Tag: startups

12
Aug

SXSW V2V: Day 1

SXSW V2V Logo

We love SXSW not only because of the parties and people (although we should note both are excellent), but also because, on a more earnest note, we at Oishii love participating at SXSW V2V and the community of like-mind entrepreneurs and creativists who experiment with the order of things.

Building on the SXSW experience, SXSW V2V is a four-day event in Las Vegas with an emphasis on the creative spark that drives entrepreneurial innovation.

In the days ahead, the 1,500 attendees will participate in informative panels, mentoring and coaching programs, intense workshops, pitch competitions and exhibits of startup innovations.
Here are a few highlights from today’s sessions:

America’s Entrepreneurial Spirit: The Case for Fixing our Broken Immigration System
Alex Torrenegra, CEO of VoiceBunny
Andrew Crump, CEP of Bluefields
Mark Falzone, Deputy Director National Immigration Forum
Rep. Joe Heck, US House of Representatives – US Congressman
Scott Allison, CEO of Teamly Inc.

This panel discussed what lies ahead for immigration reform, and what the tech industry can do to fix the broken system.

Key takeaways:
• Like a bad football team, we’re training the players with the best strategies and sending them out to work in other countries because of immigration.
• It’s necessary to bring (the right) talent to startups.
• There’s need to be a balance between bringing international talent and national security.

Founder’s Guide to Securing First Round of Funding
Alex Mittal, Co-Founder & CEO of FundersClub

In this session, Alex Mittal outlined the fundraising process for first-time founders, focusing on whether fundraising makes sense, best practices for securing their company’s first round of capital, the role investors will play in their company’s future, and things to consider before agreeing to investment terms.

Key takeaways:
• Try not raising money. 2/3 of IPOs are not from VC money.
• $25-50k can start companies. Go with your family and friends.
• Then raise about 18 months’ worth of money.
• Spending doesn’t equal results.
• The key to success: don’t die!

Not Just a Pretty Profile: Building Online Persona
Brett Martin
Christine Herron, Director of Intel Capital
Peter Kazanjy, Founder of TalentBin

This panel discussed the importance of cultivating the online persona, provide concrete examples of what has and hasn’t worked, and help you understand the challenges that come along with that creation.

Key takeaways:
• How a person can act like a brand and vice versa.
• Everyone has an online persona. Be proactive about managing it.
• Venture groups and employers will look at your online persona.
• Authenticity has to be proportional to what you share. Personality is what attracts people.
• Create goals and objectives around your online persona and build a content strategy for it.
• Purpose needs to be defined:
o Build professional credibility
o Professional engagement (personal)
o Create connections
• Address mistakes head on
• Your online identity carries over into the real world (examples: Uber, Lyft, etc.) Rating each other furthers that identity.
• First step to engage (if not already) is to signup, consume and learn.
• Good analytics tools: Reporative, Twitter (analytics) & Sprout Social

Keynote: The City as a Startup
Tony Hsieh, Zappos

Culture is to company as community is to city; it’s about values, innovation, serendipity, and attraction of smart startups and the creative class. Tony applies his Zappos corporate culture to build the most community-focused big city in the world, in Downtown Las Vegas.

Key takeaways:
• Tony invested in Zappos… and then joined the company because investing was boring.
• He invested into customer service instead of marketing.
• Culture is the most important thing in order to deliver happiness.
• The values can be anything; it just requires company alignment.
• There needs to be a higher purpose beyond profits.
• Brand and culture are different sides of the same coin.
• A great brand is a story that never stops unfolding.
• Zappos moving past its four walls and into community as well.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

Learn How Top Brands are Succeeding by Being Transparent
Jeff Rosenblum, CEO of Questus

Jeff discussed how advertising is the connection point between consumers and corporations and that the industry can be the linchpin in a revolution that enables corporations to earn billions while moving the planet forward.

Key takeaways:
• Advertising is going through a revolution. Social media and technology are forcing a paradigm change.
• Advertising can save the world.
• Trust is at an all-time low. The authenticity of a brand is so important to building that trust.
• Because of technology, transparency is forced. If you don’t participate in the conversation, people will have it around you.
• As branders, we have to help companies be great. We can inspire a new generation of branding where authenticity drives consumers, not false messaging.
• Digital natives are now taking over the workplace. What happens as transparency natives come into the workplace?
• Advertising has to make a fundamental shift from “interrupting us” to adding value to our activities.

15
Jul

What’s happening with the JOBS Act?

JOBS Act

We’ve been following the updates on the JOBS Act regulation, and here are some key takeaways from Sadis & Goldberg LLP this morning:

1. New Rule 506(c) under Reg D will permit general advertising and solicitation of private investment funds provided that they take reasonable steps to verify that all purchasers are “accredited investors” as defined in Rule 501 of Regulation D.

Key takeaway – There is no restriction on who a private investment fund can solicit, but there are restrictions on who is permitted to purchase the private investment fund’s securities (such as LP or LLC interests or shares).

2. The SEC has provided a non-exclusive list of methods that private investment funds may use to satisfy the verification requirements for individual investors, including:

i. Reviewing copies of any IRS form that reports the income of the investor and obtaining a written representation that the investor will continue to earn the necessary income in the current year; and/or
ii. Receiving a written confirmation from
a) An SEC registered broker-dealer or investment adviser;
b) Licensed attorney; or
c) CPA.
Note: Such parties must take reasonable steps to verify the investors’ accredited investor status.

Key takeaway – All private investment fund subscription documents will need to be updated.

3. The existing Rule 506 exemption (re-designated as Rule 506(b)) which allows private investment funds to accept up to 35 non-accredited investors and an unlimited number of accredited investors with whom there is a pre-existing and substantial relationship will continue to be in effect. A private investment fund relying on this exemption is not subject to the new verification procedures.

Key takeaway – A private investment fund that wants to continue taking in non-accredited investors cannot publicly advertise or solicit.

4. Currently a private investment fund that sells securities under Rule 506 is required to file a Form D with the SEC no later than 15 calendar days after the first sale of securities in an offering.

•The new rules will require that Form D:
i. be filed at least 15 calendar days before engaging in general advertising or solicitation;
ii. be updated within 30 days of completing an offer.
• The final rules will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
• All private investment funds relying on the CFTC 4.13(a)(3) exemption must exercise caution until the CFTC reconciles such exemptions with these new SEC rules.

“The information contained herein was prepared by Sadis & Goldberg LLP for general purposes only. Its content should not be construed as legal advice, and readers should not act upon the information in this presentation without consulting counsel. This information is presented without any representation or warranty as to its accuracy, completeness or timeliness. Transmission or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship with Sadis & Goldberg LLP.”

12
Jul

Part 2: Choosing the Right Crowdfunding Platform

We continue on our series on Crowdfunding with insights from Oishii and how to make sense of all the options.

• What are the options for funding your idea(s)? Some top ones include:

Kickstarter – focuses on creative projects and is probably one of the best known crowdfunding portals
Indiegogo — allows a broad range of projects
Fundable – caters to small business startups
FundAGeek – focuses on technology and science-related initiatives
Circleup.com – only available to accredited investors raising the amount that can be raised, and only focused on mid-stage product companies
Rockethub – international portal focused on artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, and social leaders
ThrdPlace – a hybrid crowdfunding / crowdsourcing site focused on community development project
Crowdcube – only focuses on equity-based crowdfunding
FundingGarage – car and motorsport-oriented projects

• Which platform is right for you? What do you need to consider?

Your project really should be aligned with the philosophy of the crowdfunding site. For example, creative projects should be on creative-oriented sites while tech projects should be geared towards tech-focused ones. This has to be balanced with how popular the site is and how many people are engaged with the portal. After all, you’re looking to them for the investment. Only reward-based crowdfunding is available in the US today; once regulations are promulgated around equity crowdfunding, you’ll have to choose if reward-based or equity-based incentives are more appropriate for your project.

crowdfunding-photo

21
Jun

Part 1: Crowdfunding Basics

Crowdfunding
Crowd funding or crowdfunding is a term we’ve been hearing a lot lately, especially as it relates to funding new business startups or supporting causes that matter to you. It describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually online, to back efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Essentially, crowdfunding connects “crowds” directly to those who need funds.

So, what are the pros & cons of using crowdfunding? Oishii weighs in:

Pros:
• A low barrier of entry for both entrepreneurs and investors alike.
• A shift to smarter and more creative ideas gaining access to capital; it’s not just the rich getting richer or “who you know”
• More, better ideas are coming to market.

Cons:
• Fraudulent and potentially crazy ideas could be funded
• Investors don’t always have access to proper due diligence to properly understand all the risks associated with the investment
• Entrepreneurs have less skin in the game and investors have little retribution


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