Category Archives: Publications

SEC Amends Rules to Expand Pool of Public Companies that Qualify as “Smaller Reporting Companies”

SECThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently adopted rule amendments that are intended to promote capital formation and reduce compliance costs for small public companies, while maintaining appropriate investor protections.  Effective as of September 10, 2018, the definition of “smaller reporting company” will be amended to allow more companies to qualify as smaller reporting companies, and take advantage of scaled disclosure requirements in their reports they file with the SEC.  The rule amendments adopted by the SEC provide that a company with a public float of less than $250 million (i.e. voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates as of the last business day of the company’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) will qualify as a smaller reporting company.  In addition, the new rules provide that companies with less than $100 million in annual revenues and either no public float or a public float that is less than $700 million will qualify as smaller reporting companies.

Smaller Reporting Company Test Current Rule to Qualify as Smaller Reporting Company Revised Rule to Qualify as Smaller Reporting Company
Public Float Test Public float of less than $75M Public float of less than $250M
Revenue Test Less than $50M of annual revenues and no public float Less than $100M of annual revenues and public float of less than $700M (or no public float)

The new rules also provide that if a company exceeds the thresholds listed above and therefore fails to qualify as a smaller reporting company, the company will remain unqualified until it meets other lower caps set at 80% of the initial qualification caps as of a date of annual determination.  This is designed to avoid scenarios where companies enter and exit smaller reporting company status because of small fluctuations in their public float or revenues.  For example, to qualify as a smaller reporting company under the public float test, a company would need to have a public float of less than $200 million if it had a public float of $250 million or more in the prior year and under the revenue test, a company would need to have less than $80 million of annual revenues if it previously had $100 million or more of annual revenues and less than $560 million of public float if it previously had $700 million or more of public float.

Smaller Reporting Company Test if Initial Thresholds are Exceeded Current Rule to Qualify as Smaller Reporting Company Revised Rule to Qualify as Smaller Reporting Company
Public Float Test Public float of less than $50M Public float of less than $200M, if it previously had $250M or more of public float
Revenue Test Less than $40M of annual revenues and no public float Less than $80M in annual revenues if it previously had $100M or more of annual revenues; and public float of less than $560M, if it previously had $700M or more of public float

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Jonathan Friedman

Jonathan Friedman is Partner at the law firm of Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP. Jonathan advises a wide range of both public and private clients, including development-stage, emerging-growth, and middle-market companies as well as angel investors, venture capital firms and strategic investors. Jonathan’s practice focuses on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, securities law, intellectual property licensing and general corporate and business matters. Jonathan also has experience forming venture capital funds.  Jonathan has represented corporations and other entities in a variety of industries, including Internet and e-commerce, apparel, medical devices, entertainment and high technology.

Jonathan has substantial experience managing strategic transactions, including private equity and debt financings transactions, mergers and acquisitions in the public and private markets, offerings by public companies and angel and venture capital financing transactions. In addition, Jonathan counsels companies in connection with SEC reporting requirements and registrations, federal and state securities laws, corporate governance issues, joint ventures and strategic alliances and commercial contracts. Jonathan also has expertise in advising companies in their formation process.

As part of his practice, Jonathan facilitates cross-border financings, mergers and acquisitions and expansions by companies into new markets and works to promote bi-lateral trade opportunities between Canada and the United States that will result in the job creation, investment connection and trade partnership support.

To learn more about our Public Securities Practice, contact Jonathan Friedman at jfriedman@stubbsalderton.com

 

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Six Stubbs Alderton & Markiles’ Attorneys Listed as 2018 Southern California Super Lawyers

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP is pleased to announce that six lawyers have been named to the 2018 Southern California Super LawyersSuper Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Super Lawyers Magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in the state or region and the ABA-accredited law school libraries. Super Lawyers is also published as a special section in leading city and regional magazines across the country. Lawyers are selected to a Super Lawyers list in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP would like to congratulate the following attorneys named to the 2018 Super Lawyers list –

Scott Alderton - Super LawyersScott Alderton is a founding partner of the Firm, Managing Partner, and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee.  Scott is co-chair of the Firm’s Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice Group and chair’s the Firm’s Interactive Entertainment and Video Games Group. Scott advises both public and private clients across a number of industries, including technology, manufacturing and distribution of goods in commerce, finance, the Internet, interactive video games, and new media industries.

Kevin Debre - Super LawyersKevin D. DeBré is the chair of the Firm’s Intellectual Property & Technology Transactions Practice Group.  Kevin advises entrepreneurs and companies that use intellectual property to build their businesses.  Kevin has particular expertise in structuring and negotiating technology commercialization and patent licenses, strategic alliances, research and development collaborations, trademark licensing and brand merchandising agreements and manufacturing, distribution and marketing arrangements.  He also counsels clients on compliance with data security and privacy laws and regulations.

Jeffrey F. GershJeff Gersh - Super Lawyers is a Partner of the Firm. He has litigated, arbitrated, or mediated complex business and commercial matters, for both plaintiffs and defendants, whether individuals, public or private corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and/or its members, shareholders and partners, involving various types of disputes, including contract matters, trade secrets, intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights and trade dress) negligence and fraud, employment, real estate, license agreements, the apparel and garment industry, and general business matters.

Dan Rozansky - Super Lawyers

Daniel Rozansky is a Partner of the Firm in the Business Litigation Practice. Dan concentrates his practice on entertainment, privacy, First Amendment and complex business and real estate disputes. Dan’s areas of focus are entertainment finance, anti-SLAPP motions, unfair competition, trade secrets, intellectual property, surreptitious tape recording, reality television, profit participation, rights of privacy and publicity, real estate, partnership disputes and First Amendment issues. He represents clients both at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal court on a wide array of issues.

Michael Sherman - Super LawyersMichael Sherman is an accomplished trial lawyer in high-stakes, “bet-the-company” litigation, and has represented both large and early-stage companies as well as entrepreneurs in all facets of business and complex commercial litigation. He has evenly split his litigation practice on both the plaintiff and defense side of cases, has first-chaired numerous trials in complex matters in industries as varied as energy, securities, healthcare, environmental, consumer products, technology, project development/finance, advertising, real estate and apparel, and is highly skilled in class actions and unfair competition law.

Joe Stubbs - Super LawyersJoe Stubbs is a founding partner of the Firm, and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. He is co-chair of the Firm’s Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice Group, and of the Firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions Practice Group. Joe practices in the areas of corporate and securities law, emphasizing the corporate representation of both publicly-held and privately-held emerging growth and middle-market companies, venture capital and private equity firms, angel investment groups and investment banks.

The official Super Lawyers 2018 publication can be read in its entirety here.

For more information about Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, contact Heidi Hubbeling at hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com or (310) 746-9803.

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Startup Superhero Video Series! – This Week Featuring Preccelerator Mentor Mark Wald on “Mentor Partnerships & Financial Modeling with BallParq.io”

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles and the Preccelerator Program are proud to announce the launch of their Startup Superhero Video Series – featuring SA&M Attorneys, Preccelerator Mentors, and entrepreneurs on topics specific to entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the journey.

This week we’re featuring Preccelerator Mentor Mark Wald as he talks about “Mentor Partnership & Financial Modeling with BallParq.io.”

Mark is an innovative problem solver who values simplicity, efficiency, and collaboration between people and organizations, with strong experience in financial modeling and data analytics to inform and support quick decisions on complex issues. Specific experience developing, deploying, and supporting new technologies to thousands of retail locations using 3rd party logistics and service providers.  Professional specialties: Financial strategy & fundraising, sourcing business opportunities, conserving resources, enabling people, satisfying customers, analyzing complex data.

 

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To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com.

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SAM Partner Greg Akselrud Featured in CREATV Media’s Digital Media Update

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles’ Partner Greg Akselrud contributed a chapter to Peter Csathy’s new book Media 2.0(18) on Investments and Mergers & Acquisitions. The chapter entitled “Tech & Digital Media Investment and M&A- Issues to Be Considered on Both Sides”  was featured on CREATV Media’s Digital Media Update.

To read the full article visit here. 

Greg AkselrudGreg Akselrud is a founder and partner of the Firm and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. He chair’s the Firm’s Internet, Digital Media and Entertainment Practice Group. Greg advises a wide range of public and private clients across a number of industries, including companies in the entertainment, digital media, Internet, technology, consumer electronics and apparel industries. Greg is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, teaching Business Planning I: Financing the Start-Up Business and Venture Capital Financing. Greg is the author of Hit Man: The Fourth Circuit’s Mistake in Rice v. Paladin Enters., Inc., 19 Loy. L.A. Ent. L.J. 375 (1999).

To learn more about our Mergers & Acquisitions Practice or  Internet, Digital Media & Entertainment Practice, contact Greg Akselrud at gakselrud@stubbsalderton.com

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Startup Superhero Video Series! – This Week Featuring Preccelerator Mentor Andrey Kudievskiy on “Startup Teams & Tech”

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles and the Preccelerator Program are proud to announce the launch of their Startup Superhero Video Series – featuring SA&M Attorneys, Preccelerator Mentors, and entrepreneurs on topics specific to entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the journey.

This week we’re featuring Preccelerator Mentor Andrey Kudievskiy as he talks about “Startup Teams & Tech.”

IT executive, Serial entrepreneur, CEO and Founder at Distillery.com, and named one of the 25 Inspiring Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2017 by Inc. Magazine.  Andrey Kudievskiy started his career in tech at the age of 19 while working on his degree in computer science. Within five years Andrey had established his first company and played a key role in creating a successful cloud synchronization startup that was sold to a Fortune 500 company. A serial entrepreneur and talented developer in his own right, he is currently focused on enabling other entrepreneurs to build businesses and continuing Distillery’s expansion in the U.S. and international markets.

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Transcript

 

Speaker: Andrey Kudievskiy

Moderator: Heidi Hubbeling

Startup Superhero Series Featuring Andrey Kudievskiy on “Startup Teams & Tech”

Heidi: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background and a little bit about Distillery.

Andrey: Absolutely! Distillery is a full-service software development company located here in Santa Monica. We like working with startups as well as enterprise clients. Now we are focusing on stack technology design and development. A little bit about myself, you can tell by my accent, that I came from Russia. Just a few years ago, not knowing anyone here in the States, I had a burning desire to build a business and to help other companies succeed in the area where I have a lot of knowledge and assist in technology. That’s how Distillery started  – and so far, we have been successful. This year we got on the Inc. 5000 list for the fastest growing companies in North America. I hope that we position ourselves for the next year as well.

Heidi: Congratulations on that, that’s a huge honor! You are one of the mentors of the program and Distillery, in the Los Angeles tech scene, is one of the premier agencies for startups. What do you like most of working with startups? I know you are one of the mentors of program. Distillery is one of the most well-respected agencies in Los Angeles and you work with a lot of entrepreneurs. What do you like most?

Andrey: Sure, I like working with startups because you can quickly see the value of the work you do. You can see the results of your work. When you meet someone, let’s say your friend on the street and you ask them to “hey can you show me your phone” and see the application I have developed and you can say “wow!” That is just pure happiness. That is when I feel my life is accomplished. Versus working with enterprises when you can work with them for years and years for one of the projects. When it’s released its just a small part of something huge, you don’t really feel like you’ve contributed enough.

Heidi: It doesn’t feel as impactful. When you work with younger stage startup you feel like you become part of their team. On that note, some of the advice that you give with startups. What advice do you give them when they are selecting a stack? What kind of stack do they need to select to be most successful?

Andrey: For technology stack as startups, what I like to say is that they don’t need to overthink it. All the companies who try to build something big in the beginning they go all in. They don’t test the market. They don’t really know what it is. It’s rather important to release something, test the market, see if people use it and then adjust as needed. When people do something enterprise scale for a startup, they spend months and months for development and end up being behind the time curve. So, they are late to the market. We try to build something at a scale you need right now. Something small, go to the market test it. Do the alpha version, the beta version do the public release later. Then at the end when you see that your idea is valuable, its fine to go and rebuild some of the parts. You will lose 50% of your time on building something with the right technology stack, but then this product will do better in the market.

Heidi: What are some of the pros and cons of hiring an internal vertical team versus hiring a team like Distillery, an outside tech team?

Andrey: I think the ideal scenario is when there is a ­­­combination. A tech team that will help you on stuff and you have an extension. A company like Distillery who would just help you move faster. When you don’t have enough resources, you cannot move fast enough or maybe some parts of the projects are simply outside of your core expertise. That’s when bringing an agency would be meaningful. It would help you. Outsourcing everything and giving control to an agency doesn’t seem right to me.

Heidi: I think so, because when you outsource without having a technical strategist that is overseeing development internally. If you don’t have that person that is vested in your idea and you fully outsource then you just have somebody whose just project-based developing it. When they’re done, they walk away from the project and walk away from your idea.

Andrey: You must have a vision. You must be able to provide a clear direction. Of course, the digital part of it that you choose. They need to be comfortable adding something to your idea. Advising, according to their expertise what to do and what not to do. At the same time, I feel that getting a technical co-founder for the team really does miracles.

Heidi: Absolutely, so let’s go back to the Preccelerator a little bit. Not to be self-serving, but we really appreciate you as a mentor and you’ve provided great value thus far with your mentorship. What are some of your favorite things about working with the Preccelerator and working with our companies.

Andrey: Well, first thank you so much for having me. The Preccelerator is an amazing group of people and amazing group of potentially big startups and companies, that I see will really grow. To me the value is talking to those young entrepreneurs, seeing them to be in my shoes 5 years ago maybe three years ago depends on how fast they will grow. And exchange knowledge, bounce some ideas around. I also like helping people. That keeps me motivated. When I see that I prevented one person from making the same mistake that I made 5 years ago. That’s the best I can do.

Heidi: I think that’s the definition of true wisdom. When companies take advice from somebody that has already been through that cycle, through that path. Rather than making those mistakes on their own. That’s very valuable. Appreciate you being here and we will see you all at the next startup superhero series.

Andrey Kudievskiy
Distillery
andrey@distillery.com

 

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To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com.

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Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP ranked in 2018 “Best Law Firms”

U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers, for the seventh consecutive year, announce the “Best Law Firms” rankings.

Firms included in the 2018 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered-ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

The 2018 Edition of “Best Law Firms” includes rankings in 74 national practice areas and 122 metropolitan-based practice areas. One “Law Firm of the Year” is named in each of the 74 nationally ranked practice areas.

Ranked firms, presented in tiers, are listed on a national and/or metropolitan scale. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity.

The official Best Lawyers 2018 publication can be read in its entirety here.

For more information about Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP contact the firm at info@stubbsalderton.com.

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Startup Superhero Video Series! – This Week Featuring Preccelerator Mentor Lisa Tsou on “Fundraising Tactics”

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles and the Preccelerator Program are proud to announce the launch of their Startup Superhero Video Series – featuring SA&M Attorneys, Preccelerator Mentors, and entrepreneurs on topics specific to entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the journey.

This week we’re featuring Preccelerator Mentor Lisa Tsou as she talks about “Fundraising  Tactics.”

Lisa Tsou provides independent strategy and solutions for entrepreneurs so they can grow their businesses to the next level. She is passionate about working with innovative entrepreneurs and startups to develop unique strategies to grow and fund their businesses. Whether you are a startup on the track for traditional venture-capital financing or an entrepreneur on a more offbeat path, she can collaborate with you to develop and implement a creative and practical strategy for success. Lisa also speaks regularly on issues related to startups, tech and women in business. She has been a featured speaker at events including The West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference, The SoGal Summit, The USC Graduate Women in Business Summit, Women Founders Network, and Bruin Entrepreneurs, and appeared in publications including The Huffington Post, CNBC, GenHERation and E The Magazine for Today’s Female Executive and the Business Rockstars program.

 

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Transcript

Speaker: Lisa Tsou

Moderator: Heidi Hubbeling

Startup Superhero Series-Intro with Lisa Tsou “Fundraising Tactics”

Heidi: Today we are featuring Lisa Tsou of the Winning Pitch and Lisa is one of our mentors here at the Preccelerator. She specializes in fundraising, pitch-investor decks, helping companies with their formal presentation as well as other kinds of strategies for fundraising. Tell us a little bit about yourself and thank you for being here.

Lisa: Thanks Heidi. I started working with startups back twenty years ago this year, when I graduated from law school. Spent many years on Wall Street doing Venture Capital, Ipos, mergers and acquisitions, all with tech and startup companies. Spent my whole career on startups and am now concentrating on the part I really enjoy which is the growth part of startups. Working with startups on their fundraising, their investor strategy and positioning for investors.

Heidi: All very important things, especially at this stage within the Preccelerator and other startup companies in this Los Angeles ecosystem. Going back to the fundraising and preparing the pitch presentation, what exactly are investors looking for when companies are starting that fundraising process?

Lisa: I think the best way to think about what investors are looking for is to think of it as a risk reward ratio. Basically, venture capitalists are looking for a really big reward and as small a risk as possible. They’re looking for things with really big markets or things a consumer or a business would be using with a lot of frequency. Something that can get really big and then they are trying to find things with as little risk with the really big as possible. Things that would be considered as something like a risk would be does your product work? Does the consumer like it? Things like what other competition might be out there? I like to think of it as that kind of ratio.

Heidi: That’s a great way to look at it. In a life-cycle of a company, especially with these early stage companies When is the right time to start fundraising? What are those key metrics?

Lisa: I’m going to say something that I know is going to sound really contradictory, but it’s a combination of as late as possible and earlier than you think. A lot of startups go “oh I should go out there and find a venture capitalist to fund me” without thinking through when do they really need the capital? Can they go a little longer? The longer you can go without outside financing, the stronger position you’re in. If you go very early, the venture capitalist is going to take a lot of your company control and you are not going to get as much capital as you would like. So, on one hand think as late as possible on the other hand, from that point start earlier than you think. It’s going to take longer to get in front of investors, get them comfortable with you and build that relationship. From that point when you think you need capital, I would say start certainly start six to nine months earlier than that.

Heidi: The due diligence process by itself once you actually have somebody who is interested in funding you can take four, six, eight months at that point. Also, figuring out whether or not venture capital funding is right for you, versus angel investors versus small business loans. Whatever funding that type of company might need depending on their scalability.

Lisa: Absolutely! Investors are going to ask questions and you may need to think things through or vet some other elements of your business before they will write a check.

Heidi: What are your tactics? What do you suggest to startups when they start looking for funding? How can they get in front of an investor or a VC?

Lisa: It’s a combination of research and somehow wrangling a warm introduction. The research part being finding the right VC or investor depending on their situation. That makes sense for them. How big a check the investor generally writes and the industries they may be comfortable with investing in. Doing that research which will take time and then wrangling your warm introduction to get to them. A lot of investors are not going to be receptive just cold email or blind submissions to them. Working your way through your network, which may be a five or six step process to finding the person who knows a person, who knows a person, who knows a person, to getting in-front of that investor.

Heidi: That’s very important. So, you have been a value and a resource to the Preccelerator program. What are some of your favorite things about being a mentor here, about the program and working with the companies?

Lisa: I really enjoy working with the Preccelerator. As I said I was an attorney at one point doing this kind of work. It’s fun being around really smart people like at Stubbs Alderton and the other mentors who are also awesome. I just love working with the companies. I think you put together a really smart batch of companies who are doing a lot of interesting things in different industries. It’s always fun to come over here and hangout for a couple of hours and see what they’re doing and see if I can help them.

Heidi: I am proud of them! It was great to have you here and we will see you guys next time at the Startup Superhero Series.

Lisa Tsou
The Winning Pitch
lisa@winningpitch.com

 

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To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com.

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Startup Superhero Video Series! – This Week Featuring Preccelerator Alumni Andrew Cheeseman on “Empathy in Entrepreneurship”

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles and the Preccelerator Program are proud to announce the launch of their Startup Superhero Video Series – featuring SA&M Attorneys, Preccelerator Mentors, and entrepreneurs on topics specific to entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the journey.

This week we’re featuring Preccelerator alumni Andrew Cheeseman, as he talks about “Empathy in Entrepreneurship.”

Andrew is a proven leader in both sales and marketing in startups and large organizations PLUS a successful startup with an exit.  He is passionate about turning customers’ experiences into revenue and retention. He has deep experience in the software market and loves to build relationships.  Andrew’s gift is to inspire leaders to innovate. Combining creativity, leadership, and technology, he also develops game-changing solutions and products with and for industry leaders.  Andrew grows businesses through innovation, partnerships, and sales, to create profitable new revenue.  He creates vision, influences stakeholders to secure funds, and organizes teams to drive business.   He instigates growth through product and market innovation, and through building internal and external networks.

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Transcript

Speaker: Andrew Cheeseman

Moderator: Heidi Hubbeling 

 

Startup Superhero Series – Empathy in Entpreneurship 

Heidi: So, we want to talk a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey today. What made you take the wild leap into entrepreneurship?  

Andrew: Well, I had been interested in being a creator of things for a long time. Also, I am interested in impact, areas that have a lot of impact. My particular passions are for mind, body, health and community and connectiveness. I was really excited about creating things that could incorporate all these together. 

Heidi: What are some of your favorite things? What do you really love about it?  

Andrew: Apart from those things, the creation the impact and the passions –  I have some interests as well. I love people and what you can do with connecting people. I love creating systems. My belief is that you can’t really grow unless you can delegate. You can’t really delegate unless you have system in place. I just love that stuff. 

Heidi: I think it’s one of those lessons that we all learn. It’s one of those things that can direct us to successes, the organizations and being able to create those systems in place to get you to that next level.  Let’s talk a little bit about Team(You). Talk to us about what Team(You) is and along the journey with Team(You), what was your proudest moment?  

Andrew: Team(You) is a system that addresses one of the issues that is happening in schools. Its widespread. The problem is around learning and apathy and teacher retention. These are all interrelated. Team(You) is a system that addresses those, by creating a culture of empathy vs. apathy. It’s a software based system where students earn points for things like empathy and kindness and service. You asked about what are my most proudest, moments. I think my proudest moment was when we got our first school up and running. Just seeing those points roll in. Realizing, whereas the norm in the industry is about 15% user adoption we had 98% user adoption, we are very proud of that. 

Heidi: You guys really entered a time in the market, where you could really make a difference. It was before there was legislation involved that required incentive based learning as a positive reinforcement. You really had an impact from the start.  

Andrew: Exactly, it was. In fact, we – as of the end last semester, had 30,000 students enrolled who were collectively engaged in the system for 2.2 million hours per month.   

Heidi: Wow, that is very exciting. So, you had those successes. Along your full entrepreneurial journey what’s an important lesson that you learned? What is something you can give back as a lesson of wisdom for other entrepreneurs? 

Andrew: I think the biggest lesson is this lesson around empathy. My company is based on empathy which gave me a particular lens to look at, not just my customers, but the actual business. What I came to realize is how deep the importance of empathy is. Not only for customers, of course and understanding what their journey is, but also for employees. Empathy for developers, meaning when I develop something new for the software, I am thinking of everyone who will have to interact with that change. Customer service, investors, empathy for everybody whose involved. I think the big learning, ultimately, is if you look at business through the lens of empathy you can discover things that you never knew existed. It’s one of many lenses of course, but empathy is the interesting learning that I got from this experience.   

Heidi: Yeah, I think that’s so important, even when it comes to practical aspects such as product development, you mention how users are going to use the platform. Empathy on the side of investors or on the side of other strategic partners that you’re going to have. Other team members, right? Your core employees, I think that, that is such a foundational characteristic. 

Andrew: It is and just to take the customer service example, empathy for the customer service staff is critical. Done the right way, if we position the customer service the right way to customers, investors, partners, and everybody else means that, that role other than just a supporting role becomes the critical role. That means that job is really satisfying because you are executing and carrying out a really important role. It only happens for empathy in that role or people in that role.  

Heidi: Finally, going back to the Preccelerator. You were early, early on in the Preccelerator Program. What is one of the biggest values that a program like the Preccelerator has had for you? 

Andrew: There are, of course many different values. From a place to have meetings, to the expert legal advice, but I would say probably the biggest one is the impact that mentors have had on me. I have had some amazing feedback and support from some of the mentors.

Heidi: Yes, they are a core value of this program, it wouldn’t work without them. We really appreciate you being here.  

Andrew Cheeseman
https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewcheeseman/

 

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To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com.

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Startup Superhero Video Series! – This Week Featuring Peter Csathy on “The State of the Digital Media Market”

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles and the Preccelerator Program are proud to announce the launch of their Startup Superhero Video Series – featuring SA&M Attorneys, Preccelerator Mentors, and entrepreneurs on topics specific to entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the journey.

This week we’re featuring Preccelerator Mentor and Board Member Peter Csathy, as he talks about the state of the digital media market.

Peter Csathy is a media/digital media/tech advisor, business development executive/dealmaker, strategist, entrepreneur/operator, venture capitalist/investor, and journalist who has consistently led and driven transformative innovation, expansion and enterprise value for both leading public and private companies (including via successful M&A exits and negotiated deals valued in excess of $4 billion). Career equally spans both traditional and digital media/technology (and with significant international experience). Deep senior level decision-maker and influencer contacts and relationships.

He is a recognized thought leader frequently featured in The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, Venturebeat, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, TheWrap, Billboard, CNBC, BBC, USA Today, Bloomberg, Forbes, Advertising Age, The Huffington Post, Wired, Fast Company and other leading publications/blogs; frequent moderator and guest speaker at leading industry conferences and events (including CES, NAB, Variety Summit, Digital Hollywood, Siemer Summit, Streaming Media); frequent guest columnist for leading media/digital media/tech publications (TechCrunch, Variety, Billboard, Venturebeat, VideoInk) and prolific blogger on own “Digital Media Update” blog; mentor in the Disney Accelerator and the Points of Light Civic Incubator; appointed to commission making recommendations to President Obama; board member and advisor to for-profits and non-profits.

 

 

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Transcript

Speaker: Peter Csathy. 

Moderator: Heidi Hubbeling 

 

Startup Superhero Series – The State of Digital Media 

Heidi: I would like you to tell us a little bit about Creative Media and what your background is. Tell us about what CREATV Media does as well as why you chose to join the Preccelerator as board member and what value you think the Preccelerator brings to companies? 

Peter: So, I started CREATV Media, a little over a year ago, as to be really a leading digital media focused business development, advisory and investment firm. What that means is that it kind of ties together this network I created. If people go to the website http://www.creatv.media, you’ll see that it is a team of really connected individuals. It’s meant to be a super network of people across traditional media, new media, technology so that we can bridge or bring opportunities for our clients and really identify where to go. Help facilitate these new opportunities, structure deals, get investment into those deals. Also, work with companies on an M&A front, where for larger companies (media as an example), we can identify potential areas of strategic investment. Then for those who are privately held companies they are looking to potentially have a strategic partner, that can eventually be an investment or M&A.  We frequently work with those companies to position themselves, tell their story, identify the partner structure deals. So that there’s ultimately a great result for them.  We do a lot of connecting. We do a lot of business development, identifying opportunities, and then a lot of market intelligence. I have great team of people on the consulting side, who with our unique access and relationships that we have – can get information and market intelligence that nobody else can get. We can bring that to light, to our clients, so that they are smarter and faster and better. That’s on the creative side.

On why I joined the Preccelerator? It’s just this great opportunity to support an organization, Stubbs, and what they are doing here to support entrepreneurs in the LA community.  Accelerators are always interesting because it’s a great place for entrepreneurs to come together and rub shoulders –  the community that comes with that, both within, but also from without when you have market leaders coming in to share their stories. Hopefully, I can bring mine and bring some wisdom of the things I did right and the things that my company did wrong and they can learn from that. Stubbs did a really great thing here because it’s a law firm doing something that is typically not done by law firms. Really being entrepreneurial, creating this space, bringing new opportunities, new mentors, a tremendous package of benefits, as well as this great office space here on Third Street Promenade. That’s a wonderful thing and when they asked me to join, how could I say no?  

Heidi: Now, you provide huge value to the companies with your expertise and your background in digital media. One of the perks in the perks package is consulting services and getting to have your ear, your introductions, and access to your network. What are some of the things in your background, that make you an ideal mentor here? Also, what’s your entrepreneurial story that has brought you to this place.    

Peter: It certainly hasn’t been a straight path which is part of the fun of it all. I started, many many years ago. I’ve been in the media and tech world for over 30 years, which is kind of hard to believe. I started as a media and entertainment lawyer, almost 30 years ago. From that point, I went into the studios. I was at New Line, Universal, Savoy and really transitioned from being a lawyer to a business person and negotiating deals – from a dollar to multi-billion-dollar international joint ventures.  In about 2000, I went to my first entrepreneurial company.  I became a real start-up guy initially where this one was a true start -up where we built up a series B close to $10M round, then moved it to the east coast, I stayed here, then was recruited to go down to San Diego, really the most innovative software, music, and services company at the time. Really the Spotify before Spotify –  so I was an entrepreneur there. We sold that company for $160 million dollars, and then I ran another company that we also sold. I have seen a lot of different things and for the past several years I have been an advisor because I built this network along the way and hopefully I have some war stories that I can bring to help these entrepreneurs.  

Heidi: And then your background is in digital media and technology. Through all your experience, what are your views on the state of digital media and tech market. How do you think LA as an ecosystem fits into where digital media is going? 

Peter: It is such an incredibly exciting time. I have been in the space for more than 30 years, I’ve never been more excited than I am today about just the different opportunities for companies big and small. You have the fundamental traditional media and entertainment business which is completely transitioning or transforming at the hands of technology.  I’ve seen both sides of that which is what makes it particularly fun. You see this transition happening and the media companies need to understand all these new technologies and new ways to engage and reach an audience and create content and monetize it. On the other hand, you have all these technology companies that are becoming media companies. Like the Googles, like Amazon, Facebook, very much these are media companies, they even call themselves media companies which is pretty incredible. All of this is happening at the same time and then you have innovation and it’s becoming a multi-platform world – where its traditional platform and then you have mobile of course which is the first screen. Live events are not going away so that’s another platform. VR, AR immersive platforms are also there, E-sports, and on and on and on. It’s just this really incredible and interesting time and LA is very much the hub of it. When it comes to certainly digital first media companies, absolutely here. When it comes to VR and AR so much of it is happening here. Drone technologies so much of it is happening here in Southern California. So, you have real money being poured into the LA, entrepreneurial community for the first time, really. You are seeing some great exits that flow out of that. Snap is one, where let’s not forget, Snaps right here. Snap of course just recently went public and that’s just one. Oculus of course, was acquired a couple years back and on and on and on.  

Heidi: Right, it’s very an exciting for LA and I think that it’s neat to see all the bourgeoning companies and how the ecosystem here is and how its growing and the neat ideas that are coming out of the space.  

Peter: It’s a really exciting time and now this community is not just able to not to retain the great talent, but actually really for the first time –  attract some of the top talent, both on the creative side, and also on the engineering side – which is great. It’s coming here and fueling innovation all the time. 

Heidi: Right – and I think there’s getting to be more investors that are seeing that this ecosystem is growing and that we really have some solid technology down here too. 

Peter: That’s why we created SAM Creative Ventures, we want to ourselves invest more and more into this tech world. We are primarily focused on LA, but not exclusively. We are going to be taking a very close look at entrepreneurs in this community.  

Heidi: Absolutely, providing a huge value to this ecosystem.  

 Peter: That’s the goal! 

 Heidi: Appreciate you being here and we will learn more about Creative Media and about Peter Csathy and another video upcoming, in the StartUp Superhero Series. Thanks for being here. 

 

Peter Csathy
www.creatv.media

 

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To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com.

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Startup Superhero Video Series! – This Week Featuring Christine Perakis on “Three Essential Strategies for Small Business Success”

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles and the Preccelerator Program are proud to announce the launch of their Startup Superhero Video Series – featuring SA&M Attorneys, Preccelerator Mentors, and entrepreneurs on topics specific to entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the journey.

This week we’re featuring Preccelerator Mentor Christine Perakis as she chats about “Three Essential Strategies for Small Business Success.”

Christine Perakis has been a lawyer, business adviser, entrepreneur, C-Suite executive, adj professor, and professional boat captain, navigating myriad transactions and businesses across 5 continents.  Her work, expertise and interests have taken her beyond a lucrative legal practice in the entertainment industry over a couple of decades. Christine has run or been a part of a management team in 10 businesses, growing, expanding and achieving results beyond the expectations of all involved. The most recent role being as a COO in a company that went from a 100% equity funded startup to a $10 million/year business in 4 years.

 

 

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Transcript

Heidi:  What are three mistakes that you see entrepreneurs make when they are first starting out?

Christine:   Well, when we get started, we’re coming up with an idea that we get so excited about. That we end up talking about the features of it way more, then we focus on the benefits to the client. We need to get inside the head of our ideal target audience and understand what is the number one problem they have that they don’t want and the number one result that they want and don’t have and then we can start talking to them. The second thing is to be aware we are on a buyer’s journey. Most of us don’t have a 50-million-dollar branding budget like some of the big brands that we know about and these days with all the information that comes out at us it takes 20-100 touch points to get people’s attention. So, we want to be able to first recognize that we are on a journey. Knowing that 99% of our target audience, are future buyers and less than 1% are now buyers. We want to take them along that journey, using something I call the conversion equation. You want to get their attention with an interrupt, engage with them, educate them and then be able to make an offer. The third thing is to think strategically. Most people will employ tactical marketing. They throw a bunch of tactics at the wall and hope that something sticks. Rather than, recognizing that if they think strategically their marketing is going to be more effective. So, they don’t want to do anything that isn’t something that their target audience wants.

Heidi: So, to achieve success what are the 5 main areas that a startup or an entrepreneur should focus on?

Christine:  Most of us are familiar with the 80/20 rule, Pareto’s law, right? 80% of our outcomes come from 20% of our efforts. So, that overwhelming job of a small business owner really can be reduced down to five basic steps. Something, I call the five-step profit formula.  Small business owners focus on lead generation, lead conversion, transactions, pricing and profitability.  They will achieve exponential results. They really only have to make incremental changes to get there. I have something I call the profit acceleration software that will show you, by plugging in some numbers, how small changes in these 5 areas only, will create exponential success.

Heidi:  All very important things, so what is one thing that every entrepreneur should know before they start their business?

Christine:  Well, I think Simon Sinek said it best in his book “Start with Why.”  Know your why. He knew that Steve Jobs, Wright Brothers and Martin Luther King had very little in common, but they understood one thing; which is people don’t engage with a product, service, movement, or an idea unless they know your why. We want to get people to invest in us, to buy from us, to work for us and follow us, we have to know our why.  You have sat in many rooms with investors as have I and you have heard time and time again we don’t invest in a product or service, we invest in the people. What they’re really investing is people who know their why. That’s how we get investors, our partners, with our clients, our customers, they want to know. They’ll buy from you if they really want to understand your why and your team. These days the millennial workforces are a growing resource that we have these days and they are committed to knowing their why. They don’t want to do anything without knowing they why. You have to enroll them in your why to get them to work hard for you and then they will. Finally, you need to know your why, most importantly because it gets you through the obstacles and challenges that come up in your business all the time. Keeping your eye on that outcome the benefit, the reason for being that you have and why you’re invested in doing. So, there’s that and when you’re in the early goal setting stages, creating your vision, you have your why as a corner stone for the goals that you create. Once you know that your subconscious can start working to achieve that outcome. The goals in it of themselves aren’t as meaningful as knowing that you’re going to get to where you need to go.

Heidi:  Absolutely, the “why me” and the “why now” – also knowing why this is the right time in the market. Both of those are so important for young companies before they get started.

Christine:  That’s right it’s not about widgets. It’s about what you’re going to get for yourself and what they are going to get for themselves.

Heidi: Well, thank you very much it was great to have you here.

Christine Perakis
www.christineperakis.com

 

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To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com.

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