Below is a list of articles and press releases relating to First State Innovation and our mission.
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July 22, 2014 - Leading Edge Ventures Fund Launched -Leading Edge Ventures I, L.P., announced today the formation of an early stage venture fund. Headquartered in Newark, Delaware, the Fund will make investments in promising early stage companies in Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region. It will also maintain an office in Bethlehem, PA. Leading Edge Ventures will target companies that provide productivity benefits to businesses and consumers in the areas of information technology, healthcare, and other high growth markets.
July 13, 2014 - Do You Call Yourself An Entrepreneur? -When my mom is asked what her sons do, she replies, "My oldest son is a doctor and my youngest son is an entrepreneur. Oh but, he's a successful entrepreneur."
It is now necessary to qualify Entrepreneur because it’s so frequently overused. Since the recession in 2008 the word “Entrepreneur” has more than doubled in usage. It seems everyone is a self-described entrepreneur.
That word is toxic to my ears. Please never call yourself the “E” word.
June 3, 2013 - CVR - The Angel Investor Market in 1st Half of 2012: A Market in Steady Recovery -The angel investor market in Q1,2 2012 showed signs of a continued steady recovery since the market correction in the second half of 2008 and the first half of 2009. Angels continue their appetite for seed and start-up stage investing, with 40% of Q1,2 2012 angel investments in the seed and start-up stage, virtually unchanged from the seed and start-up stage in Q1,2 1011 (39%) and in the full year 2011 (42%). There was, however, a shift to expansion stage financing to 22% of investments in Q1,2 2012 from 13% in Q1,2 2011, indicating that angels are positioning their investments for exits in the coming year. Historically angels have been the major source of seed and start-up capital for entrepreneurs and while this stabilization in seed and start-up investing is an encouraging sign it remains below the pre-2008 peak of 55%, signifying that there remains a need for seed and start-up capital for both new venture formation and job creation. New, first sequence, investments represent 49% of Q1,2 2012 angel activity, unchanged from Q1,2 2011.
June 3, 2013 - Govt. Shouldn't Be in the Accelerator Business -As a co-founder of TechStars, I'm a huge believer in the mentor-driven accelerator model. But I don't think government should be funding these accelerators, nor do I think they need to. A good accelerator can be run in any city in the world for $500,000. Entrepreneurs with a compelling track record and approach should be able to easily raise, or even provide this capital. As evidence of this, there are already hundreds of accelerators in the U.S., without government funding, being run as entrepreneurial ventures for profit by entrepreneurs.
May 13, 2013 - AngelList Commits to Crowdfunding -A site that connects startups and early stage investors, AngelList, is rolling out a long-anticipated equity crowdfunding service to its users this week, according to Chief Executive Naval Ravikant. Dubbed AngelList Invest, the service has been available to a handful of companies, by invitation only, since December 2012. Eighteen startups, including Transcriptic, Double Robotics and Tred, raised $6.7 million in funding commitments from 620 investors, via AngelList during that test period.
May 13, 2013 - Pros and Cons of Joining an Incubator -A startup is a team that searches for a repeatable, scalable and sustainable business model. Incubators can help in this search. But there are some Pros to this and obviously some Cons (red flags to watch out for). This post covers some of the Pros and Cons of joining an Incubator. Resources listed at the end will provide more information on a startup-incubator match-making.
April 29, 2013 - 5 Things You Need to Do to Put Your 1st Funding Round to Best Use -There was a time when investors would rush startups to market, but a shift has taken place during the past 20 years where the pace has slowed a bit. Now I find myself increasingly advising entrepreneurs to avoid putting a product to market before it is truly ready. Seed funding and Series A rounds are intended to help startups tease out their big idea and begin laying the product development groundwork. But it seems best practices for customer validation/product management are being frequently tossed out the window. This is so counter-productive that it will almost certainly place the next funding round at risk and can sink the full enterprise.
April 29, 2013 - Fewer than 100 Tech VC's Left? -The VC shakeout is startling. Venture capitalists have been talking about an industry shakeout since Kozmo.com delivered its last box of doughnuts. New data suggests the decline has been more severe than previously thought, finding fewer than 100 active U.S. VC firms in the technology sector. The numbers come from fund-of-funds manager Flag Capital, and recently were cited in a conference presentation by venture capitalist Mark Suster. Here was Suster's slide:
April 23, 2013 - Recommendations for the 2013 America COMPETES Act Reauthorization -The impending 2013 Reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act affords an opportunity to introduce new or extend effective existing programs and initiatives related to: innovation and technology commercialization; federal institutional reforms to spur innovation; and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and skills. ITIF provides 25 actionable recommendations:
April 1, 2013 - UTA, Kleiner Perkins Launch Technology Accelerator at USC -The Viterbi Startup Garage aims to keep engineering talent in Southern California by providing financial and strategic resources to nurture startups. In a move to stem the technology "brain drain" out of Southern California, United Talent Agency has partnered with the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers to launch a technology accelerator at USC's Viterbi School of Engineering. The Viterbi Startup Garage is a 12-week program that will provide early-stage startup teams with $20,000 in capital, hands-on mentoring and access to investors, as well as working space at the Garage's facility in Marina del Rey.
April 1, 2013 - Great Entrepreneurs - Less Thinking and More Action -I've always said that startups are all about execution. Sometimes I encounter self-proclaimed entrepreneurs who have been "thinking" about a concept for many years, and haven't started yet. Some of these may be visionaries, but none are real entrepreneurs - yet. Richard Branson has started over 400 companies, and is worth about $4.2 billion, so I doubt if he spent too much time thinking about any one of them. Great entrepreneurs live by the principles discussed by Leonard A. Schlesinger, President of Babson College, in his book titled "Action Trumps Everything" which he wrote in conjunction with friends Charlie Kiefer and Paul Brown. In it he explains how the power of entrepreneurial action helps people create what they want in an uncertain world.
March 18, 2013 - AngelList Expands into New Territory | MIT Technology Review -AngelList started as a website for investors looking to connect with fledgling startups and vice versa. Now, three years later, it increasingly looks like an indispensable part of the startup scene—and in recent months it has introduced new features that could give it an even more central role.
The site—a hybrid with functions similar to those of Craigslist, Match.com, and LinkedIn—has become a daily destination for wealthy "angel" and other early-stage investors, as well as for startup companies busy raising funds. Registered investors can see which companies are raising money, follow their updates, view endorsements, and ask for introductions. The platform still favors startups with some reputation—the AngelList team picks companies to feature—but putting this information on the Internet opened up the very early-stage fund-raising process beyond Silicon Valley's insider realms (see "Venture Capital, Disrupted.")
March 18, 2013 - Paul Graham: the best startup ideas come from solving problems | ventureburn -I recently read a great piece by Paul Graham that talked about getting startup ideas. In the well thought out essay about entrepreneurship and the various ways startup ideas have come to some the world’s biggest innovators, Graham finds a central concept at their core: problem solving. Graham is one of the founders of the widely popular YCombinator, a startup incubator that has funded more than 450 startups, including Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, and Reddit in the last seven years. As an investor Graham knows a thing or two about startups and good ideas. He reckons that startup ideas shouldn’t just be ideas for the sake of ideas ...
February 25, 2013 - The VC Industry Is Very, Very Screwed Up -Finding a new partner for a venture firm bears more than a slight resemblance to finding a spouse. While indeed not as essential to life as a spouse, it may well be a person you spend more time with and talk to more than your spouse. It's a high stakes quest. Last April, I set out on such a quest to bring a new partner into our firm, High Peaks Venture Partners. To maximize the chances of success, I decided to make a totally open casting call ...
February 21, 2013 - Making New York a World Class Tech Community -What do Buzzfeed, Foursquare, Etsy, Fab, Gilt, Kickstarter, Makerbot, PaperlessPost, Songza and Tumblr have in common? Like the world’s best pizza pies, they were all made in New York City.
February 4, 2013 - 7 Keys to Positioning Your Competitors to Investors -Every entrepreneur should spend plenty of time thinking about competitors, and how they relate to your business, but you need to be very careful what you say out loud about them to your team, your investors, and your customers. What you say speaks volumes about how you think about your startup, how smart you are, and your personal integrity. Everyone has a view on competitors, so you will likely get some off-the-cuff questions on this subject as well. Here are some common pitfalls or traps to avoid.
February 4, 2013 - Tips For Attracting Equity Investors to Crowdfunding Sites -How do you get people to buy stock in your company on crowd-funding sites? The same way you get them to give money for anything else. As soon as the final rules are hammered out, the JOBS Act will kick in and let small businesses sell equity stakes to big groups of average investors online. It’s a lot like the crowd-funding model sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer, except the backers get shares in the company.
January 7, 2013 - Top 15 Venture Capital Deals of 2012 -This year, many high-profile startups and private companies landed great gobs of cash to help expand or fund new products. E-commerce, cloud, and green energy companies were especially sexy to financiers. Using data that PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association compiled, we took a look at the 15 largest funding rounds of the year to get a better sense of popular trends. While there is an overhyped “Series A crunch” supposedly happening right now, many of these mostly late-stage deals looked great. Note that this data consists of funding that was actually distributed to a company, so previously reported amounts that were committed by firms could differ from this data.
January 7, 2013 - America's Most Competitive Metros Since 2010 -The San Jose metro is adding jobs at a faster clip than any other large metro area in the U.S. since the recession. Houston, Austin, Detroit — and a handful of other metros — have also been stellar performers the last few years. But how much of the job growth in these and other metros can be explained by unique regional factors rather than national trends? To answer that question, EMSI used a standard economic analysis method called shift share, focusing on overall job change from 2010 to 2012.
December 17, 2012 - Blackstone Charitable Foundation Expands Campus Entrepreneurship Platform Bringing "Blackstone Launchpad" to PA -The Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced today that it is bringing Blackstone LaunchPad to Pennsylvania to train Philadelphia's next generation of entrepreneurs. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation's $3 million grant establishes a partnership between the University City Science Center, Temple University and Philadelphia University to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provide university students and alumni with the skills, knowledge, and guidance to transform new ideas into viable companies. The Pennsylvania Blackstone LaunchPad programs are expected to generate some 100 ventures and hundreds of jobs over the next five years.
December 17, 2012 - The Top 15 Accelerator Programs in the US -The beasts over at Tech Cocktail surveyed The US Startup Accelerators field and picked their top 15. Not to sure what they used to measure success, exits, funds raised… But nether the less it looks pretty close to what you would expect.
December 3, 2012 - Why crowdfunding is disruptive to angels, but not to VCs -Six months ago I called the Director of Business Development for a well-respected angel group in California and told him about my company, CircleUp, an equity-based crowdfunding platform that would allow his angels to invest into private companies. He had no interest in talking, saying "our angels wouldn’t be interested in something like this." 30 days later, several of "his" angels invested through our platform (they had heard of CircleUp through word of mouth). As it turned out, his angels loved us because we gave them access to quality dealflow they would not have otherwise seen. Crowdfunding has the potential to dramatically increase the ~$23B Angel investment market in the US and the ~$25-50B informal investing market (basically friends and family).
December 3, 2012 - Why "The Culture of Failure" is Imperative to Startup Communities -My life after graduating from George Washington University in the spring of 2009 began inauspiciously: Like millions of Americans, I was on the front end of what would turn out to be an extended economic recession, with little in the way of opportunity and a deep desire not to move back into my parents' house. To avoid that fate, I decided that I would start my own company — and I would make it work.
November 19, 2012 - 5 Tips for Bootstrappers -I recently wrote about the 12 tips to building successful startup communities. After a recent discussion I had with Steve Blank it made me remember that I had left off one of the most critical factors – a culture of failure.
November 19, 2012 - Roadmap for Stimulating Entrepreneurship -The article is an attempt to draw attention to some important policies that need to be put in place to stimulate an entrepreneurial economy. These are simply some suggestions that could further enhance what the government is currently doing to stimulate the economic growth of the nation by a focused policy on entrepreneurship.
For the culture of entrepreneurship to thrive, to provide the environment where budding entrepreneurs can develop into expanding and innovative enterprises, and to assist those in the informal economy, the polices in place must be focused. It is also a means of highlighting some broad guidance to employers in advocating for policy change.
November 12, 2012 - Angel Investors Do Make Money, Data Shows 2.5x Returns Overall -I began studying angel investing returns about 10 years ago as a result of a problem I couldn't resolve: The investing world seemed certain that angel investors were rubes. Conventional wisdom dictated that they made reckless investments in very early-stage ventures mostly doomed to fail. And whenever they might come close to succeeding, savvy "professional" investors would just swoop in, cram them down, and win the real returns. In addition, angels were up against a selection problem: All the best entrepreneurs and opportunities would naturally gravitate to the best venture capital funds, leaving only the "scraps" for angel investors. So which is it? The best estimate of overall angel investor returns from this data is 2.5 times their investment, though in any one investment the odds of a positive return are less than 50 percent. This is absolutely competitive with venture capital returns.
November 12, 2012 - Convertible Equity – An Idea Whose Time Has Come -In my last company, Advanced Diamond Technologies, there was a time between equity financing rounds when we needed bridge financing. This is very common among young companies. I don't recall now the circumstances under which we needed to raise money quickly, but it has always been the accepted wisdom that if you need to raise money quickly, use a Convertible Note. A Convertible Note is a loan to the company made by investors. In our case we tapped existing investors. To avoid the transaction costs of an equity financing, and to avoid the need to negotiate a valuation on the company with the equity investors, a Convertible Note essentially says the following...
November 5, 2012 - The Uneven Geography of US Economic Growth -Turns out the United States economy grew substantially more slowly than initially estimated between April and June of this year, a torpid 1.3 percent. Lagging growth is not just a short-term problem. America's economic growth has been sluggish since the onset of the Great Recession and even before, so much so that leading economists and commentators like Paul Krugman and PIMCO’s Mohamed El-Erian suggest that America is facing a "lost decade" of economic growth.
November 5, 2012 - The Slow-Motion Collapse of American Entrepreneurship | NewAmerica.net - The experts tell us new business start-ups will save the American economy. So how come there are fewer and fewer of them? "For all its current economic woes," the Economist magazine recently asserted, "America remains a beacon of entrepreneurialism." That idea is at the heart of America's self-image. Both parties celebrate entrepreneurial small business as the fount of innovation and growth. Even if America no longer manufactures its own smartphones or computers, we cling to the idea that American entrepreneurs invent most of the new products and services that matter to the world. Last summer, however, a report by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation exposed a big crack at the base of this widely held belief. "Even before the overall economy started its most recent downturn," the authors noted, the number of business births had already "peaked." Worse, with the onset of the Great Recession these numbers began to "plummet," with the number of new independent employers dropping 27 percent in only three years. This spring Kauffman followed with a second report that was in many ways even more dire.
October 18, 2012 - How to Pay for Services/Employees Using Equity - From Silicon Valley to Peoria, Illinois, cash-strapped startups look for inventive way to finance their business — often handing out equity to employees, consultants, vendors, and other service providers. Its a logical solution. After all, cash may be in short supply, but there's a virtually endless amount of work to be done, from coding and web development, to PR, sales, general operations, or sage advice from an industry veteran. Seen in this light, it seems harmless enough to dole out some paper shares or options to get critical services that will take your business to the next level. And giving equity as compensation can help build loyalty among contractors and consultants, as they now have a truly vested interest in your company's success.
October 18, 2012 - The Cities Where a Paycheck Stretches the Farthest - When we think of places with high salaries, big metro areas like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco are usually the first to spring to mind. Or cities with the biggest concentrations of educated workers, such as Boston. But wages are just one part of the equation — high prices in those East and West Coast cities mean the fat paychecks aren't necessarily getting the locals ahead. When cost of living is factored in, most of the places that boast the highest effective pay turn out to be in the less celebrated and less expensive middle part of the country.
August 13, 2012 - The Decade of the Angel Investor - This decade will be remembered as the decade of the angel investor, said Paul Singh, partner in 500 Startups. He spoke to a gathering of angel investors and startup founders at Capital Factory in Austin Thursday night. "The number one mistake angels make is that they take the entire round," Singh said. "One of the things we have to think about today is are we going to be the only suckers in the deal." Angel investors who put money into 20 deals have the greatest chance of getting multiple returns on their investment, Singh said. "You will make the most multiples on your initial check,” said Singh. “But you will make the most absolute returns on your second one."
August 13, 2012 - Before Your Start-Up Goes to Boot Camp, Read This - Start-up founders increasingly turn to incubators and accelerators–like the pioneering TechStars, Y Combinator, 500 Startups or the Founder Institute–to boost their visibility and productivity in their early days. An acceptance to one of these programs should give them cause for celebration. But after merriment and libations, they really need to get prepared, says David Cohen, founder of TechStars. If they don’t, they risk losing out on the many benefits provided by such programs, like face time with heavy hitters in tech and venture capital.
August 6, 2012 - Who Are the Most Active Investors in Medical Devices? - A look at the 6 most active angel investors for start-up medical device companies. If you're a startup medical device company looking for an angel, it pays to go west, according to a new report. The most active angel investors for medical device, diagnostics, biotechnology and other life science companies appear to be clustering, according to a new report by Silicon Valley Bank and the Angel Resource Institute. The HALO Report, released earlier this month, looks at angel investing trends across all industries. But the healthcare angels highlighted have a uniquely Western feel to them. Of the 6 most active angels over the past year, only 1 group is on the East Coast, Blue Tree Allied Angels of Pittsburgh. Blue Tree has a couple of medical device investments listed among its broad portfolio.
August 6, 2012 - One of the nation's top venture capitalists talks Chicago
Harry Weller thinks city's startups can revolutionize online commerce - The most objective measurement available for the strength of Chicago's technology sector shows this city's performance leaves something to be desired. It ranked eighth in 2011, behind San Diego and about on par with Austin, Texas, a city with less than a third of Chicago's population. Harry Weller's rankings look different. It's Silicon Valley, Chicago and then the rest of the East Coast," said Weller, who this year ranked 17th on Forbes' list of the world's best tech investors, and is a general partner with Silicon Valley-headquartered New Enterprise Associates.
July 30, 2012 - 4 Tips for BioMed Startups Landing SBIR/STTR Grants - Federal grants can be a lifeline that allows life sciences startups to refine their technologies before they commercialize, but the nondilutive government funding can be hard to get. The success rate for companies seeking grants through the government's Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs hovers between 11 percent and 15 percent, according to Bhramara Tirupati, of BBCetc, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based business consulting group. Tirupati shared these tips in a presentation she dubbed "SBIR/STTR 101" that could help biomedical startups improve those odds.
July 30, 2012 - ARK Startup Accelerator Draws National Attention, Global Interest - Northwest Arkansas is drawing national attention to its burgeoning entrepreneurship community, much of it focused on the ARK Challenge technology startup accelerator based in Fayetteville. The ARK was one of 20 projects selected nationwide from more than 150 applicants to receive funding from the $37 million Jobs & Innovation Accelerator Challenge, an effort by the Department of Commerce to spur job creation within targeted regional industry clusters. The application phase of the project recently drew to a close, and 83 applications were received from across the globe.
July 24, 2012 - Gov. Heineman Outlines Results of Growing State Economies Initiative - (Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today outlined the results of a year-long effort focused on economic growth and job creation. This past year, Gov. Heineman served as Chair of the National Governors Association, working with Governors from the United States’ 55 states, territories and commonwealths to study, discuss and develop best practices that help foster entrepreneurship and innovation.
July 23, 2012 - InvestMaryland preps to dole out $56M to venture capital firms - Maryland officials are preparing to dole out the first investments of the $84 million InvestMaryland program this summer, but they must first whittle down a list of 37 venture capital firm applicants to about half a dozen. The funding will essentially make the state a limited partner in five to eight VC firms, which will be tasked with routing the funds back into Maryland tech and biotech startups in a traditional VC role. A list of recommended firms is due to be released later this month.
July 23, 2012 - Top Ten Reasons Why Companies Are Leaving California - Joseph Vranich, an Orange County-based business relocation specialist, offers these top 10 reasons why businesses are departing California:
#1 — Excessively Adversarial: For eight years in a row, Chief Executive magazine found California to be the worst state for business. Editors said the state appears to have slipped deeper into the "ninth circle of business hell," a reference to Dante’s Inferno. "The economy, which used to outperform the rest of the country, now substantially underperforms." They've called California the "Venezuela of North America."
July 13, 2012 - In Silicon Valley, Founders Fight For Control (WSJ.com) - There's a power struggle underway in Silicon Valley. At stake: Power itself. Over the past two years, one of the most influential venture-capital firms has turned the usual rules of start-up investing on its head. Andreessen Horowitz is telling entrepreneurs it prefers situations where the founders have controlling stakes, reckoning that they'll be better able to resist outside distraction and focus on making great products.
July 13, 2012 - Networked for Results: A Story of Regional Progress - Northeast Ohio's entrepreneurial support system has come a long way in recent years, thanks to increased collaboration among an ever-growing array of resources.
July 5, 2012 - NextStage to use Pa.’s $1.5M to invest in area firms - NextStage Capital has been approved to receive a $1.5 million investment from the state of Pennsylvania for its second fund, NextStage Capital II LP. The investment was approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which announced it Thursday, and will be made through the New Pennsylvania Venture Capital Investment Program.
July 2, 2012 - Md. Launches A Venture Capital Initiative - Maryland's secretary for business and economic development rallied Lower Shore leaders behind a state venture capital initiative that seeks to invest millions of dollars into companies and entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. The state is poised to award a total of $84 million raised through an online tax credit auction earlier this year, but Lower Shore companies that don't apply cannot benefit from the infusion known as InvestMaryland, Christian S. Johansson, secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, told leaders gathered in Salisbury on Monday to unveil the new facility of the Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland.
"How do we identify companies to benefit for this program?” Johansson asked after the luncheon. “How do we build a pipeline on the Eastern Shore?"
July 2, 2012 - The Friendliest States For Business - Business Opportunities Weblog - How friendly is your state toward business? The graph above breaks down the states using a grading scale. Some key findings from the survey: Texas had three of the top five cities (Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin), while California was home to the bottom three (Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento).
July 2, 2012 - 10 Top Business Models for New Ventures Today - One of the toughest decisions for a startup is how to price their product or service. The alternatives range from giving it away for free (like Twitter), to pricing based on costs, to charging what the market will bear (premium pricing). The implications of the decision you make are huge, defining your brand image, your funding requirements, and your long-term business viability.
June 25, 2012 - JobsOhio office is open for ideas - High-tech headquarters is an incubator for ideas on how to attract and retain businesses in the state. JobsOhio is Kasich’s privatized development agency, which he says is designed to boost the state in a way that its traditional, public development office could not.
June 25, 2012 - Here Is a Map of 14,000 Venture Capital Investments - A company has tracked the connections -- and the cliques -- of the VC social scene. Using data from 279 firms, the network analysis company Activate Networks mapped the connections that form between and among VCs -- based on the overlap of those firms' nearly 14,000 investments. As CEO Larry Miller explains: "If Firm 1 invests in Company A, and Firm 2 invests in Company A, then that's a connection." From the maps, a picture of VCs as a social network begins to emerge.
June 18, 2012 - QED Proof of Concept Program Opens Fifth Round With New Participants and New Special Emphasis Topic - The QED Program will award up to $200,000 to up to four projects. Sixteen projects will receive guidance from market insiders and business advisors who add a commercial development perspective as investigators develop research strategies aligned with private sector interests. To date, QED has committed $2.4 million in awards to a total of 12 projects, leveraging nearly $9 million in private follow-on technology investment to date.
June 18, 2012 - Changes to the SBIR Program Offer More Opportunities and Challenges for Small Business Contractors - On May 24, 2012, the Department of Defense (DoD) began accepting Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) proposals for SBIR Solicitation 2012.2. This is the second of three solicitations for the SBIR program the DoD will offer this year, which in total will award over a billion dollars in SBIR-funded projects. Small businesses considering submitting proposals for that 2012.2 Solicitation need to consider the changes recently made to the SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.
June 11, 2012 - First crop of startups at Wasabi Ventures' accelerator at Loyola University Maryland - The first crop of tech startups have launched at the new business accelerator program run by Silicon Valley-based Wasabi Ventures at Loyola University Maryland.
June 11, 2012 - Attention Technology Entrepreneurs—TechLaunch Wants You NJ’s Technology Accelerator Now Taking Applications for 2012 Inaugural Class - New Jersey wants to support technology entrepreneurs, and is putting its money where its mouth is. Applications are now open for the inaugural class of the State’s latest startup venture, TechLaunch (www.techlaunch.com), funded in part by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). Modeled after successful programs throughout the U.S. and abroad, N.J’s premier technology accelerator offers seed funding within an intensive 12-week, mentor-driven business development program—called LaunchPad—culminating with an investor conference and Demo Day.
June 4, 2012 - Mark Warner, Chris Coons, Marco Rubio and Jerry Moran unveil a bipartisan job creation plan - Who says nothing can get done in an election year? Four senators — two from each party — are trying to buck the conventional wisdom with a carefully calibrated plan to encourage entrepreneurs and promote job creation. Their bill, dubbed START-UP 2.0, draws on ideas traditionally supported by Republicans and advanced by President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
June 4, 2012 - Activist vs. passive seed investors - When I entered the VC business 10 years ago, I tried to keep thinking about venture capital as a business, where the key focus area was on meeting the needs of our target customers -- entrepreneurs and limited partner investors. In the case of entrepreneurs, those needs have changed radically in these last 10 years. The surge in seed investing has been well-reported and analyzed. With advances in cloud computing, open source infrastructure, development tools and general "Lean Start-Up" techniques, entrepreneurs need less capital than ever before. And when entrepreneurial needs change (i.e., requiring less capital), smart investors adjust to meet those new needs. Hence, the rise of angels, super-angels, incubators, accelerators, micro-VCs and VC-led seed programs.
May 29, 2012 - Smart Entrepreneurs Plan Multiple Rollout Iterations - The traditional mode of starting a company is to plan a serial process, where you complete only once all the steps, leading to the “big bang” launch of the company. I strongly recommend a dramatic departure from this model, called “planned iteration,” where you assume you won’t get it right the first time.
This idea was well articulated by Paul Graham in an old essay, called “Startups in 13 Sentences” in which he talked about “making a few people really happy rather than making a lot of people semi-happy.” One of his key points is that “launching teaches you what you should have been building,” and I agree.
May 29, 2012 - Technology Industry Seen Growing Fastest in New York - New York City’s budding technology industry is growing rapidly by attracting investors and engineering talent despite spotty access to a reliable broadband network, according to a study released on Wednesday. The study, “New Tech City,” conducted by the Center for an Urban Future, concluded that the technology industry is growing faster in New York City than anywhere else in America and that the city now trails only Silicon Valley as a hub for the development of new technology companies.
May 21, 2012 - Michigan launches program to match venture capitalist funding - The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is taking on the role of venture capitalist in its latest program to bolster early-stage technology companies. The MEDC set aside $5 million to match venture capital funding for Michigan-based technology businesses. The MEDC’s Michigan Strategic Fund Board, appointed by the Governor, approved the Pure Michigan Venture Match Fund at its meeting on Wednesday. It will begin accepting applications on April 2.
May 21, 2012 - NJ 'incubator' lab facility helps new biotechnology companies grow - Twenty-five biotechnology firms have set up shop in the Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies, a 10-year-old "incubator" for companies in the early stages of their research or foreigners beginning to conduct research in America. The facility offers access to labs, affordable rent, common areas like conference rooms and — most important of all — a network among each other, the state’s pharmaceutical industry and 15 research universities in New Jersey and nationwide.
May 14, 2012 - Top US angel investor says size of seed funding rounds need to increase - Bill Payne, one of the top angel investors in the US who has successfully invested in more than 50 start-up companies including DoubleClick, says the syndication trend among angels and groups of angel investors needs to increase in order to plug the gap between seed funding and the scale of venture capital deals.
May 14, 2012 - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Convertible Note Seed Financings (But Were Afraid To Ask) - We are in the golden age of seed financing. Venture capital funds, seed funds, super angels, angel groups, incubators, and “friends and family” are all playing the seed financing game and investing early in startups in an attempt to land the next Facebook. As a result, the pendulum has swung dramatically in the founders’ favor, and the issuance of convertible notes for seed financing has never been more prolific. Indeed, as a corporate lawyer for 18+ years, I have seen this development first-hand.
This post is the first part of a three-part primer on convertible note seed financings. Part 1 will address basic questions, such as (i) what is a convertible note? (ii) why are convertible notes issued instead of shares of common or preferred stock? and (iii) what are the advantages of issuing convertible notes?
May 7, 2012 - Inventor-Entrepreneur Pairs are Ideal for a Startup - In my experience, inventors aren’t interested or aren’t very good at building a business, and entrepreneurs aren’t usually good scientists. These people need to find each other, and can jointly make a great team for a new startup.
Historically, it’s also not often that a good inventor was also a good entrepreneur. Some now argue that even our entrepreneur heroes, like Thomas Edison, really cheated on the invention side. Only a few great entrepreneurs of recent times, like the young Bill Gates, seem to have elements of both sides. Even he had some great help from Steve Ballmer, a real marketing guy, and others.
May 7, 2012 - Adam Marsh: Innovation Ecosystem: A Global Shift in Capitalism? - On global and local scales, there is a large shift in how novel ideas and discoveries can quickly establish market relevance and commercial significance. The acquisition of Instagram by Facebook for US$ 1B may seem aberrant, but it clearly marks recent trend boundaries. As a co-founder of a small biotech, informatics based, academic startup company, this has led me to wonder how a young company like Instagram could have achieved such stunning success so quickly.
April 23, 2012 - Innovate Maryland: Goal to Commercialize 40 Discoveries a Year - MD Gov. Martin O'Malley celebrated passage of Innovate Maryland on Friday, touting the program as a critical piece in the funding pipeline that funnels discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. The goal of Innovate Maryland is to commercialize 40 discoveries every year through a partnership between the state and its research universities. Maryland will kick in $5 million and Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland.
April 23, 2012 - What Washington Could Learn From The New York Tech Boom - Just five years ago, finding early stage or seed capital was a daunting prospect. NY just wasn’t an easy place to start a tech company. But last night, hundreds of developers, entrepreneurs, and funders stood side by side as Mayor Michael Bloomberg handed out awards to this years BigApps3.0 winners. Today the New York Tech scene is exploding. It’s alive with talent, innovation, passion, and capital.
April 23, 2012 - NY State Funds Headed to Seed Stage - Empire State Development approved awards of more than $25 million from the federally funded Innovate NY program to six investment entities from across the state. The $25 million grant, from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative, will support the Innovate NY Fund in combination with $1.5 million from the New York State Small Business Technology Investment Fund. The awards will facilitate investment in almost 100 seed stage companies.
April 16, 2012 - The National Science Foundation Innovation Corps – What America Does Best - The first National Science Foundation Innovation Corps class ran from October to December 2011. 63 scientists and engineers in 21 teams made ~2,000 customer calls in 10 weeks, turning laboratory ideas into formidable startups. 19 of the 21 teams are moving forward in commercializing their technology.
Watching the final presentations it was clear that the results were way past initial expectations (comments from mentors as well as pre- and post-class survey data suggested that most of the teams learned more in two months than others had in two years.)
April 16, 2012 - UNH CENTER FOR VENTURE RESEARCH: ANGEL INVESTOR MARKET ON SOLID PATH OF RECOVERY IN 2011: Optimism Takes Hold As Active Investors Jump 20 Percent and Seed/Start- Up Investments Climb – Following a considerable contraction in investment dollars in 2008 and 2009, the angel investor market continued to recover in 2011, a trend that began in 2010 in investment dollars and in the number of investments, according to the 2011 Angel Market Analysis released by the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.
April 9, 2012 - Hatching Business Success (from R&D Magazine) - The general rule of thumb is that most new businesses fail. But the incubator model is beginning to change those statistics for companies who seek the right kind of help.
April 9, 2012 - Angel Investing is Truly Risky Business by Michael Davidson - Angel investing really is like a trip to Las Vegas - smart investors, like smart gamblers, only play with money they understand they might lose forever.
That was the message Jeff Clavier, a prominent technology angel investor and former venture capitalist, delivered to prospective angel investors and entrepreneurs Thursday during a speech at the Mile High Tech Entrepreneurship Conference, hosted by the University of Colorado's Silicon Flatiron Center.
April 2, 2012 - Angel Investors Help Drive Entrepreneurship – New Research - Where and how do angel groups invest? SVB was interested, so in an effort to shed more light on the subject, they partnered with the Angel Resource Institute and CB Insights to develop the Halo Report.
The research is intended to help entrepreneurs approach the right investors, share benchmarks with angels and showcase the impact great ideas combined with angel capital can have on economic growth.
April 2, 2012 - Do angel investors deserve tax credits to invest in small businesses? - In an upcoming Big Issues special report on small business, The Wall Street Journal will explore the pros and cons of a proposal that’s getting a lot of attention around the country: awarding tax breaks to angel investors for pumping money into small businesses.
Proponents say it’s a great way to spur investment and help boost the economy. Critics say the numbers just don’t add up, and there’s a better way to accomplish those goals. What do you think?
March 2, 2012 - Minnesota Angel Tax Credit Helped Raise $63.1 Million- State officials said Friday that its tax credit program aimed at spurring investors to fund Minnesota start-ups raised $63.1 million last year for local companies, more than double the amount invested in 2010. Incentives from the Minnesota Angel Tax Credit Program led to funding for 113 budding firms.
March 2, 2012 - World's 50 Most Innovative Companies- Welcome to our annual guide to the businesses that matter most, the ones whose innovations are having an impact across their industries and our culture. Click a company name to view the entry, or determine your own ranking of the top four companies using a series of quizzes, games, and brainteasers.
February 25, 2012
'Angel' Investors Exist Outside Tech Elite, Too http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052970204652904577191481374345196-lMyQjAxMTAyMDIwMjEyNDIyWj.html?mod=wsj_share_email