UPDATE 1-China startup Luckin Coffee raises $200 mln to propel expansion

China’s Luckin Coffee, which
has been expanding aggressively and touting itself as a local
rival to Starbucks Corp, said on Wednesday it raised
$ 200 million in a fundraising round that values the on-demand
coffee delivery startup at $ 1 billion.


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Best website builders for start-up founders, entrepreneurs, and anyone with a side hustle

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All businesses — no matter how big or small — need a strong and compelling website if they want to stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re starting your own business or simply thinking about it, looking to create an online store or just beef up your client list, it’s important to consider what your online presence is going to look like. Without one, you might as well not exist.

There’s a common misconception that developing a website takes hundreds of hours or the work of a team of professionals. These days, you can create your own website through one of many website builder companies. (Thanks internet!) Via a subscription plan, you can enjoy plenty of support while still being able to design your own site and choosing the look that’s right for you. A website builder is perfect for freelancers, start-ups, and more established firms alike. (And if you’re on a budget, you should also check out our list of the best cheap web hosting services.) Read more…

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Virtual doctor start-up American Well is raising over $300 million and Philips is a new investor

American Well is raising over $ 300 million for telemedicine, and Philips is a new investor
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This Startup Is Hiring an Art Lover to Work From Home for $15 per Hour


Say goodbye to being a starving artist.

We just found a way you can work for a creative and artsy company — from the comfort of your own home.

Museum Hack, a startup that runs quirky private museum tours, is hiring a sales representative.

How to Get an Artsy Job With Museum Hack

As you can read in our interview with the founder, Museum Hack is turning the traditional museum tour on its head. It offers “highly interactive, subversive, fun, non-traditional” tours of museums in major cities such as New York, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

Right now, it’s hiring a remote sales representative whose duties will include meeting monthly sales goals by communicating with potential corporate clients via phone and email, as well as putting together proposals as necessary.

The full-time position requires at least one year of experience in B2B sales and customer service. You must also have a home office with a personal computer and reliable Wi-Fi.   

Previous experience with web-based services (Google Docs, Gmail, Google Calendar, Slack, Xero, PandaDoc, Base CRM) is also desired; if you’re familiar with them, be sure to mention it in your cover letter.

You must be based in the U.S. and able to work scheduled shifts Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST. Applicants must also be available to work at least one weekend per month.

The job pays $ 15 per hour plus a monthly commission, with occasional “performance-based rewards and incentives.”

Want in on the action? Click here to apply.

Susan Shain is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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This start-up is using connected toothbrushes to overthrow the ‘primitive’ dental insurance industry

Kleiner Perkins' latest health-tech investment: A dental insurance start-up.
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Former GQ Staffer, Tech Start-up Founder and Creative Director to Unveil Seam

Justin Hruska, a sneaker collector with a background in tech, wasn’t satisfied with his online shopping experience. Oftentimes he would visit larger e-commerce sites and feel shortchanged because he knew he wasn’t seeing everything a brand had to offer, which meant he had to visit other sites to find what he was looking for.
“A lot of brands use wholesale for awareness and put their best-selling products on their own site,” said Hruska. “So the consumer has to jump through all these hoops before they can purchase a $ 300 sweatshirt. With Seam, we want to reimagine what that looks like.”
Seam is a men’s and women’s shopping app set to launch this summer that was cofounded by Hruska, the chief executive officer, and Jake Woolf, the editorial director. Nate Brown, who cofounded Studio Institute, a creative firm that’s worked with artists including Beyoncé and Jay Z on tour visuals, is a partner and a strategic adviser who worked helped design the app.
Similar to Farfetch, Seam will serve as a marketplace, but instead of partnering with boutiques, Seam works directly with brands and designers and the app will mirror the product available on their e-commerce sites. Woolf said because Seam holds no inventory

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Launching a startup? These are the 5 skills you need to have.

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No matter how groundbreaking your startup idea is, you won’t be able to get it off the ground if you don’t possess the necessary technical and interpersonal skills. In an era where startups are a constant, having a strong work ethic and encyclopedic knowledge on the subject alone just won’t cut it. Learning the necessary skills is a must.

The Ultimate Startup Launch Lifetime Bundle is a set of five online courses that can help you learn how to thrive in the tricky startup world. Here’s what you’ll learn:

Developing an effective business model Read more…

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Chinese electric car start-up Nio: We welcome competition from Tesla and others

The company's president welcomed Beijing's announcement to open up its auto industry.
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Theranos employee created ‘Space Invaders’ game to shoot reporter who exposed startup

At least there’s no blood spilled in this geeky video game. An employee at Theranos — the disgraced blood-testing startup founded by Silicon Valley wunderkind Elizabeth Holmes — has exacted a nerdy revenge on the reporter whose hard-hitting exposés took down the company. It came in the form of a crude version of the classic…
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‘Studio’ fitness startup poaches Peloton founding employee

Studio, a New York startup that styles itself as a “Spotify or Netflix” for fitness, has tapped Richard Couzzi, a Peloton founding employee, to be its chief technology officer, The Post has learned. Studio Chief Executive Jason Baptiste says Couzzi, an engineer by trade, helped guide Peloton into becoming a billion-dollar business, and hopes that…
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Millennial Moves: Woman Startup Founder Building Platform to Help Other Women Founders

Roshawnna Novellus founded EnrichHER to empower female founders with the capital needed to build their businesses. Her platform leverages crowdfunding to source funding opportunities for women-led businesses. In addition to the funding platform, Novellus hosts EnrichHER Spark events around the nation; gathering female founders and investors.

Black Enterprise contributor Brandon Andrews spoke with Novellus about EnrichHER and her plans to get more resources into the hands of female founders.

Brandon Andrews: Every entrepreneur has a point at which the problem they see motivates them to create a solution and build a business around it. What was that point for you?

Roshawnna Novellus: Numerous people asked me this question either through consultations or my speaking engagements. As such, I knew it was a huge problem. A few years ago, I decided to take on researching why women-led businesses receive less funding than male-led businesses.

VC firm First Round Capital found that teams in its portfolio with at least one woman outperform all-male teams by 63%. I set off to gain as much insight as possible by attending angel investing groups and business competitions. I noticed that 99% of the investment decision makers are older white males. In a time where it is known that investors will only consider founders that they know, like, and trust it was more evident than ever that one of the reasons that women are underfunded is that they rarely have a seat at the table. As a result, I took action and created programming that would connect entrepreneurs of color and women with investors who have an interest in investing in them.

Every time I can help a women-led business succeed, I believe that I’m fulfilling my purpose. I believe that providing capital for women-led businesses provides economic empowerment, inclusive economic growth, and overall gender equality. As the number of sustainable women-led businesses increases, society as a whole will benefit from inclusive job growth, as well as products and services that better reflect the input of women. Once women have a larger role in the economies of our communities, we will be able to build a society that is more reflective of our needs, desires, and aspirations

You want to bring more resources to female entrepreneurs. Why don’t resources—capital, connections, and information—get to female founders?

The biggest problem is access and inclusion. It’s one thing to let a woman into a room, but it’s another to give her a voice at the table. Many of the programs that exist are not set up a way that women deem accessible. Women typically have many commitments in their daily schedule. As such, we need more planning and flexibly to commit fully to resources that can help us grow. Also, often, women need to feel more prepared than our male counterparts. All of the women who are in my Halcyon Cohort are older than all of the men. One simple fact is that we don’t apply to opportunities until we feel like we’ve worked hard enough to deserve these opportunities. The bar women set for ourselves tends to be much higher than our male counterparts.

 Beyond the programs that EnrichHER provides female entrepreneurs, is a larger societal shift needed to ensure female founders have access to resources?

A platform like EnrichHER focusing on women-led businesses would mean many things including that women receive the same opportunities for funding as men. This issue is urgent because women deserve to grow their economic independence and power. Women can no longer wait for the existing set of politicians, tech companies, and development agencies to advocate on our behalf to make this change. Millions of women every day find it difficult to pursue their dreams because of limited access to capital. The time is now for EnrichHER to help those women.

 Access to capital is the  No. 1 need articulated by entrepreneurs. EnrichHER is addressing this for female entrepreneurs by building a debt crowdfunding platform. Why was it important for you to build a platform in this nascent space?

Most of the media hype focuses on venture investment. We know that less than 1% of all companies receive equity investment and less than 8% of that number is allocated toward women-led ventures. EnrichHER simply wants to focus on the 99% of women-led ventures who need financing. As such, we’ve decided to focus on a debt financing platform as studies have shown that debt financing is 75% of the financing market. Furthermore, the other significant women-concentrated platforms focus on equity or debt. As such, we believe we are delivering something that the market needs.

woman startup founder

EnrichHER CEO Dr. Roshawnna Novellus with attendees at the EnrichHER Spark Conference (enrichher.com)

Andrews: In 2017, Nielsen released a study entitled “African-American Women: Our Science, Her Magic.” The report lauds black women as entrepreneurs and trendsetters who control the majority of the over $ 1T in black buying power. Why is equity crowdfunding important for black women in particular?

Dr. Novellus: Studies have shown that 50% of all crowdfunding campaigns are women-led. As such, crowdfunding is the most efficient way for women to receive capital. We’re leveraging these statistics to help the highest number of women.

Although black women often don’t receive the credit, we are the international trendsetters across most industries. If black women show the world that we can break through the roadblocks set in place for our economic independence, we can show the world that we can create a society that is more reflective of our dreams, goals, and worldview. By doing this, we can capture more of the economic power that is often taken from us.

Andrews: How will the crowdfunding platform work, and what is the timeline for launch?

Dr. Novellus: The Funding platform allows women in the EnrichHER community to connect directly to investors who can help them grow. It will allow everyone to participate whether they have $ 100 or $ 100,000 to lend. We expect to launch the EnrichHER Funding Platform in April 2018. The platform will be open to unaccredited and accredited investors.

You were recently awarded the Halcyon Incubator Fellowship. The program is for social entrepreneurs. How are you integrating social good into your business?

Dr. Novellus: Non-financial success for us will ultimately be measured by the number of women who use EnrichHER as the inspiration to start and sustain their businesses. We have already achieved a measure of non-financial success in the form of positive comments and feedback from the entrepreneurs who have already become a part of the EnrichHER movement. In one instance, a woman founder stated that her participation in the first EnrichHER conference was the reason that she finally publicly announced her business and put it in a position to thrive. So many other women have personally thanked us for the valuable information shared at the EnrichHER conferences. The impact will continue to be measured by inspiration, feedback, and change in mindset.

How do you plan to grow your business in 2018?

Dr. Novellus: Our growth happens through partnerships. We’re looking for financial institutions, investment funds, entrepreneurship groups and other partners who share our vision. We believe that by working together, we can help women win nationwide.

 

The post Millennial Moves: Woman Startup Founder Building Platform to Help Other Women Founders appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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This health start-up was throwing away employees’ candy — but says that was a step too far

Health IQ wanted its employees to be healthy but acknowledges that it went too far.
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How to get your startup off the ground: This collection of online classes and apps can help

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If you’re launching your own startup, you’re going to learn some new skills. It doesn’t matter what your business is, or how good you are at it, you’re still going to have to learn how to create a website, manage a social media presence, communicate with experts in other fields, learn all the crazy self-employment tax laws, and manage other people. 

According to Entrepreneur.com, the main reasons startups fail include a lack of focus, taking advice from the wrong people, and not learning the basic, day-to-day skills of managing a business. You’re unlikely to find an effective how-to guide just by googling, so what do you do? Read more…

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This founder lived in a nursing home for 3 months to get his start-up off the ground

This start-up's pilot customer requested that the founder live in a nursing home for 3 months. So he moved right in.
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These millennial entrepreneurs think email is too slow for the startup world

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There are two types of people in this world. Those who live at inbox zero, who frantically read, remove, and reply to emails the very instant they arrive. 

And, then there’s the rest of us: Those who live with thousands of unopened emails without a care in the world. I am one such individual—a millennial who checks my personal email once or twice a week, and my work email as few times as I can get away with. 

To me, sending an email is the 2018 equivalent to sending snail mail. It’s insufferably slow, you can’t see if the recipient is online, and it’s hard to scroll back through previous messages.  Read more…

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Here’s An Opportunity to Invest in a Promising Tech Startup

There was once a time where you wouldn’t be able to get in on the ground floor of an early-stage company because those perks were reserved for accredited investors. Well, times have changed. Now, with equity crowdfunding, you can invest in companies that already have traction, and the due diligence is done for you. One standout that is currently raising is Whose Your Landlord, a startup we’ve previously covered.

Ofo Ezeugwu, the founder and CEO of Whose Your Landlord, saw a problem in the market when it came to tenants understanding who they were actually renting from. He solved it by creating a platform that provides aggregated data from both current and previous tenants that consists of reviews and a rating system.

The company attempted to raise on SeedInvest with a threshold of $ 125,000. They hit $ 64,000 coming up short of their goal. Having scaled and grown the company from the previous raise, they are back at it again on Republic with a goal of $ 50,000, which they feel confident that they will reach.

“We had several investors at the last minute that could have gotten us across that finish line but it was too rushed,” Ezeugwu told Black Enterprise. “Because it was such a public raise, all of our stats went up. We’re in the prime position to raise capital now as a result of us trying to raise capital before.”

If you are interested in investing in Whose Your Landlord there are a couple of general points that you should know. Investments are not a quick flip. It takes time for them to convert into actual equity and sometimes that’s years out. Additionally, the company may fail and they may never convert at all, so keep that in mind.

With Crowd SAFE, the instrument that the equity crowdfunding platform uses, you do not have equity in the company until the company actually converts it into such. Until then, you have a SAFE which is essentially saying that you have the opportunity for your investment to convert to equity.

According to the site, if the company gets acquired or has an IPO at a valuation higher than the one at the time of your investment, you will earn a return. Additionally, if the company has another financing round, it can decide to issue Shadow Shares to you, with economic rights that provide a return.

 

 

Who's Your Landlord (User Interface)

User Interface (Image: Whose Your Landlord)

The post Here’s An Opportunity to Invest in a Promising Tech Startup appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Startup plans to give mushrooms to depressed patients

A British startup hopes it’ll lead patients suffering from severe depression on a magical trip back to better mental health. Compass Pathways of London is about to launch a 400-patient trial to determine if psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, can lead to a cure. “Based on previous trials, psilocybin provides an immediate and…
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Online graphic design startup Canva is now worth $1 billion

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Canva is Australia’s first unicorn of 2018, after raising $ 40 million (AUD$ 50.9 million) to push the design startup’s value over $ 1 billion.

Now available in 190 countries, with over 10 million users, the online design and publishing platform was launched in 2012 by CEO and co-founder Melanie Perkins — now the youngest female entrepreneur to have reached unicorn status. 

“It’s still extremely early days for us yet, and we feel like we’ve done one percent of what we believe is possible but it’s quite exciting to get to this point in time, and it’s been a huge journey,” Perkins told Mashable. Read more…

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Facebook founder in fresh bet on data start-up

A firm which invests part of the vast wealth of the founders of Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter is leading a €40m (£35m) fundraising for Collibra, a Brussels-based data start-up.
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Young Geneticist Gets ‘Shark Tank’ Mogul to Invest in His DNA Startup

DNA Simple CEO Olivier Noel Pitches on ABC's Shark Tank

Olivier Noel pitched DNA Simple, a new way to support cutting-edge medical research, on a recent episode of ABC’s Shark Tank. After the show, Brandon Andrews sat down with Noel for an interview about the show and his business.

 

SHARK TANK - "Episode 912" - A U.S. Air Force fighter-jet machine-gun mechanic from Columbus, Ohio, introduces a high-performance problem-solver; an entrepreneur from Queens, New York, hopes the Sharks bite into a DNA test that aims to aid and optimize medical research; a Dallas, Texas, entrepreneur duo hopes to lure the Sharks with their high-tech solution for a common household chore; robots and drones are all the rage with boys, but one Bethesda, Maryland, entrepreneur is hoping to encourage more girls to get into coding and technology, on "Shark Tank," SUNDAY, NOV. 12 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) DAYMOND JOHN, RICHARD BRANSON, MARK CUBAN, LORI GREINER, ROBERT HERJAVEC, OLIVIER NOEL (DNA SIMPLE) (DNA Simple CEO Olivier Noel pitches on Shark Tank. Image: ABC/Michael Desmond)

 

Brandon Andrews: DNA Simple matches DNA donors with research studies looking for DNA that matches their background. Where did you get the idea?

  

Olivier Noel: Back when I started my Ph.D., I realized how difficult it was to get specific samples from patients for scientific research regardless of how great the infrastructure, lab equipment, and even the amount of grant money we had. The geographic barrier between us scientists and patients is a difficult one to bypass. While attending a genetics conference in Philadelphia, I realized that this was a problem affecting scientists across the country and not just my research team at Penn State and came up with the idea for DNA Simple, an online database connecting patients and scientists independent of location.

 

Why is providing a reliable source of DNA for research studies so important?  

Over the past 10 years or so, scientists have realized that a lot of conditions that were not previously thought to have a genetic basis are actually linked to our genes and genome. In fact, we’re finding out that even the genetic conditions themselves can be broken down into subtypes that are directly related to our DNA. This explains why it is so important for researchers to have a reliable source of DNA for research studies, to be able to study DNA of patients of different backgrounds. Once we can understand the disease process and genetics behind a condition, then we can bring about personalized care for such condition.

 

How does DNA Simple work for donors and researchers? Walk us through the process.   

Donors simply register on our site DNAsimple.org and enter basic clinical and demographic information about themselves. Researchers also register on our site and set up a study. They can let us know, for example, that they are looking for 5,000 donors with a particular condition and background. We make the match and find them the donors who fit into their study from our database. Once a match is made, we send the donor a saliva collection kit to their house with a prepaid stamp, they send the sample back to us and we ultimately send the de-identified sample to the researcher. Finally we send a $ 50 check to the donor as compensation for their participation to the study. This process repeats itself every time a donor matches a research study.

DNA Simple Logo (DNA Simple logo. Image: dnasimple.com)

 

How are you keeping sensitive research and personal information safe?

When a donor signs up on DNA Simple, his or her account is automatically de-identified and assigned a DNA Simple unique ID. This insures that we never work with or reveal a donor’s information at any point in our process. This is extremely important to us. Ultimately, a researcher receiving a sample will know that it has come from someone with the clinical characteristics sought after (e.g., a 37-year-old black female with breast cancer) but not that it has come from “Jane Smith from NYC.” In addition, we do have donors send us the samples back first as opposed to sending them directly to the researchers in order to mask their address and keep the process anonymous.

 

What does scale mean for DNA Simple? How many donors would you like to have in your database? What does scaling DNA Simple mean for medical research?

In our “perfect world,” everyone in the country (and the world) would be registered on DNA Simple and make themselves available to participating in research studies and provide samples. This is to say that we’d like to have as many people as possible and are targeting 1 million people as our next milestone. Scaling in such fashion will allow us to work with many more researchers and teams working to understand genetic conditions and looking to bring about cures to diseases. This can only be good news for the medical research field in general.

 

You went from Queens, New York, to pitching DNA Simple on Shark Tank and striking a deal with Mark Cuban. Tell us about your experience on the show.   

The experience on the show was pretty special. It’s not every day that you get to walk into a room with Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, Daymond John, and the rest of the star-studded line up that Shark Tank has. So for me to grow up in Haiti and to make it to Queens and then to Shark Tank was pretty special and one of the coolest experiences in my life for sure.

 

Give us an update. What have you been working on since the show?

Since the pitch, we’ve grown quite a bit from a just a few thousands of donors in our database to now over 60,000 and growing. We’ve also added the option to donate urine and stool samples to researchers who would like to have such samples for their studies. As an additional option, we also offer ancestry and genetic testing for about 70 traits to folks who’d like to get such a service.

 Olivier Noel Pitches DNA Simple on ABC's Shark Tank

(DNA Simple CEO Olivier Noel pitches on Shark Tank. Image: ABC/Michael Desmond)

 

Are there medical benefits to having more DNA donors from the African diaspora?  

Absolutely! Having diversity in research studies is incredibly important. To date, less than 5% of all clinical trials have included non-whites, and less than 2% of clinical cancer research studies focus on non-white ethnic or racial groups, which is a mind-boggling number.

As I mentioned earlier, it is critical to understand one’s genetic background to ultimately bring about personalized therapy. It also applies to different ethnic backgrounds. While African Americans and other members of the diaspora are not a different race– scientifically speaking–there are clear, unique, genetic footprints and markers that need to be studied and understood in order to serve and deliver appropriate and personalized therapy to that patient population. Medicine is no longer a one-size-fits-all endeavor, and that certainly applies to the different ethnic backgrounds.

 

 

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Joining a new startup takes bravery — but the rewards can be huge

When Tiffany Sun, head of content strategy at Happify, joined the company nearly five years ago, she was only its fifth employee. The Boerum Hill resident took a leap of faith when she decided to join the science-based startup that uses games and activities to boost happiness. During the job interview, there wasn’t even a…
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Meet the startup looking beyond self-driving cars to bring autonomy to the sea

A Boston-based startup wants to do for the commercial shipping industry what Tesla and other brands have done to the car, by retrofitting ships to give them autonomous technology.

The startup is Sea Machines Robotics, which in September released its first product. The Sea Machines 300 is the company’s autonomous control system that can be installed in work boats and which uses common vessel-based instruments along with proprietary algorithms. The product gives the boat it’s deployed in a degree of self-awareness, so that the boat can move from point to point while avoiding obstacles or crashing with other vessels.

The system links to all on-board propulsion, steering, and thrust machinery, and a remote user interface is also provided for command and control as well as data reception.

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Express Scripts signs a deal with start-up Propeller Health as it ups investment in digital health

Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefits manager, is teaming up with a start-up that specializes in COPD and asthma.
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7 Ways to Fund Your Startup

At times, it may seem like finding money to fund your business is as difficult as striking it rich from the lotto, but never fear, there are many ways to accomplish this feat. When you have a startup or a small/medium business that you are looking to get off the ground, there are several ways to draw in some additional cash.

 

(Image: nappy.co/@PHOTOSBYPHAB )

 

 Pitch Competitions

 

These things are popping up all over the place and they are happening with intense frequency. I have a friend who won two in one week, no joke. These competitions allow you to receive earnings ranging anywhere from $ 1,000 to $ 650,000 (I saw this happen literally last week to the good folks over at Squire.)

 

Grants

 

Like the above, these surface often but, you have to do a little more research to track them down. The beauty of a grant is, unlike the below, you don’t have to pay it back and because you are a minority, you already qualify for a pretty extensive number of them.

 

Loans

 

They can come directly from the bank or from friends or family members, although I would be a little cautious with the latter. I’ve seen some relationships end very badly over this exchange. You must pay this money back and it usually comes with an interest rate attached.

 

Crowdfunding

 

A lot of entrepreneurs use this process to test the market and see if there’s a demand. They will host their project with several rewards attached and if the audience bites, they know they’ve got something. Some popular platforms include Indiegogo and Kickstarter.

 

Angel Investment

 

This is when a high net-worth individual decides to spend their own money to help you fund your dreams. In some cases, angels are institutional investors or former CEOs of companies with extra cash lying around to invest. Either way, they are a good option to tap into.

 

Venture Capital

 

This investment consists of you selling shares, i.e., an ownership stake in the company. These deals have been known to be structured in many different ways. They can show up as a Convertible Note or SAFE, both forms of debt set to convert to equity. (Click the links to learn why this works in your favor). The ultimate goal for the investor is for your company to get an equity/priced round. That is when they can actually start to make a return on their investment.

 

Equity Crowdfunding

 

This is becoming a more common way of raising in the venture community, especially among African Americans. Entrepreneurs are finding it harder and harder to raise from investors so they look to their peers to invest. Some reputable equity crowdfunding platforms include SeedInvest, Crowdfunder, and most recently Indiegogo partnered with MicroVentures and launched their version of one.

Small Business – Black Enterprise

FASHION DEALS UPDATE:

This Young Entrepreneur’s Startup Focuses on the New Father Experience

Father Figure CEO Andrew Bentley pitches Father Figure on Shark Tank

Black Enterprise contributor Brandon Andrews sat down with Andrew Bentley for an interview about Bentley’s startup, Father Figure—a lifestyle brand that makes products for new dads. Bentley also spoke about his recent appearance on Shark Tank.

 

SHARK TANK - "Episode 902" - A graphic designer and a patent attorney from Olympia, Washington, have a high-tech way to make children's story time more magical, but the Sharks are skeptical of their business model; a father from Madison, Wisconsin, has a brand of functional paternity clothing for new dads; parents from Salem, Utah, bring in their five daughters to showcase a solution to hairy drain problems in the shower and bathtub; and a former pro football player and his business partner pitch a better version of a workout device, on "Shark Tank," airing SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) MARK CUBAN, SARA BLAKELY, KEVIN O'LEARY, LORI GREINER, DAYMOND JOHN, ANDREW BENTLEY (FATHER FIGURE) (Father Figure CEO Andrew Bentley on ABC’s Shark Tank. Image: ABC/Michael Desmond)

 

Brandon Andrews: Father Figure is a lifestyle brand for dads. What motivated you to serve dads?    

Andrew Bentley: I’ve wanted to be a dad as long as I can remember. When I became a dad a little over two years ago I wanted to spend as much time with my son as possible. Thankfully, I had paternity leave that I used when my wife went back to work. Since my son was colicky, he was crying and spitting up a lot. I found I was losing burp rags at all the wrong times. I bought a glue gun and put a loop on a shirt to store burp rags. That’s when the Luca T-shirt was born!

As I became a stay-at-home dad I realized that most parenting brands and products were designed for the mother experience. After talking with a lot of my dad friends and conducting some research I saw clearly that there was a big need for a lifestyle brand focused on dads.

Some may see being an entrepreneur with a young child as a sacrifice. I see it as a privilege. It motivates me. It makes me a better entrepreneur. My goal is to always prioritize my family and to have at least one day a week that I’m spending time with my children.

 

What do dads in 2017 want/need that dads in the past did not?  

 The amount of time today’s dads spend with their children has tripled from 50 years ago. And that additional time involves loving, nurturing activities. This is the result of a lot of things. One of my friends and leaders in the responsible fatherhood movement, Haji Shearer, explains it well.

He says it started with the growth of feminism. As the role of women in the workplace and home began to shift, men’s roles also shifted. In being more supportive to women and families, men naturally started being more attentive fathers. When that happened, it opened the eyes of dads to the power of loving, caring parenting.

Given that context, there’s a remarkable lack of companies and parenting products that focus on the needs of new dads. I felt it acutely as a new dad, in love with my tiny baby. I felt that none of the items around me spoke to me as a father. To figure out if I was correct, I did research. I found that 84% of new dads wish parenting companies better understood their needs. And the same amount of dads were interested in apparel or gear that catered to the dad experience. I don’t think dad-focused parenting products are the only answer to supporting new dads but I hope it helps generate confidence and community.

 

Father Figure has a range of products. Many entrepreneurs struggle with figuring out which products to take to market. Walk us through how the process worked for you.   

 Yeah, product creation and development isn’t easy. It’s especially not easy in a completely new segment, like paternity clothing and accessories. I started with what I needed as a new dad. I went from never holding a baby before to being the primary caretaker of a colicky, underweight baby that spit up like it was his college major. Solving the problem of losing burb rags led to the creation of our first product.

For the other products, like the Bandana Print Burp Rag Set, I started with things I liked and then asked a lot of dads. I was lucky to be a part of a close stay-at-home-dad community in Brooklyn, New York. When I had questions about products, I’d just ask them.

 

Father Figure Luca Tshirt (Father Figure’s Luca T-shirt. Image: Father Figure)

 

Father Figure is a public benefit corporation. What does that mean? What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to use their business to make a positive social impact?

A public benefit corporation is a specific type of corporation that includes a social mission with its profit-maximizing goals in its charter. Father Figure is a PBC because it’s important to me and also, great business. I was fortunate to have paternity leave and great prenatal health services and it transformed my life and becoming a father was the greatest experience of my life. I want others to have the same opportunity.

Our mission is to “Strengthen the loving bond among fathers and their children.” I have a background in social impact work at Google and also with a nonprofit I co-founded. I think it’s important for the private sector to create positive change.

And becoming a public benefit corporation is good for business. Eighty-seven percent of millennial moms, one of the highest rates in the U.S., consider the social impact of a company when deciding to buy. My customers expect their brands to work on social impact causes and will pay more for products from those brands.

There are a lot of myths about fathers; especially black fathers. What role do you see yourself and Father Figure playing in changing the narrative about fathers?

The misconceptions of fathers, and black fathers, in particular, were big reasons why I wanted to start this company. I grew up without a great relationship with my mother yet was close with my father. And in my world, I see black men being some of the best dads on earth. The data supports this as well. The CDC released a study a few years ago showing that black dads spend more time with their kids than any other racial group.

Also, in the black community, I see fathering take on a different definition than in other communities. Often father figures, whether it’s from a school, a church or a neighbor take on a lot of responsibilities a dad would have. There are multiple paternal influences, instead of a singular father figure.

Yet, because of perceptions related to the marriage rate or the black community in general, there’s a stigma associated with black dads. The world sees us as absent at best or violent at worst. It’s hurtful.

I want the world to see me kiss my son just because, snuggle him when he’s sick and read with him before bed. I hope I can be an influence to men who want a loving relationship with their kids.

I’m also very focused on the images associated with my brand. It’s powerful to see men of color being nurturing figures. I have men of different backgrounds in my product photos. Also, on Sunday you’ll see I brought out my friends of color and their babies with me into the Shark Tank. Just that image of these men of color loving their children on primetime television is a big deal to me. I’m proud of that.

My nonprofit partner, Fathers Incorporated does an amazing job addressing all of the issues I brought up. They not only support parenting training for dads, they work on building positive content related to men of color; like books and films.

What did you learn from pitching your business on Shark Tank? What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs pitching their business?

Preparation is vital to giving the best pitch you can. Whatever the audience for your pitch, know who they are and what they care about. Everyone who has seen the show knows you have to know your stuff too. Don’t get caught off guard with a simple business question. Prepare nonstop!

On second thought, don’t prepare nonstop. I made the mistake of working a bit too much through the three weeks I had to prepare. I had to readjust and make sure I was spending time exercising, eating well, seeing loved ones and sleeping well—I got a new comfy pillow.

Be yourself. An investment is more than just money. You are linking yourself to someone or a group of people that you’ll be working with for the long-haul. Your personality mix is just as important as the business interests.

 

 

 

  

 

Small Business – Black Enterprise

FASHION DEALS UPDATE:

7 Business Grants to Help Women Launch and Grow Their Startup

business grants

The number of women entrepreneurs has grown tremendously over the last decade. According to the 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses report commissioned by American Express OPEN, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45% between 2007 and 2016, compared to just a 9% increase among all businesses in the U.S. Today 11.3 million women own 38% of businesses in the country. Back in 2007, women owned 29% of American businesses. Meanwhile, black women are the majority owners of 1.9 million firms, which employ 376,500 workers and generate $ 51.4 billion in revenues.

 

business grants (Image: iStock/shapecharge)

 

Despite the substantial growth of women in entrepreneurship, it’s harder for female-controlled startups to access capital to launch and/or scale their businesses. When compared with men, female founders are less likely to receive bank loans, venture capital, and angel investments. In 2015, for instance, venture capitalists invested over $ 58 billion in startups, but only 2% of that money went to women.

To help close the gender gap in entrepreneurship, a number of organizations are providing women with the funding they need for their businesses. Here are seven grants specially targeted to aid female business owners.

 

  1. The Eileen-Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant

Amount: $ 10,000 – $ 100,000

Deadline: Applications open Spring 2018

Female entrepreneurs who have been in business for at least three years can apply for the Eileen-Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant, which awards 10 women with grants of up to $ 100,000. To be considered, your company must be majority women-owned and women-led and promote social and environmental change. In addition, applicants cannot have earned more than $ 1 million in revenue in the year prior to applying.

  

  1. InnovateHER Grant

Amount: $ 70,000

Deadline: Applications re-open in 2018

The InnovateHER Business Challenge is a nationwide competition sponsored by the Small Business Administration that allows budding entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas in front of a live audience and judges. In 2017, the national winner received a $ 70,000 grant.

 

  1. Amber Grant

Amount: Up to $ 3,000

Deadline: The last day of each month

Each month, the Amber Grant awards $ 500 to a female entrepreneur planning to launch a small, local business. At the end of the year, one of the monthly winners is selected for an additional $ 2,500 grant. The application cutoff for the next $ 500 qualification grant is Oct. 31, 2017.

 

  1. Smart Women Smart Money

Amount: $ 3,000

Deadline: TBA

Each year, Utah’s Zions Bank awards one $ 3,000 Smart Women Grant in six categories: Business, Community Development, Continuing Education and teacher support, Child and Eldercare, Health and Human Services, and Arts and Culture. Grants are open to anyone with a business proposal that promotes women empowerment or directly benefits women, low-income, or underserved populations in Utah and Idaho.

 

  1. Open Meadows Foundation Grants

Amount: $ 2,000

Deadline: Applications for the Spring Cycle: Jan. 1 to Feb. 15. Applications for the Fall Cycle: July 1 to Aug. 15

The Open Meadows Foundation awards grants on a biannual basis to women and girls with projects that promote racial, gender, or economic equality. However, the company’s operational budget cannot exceed $ 75,000.

 

  1. 37 Angels Grants

Amount: Up to $ 150,000

Deadline: Rolling basis

37 Angels is a great resource for female entrepreneurs and offers grants as large as $ 150,000.

 

  1. Belle Capital Grants

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Varies

Belle Capital offers various grants to women-led companies. It also helps entrepreneurs gain access to an angel investment fund to launch or expand your business.

 

Small Business – Black Enterprise

FASHION DEALS UPDATE:

Apple explored buying a medical-clinic start-up as part of a bigger push into health care

Apple was deep in talks to buy the company behind its on-site medical clinic Crossover Health.
Health Care

U.S.HEALTHCARE UPDATE:

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Here’s the $30 billion startup you’ve probably never heard of

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China’s Meituan Dianping just became the world’s fourth-most valuable startup, reaching a $ 30 billion valuation that puts it ahead of high-fliers like Airbnb Inc. and Space X.

Never heard of Meituan? You’re not alone. The Beijing-based company, led by Wang Xing, is almost unknown beyond its home country. It delivers food to people’s homes, sells groceries and movie tickets, provides reviews of restaurants, and markets discounts to consumers who buy in groups. It’s a sort of mashup of Groupon, Yelp, Foodpanda and Uber Eats.

Meituan’s appeal for investors is its dominant position in a market of more than a billion people. It was formed through the 2015 merger of Meituan.com and Dianping.com, creating the leading player for internet-based services ordered via smartphone apps. It raised $ 4 billion in the latest round from Tencent Holdings Ltd., Sequoia Capital and U.S. travel giant Priceline Group Inc. Read more…

More about Startups, China, Asia, Meituan, and Business


Business

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Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

‘Alexa, order my meds’ — start-up NowRx pioneers prescription orders through Alexa and Google Home

NowRX has delivered a skill to order meds through Amazon Alexa and Google Home, and expects to come to market later this month.
Health Care

U.S.HEALTHCARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Black Female-Led Startup Jetpack Takes off With Equity Crowdfunding Campaign

Jetpack CEO and Founder Fatima Dicko

Providing consumer products to customers anytime they need, Jetpack is a “last mile,” on-demand service with delivery times often less than 15 minutes.

Jetpack is one of several black-owned companies currently running equity crowdfunding campaigns. Equity crowdfunding allows anyone to invest as little as $ 50 in early-stage companies, a privilege previously reserved for wealthy, “accredited investors.”

Goldman Sachs estimates that equity crowdfunding has the potential to be a $ 1.2 trillion industry. For diverse founders, equity crowdfunding can be a game changer for companies seeking investment. Moreover, it’s a wealth-building opportunity for investors previously restricted from investing in startups.

Brandon Andrews sat down with Jetpack founder and CEO Fatima Dicko to discuss her business and the new opportunity presented by equity crowdfunding.

 

Brandon Andrews: Tell us about Jetpack. How did you develop the concept, and what problem does it solve for customers?   

Fatima Dicko:  Jetpack is a peer-to-peer delivery platform that brings you the products you need in less than 15 minutes. There are a lot of moments when college students need certain products right away and stores are either too far and/or closed, or students just don’t have the time or energy to travel. Traditional delivery platforms take too long because students and professionals are located in buildings or on campuses not easily accessible to the public. Whether a student is studying in the library and needs an energy boost or in between classes and forgot a charger, having the right product right away can change the entire day.

I started noticing that students on Stanford’s campus were using email listservs to blast people within their dorm for products they either forgot or didn’t have and needed right away.  That paved the way to our solution: Jetpack! We pre-stock students with the most important items inside cool backpacks, and then we use technology to connect people who need things with the student Jetpackers who have them. We pay Jetpackers to distribute the products.

 

Jetpack Backpack with Products
(Jetpack Backpack with products. Image: Jetpack)

 

Andrews: How is equity crowdfunding helping Jetpack take off? Why was this the right funding opportunity for your business?

Dicko: Equity crowdfunding is helping Jetpack take off (promise there’s no pun intended) by allowing people who would actually use the product to invest in our company. Prior to new laws and regulations passed by the Obama administration and the SEC, only accredited investors could invest in startups. In the United States, to be considered an accredited investor, one must have a net worth of at least $ 1 million (excluding the value of one’s primary residence) or have an income of at least $ 200,000 each year for the last two years. With new regulations, now everyone can invest in privately held companies through equity crowdfunding.

Equity crowdfunding can be really transformative for businesses where the target consumer is likely outside the definition of an accredited investor. So, for us, it was important that we find a way to gain financial support from consumers actually interacting with our product-college students.

 

Andrews: What should entrepreneurs consider before raising money through equity crowdfunding?

Dicko: While there are many benefits to equity crowdfunding, there are also a lot of things to consider beforehand. First, it’s important to note that in order to raise money, you’ll have to verify your financials on the [equity crowdfunding] platform. This [financial] information will be available to anyone who would like to see it. If you aren’t interested in sharing the financial history of your company with the public, equity crowdfunding probably wouldn’t be best. Similarly, if there are proprietary elements of your business you haven’t yet protected, you probably wouldn’t be too interested in launching a public campaign.

Finally, there’s also a time commitment required to manage the campaign. When launching an equity crowdfunding campaign, it’s important that the company can afford to manage it. I recommend considering whether or not your company is in a phase where the team can allocate time and energy to raise capital through a campaign without sacrificing the growth of the business.

There’s always an inflection point where the momentum is steady. That inflection point happens at different times. Prior to reaching that, we spent one to two hours a day answering questions and running the campaign.

 

Andrews: You are currently running an equity crowdfunding campaign on Republic. How did you prepare your business for the campaign? 

Dicko: We had to make sure we put together material that would fully articulate the potential of our business to the everyday person within one to two minutes of visiting our campaign page. Although we understand the ins and outs of our business, we had to take a step back and remember that everyone else may not. This involved creating a short video, powerful visuals, and important metrics that potential investors can understand. It’s really important to invest a lot of time during this phase so that you can focus on managing the campaign once it’s launched.

The equity crowdfunding platform we chose-Republic-offered to help with creating the collateral for our campaign, but I wanted to manage the design process. This took additional time, but was worth it.

 

Jetpack Mobile App
(Jetpack Mobile App. Image: Jetpack)

 

Andrews: How have you successfully maintained momentum during your campaign? How much work does maintaining the campaign require?  

Dicko: I wish I could say we just watched the money flow in after the launch.  There’s a massive chunk of time you’ll have to spend spreading the word about the campaign, answering all the questions from potential investors, and sharing updates on your company’s progress throughout the campaign. The rewarding part is that you end up playing a volume game and can convert people much faster when the minimum investment amount is relatively low.

 

Andrews: You reached your campaign minimum fairly quickly. Congrats! What’s next for your campaign?

Dicko: We just increased the maximum amount we can raise and extended the length of the campaign. We have about a month left to continue raising money on the [equity crowdfunding] platform. We are also using the traction from the equity crowdfunding campaign to successfully pitch institutional investors. We’ll continue to share updates about our progress over the next month!

 

Andrews: Fundraising is hard. Fundraising for diverse founders is harder. What impact do you think equity crowdfunding will have on access to capital for diverse founders?

Dicko: I believe this fundraising method will democratize how capital is deployed to underrepresented entrepreneurs. As many already know, the current VC system is very broken. As a Black, female founder, I want to show other minority founders that traditional VC capital is not the only way to grow an early-stage business. With equity-based fundraising platforms only in their infancy stages, it’s an exciting time for people from all walks of life to invest in the people and ideas in which they believe. There’s never been more opportunity for African Americans to invest in people who look like them.

 

Andrews: Looking back, is there anything you would do differently with your campaign?

Dicko: Initially, we set the maximum amount of money we could raise as $ 107,000. There are extra financial-verification steps necessary to increase that amount to $ 1 million. Toward the initial end of the campaign, we were on track to raise more than $ 107,000, so we increased the limit. In making changes to our campaign, we were required to update our financial information reflecting the change and notify our investors to reconfirm their investment. This can be a be a tedious process, so it’s best to make sure you plan accordingly and set the maximum amount you can raise high if you: 1. believe you realistically can raise over a certain amount, and 2. can afford the time and resources to do so. It wasn’t the worst problem to have but still required time.

 

Andrews: What’s next for Jetpack? How do you plan to grow the business over the next year?

Dicko: We’re super excited to be introducing our product to multiple campuses this fall. We’ve also revamped our tech to allow students to place orders within seconds with a text message. The next year will involve gaining new users across different regions, learning which products work best on different campuses, and eventually opening up our platform to allow the exchange of people’s own personal items and products in addition to the products we provide.

 

Small Business – Black Enterprise

FASHION DEALS UPDATE:

This Black-Owned Startup, and Others, are Raising Capital Via Equity Crowdfunding

WhoseYourLandlord CEO Ofo Ezeugwu

A startup with a platform targeted to millennial apartment renters, WhoseYourLandlord, recently launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on SeedInvest.

WhoseYourLandlord is one of several black-owned companies currently running equity crowdfunding campaigns on platforms like SeedInvest and Republic. Equity crowdfunding allows anyone to invest as little as $ 50 in early-stage companies; a privilege previously reserved for wealthy “accredited investors.” This presents an opportunity for black, brown, and female founders to activate their networks to not only buy their products but also invest in their companies.

In 2012, President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law. This legislation allows companies to be funded through online platforms by non-accredited investors.

Black Enterprise interviewed WhoseYourLandlord CEO Ofo Ezeugwu about his startup’s crowdfunding campaign.

Brandon Andrews: WhoseYourLandlord empowers renters. Tell us about the business.

Ofo Ezeugwu: WhoseYourLandlord (WYL) is a platform built to empower and inform millennial renters through neighborhood insights, landlord reviews, community-driven content, and access to quality listings. We have over a quarter million users and 10,000 landlord reviews, mostly in the Northeast.

 

(Image: Ofo Ezeugwu, CEO, WhoseYourLandlord)

 

Why is equity crowdfunding the right funding opportunity for your business?

It’s a way to connect with the people. We’re a platform predicated on neighborhood and community among renters and, more specifically, millennial renters. By allowing them to invest in a company focused on bettering their lived experiences, they are literally taking ownership of their futures. This is a win-win for us. Raise capital and raise the brand’s profile.

What should entrepreneurs consider before raising money through equity crowdfunding?

The lead up takes a while. All the financial vetting with the SEC regulations in mind, coupled with the due diligence process, takes about six full weeks—if you work really, really fast. Additionally, if you don’t come into this situation with press contacts, you’re going to spend a lot of time reaching out in attempts to align things with your launch. You don’t want to be cold-emailing a bunch of journalists weeks out from your launch. The response rate is naturally low.

You are currently running an equity crowdfunding campaign on SeedInvest. How did you prepare your business for the campaign?

I told my team the next two months are going to be head-down focusing. As CEO, I took on the brunt of the work because I didn’t want the team to be too distracted by it all. There are still day-to-day things that must be accomplished and other strategic moves we already had planned with the product and operations. On my end, I posted the calendar and SeedInvest schedule on our office’s walls and used that as the North Star as we prepped for it.

How do you plan to maintain momentum during the campaign?

Content is everything. We’ll be posting early and often. We’ll be boosting our posts on Facebook. And, I’ll be speaking at every event I can—imploring people to hop online and invest. We also have some due diligence meetings set up with larger investors who can hopefully chunk off big portions of the raise.

Equity crowdfunding is a great opportunity. However, it requires work. A friend of mine ran a crowdfunding campaign a while back. We were working in the same office space at the time. She stayed late working on the campaign; I expect to do the same.

Why, in your opinion, is equity crowdfunding a good opportunity for black investors?

This is a great opportunity for black investors because they can get a taste of what it feels like to truly be an investor, just initially, on a smaller scale. Gone are the days where you have to be an accredited investor in order to get in on the action. You don’t need assets of $ 1M or more. You don’t need to be making $ 200K a year or more. As a person working their way up, you can learn how to assess a good tech opportunity before you’re playing with bigger money.

Fundraising is hard. Fundraising for diverse founders is harder. What impact do you think equity crowdfunding will have on access to capital for diverse founders?

Equity crowdfunding changes the game for black folks and for other diverse founders, as well. We often don’t have a hard time building a network. We naturally support each other; we just usually don’t have the financial means or we’re too conservative to boost each other with our capital. Equity crowdfunding says, “Hey look, you got a little community around you. I’m sure more people can chip in $ 500 here and there, versus finding a few that can each afford to set $ 25K or more on fire.”

Money – Black Enterprise

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

Kirston Pittman’s Startup, Get Rich in The Struggle (GRITS), Inspires Through Clothing

STEVE HARVEY’S FUNDERDOME - "Episode 104" - Aspiring inventors hoping to win over a live studio audience to fund their ideas, products or companies include: swimsuit pieces that can be used as either a top or a bottom, weighted pompoms, and a plate that converts into a container to store the uneaten portion of kids' meals, on an all-new episode of the seed-funding competition reality series, "Steve Harvey's FUNDERDOME," airing on SUNDAY, JULY 9 (9:00-10:00 p.m.), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Lisa Rose) KIRSTON J. PITTMAN (GRITS CLOTHING)

On Episode 4 of Steve Harvey’s Funderdome, Kirston J. Pittman pitched his company, Get Rich in The Struggle (GRITS). On the show, entrepreneurs pitch in a head-to-head competition to “The Funderdome” (a live studio audience) for the chance to win up to $ 100K in capital. The pitch that gets the most votes wins the money. Before the winner is announced, both competitors get the chance to “cash out” for a lower sum of money.

STEVE HARVEY’S FUNDERDOME - "Episode 104" - Aspiring inventors hoping to win over a live studio audience to fund their ideas, products or companies include: swimsuit pieces that can be used as either a top or a bottom, weighted pompoms, and a plate that converts into a container to store the uneaten portion of kids' meals, on an all-new episode of the seed-funding competition reality series, "Steve Harvey's FUNDERDOME," airing on SUNDAY, JULY 9 (9:00-10:00 p.m.), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Lisa Rose) KIRSTON J. PITTMAN (GRITS CLOTHING) (Kirston J. Pittman on Funderdome. Image: The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Lisa Rose))

 

Brandon Andrews of Values Partnerships sat down with Pittman after the show for a one-on-one interview about his startup and his appearance on the show.

Brandon Andrews: Get Rich In the Struggle (GRITS). Everyone struggles, how do we get rich while going through challenging times?   

Kirston Pittman: I believe that the way to get through any struggle is to first admit that there is one. Once you’ve come to terms with that, then you seek God for direction and guidance and to reveal to you the truth behind whatever that struggle is. Then one must look deep inside and make a decision to become the best being that you can become.

Steps have to be taken to combat the things of the flesh so that the spirit can be fed and you can grow into the being that you were put on earth to become. By you seeking out your truth to become your best, your light will begin to shine for the whole world to see. Others will start to take notice and ask you about what they see; which is you living your truth.

Once you share your story and journey with them, most times they will feel compelled to do the same. And if that cycles repeats itself, we become a better people, which in turn creates a better society, which then creates a better world.

How does clothing impact the way we feel?

 

The clothing serves as a conduit to the message of Get Rich In The Struggle. We hope that as you wear GRITS Brand that you are reminded of something personal to you that you must become better at or overcome something that you are facing. With expansion of the brand we hope to create bumper stickers and coffee mugs, picture frames with quotes and backpacks for kids so that the GRITS message will always be within eyes view.

We hope to inspire, encourage, and embolden consumers by taking the challenge of becoming their best. By providing the best quality clothing with a great message, we want you to wear it proudly as a symbol of someone that has answered the call to want more than what they have spiritually, mentally, and physically. It’s a call of action.

 

How did you feel pitching your business in the Funderdome?

 

I was truly grateful and humbled by the opportunity to pitch the GRITS “Get Rich In The Struggle” message to a national audience. The vision has always been to be on a platform to share my story and encourage others with the message. The response thus far has been humbling and refreshing to say the least. Having people reach out to share their life’s stories about their current life situations and how hearing me on Funderdome has given them fuel to not give up but take on their own personal issues head on. I can truly say that God answers prayers because what I once visualized, materialized by not giving up, keeping the faith, and believing.

GRITS Sweatshirt (GRITS Red Hoodie Sweat Shirt. Image: http://www.gogrits.com)

 

 

What did you learn from your experience on the show?  

 

I’ve learned from my experience on the show that whenever you have a chance to share your story and journey with others that you should. You never know what someone is going through and when you meet people on your journey, you should always look for ways to be positive and upbeat and sow a good seed into the soul of your fellow man. During the audition phase, I had an opportunity to speak with one of the producers of the show and she cried once hearing my story and went on to tell me how inspired she was by my passion and courage to keep going forward despite the circumstances that I’d faced up to that moment. The show taught me to keep pressing. Don’t look back. Forward march at all cost.

(Image: facebook.com/gritsclothingbrand)

 

 

Andrews: Give us a post-show update. How do you plan to grow your business in 2017? 

 

Pittman: We plan to expand the business going forward through viral marketing online, and providing care packages to some athletes and entertainers that we have relationships with. We plan to provide the best inspirational and motivational slogans on clothing and other products, as well as the best designs that capture the eye of the culture. Trade shows and gifting suites at big entertainment events is another avenue that has been afforded to us currently and those opportunities can put us in front of some heavy hitters in the fashion and entertainment arena. We are going to continue moving forward with the vision to capture the minds and souls of the consumers and provide a positive means to become the best being that we can all become. We want to change the people of the world so that the people can change the world.

 

Andrews: What do entrepreneurs like you need to succeed?

 

Pittman: The thing that entrepreneurs like myself need to succeed is simple. Belief in oneself. Once you believe, your mind travels a path that leads directly to the destination that is inspired by your most innate desires. Belief in oneself. That’s what entrepreneurs like myself need to succeed.

 

 

 

 

Small Business – Black Enterprise

FASHION DEALS UPDATE:

The ShearShare Power Couple Takes Their Startup to The Next Level

Courtney Caldwell and Dr. Tye Caldwell

Since September 2016, Black Enterprise.com has followed the journey of ShearShare, a marketplace which allows salon and barbershop owners to rent their excess suites and booths to licensed cosmetologists and barbers on demand with their phone, in cities and countries around the world.

Courtney Caldwell and Dr. Tye Caldwell Courtney Caldwell and Dr. Tye Caldwell (Image: ShearShare)

 

Now, Shear Share co-founders, husband-and-wife Courtney and Tye Caldwell, are taking their business to the next level through a partnership with Track and First American Payments. “ShearShare helps you keep more of your hard-earned money with our new B2B app, says Caldwell. We can now erase the headache of knowing how much money to withhold for business taxes and save on payment processing fees.”

Black Enterprise caught up with Courtney Caldwell to learn more about how the partnership developed.

How did you land a partnership with Track and First American Payments? And why are the products you’re able to offer, because of these partnerships, important?
Tye and I know all too well the hardships faced when choosing to work in the beauty industry. When we heard Track’s value proposition at a private 500 Startups event, we knew immediately that this would be a game changer for our community.

Our team spent more than seven months getting to know the Track co-founders before deciding that this was something we wanted to introduce to the solo artists in our industry. Track’s offering fits nicely into our overall ShearShare mission statement and represents yet another first for the beauty and barbering industry. For the first time EVER, freelance cosmetologists and barbers have access to weekly pay stubs, tax savings accounts, and quarterly filing of their business taxes.

As for our relationship with First American Payments, we were introduced at an industry event and wanted to recommend its mobile payments solution to our community because they offered our stylists a lower interest rate than the industry leaders. A total win-win. Again, we’re meeting our fellow stylists where they are—on their mobile devices—and saving them valuable time and money when it comes to operating their businesses.

We are also excited to announce that we are now part of Backstage Capital’s portfolio of companies. Arlan Hamilton is the first VC to believe in our vision and take the plunge into B2B beauty-tech with us.

 

Small Business – Black Enterprise

FASHION DEALS UPDATE:

Serena Williams Invests in Superfood Startup Daily Harvest

For Serena Williams, boss moves are habitual, both on and off the tennis court.Williams—along with Gwyneth Paltrow and other investors—has joined the first round of financing for Daily Harvest.

 

Williams with competitors at the 2014 WTA Finals. (Image: wikimedia)

 

According to Daily Harvest’s press release, this New York-based startup ships superfood-based produce via “frozen, single-serving, organic smoothies, soups, overnight oats, and chia puddings made with farm-frozen ingredients” right to your doorstep.

Williams is no stranger to the world of investing, most recently joining the board for tech company Survey Monkey.  She’s also been an investor for the UFC sports league, and bought a stake in the NFL football team, the Miami Dolphins, with sister Venus back in 2009.

According to the press release for Daily Harvest:

“Serena and Gwyneth immediately understood our mission to provide convenient foods without nutritional compromise, and their passion for what we are building will make them instrumental members of our investment team,” said Rachel Drori, founder and CEO of Daily Harvest. “As we continue to grow the Daily Harvest brand, partnering with like-minded investors furthers our mission to redefine the frozen food category. We’re excited to educate and inspire Americans across the country to incorporate healthier foods into their busy lives.”

[…]

“I invest in businesses that operate with sincerity and integrity, and deliver a pure and uncompromised product,” said Williams. “Daily Harvest reflects this strategy through both the team of employees and investors Rachel has developed, as well as delicious, healthy, and convenient food. I’m excited about Daily Harvest’s future as a female-led business, and I look forward to helping more people gain access to nutritious meals.”

 

To read the rest of the Daily Harvest press release, click here. To visit the Daily Harvest website, click here.

Small Business – Black Enterprise

FASHION DEALS UPDATE:

‘Dota 2’ pro destroyed by AI player from an Elon Musk start-up

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Elon Musk, noted artificial intelligence worrywart, backs the tech firm behind a robot brain that was smart enough to take down a Dota 2 pro this week.

The showdown took the form of an exhibition match staged on Friday at The International 2017, an annual esports tournament. OpenAI’s Dota 2 bot faced off in a series of 1v1 matches against Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, a member of the top-tier team Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) since 2015.

It wasn’t even close.

The AI raced its way to two dominant victories before the exhibition ended. It was supposed to be a best-of-five series, but Dendi didn’t wait that long to admit defeat. Read more…

More about Tech, Entertainment, Gaming, Artificial Intelligence, and Elon Musk


Entertainment

BEST ENTERTAINMENT DEALS UPDATE:

‘Dota 2’ pro destroyed by AI player from an Elon Musk start-up

TwitterFacebook

Elon Musk, noted artificial intelligence worrywart, backs the tech firm behind a robot brain that was smart enough to take down a Dota 2 pro this week.

The showdown took the form of an exhibition match staged on Friday at The International 2017, an annual esports tournament. OpenAI’s Dota 2 bot faced off in a series of 1v1 matches against Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, a member of the top-tier team Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) since 2015.

It wasn’t even close.

The AI raced its way to two dominant victories before the exhibition ended. It was supposed to be a best-of-five series, but Dendi didn’t wait that long to admit defeat. Read more…

More about Tech, Entertainment, Gaming, Artificial Intelligence, and Elon Musk


Tech

ENTERTAINMENT DEAL UPDATE:

If Your Startup Doesn’t Have These 5 Ingredients…

Startup

Running a startup company is one of the most demanding jobs out there, but is nonetheless the very essence of the American dream; millions of Americans fantasize about being their own bosses, coming up with an unbeatable idea or product, and raking in the big money.

However, even for those entrepreneurs with the audacity to found their own companies, the sad fact is that three out of every four startups fail altogether.

It takes much more than hard work or determination alone to succeed with a new business venture. Here are five things every startup needs in order to survive, and eventually thrive.

 

An Unbeatable Team

 

The key premise of any startup is that you are delivering the solution to a problem better than existing firms. You can expect that the competition and pressure will be brutal from the start, and you are going to need a core of highly competent people who can thrive in a challenging environment. Not only will your team have to deal with intense pressure and competition, but they will also have to do so by remaining talented and adaptable, to ensure you get that unique product or service to market.

Having an unbeatable team, therefore, is one of the most important components of any successful startup. Entrepreneurs should choose core team members wisely, and ensure they have the right attributes.

Beyond the founding members of the startup, entrepreneurs should seek out adaptable people who possess intense, intuitive talents in the startup company’s particular field; prior experience in running a successful startup is often helpful as well. Core team members should be dedicated and loyal to the company, and must be ready to put the company as the priority in their lives.

Finally, you should ensure that each core team member is a good “fit” within the company, and doesn’t distract from the synergy or camaraderie you are working to instill.

 

Laser-Like Focus

 

If your all-star team is not focused, then your start-up will likely get into trouble, and fast. Your core startup team has been assembled to provide the solution to a complex problem better than current competitors can; if they lose sight of that, your company will almost certainly fail to deliver on its promises.

Keep your core team heavily focused on the mission essential task, and do not let administrative or other requirements prove to be a fatal distraction.

Consider outsourcing less critical tasks to freelancers or other contractors, so that your core team can stay on target; leveraging technology to automate and simplify mundane tasks and communication can be helpful, too. Additionally, ensure that the problem itself does not morph or grow into something that is drastically different from the original premise (but see below on adaptability), leaving your startup incapable of delivering a product on an acceptable timeline.

As the leader, one of the entrepreneur’s most important tasks is to exercise good judgment as to whether the startup team is sufficiently focused, and that the product is still viable and clearly defined. Keep the big picture in mind, and never let the team stray too far afield from it.

 

A Customer Base

 

If your startup is going to succeed, your product or service has to satisfy the demand of a market in a way that your soon-to-be competitors cannot. Before investing heavily in personnel or infrastructure, ensure that your startup’s product is something that people actually want.

Surveys and other market research can be extremely helpful here. Once you are actually in business it is also imperative, especially early on, that you maintain excellent relationships with your first customers, so they keep coming back for more.

Remember, repeat customers account for 55 to 70 percent of total sales for most companies, so ensure you cultivate a loyal customer base. Additionally, customers can be some of your best (and cheapest) advertising. Work hard to facilitate positive word-of-mouth from early sales, and provide venues in social media where customers can share their experiences. This feedback can also help you relate better to your current or future customers, and assist you in improving your startup’s product as well.

Finally, continue working hard to build your customer base at all times; make every sale counts.

 

Flexibility

 

Adapt or die is not a cliché when it comes to startups. If your business is going to endure and ultimately thrive, then it will almost certainly have to be extremely flexible. An effective company will adapt rapidly to change, and seize fleeting opportunities faster than the competition can.

Your core team can never rest on its laurels and simply be satisfied; it must always be thinking about improving the product, or introducing new, better ones.

In some cases, it may be necessary for the startup to pivot dramatically away from its original core service or product. Many highly successful contemporary companies pivoted dramatically from how the were originally envisioned as startups.

YouTube, for example, originally had lowly beginnings as Tune In Hook Up, a video-dating site.  The image-hosting giant Flickr, on the other hand, was originally an online game.

Again, one of the most critical leadership tasks of the entrepreneur is exercising the judgment to determine if changes need to be made, risks taken, or if the company needs to dramatically alter its plans.

 

Cash Flow

 

All of the attributes above are critical to the success of a startup, but they are also intangible; the one critical, and tangible, element your startup needs on day one is a solid cash flow.

Once you are in business, you are going to need to meet payroll, pay vendors, satisfy your landlord and keep the lights on. All of that requires cash.  If you do not anticipate making money initially, ensure that you secure sufficient capital to meet your requirements until you anticipate making money. Be as efficient as possible in the early days, and make every single dollar count.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Succeeding as a startup is extremely challenging. Entrepreneurs who want to make it must build an effective, highly adaptable team, cultivate and grow a loyal customer base, and stay focused; they also need the judgment to know when it is time to make dramatic changes. Finally, startups need a sufficient cash flow, especially in the early days as they are getting established.

While nothing in life or business is certain, ensuring your startup has these five attributes will put you in the best possible place to begin.

 

This post was written by   and originally appeared on DUE.com.

 


William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, “I’ll just Google it.”

Small Business – Black Enterprise

FASHION DEALS UPDATE:

Facebook quietly bought a startup that can manipulate videos

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Fake news, it’s a big deal on Facebook, and we might just be getting more of it in the form of videos.

Facebook recently bought a startup with an expertise in video manipulation, Deutsche Startups reported. The German-based startup Fayteq has software that is able to remove or add objects in videos, even live ones, and add effects to them. 

The company offers “innovative technologies in the area of off-line and real-time video manipulation, removing the border between reality and fiction,” described Siegfried Vater, an investor and partner of Fayteq, according to TechEu. Read more…

More about Business, Facebook, Video, Acquisitions, and Virtual Reality


Business

BREAKING NEWS:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Discovery Leads $10 Million Investment in VR Startup Here Be Dragons

VR startup Here Be Dragons has raised a $ 10 million round of funding led by Discovery Communications, with ad agency founder David Droga and former Havas CEO David Jones shipping in some money as well.  Discovery’s SVP of emerging platforms and partnerships Rebecca Howard joined the board of the startup as part of the funding. “Discovery and Here… Read more »

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Martin Shkreli’s ‘stealthy’ tech start-up has a website and says it’s starting to test products

Shkreli is listed as CEO, while Ralph Holzmann, previously a senior engineer at Twitter, is chief technology officer.
Health Care

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Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

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Doctors say this start-up could revolutionize how we fight infectious diseases

Karius has figured out a way to separate out disease-causing agents from bacteria that live harmoniously in the body. It just raised $ 50 million.
Health Care

U.S.HEALTHCARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

On the Road With ‘Shark Tank’ 2017: Meet the CEO of The Startup Admin

The Startup Admin

For the ninth stop of the nationwide Shark Tank Diversity Tour, the casting team for ABC’s Shark Tank visited Oakland, California, where entrepreneurs pitched their businesses at the Kapor Center for Social Impact.

While at the Kapor Center, Brandon Andrews sat down with La Donna Higgins, founder and CEO of The Startup Admin (TSA); a new way for startup founders to get the professional services they need to grow their businesses.

The Startup Admin (The Startup Admin CEO, La Donna Higgins. Image: The Startup Admin)

 

 

Every business needs a good team. What’s the Startup Admin story?

 

La Donna Higgins: Before starting The Startup Admin I was a career executive assistant. I’ve supported Paul Marciano, owner of Guess Inc., Jeff Bonforte, SVP of Communication Products at Yahoo Inc., and Matthew Brezina, co-founder of Xobni and Sincerely.

I joined Xobni in 2007 as an executive assistant, office manager, HR manager, bookkeeper, and event planner. Within my first six months of being at Xobni, I was asked to prepare due diligence for Microsoft. During this process it became clear to me how many processes were not in place. Finding documents took longer than necessary because there wasn’t anyone managing where things should be kept or if the documents existed.

I began to create working procedures for every task that needed to be done. I started to implement policies and procedures and found I had a lot of free time on my hands. I began to answer questions from other founders on things like “Who do I use for payroll?”, “What insurance plan would be good for our team?” or “Can you recommend a vendor to deliver lunch to us?”

In the beginning, I was providing consulting services free of charge. Then a company reached out to me and asked if I could setup their new startup with everything they needed and they were willing to pay me. I did this for a few startups then one day Jeff Bonforte, who was the CEO at Xobni, said to me “if you could teach others how to run startups the way you do, it would be a goldmine.” This is when the light bulb went off and I started to work on my own startup, The Startup Admin!

 

Why is this the right solution for entrepreneurs?

 

Higgins: The Startup Admin is the right solution for entrepreneurs because there is a race against time to get your product or service to market. Having an admin who can take on all of your administrative tasks and create a compliant infrastructure for your business is a huge asset. Some administrative tasks are not the best use of a founder’s time, however, getting these tasks done could lead to the success of your business.

In the beginning of starting a business, the entrepreneur might not know exactly what they need from an admin; they know more that they just need help with all the moving pieces. Our admins are trained on all things “startups.” From Human Resources and creating that perfect onboarding package to due diligence and company wind down. Our admins are armed with a how-to manual to efficiently create policies, procedures, and systems to help a business scale.

 

 

Startups have—perhaps—never been more popular. How is The Startup Admin keeping pace with the rate of new business formation?

 

Higgins: The Startup Admin is keeping our admins trained on the latest technology to improve how we work. One of our goals is to save startups resources to help them stretch their runway and build a successful business. We are constantly working with startups as beta testers for companies creating productivity tools, accounting software, HR solutions, and many other tools.

We are always hiring and training new admins to meet the demand on new business formation.

How does The Startup Admin work? How do entrepreneurs get an admin on their team?

 

Higgins: Once a potential client reaches out to us, we schedule an intake call or meeting with the client. We gather information about the company such as employee size and anticipated growth, funding, current systems and vendors, pain points and immediate needs. Once we have identified what is needed, we create a job description and it is sent out to our admin queue.

We then vet the admins to find a group whose experience and background closely matches the needs and direction of the company. For example, one of our clients who is in the kitchen construction business was looking for a bookkeeper. We partnered them with an admin who had 15 years of experience doing project management in construction for hospitals. This admin was able to double the company’s revenue in three months!

After we select a group of admins to present to the client, we schedule interviews which can be in person, by phone, or via Skype. Although we can verify each admin has the skills, training, and ongoing support of TSA, culture fit is also key to a successful partnership. So we ask the client to be a part of the selection process.

Once the clients selects an admin to work with, they are connected to start working together. There are no minimum usage requirements for the client. Our clients average 30-80 hours per month with their admin. The client is able to scale up or back when needed.

Once connected to the client, the admin is provided with an electronic folder with forms, systems, and policies to implement, to help them get started. One of the requirements of our admin is for them to create “Working Procedures” for the company they are supporting. This is a how-to manual on every tasks they are responsible for completing.

The startup admin reviews this ongoing working document to make suggestions on how the admin should complete tasks, what vendors should be put in place, and what workflows would help the business operate most efficiently.

Our team checks in with the admin and client after the first two weeks, six weeks, three months, six months, and one year. We want to make sure the admin is being successful in their assignment and the client is receiving the highest level of support.

As popular as startups are, self-employment may be just as popular. Tell us about the admins you work with. Where do you find them? Are you hiring?

 

Higgins: We work with Admins who come from a wide background of experience. Some are coming from startups that have been acquired or have gone out of business. Some are coming from corporate businesses, and some are looking to break into the startup world and need experience or a foot in the door.

We look for admins who can shift gears quickly and take on whatever tasks are needed to keep the ship moving forward. Our admins not only have your typical admin experience, but marketing, finance, project management, business development, web design, etc.

We find our admins through job fairs and postings, startup events, and pitches we give. Many come from referrals from the companies we support. We are always hiring.

You pitched at our Oakland Shark Tank casting call. What does the opportunity be appear on Season 9 of Shark Tank mean to you?

 

Higgins: The opportunity to appear on Shark Tank Season 9 would bring national exposure to our services and the need for every startup to work with an experienced admin to catapult their business forward. This is also an opportunity to create strategic partnerships with the Sharks themselves. Investors should require every company they invest in to have a sound business structure, not just a great product. A lot of times investors are thinking about how they will make money on top of their investment, but not thinking about who will manage their money while the founders are busy getting their product to market and building a sound team. Shark Tank is the perfect platform for The Startup Admin because it shows the other side of startup success or failure.

Richard Branson is the Shark I am most interested in pitching to. He understands and advocates for executive assistants. He attributes some of his success to having a strong support team that allows him to focus on higher priorities. I believe The Startup Admin will resonate with him and his own success as an entrepreneur.

(Sir Richard Branson. Image: Wikimedia/Richard Burdett)

 

How do you plan to grow The Startup Admin in 2017? What’s next for your business?

 

Higgins: I plan to launch The Startup Admin in new markets and demographics. New York, Austin, and the Midwest are huge markets we would like to build a presence in. Receiving funding will allow us to build our internal teams in these areas and launch our services within one to three months. I would like to focus on building strategic partnerships with VC’s, angel investors, and startup incubators.

I have also launched my second company, The Startup Admin Co-Munity workspace in Oakland. This co-working space is geared toward underserved entrepreneurs to work as a collective to learn what is needed to launch and grow a successful company. Along with the workspace, we provide the services of The Startup Admin to every member.

I have also recently incorporated another company, Experienced Admin Solutions, that will serve larger companies with full-time placements of experienced admins. I am passionate about the supportive roles admins play in the success of businesses. From my personal experience as an admin I have created multiple business ventures that support the success of entrepreneurs. While it was never my plan to be an entrepreneur, I have now become an example to many on how to turn your passion into a thriving business.

In 2017, Values Partnerships is leading a nationwide casting tour for ABC’s Shark Tank. This casting tour is focused on giving diverse entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their businesses and appear on the show’s ninth season. In addition to having the opportunity to audition for Shark Tank, Values Partnerships has also held discussions on access to capital, offered pitch prep sessions, and shared entrepreneurship resources with entrepreneurs from around the country, all throughout the Shark Tank Diversity Tour.

To apply to audition for the ninth season of Shark Tank and find out more information on the Shark Tank Diversity Tour, visit www.sharktankdiversitytour.com.

 

 

Small Business – Black Enterprise

FASHION DEALS UPDATE:

Start-up Helix wants you to care about your DNA — with help from marketers

Such applications include a retail company that puts your DNA on a scarf.
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6 Ways to Get Media Coverage On Your Startup

From attracting new clients and investors to building your credibility as a speaker, landing media coverage can take your brand or startup to the next level. So if you’re ready to increase your chances of getting media coverage check out a few pitch tips below:

(Image: iStock/AndreyPopov)

 

Pitch a Problem and Solution, Not Your Startup

 

It’s not about you; it’s about the needs of the media outlet’s target audience. Make your messaging stand out by focusing on the solutions you provide for a specific audience.

Show How You Add Value in Your Pitch

 

How does what you’re offering benefit the outlet’s audience? Does your product or service save time or money? Can it improve someone’s daily routine? Can it help you avoid the hassle and headache?

Consider the Timing of Your Pitch and Make it Relevant to The Media Outlet

 

Connect your story idea with current events, trends, or even a writer’s recent article. For print features, keep in mind, many publications work three to four months in advance.

Research the Media Outlet and Its Target Audience

 

Sometimes a publication’s media kit, publishing calendar, and the writer responsible for a specific beat, are available online. Simply Google the name of the publication and the word “Media kit.” For instance, “Black Enterprise + Media Kit.”

Always Be Prepared for Media Connections

 

Journalists search social media channels for story ideas so keep your business visible and engaged with your target audience and industry trends. You should publish content regularly, be active online (e.g., Twitter Chats, webinars, YouTube Videos, and Instagram stories) and attend local events. Remember, you are a walking, talking billboard for your brand—so stay ready. Your website should be fully functional and social media profiles public.

Never Forget to Follow Up

 

Allow three to four days for a follow-up. And include an enticing piece of information like a new major sponsor or analytics about your startup or the market in which it operates.

Small Business – Black Enterprise

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