Startup

A New Kind of Start-Up Incubator
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The product development firm, Insight, has launched a new funding model to help start-ups get through a critical stage of developmentIncubators are a fairly recent trend in the start-up world. They provide critical tools to a start-up; companies typically get office space that they share with other start-ups as well as access to valuable mentorship and potential investor relationships. But some fledgling businesses need more than tangential support to grow their businesses. They need critical partnerships in key areas to get their business to the next level.We recently learned of an interesting new model led by Steve McPhillamy at Insight Product Development. Insight is a product development firm that has traditionally worked with big, well-funded corporations. They've always wanted to [...]
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Stop Being Awkward on the Phone
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Are you a member of the texting generation who's more than a little awkward on the phone? VC Mark Suster has tips for you.No one uses the phone anymore, the New York Times declared a couple of years ago and millions of young people shrugged.Texting? Sure. Chatting online? Of course, but for a certain generation of young business people currently entering the world of work, actually dialling a number is mostly for moms and telemarketers.But however much the phone may have fallen out of favor for personal use, professionally, the fact remains that every now and again you’re actually going to have to put headset to ear and chances are, with so little practice, you might be a bit rusty at this simple but essential skill.So how can you make your telephone calls less awkward and more effic [...]
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How to Make the Best Misteaks
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Face it, sometimes you're going to mess up. Here's how to do wrong things the right way.Winston Churchill famously said success is defined by the ability "to go from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."The world's most most interesting entrepreneurs certainly lived that reality."If we're not making mistakes, we're probably not growing," said Bo Menkiti, founder and CEO of The Menkiti Group and CEO and founding partner of the city's fastest growing residential real estate brokerage. "As an entrepreneur you're going to make a mistake," agreed Joel Holland, founder and CEO of Video Blocks, a subscription-based stock footage firm. "You can either let it crush you or motivate you."Recently, Menkiti, Holland, and Naomi Whittel, the CEO and founder of natural supplements company, Reser [...]
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Blast From the Dot-Bomb Past
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Remember same-day delivery services that failed spectacularly in the dot-com crash? They're baaaack. But they say this time is different.Same-day delivery services (think Webvan and Kozmo) crashed and burned in 2001. But a new crop of start-ups claims this time is different. Why It Might WorkToday's GPS-enabled smartphones can track couriers and goods much more efficiently. More important, fleets of vehicles and professional drivers are no longer required. Start-ups such as Deliv and Postmates crowdsource that work to a pool of vetted part-time drivers."That's the disruption," says Daphne Carmeli, CEO of Deliv, which is running a pilot in San Francisco and Chicago in which retailers foot the delivery bill. Postmates, in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City, charges consumers $6.99 and [...]
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Best Advice I Ever Got: Yosef Martin
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This young entrepreneur started Merchandize Liquidators in his one-bedroom condo with $375. Here's the advice he used to guide him to success.Yosef Martin founded the fast-growing Merchandize Liquidators in his one-bedroom condo in 2003 with nothing but $375--and these three pieces of advice.When I was an international student working toward my BA, I took a risk and jumped into the closeouts market. I founded Merchandize Liquidators in 2003, working with high-end department stores and manufacturers to buy their overstock and damaged goods, and then selling them in secondary markets. I set out to solve the small profit margin problem that retailers faced when buying from traditional wholesalers.Merchandize Liquidators consistently ranks as one of the fastest-growing companies in the nation. [...]
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Why Culture Matters So Much for Start-Ups
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Are start-ups getting carried away with crazy perks? Maybe not, responds one VC, who offers a nuts and bolts rationale for this obsession with morale.The internet is full of tales of startups going to extreme lengths to get company culture right and keep morale high. From paying employees to vacation to moving the company to Morocco, we’re not talking about simple office foosball tables here. Have you ever stopped and wondered why?Working from sunny locales and eating fab food on the company’s dime certainly makes for happier workers (and in the latter case longer hours at the office), but start-ups are bound by the same fundamental rules of economics as larger firms (eventually anyway) and it’s hard to understand sometimes how the boost in productivity from these extreme [...]
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5 Ways to Vet an Incubator
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Not all incubators are created equal--and with more of them out there, you need to choose where you apply wisely.The age of the accelerator is officially upon us.Here is but a glimpse into the proliferation of start-up programs in the U.S. and Europe as reported by U.K. research firm NESTA:Since 2005 there has been year-on-year growth in the number of companies taking this route through their early-stages. Y Combinator has taken on more and more companies each year, but the main driver of growth has been that new programs have been created. Techstars now operates in four U.S. cities and is growing a global network of peers. In Europe, the number of programmes has risen from just one in 2007 to over 10 in 2011.Simply put: there are a ton of incubators and accelerators to which you can apply [...]
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Fail on Your Own Terms
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You say you believe in your idea. In your people. In your plan. Then run your business that way, and you'll have no regrets.The startup-childbirth analogy ranks among our most overworked business clichés. We talk less about the deathbed vigil that accompanies failure. But as this recent Tumblr post attests, that metaphor is just as apt. Founders watch helplessly as their companies expire, comforting themselves with memories of early promise. Ultimately, though, they descend into recriminations (directed at themselves and others); regret over opportunities squandered; resolutions to do right by survivors; and--above all--personal desolation. Post-mortem, their grieving traces the arc described by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s five-stage model. Though perhaps “acceptance” [...]
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