by @Jason Calacanis
Every few years—at least for the past 20 that I’ve been in the technology space—I’ve witnessed a change in how startups go about getting funding from investors.
In the mid ’90s, the best way to build a pitch was to collect a couple of MBAs and build a kick-ass business plan, a slick PowerPoint deck and, of course, a killer business model in Excel. (Back then, people spent more time building their business plans than founders spend on the first versions of companies I see on today’s AngelList!)
Ten years ago, the best practice was finding an emerging market and building the category killer in it. Basically, you paired a large vertical (healthcare, sports, kids, plastics) with a buzzword (blogging, photo sharing, social, e-commerce) and put a “for” between them. For example: “blogging for sports,” “photo sharing for kids,” or “social for healthcare.”
Today? People are obsessed with the “lean startup” genre of businesses that reinvent—basically optimize—traditional activities like hailing a taxi or booking a hotel room.
If you came into a room with a VC 10 years ago and said you were building any of the following businesses, you probably would have been quickly dismissed:
1. Hail a taxi
2. Back up your files
3. A message board for employees
Yet those businesses—Uber, Dropbox and Yammer—are three of the hottest startups. (Full disclosure: I’m an investor in Uber, and while I didn’t invest in Dropbox and Yammer, they did debut at my conference.)
So, how does one get an investment for an idea that seems obvious? Very simple: Understand what angel investors and VCs are looking for and give it to them. Investors have pattern recognition, and they are driven by four Fs: fortune, fame, fear and fun.
by @Jason Calacanis
I was talking with my brother recently about higher education. We both struggled our way through school, barely able to afford our approximate $40k in tuition and expenses over the four years (he at a state school, me at Fordham University).
Now his son has been accepted to a bunch of amazing schools, and we discussed a $250k four-year bill. Yep, 20 years after we graduated, the same set of schools cost 6x+ as much.
Which leads to the question parents are faced with today:
Is college worth the money?
No, it’s not enough value for the money.
In my estimation college is worth it if you have a ton of money and don’t care about ROI, or if you can pay less than $50k-$75k and get a job with starting pay of $50k or more (generally technical, trade or finance work).
At $100k-$250k, it’s simply foolish.
Everything you need to know to catch up on LAUNCH Festival 2013 is here.
Something we need to add? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
LAUNCH Festival 2013 Overall Winners
- Best Overall 1.0 - Boxbee
- Best Enterprise 2.0 - Zillabyte
- Best Consumer 2.0 - Jawfish
- LAUNCH Alpha (aka Hackathon winner) - WizzyWig
- Best Demo Pit - NanoSatisfi
- Diamond in the Rough - Addicaid
- Best Hardware - CubeSensors
- Best International - Instabridge
- Best Enterprise 1.0 - Synata
- Best Presentation 1.0 - Knowyo
- Best Business 1.0 - AdStage
- Best Design 1.0 - Triptease
- Best Technology 1.0 - Navisens
We had a number of folks promise to put up investment prizes. And they are coming through on their promises!
- Brad Gerstner (Room77) - $150k offer: AdStage & Instabridge
- David Cohen (TechStars) - $100k offer: Boxbee
- Jay Levy (Zelkova) - $50k+ offer: AdStage
- Gigi Brisson & Harvey Allison (Attractor Ventures) - $50k offer: AdStage
- Steve Chen (Screendate) - $25k offer: Jawfish
- Marc Meyer (Persefon) - $20k offer: Boxbee
- Marc Meyer (Persefon) - $15k offer: AdStage
Did we miss you on this list? Email email@example.com.
** All investment prizes are still pending due diligence.
AdStage builds tools to help advertisers advertise across multiple networks in search and social. (!!!!)
Ryse is an ecosystem for brands and agencies to engage with emerging media, platforms and technologies via an app, marketplace and network.
HomeDine.in connects people over home-cooked meals.
MyCuteFriend mobile app for dating in which women curate men
Planeto creates fun trivia games and knowledge platforms for a worldwide audience.
Circl Allows brick-and-mortar SMBs already using email/social to see if those messages are bringing people into their stores.
Flyer.io Simplifies the process of creating and sharing real estate flyers.