Tag Archives: food

VIDEO: Let’s Lunch – Expand your professional network

A great free way of expanding your professional network, meeting new people or just making new friends are sites like www.LetsLunch.com. One could be randomly paired for a one on one lunch, one could join interest group lunches, be introduced to someone or be invited to lunch.  The members has a wide variety of people from all walks of life but here in the Bay Area there is an abundance of techies and startup founders. There’s a directory so explore and add to your wishlist based upon your networking goals. All you need to do is schedule the lunch, show up and pay for your own lunch.

It was extremely important for a company like Let’s Lunch to have a community manager because even though it is a website that matches individuals. Let’s Lunch had a limited budget and needed to increase their presence in the community and increase member excitement about getting out of their routine and discovering new people. Word of mouth & press coverage was how Let’s Lunch has expanded to over 10,000 members in multiple cities and countries.

Here’s a video of group lunch I helped lead regarding online marketing with special guest Murray Newlands, Influencepeople.com, Thanks for the video.

Life 3.0 – Love, Sex & Tech

Life 3.0 is the largest monthly startup demo show in San Francisco. We gather the most disruptive startup founders in the same room with investors, early adopters , and media. At Life 3.0, Funders and Founders mix to exchange ideas, do business, and get inspired.


*See me in the video

Life 3.0 – Love, Sex & Tech

April’s theme was Love, Sex & Tech. I was interviewed by Murray Newlands, Influencepeople.com. I was assisting Letslunch.com at their booth. Life 3.0 attendees voted for their favorite startups with beans. We placed 4th, not enough to place top 3 to do the pitch to the panel…which is good because Letslunch.com had nothing to do with love or sex but is a tech company. 45 different startups came to complete for the title of the Best Startup. The entire audience of 500 people voted.

The 3 companies that placed were innovative sexy tech ideas, my favorite being Vibease, a hardware+software teledildonic product intended for remote intimacy. A smart-phone app that powers a distant vibrator. The founder, Dema Tio, created a fantasy world where video, music and vibrations are aimed to help women achieve orgasm. Tio was in Singapore at the time of the event and watched the entire event via ustream feed. I would receive Tio’s excited SMS messages if the feed were ever interrupted. Tio had a representative at the demo booth but wanted to do the pitch himself. Tio was able to pitch to the panel via skype video. Awww, the power of technology bringing the world together. A good example of the future of our engagement.

And the winners are…Cheekd.com – a New York Startup that enables you to let good-looking strangers know that you are interested. Founded by Lori Cheek, a startupper, passionate as a billion dollars, Cheek mails her cards all over the U.S. inspiring everyone who believes in love at first sight to act on their dreams when they sight a dreamy stranger. In the second place came Closer ToGetHer, an app that controls iPhone-powered vibrators for distance couples. the founder, Justin Wilcox, has ambitions to supply the military with his app and partner with sex toy makers to help all long-distance couples enjoy each other and preserve fidelity. Vibease come in third place.

800 Birds – Seed Funding Tips, Traps & Jumps

It’s highly recommended that tech startup founders join 800 Birds, especially if one has interest in gaming. 800 Birds, previously known as ERT (Entrepreneurs RoundTable), an organically grown and over 1000 members strong startup/geek community.  Shirley Lin is the organizer of 800 Birds. She is very friendly, knowledgeable and a super networker in the SF startup community connecting one to a very valuable network. 800 Birds meetings are filled geeks, founders, industry leaders, investors, angels and many more. In the first meeting alone, I met one of each listed.

Here’s the event details: We have a VC and serial entrepreneur,  a seasoned corporate VC, a young startup founder and a legal expert on board to look into every aspect involved in the practice of seeking your seed round.  Your first seed round is the hardest to push through.  Learn the tips, traps and the jumps that can help you avoid making lot of mistakes.

Our speakers on the deck:
:: Jim Li,  one of the most prominent entrepreneurs in the Valley, a Venture Partner at Emergence Capital.  Geek at his heart, entrepreneurship in his blood, an MIT grad, Jim founded Halloo Communications, Flying Packets Communications, Whistle Communications, Tribe Computer Works, and Mytek with serial successful exits.
:: Thorsten Claus, Investment Managergr at T-Ventures of Amerca.  Thorsten has deep expertise in corporate investment, founded FundStorm, worked at Deutch Telecom.  Also a great friend to 800 Birds founder community.

On the deck, we also have:
::Justin Hovey, Partner at Pillsbury Law Firm, and long time staunch supporter for our startup community, can give you all the legal tips and traps when you are out seeking your first round with your co-founders or lack of.
:: Dan Dascalescu, co-founder/CIO, BlueSeed, a project backed by Peter Thiel to build the largest coworking space and startup incubator on a ship anchored 30 minutes from the coast of Silicon Valley. Located in international waters, it allows entrepreneurs from around the world to start/scale their ventures without the need for US work visa, while traveling to the mainland using easier to obtain business/tourist visas.  Dan is an ex-Yahoo! s/w engineer and co-author and translate a number of  IT books.

President Obama’s “Start-Up America Initiative” – $1 Billion in Early Stage Small Business Investment Company (“SBIC”) Initiative

Since the economic downturn, I am happy to see President’s Obama’s initiatives are really going towards improving the economy, creating innovation and providing jobs.  Here’s some info from the Small Business Association about the  “Start-Up America Initiative.”

Repost:

As part of President Obama’s “Start-Up America Initiative” SBA is implementing the Early Stage SBIC Initiative that intends to commit up to $1 billion in SBA  guaranteed leverage over a five year period to selected  early stage venture funds using its current Debenture program authorization. This initiative is intended to promote American innovation and job creation by encouraging private sector investment in job-creating early stage small businesses.

Early Stage SBIC final regulations and the accompanying Call Notice may be found in the Early Stage SBIC docket folder at www.regulations.gov or for more info click here

How will the Early Stage Call Process work and what is the timing?

Answer: The Early Stage SBIC Call Notice describes the process and timing in detail. In  general the process will include: A) Call Period; B) Initial Review; C) SBIC Fundraises and  Finalizes Documents; and D) Licensing.  In order to expedite applicants that have already raised sufficient capital, SBA has  established two “tracks” for the Early Stage SBIC Licensing Process as follows:

Track 1 – Applicants with Capital: This includes all applicants that have signed commitments for at least $15 million in Regulatory Capital and the remaining capital needed to achieve the minimum $20 million in Regulatory Capital for Early Stage SBICs “soft-circled”. Track 1 applicants that receive a Green Light will need binding unconditional commitments of at least $20 million in Regulatory Capital when they file their Licensing Application on or before July 30, 2012.

Track 2 – All Other Applicants.

For complete info click here.

Workin’ It – Alumni Networking Tips

Even with all the technology social media today, nothing beats the old-fashioned one-on-one personal meeting. There’s a certain connection that is made and a rapport that’s developed very quickly upon a live in-person meeting. I recently moved to the

Bay Area from Los Angeles.  One f the first places I looked to expand my professional network is USC. Luckily, the Trojan family is very strong and there’s plenty of opportunities even up here. Here are some tips I found useful when I am networking with alumni:

Tip #1 – Your university alumni network is a great resource. With everyone being online now, its easy to track down your college buddies via the university’s alumni webpage, LinkedIn groups, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Google+, etc. Attending an alumni event is always a good way of expanding your professional network and maybe connect with old friends.

Tip #2 – Get noticed, if you were asked to speak or have an opportunity to speak, don’t be shy. Grab the microphone and be ready with a snazzy intro. First impressions are everything. In the photos, I’m wearing a hot pink scarf when caught a lot of people’s eye, so the photographer took plenty of photos, especially during my speech.  So when the alumni followed up with me via email, the scarf was mentioned multiple times.

Tip #3 – When speaking in front of a crowd, I tend to scan the room to see the audience. If I’m ever nervous I just make eye contact from time to time with a friendly face. It’s natural, just take a breath and wing it!

Tip #4 – Work the crowd, shake as many hands as possible. However, remember, whenever given an opportunity, always speak to someone one-on-one for a more meaningful conversation. It’s amazing what might come out of  a 2 minute conversation even at an expo.

Tip #5 – Always bring some cards with you. After you exchange cards and they walked away, flip over the card and write how and where you met this other person so you could follow-up later. Maybe a hint on your conversation to jog your memory.

Tip #6 – If you are speaking to someone you really want to follow-up with but you forgot your cards, ask for their phone number or email and send them a quick text or email immediately.

Tip #7 – As soon as possible, follow-up with any conversations you might have had with someone. Do this while you are still fresh in their minds. Ask them for out for coffee or a meeting if possible.

Tip #8 – I’m not sure on the etiquette of this, but some people follow-up but adding this new person as a contact on Linkedin and other social media sites. Personally, I do not do this unless I have had extensive conversations with this person so my actually know my network of contacts. Others dislike being requested to add after just a quick first meeting.

Tip #9 – Networking for me is about meeting new people with the goal of meeting someone interesting. Through the conversation I learn about them and what they are doing currently and I often listen to see if that person is in need of anything. If they are and I could assist, I often volunteer to do something nice such as connect them with someone else that could help. Connections and synergy is what it’s about.

Tip #10 – Be genuine. People could tell right away if you aren’t, so just be yourself.

Remember…follow-up, follow-up, follow-up is key to your success. Good Luck!

Launch Festival 2012

The LAUNCH Festival  – the best place to launch your company and learn about building great startups — will had an unprecedented three stages:

  • Main stage: 40 companies launch (1.0 track) or launch new products (2.0 track) and compete for titles including Best Design, Best
    Technology and Best Overall
  • Office Hours stage: ask great investors/entrepreneurs your burning questions
  • Skills stage: learn how to improve your UI/UX, raise an angel round, succeed in the App Store & more

Angels, accelerators and VCs invested $1.4M in companies from LAUNCH 2012.

The Grand Jury of seasoned investors and top journalists will observe all the main-stage action and choose our winners, while our judges will sit on stage and give instant feedback on every demo.

Plus hundreds of already launched startups in the Demo Pit — those that most impress the Grand Jury will get to present on stage. This year we had a friend, Dema Tio, founder of Vibease, visiting from Singapore presenting at the demo pit.  Vibease is an innovative hardware+software teledildonic product intended for remote intimacy via smartphone. I have seen the prototype and quite intrigued, I’m quite excited about being a beta-tester. The booth attracted more attention and received quite a few double takes because they used an oversized purple dildo and an attractive blonde booth babe.

My favorite session was the interview with Israel President, Shimon Peres. Peres was in California promoting Israel’s entrepreneurial & startup community. It was hilarious to see the Peres’ staff made a hilarious rap music video featuring Peres, which totally took the audience off guard and produced noticeable laughter from the audience. When the video was shown, Peres didn’t seem thrilled or embarrassed of it. Just goes to show that he has a great sense of humor.

My personal favorite demo:
Space Monkey

Winners:

The LAUNCH Festival Grand Jury chose 12 winners in all on March 8 — six in the 1.0 competition, five in the 2.0 competition, and one overall winner from the DEMO PitHere they are by category.

For a complete list of official competitors, check out our spreadsheet.

1.0  WINNERS
These are brand-new companies that received no press or blog coverage prior to launching at the LAUNCH Festival.  

Best Overall
Space Monkey

Best Design
Minbox

Best Technology
Captricity

Best Business Model
Appstack

Best Presentation
That’s Suspicious Behavior

Diamond in the Rough
Copper

2.0 WINNERS
These are existing companies that launched a new product, a new version of their product or pivoted.

Best Overall
Alltuition

Best Design
Wanderfly

Best Technology
YouEye

Best Business Model
Docstoc

Best Presentation
Vocre

DEMO PIT 
The DEMO Pit — which had 200 companies this year, including the 42 official competitors — was open to all startups that were less than 18 months old. Some startups launched in the DEMO Pit while others promoted their existing product.

Best Overall
Scoot Networks

 

 

Startup Incubator & awesome neighborhood cafe in the Mission

780 Cafe – I/O Ventures
780 Valencia St
(between 19th St & 18th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Mission
(415) 552-2040

Great little spot in the mission where I have visited a few of my startup founder friends from time to time. Upstairs is the incubator portion where the selected tech founders in the I/O Ventures incubator group works. Downstairs/Street level is the cafe where anyone could come, sit, enjoy the cafe while hashing out their plan on becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg. The decor is hip, lofty, modern, urban. The noise level makes it hard-to-focus but other than that it has great ambiance for a meeting over coffee or lunch. This spot is highly recommended for the visiting entrepreneur for sure.

Tip #1 – The cucumber basil lemonade is so refreshing I ordered 3.
Tip #2 – Monthly on certain Sundays there is a local street fair on Valencia right outside of the cafe.
Tip #3 – Not too far from the BART.

Here’s what they have to say for themselves:

“Located in the heart of the Mission District, 780 Café is quickly becoming the brightest new cyber incubator café on Valencia Street. The spacious, modern architecture is ideal for a Blue Bottle Coffee in the morning, business meeting in the afternoon, or charismatic event for the evening. In our lounge, you will be amongst i/o Venture start-up companies and be able to mingle with some of the tech industries finest. Formerly “The Summit”, 780 Café opened in late February of 2012 by owner Jose Ramos and his family. Moving into a new direction with optimism and New York City bred taste, Ramos plans to make this site flourish with social activities and memories for all of San Francisco. Click and discover more about this multifaceted cyber incubator locale.” http://www.780cafe.com/

Co-working – NextSpace & Sandbox Suites

NextSpace-SF

  • Location:
    •  In the heart of downtown SOMA financial district. Conveniently located near the BART & public transportation. This space has 2 levels on the 2nd and 3rd floor.
  • Ambiance:
    • Well decorated capturing the tech start-up feel with their open space plan, brick walls, primary colored walls mixed with neutrals, bright furniture & cool art
    • Hotdesking – shared desks and tables so you could work just about anywhere.
    • Comfy couches to lounge or work
    • Windows bringing in natural light to help energize members
    • Not too crowded and not too quite. Perfect place to work if you like hearing others around you. Not the best if you want a quite space to yourself. Small offices would be ok for that.
  • Great for networking:
    • Other founders and startups work there and the vibe is good, you could chat with other without feeling like you are in a library.
    • On Fridays at 4:45 pm they start their Member’s Happy Hour which are sometimes sponsored by local companies.
      • I was there when Tropo sponsored the beers and brought in reps to chat it up with members.
    • Conference rooms hold events that are free for members to attend.
      • I was there to attend a Brown Bag Lunch: Attract More Clients Now! by Coach from Clarity Unlimited
  • Tips:
    • Free trial day when you come for a tour
    • They have cubbies to stash your stuff
    • Office Manager was very nice and provided a Mac power cable when I forgot to pack mine.
    • They have a variety of membership levels to meet your needs & budget.
    • Members could use any other their other locations as well as the
    • They are members of a collaborative union…so members could use other Coworking spaces they are affiliated with.

 

Sandbox Suites:

I checked out 3 of their 4 locations. 

Union Square @ 567 Sutter

  • Location:Union Sqare
    • They had limited availability and had some opening up.
    • Conveniently located near everything.
  • Ambiance:
    • First thing that struck me was how quiet it was, especially being in Union Square. Great for those who want to quiet space to think and work.
    • Open space plan using bright colors, some accents and art.
    • Private offices have windows and general area has skylights bringing in lots of natural light.
    • The “Digital Bedouin” are the general hotdesking are in the open but the members are very quiet and network a bit less than other Coworking establishments.
  • Networking:
    • Free trial day in any of their multiple locations throughout the city.
    • They do hold Member Tea and events in the open “Atrium” there so there are chances to network.
  • Tips:
    • As a member, you could use and attend events at any of their 4 locations
    • Near a tons budget eateries, restaurants & bars.
    • They have a variety of membership levels to meet your needs & budget…when they become available.

  SOMA/SOUTH PARK @ 404 Bryant St

  • Location:
    • SOMA/South Beach/South Park near a many other Tech companies…where all the action is.
    • Near freeways and public parking. Bit of a walk from nearest Muni lines-Less convenient to public transportation
    • In the Basement – some windows provide light into the space, private offices which have glass walls bringing in the natural light to the general area.
  • Ambiance:
    • Open space plan using Modern & Minimal Mondrian-inspired decor-stark whites with bright primary colors
    • The “Digital Bedouin” are the general desks are in the open, generally lit using florescent lighting. Has a library feel to it.
    • Great productive space, members are quiet and network a bit less than other Coworking establishments
  • Great for networking:
    • Free trial day in any of their multiple locations throughout the city.
    • Open “Atrium” was used as an event space – members attend free.
    • I was there for a Funders & Founders Meetup event – “Crowdfunding Your Startup – The Future of Startup Funding” where they brought in relevant speakers and 75+ people in the startup/tech industry attended.
  • Tips:
    • Free trial day in any of their multiple locations throughout the city.
    • Office Manager Laura was very friendly and helpful.
    • Not near very many budget eateries like in downtown, however, it is near nice restaurants & bars.
    • South Park is a great place to take a break or eat at a nice restaurant.
    • They have a variety of membership levels to meet your needs & budget.
    • My favorite of the 3 Sandbox suites visited.

SOMA @ 123 10th Street

  • Location:
    • SOMA convenient to the BART & Muni lines, near Civic Center.
  • Ambiance:
    • Kitchy – College decor using off-white walls and brightly colored Ikea furniture & accessories.
    • Loft upstairs allows the space to have a more open feel.
    • The “Digital Bedouin” are the general desks downstairs, generally lit using florescent lighting.
    • Private desks and conference rooms upstairs – lack of natural lighting is a bit oppressive.
  • Tips:
    • Free trial day when you come for a tour
    • They have cubies to stash your stuff
    • As a member, you could use and attend events at any of their 4 locations
    • They have a variety of membership levels to meet your needs & budget.