daniel kivatinos

Y Combinator: ambassador to the east

Oct
22

Today Y Combinator ambassador to the east Alexis Ohanian came by our office’s.

He spoke about how YC helped him with his startup Reddit and how he is now working on breadpig.com.

There was one thing that Alexis mentioned that really made me think why they are so succesfull at what they do. I think some of the secret sauce that YC has is a weekly dinner. I don’t think it is just the dinner that drives startup product but the demos. Demoing to peers who judge, drive Startups to work a little harder. But it isn’t just that, imagine demoing to the founders of google, or the founder of facebook. Now that is pressure… That drives home a secret message. Get product out fast. Period. You don’t want to look like the startup who didn’t do their homework.

Alexis Ohanian

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Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media

Oct
02

This month Alexis Ohanian, the founder of ReadIt will be talking at a Rose Tech Free Lunch Friday, I am looking forward to it!
They were the first successful company to get an exist out of ycombinator.

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Free Lunch Friday Notes August 6th 2010

Aug
14

NYCSeed‘s managing director Owen Davis came by the Rose Tech Incubator this week to give a talk on what investors look for in startup’s. Some of the key points Owen mentioned that I took away from the talk are below. (NYCSeed only invests in the 5 NY borrows).

Owen Davis of NYCSeed at the Roes Tech Incubator

FUNDING CRITERIA

To anyone doing a startup, “Time matters”. Owen mentioned that committing large amounts of time to R and D is a bad mistake.
Timing has to be in your favor, things have to be aligned. Your technology and the timing is key. You can build something great but is there a demand for it?

Owen recommends 2 person teams, I hear this magic number a lot, google, yahoo, etc. Startups with 2 founders is the magic number. It shows a demonstrations team work, difference in dynamic. With a team of two you have a sounding board.

Another key thing is to have a prototype complete.

Showing you have tech leads on as founders is the DNA of the company it is important. Moment by moment technology changes.

Angels and VCs like to see a good sized market, show a clear path to revenue.

TYPE OF STARTUP COMPANIES

Network Effect
-Hard to invest in these
-Risk
–e.g.: Gaming companies
–e.g.: iPhone apps
–e.g.: YouTube lost 40 or 50 million a year
-not real innovation

Application Oriented
-look at market
-build an application
–e.g.: ticketfly.com
–e.g.:quickbooks

Innovation
e.g.: google’s rank algorithm
e.g.: Advertising space, customer segmentation of ads
Investors believe or don’t believe in the innovation you have.

Some companies have pricing power, if coke raised it’s prices they would be ok.
If a copper wire company raised it’s prices it would take a toll on them

Some examples of companies that have a little higher prices are:
zappos.com has customer loyalty.
Amazon charges more then others.
Wholefoods charges much more then others.

Team
Having a good team culture is important.
Be honest and be transparent that is what is important.

WHAT MAKES A COMPANY FUNDABLE
Big Market
Team

A “good business” is not necessarily fundable.
A lot of great biz that will be successful without funding.

GOOD TRENDS
-how do u derive meaning out of data
-New ways to data mine
-Project management tools
-Online learning
-Digital advertising
-Billboard industry
-Local search
-Building a better Craigslist
-Building better Email

Free Lunch Friday Notes July 30 2010

Aug
07

Kirill Sheynkman came over to the Rose Tech Incubator and spoke about pitching to VC’s. I took some high notes personal notes from the talk.

The pitch.
Tell them what you are doing.

Market.
Why now?
“We are a _____ for ____ a market worth $$$.”
What is the pain you are addressing.
Who are the people that have the pain.
How many are there?

Product.
Why this.

Team.
Why us.

Deal.
Why now.
Let them know your realistic goals.
Milestones.
Think about the next round.
Expect 35%-40% for a series A.
2 1/2 post round B.
How are you going to get to this point?
Think about the next round
Who will sign the check?

Down Rounds are bad!

Funding cycles.
The approach.
The first meeting.
The second meeting.
The partner meeting.
Due diligence (can take weeks).
Close (4 to 6 weeks to get a deal done.)

Start to pitch 6 months before the next round. It is the CEO’s job full time to be raising money.
It is the board of directors job to manage how well the CEO’s performance is going for a company.

Check out Kirill’s blog, he is also on twitter.

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Free Lunch Friday Notes July 23 2010

Jul
27

We were honored this week to have David Rose talking about the direction that companies are going.

I took a few notes on what he had mentioned.

First he mention some great outsourcing resources:

David also mentioned that we should take a look at the books Wikinomic sand Three Moves Ahead a book by Bob Rice.

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