startup

“End Boring Sex”

That’s the motto of Chicago startup GetLusty. GetLusty is an online platform geared towards married couples and couples in long term relationships. “Sometimes the lust just runs out, and you’re still very much in love,” founder Erica Grigg told us at Chicago TechWeek.

Grigg, who previously founded a digital agency, started GetLusty after the lust in her marriage died out. She’s not ashamed to let people know that her and her husband’s sex life had become repetitive and it was the same thing every time.

The Ladies Home Journal reports that Grigg’s sex life dried up because she and her husband couldn’t communicate properly about it. “She was too nervous to explore what turned her on, and her husband was equally dudly (not studly) in his inability to reassure and encourage her,”  wrote Amy Keyishian writer for the  Ladies Home Journal.

GetLusty is a well thought out, professional web platform. It features over 800 articles on how to improve your sex life. They also have a marketplace with hand selected merchants and a guide to curated, safe events. Nothing about the GetLusty website screams PORN.  The content focuses on areas like: getting better sexual technique, improving communication, date more and date better, increasing adventure and staying healthy.

Grigg is adamant about GetLusty being about couples, to help couples improve their sex lives.

The company launched into beta just in time for Valentine’s Day this year. They were one of 70 startups featured in StarutpCity at Chicago TechWeek. Check out our video interview with Grigg below. Ready to end boring sex? Go to getlusty.com

Check out some more startups from Chicago TechWeek

CTW-INSPILONG

Meet Your Neighbors And Have A Conversation–A Neighborsation

Neighborsations, DC startup, 1776 DC, Woman owned startup, Allison Sheren

Neighborhoods are everywhere; they come in all kinds of shapes, and sizes. It could be a neighborhood in a metropolis like New York City or a neighborhood in Anytown, USA, or around the world. Chances are you live in a neighborhood and can count on one hand the close friends you have in that neighborhood.

Even in the suburbs, neighborly conversations have become rare, never mind neighborly friendships.

Well DC-based entrepreneur Allison Sheren  is hoping to spark conversations between neighbors with her startup Neighborsations.

Through their online community Sheren hopes to take online conversations off line, learn from one another, teach someone something, get to know your neighbors, and build stronger communities.

The website is divided into four categories that any neighbor can relate to; Town Hall (the bulletin board, safety updates, vendor recommendations), Neighbor Favors (need a cup of sugar or to borrow a lawn mower), Neighborhood News, and Block Party.

Currently Neighborsations is only open to neighborhoods in DC, but Sheren sees the value in Neighborsations anywhere and everywhere in the world.

Check out our video interview with Sheren below:

Now read: DC Mayor Vincent Gray celebrates Speek, DC Tech and 1776.

serious

Chicago Startup Project Travel Launches Peerfunding For Students For Educational Travel

ProjectTravel,Chicago Startup,Startup LaunchIt seems that more and more things we did as younger students are making their way to online platforms. Memphis startup Boosterville is disrupting the school fundraiser and bringing it online and to the mobile phone.  Gradfly is helping students manage their online portfolio.  Boston startup Abroad101 is the trip advisor for students studying abroad, and that’s just a few.

Now, a Chicago startup called ProjectTravel has launched their crowdfunding platform to the public.

ProjectTravel allows students that are going on educational trips to crowdfund that trip well beyond their tiny network of local family members who have been left holding the boot.

“We help students take an active role in affording their program when financial aid and scholarships aren’t enough,” said Jennifer Thomas, Project Travel Founder & CEO. “Financial barriers should not block a motivated person from having an educational travel experience.”

Project Travel partners with academic institutions, non-profit and third-party program providers to help more students and program participants go abroad, while directly advising them on how to successfully peer-fund and offering online international education resources. The fundraising platform launched its private beta in January 2013 and has been honing the online experience for travelers in preparation for its public launch. Taking advantage of current web design trends and online crowd-funding best practices, the platform offers a user-friendly way for Project Starters to connect with potential donors and supporters.

 

Thomas has just completed an extensive beta test of the platform and sure enough there is wide interest. Now the “peer funding” site is launched and anyone who is raising money and support for educational travel experience through a school or organization can use the platform. To Project Travel, educational travel includes: studying abroad, volunteering, interning, teaching, service language, language and cultural exchanges and much more.

 

Project Travel vets all of the applicants before their projects show up on the site but they’ve left the criteria incredibly open ended so almost anyone can take advantage of it that has a legitimate educational travel mission planned.

 

You can find out more about Project Travel here. 

 

Check out this other recently launches Chicago travel startup BTSocial, the social network for business travelers.

EEBOTHDiscount

Is The Gender Gap In Women Funded Startups Closing?

We talk about women entrepreneurs and startup founders a lot here at nibletz.com The Voice Of Startups Everywhere Else. Last month at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013, Sequoia’s Aaref Hilaly said that the number one reason for such a big gender gap is that their aren’t enough women engineers.

Dave Tisch on the other hand said that women aren’t treated seriously in VC meetings, saying that this was the biggest bullshit.

Pemo Theodore the founder of Ezebis prepared the infographic below highlighting where women stand in the startup space.. Some of it is still very disturbing.

For instance, their infographic below says that 41.1% of women founders relied on outsider debt to start a business. The data also says that 21% of women entrepreneurs sought angel capital in 2009 and of those only 9.4% were successful. Also in 2009 only 11% of companies that received venture backing, had a female CEO or founder. Perhaps one of the most disturbing thing AlleyWatch found was that only 3% of all people accepted (total) in all of the Y Combinator classes, have been women.

The good news is that since he 1997 census women owned businesses have gone up 50%. In 2011 8.1 million businesses led by women have generated nearly $13 trillion dollars in revenue.

Check out the infographic below:

Womenstartups-infogrpahic

 

This accelerator in Memphis Tennessee, specifically for women founders, extends application deadline through June.

Top 5 Reasons Startup Founders Blow Through Money

Markerly, Sarah Ware, Startup Tips, Guest Post, DC Startup, 500 StartupsThere’s a lot of reasons why companies don’t make it, and sometimes it’s not that the idea or product isn’t good — it’s just that you run out of money. Even though we know that blowing through money is a “bad” thing, I’ve been talking a lot with founders and investors about what “bad” means. What have they noticed as common themes when they sit down with founders that exhausted their money too quickly at the seed stage?  So here are the top 5 reasons startup founders blow through money.

Let me know your thoughts and if this aligns with what you’ve personally seen. What have you regretted spending money on, or what do you roll your eyes at as an investor?

1. “I have a business meeting in Thailand!”

We all know these founders. They travel somewhere new every week. Their meetings take them around the world–frequently. They are always tired and busy from travelling, and they make sure to check-in at every luxurious hotel they stay at.

Why this fails: The desire to pre-maturely live a life of luxury through funding raised for business development extends to other poor choices. It goes — fast.

Understanding this entrepreneur: Typically extroverted and commands control of the room. Works efficiently on little sleep and cares a lot about appearances.

Can benefit by: Making sure that meetings are efficiently scheduled. One entrepreneur told me they combat this by making a “day trip” rule. If the meeting is important enough to fly for the day and return, it’s a go. It helped this entrepreneur cut down on meetings that could be conducted via phone without sacrificing quality.

2. “That’s way too expensive!”

This is another extreme–founders that don’t want to spend anything and opt for cheap solutions…cheap everything. This sends bad signals to clients and investors and often costs the entrepreneur more in the form of lost opportunities.

Why this fails: Some founders are very conservative. They need money in the bank–a cushion. They are risk takers with anxiety and they want to ensure that they get the results that they need for the next raise.

Understanding this entrepreneur: Typically introverted and mathematical. Usually overly conservative in their predictions.

Can benefit by: Giving up some control and working with investors and advisors to create healthy budgets.

3. “It’s a marketing spend!”

We all enjoy celebrating successes of startups for special launches or funding announcements. Sometimes startups plan evenings with open bars and chalk it up to a good use of marketing dollars. Chances are this isn’t the best use. Same can be said for overly-spending on trade shows, fancy promotional videos, or sponsoring an event before the time is right.

Why this fails: Marketing is extremely important, but many startups will exhaust their “marketing spend” without focusing on basic things first — like establishing a healthy blog presence, or discovering ways to become “experts” in a topic by speaking at conferences. If you’re spending money on marketing and you don’t have a blog, you’re doing it backwards.

Understanding this entrepreneur: Typically extroverted and creative and full of ideas. Too focused on big picture instead of steps to get there.

Can benefit by: Forcing themselves to write plans about their spends. Marketing is about ROI, so if you are planning on spending money you need to know what a worthwhile conversion will be for you. Are you looking for customers, users, app downloads? What result will make you happy?

4. “We’re going to hire salespeople!”

A great mentor told me that you only need one salesperson. She didn’t mean literally one – but she meant that you, as a founder, need to be able to sell your product yourself before trying to hire others to sell it for with/for you. Managing a sales team without getting your hands dirty in the sales process only makes you disconnected from your product, and will frustrate future early sales employees.

Why this fails: As a founder you are the product, don’t expect to hire and watch the numbers soar. Your product won’t sell itself unless you sell it first. It doesn’t matter how many sales people you hire if you don’t have the sales process down in the first place.

Understanding this entrepreneur: Typically they don’t have a background in sales and think that hiring sales employees will magically make numbers appear on a sales board. Typically technical, sometimes egotistical.

Can benefit by: Selling the product. That’s all there is here. If the founder is technical and won’t be doing sales, someone on the founding team must be a hustler. Founders are either selling or building. Choose one and do it well.

5. “I’ll never work for anyone, ever!”

This entrepreneur is right out of college. They don’t want to get a job, or can’t last at a job for more than a few months. They have great ideas and plans and want to change the world, but need some reality first. These founders just spend money in all the wrong places for all the wrong reasons, which could be anything from 1-4 mentioned above. Great mentors seem to make or break these types of entrepreneurs.

Why this fails: If you haven’t had a job before you may lack judgement of certain realities and what it really requires to start a business.

Understanding this entrepreneur: Typically driven, these founders need to get broken in a bit before reaching the point of being able to successfully manage others.

Can benefit by: Getting a job and showing that you can work well with others and under the management of others. The goal is to show that you are able to learn and adapt.

Sarah Ware is the co-founder and CEO of Markerly, next generation publisher tools. Markerly is a recent graduate of 500 Startups. Nibletz has used Markerly’s publisher tools since their launch last year. Right click on anything on the site and see the magic happen.

Last year Sarah appeared on Bad Ass Female Founders From Everywhere Else and the “I Survived An Accelerator Panel” hosted by GAN’s Pat Riley,at everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference! Find out more about the next everywhereelse.co here.

EESVDeal1