While it seems that your fundraising journey may have been turned upside down because of COVID-19’s effects on the economy, rest assured there are still funders who are weathering the storm and actively looking for new deals. Although markets may change with the current economic circumstances, the process of fundraising and the criteria for creating a perfect pitch remains the same. Investors will be looking even more diligently into your specific market, competition, team domain expertise and the metrics of your company. At the Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP Preccelerator®, a Los Angeles based accelerator program for early-stage companies, we have a strong emphasis on fundraising technique and strategy. Audrey Delaney of StarMetrics, one of our recent cohort company founders, provides a window into what has made her fundraising journey successful. I’ll follow up with insights on how to apply her advice to your own investor pitch.

Heidi: How important is the role of “storytelling” in your pitch?

Investors hear or see hundreds, if not thousands of pitches per year, and a strong founder story about the pathos of your idea can set you apart from the noise, showcasing the “Why You,” the “Why Now” and “Why This” of your company without loads of data – but with a memorable narrative. The data is very important but comes later in a pitch. Ultimately, they are investing in “you.”

Heidi: When you started attending investor meetings to pitch your company, what was the one consistent piece of information you were asked most about?

While a large market by itself will not sell your product, if you are looking to be a venture-funded company, you will need to be addressing a market of hundreds of millions or $1B minimum. If your market is smaller, that’s totally okay – you can be a very lucrative small business, rather than a venture fundable business. I hear a lot that “we are taking a small sliver of a huge pie” or “we are going to get 2% of an enormous market,” but that’s not helpful to investors when fundraising — especially if not all of that market is relevant to your product or service.

It’s best to take a bottom-up approach in calculating your market. Show investors by your analysis that you have a great understanding of the market dynamics, the customer’s buying behavior, and what’s going to motivate a purchaser to adopt your product. Estimate potential sales in order to determine a total sales figure. Where will your products be sold? What are the sales of comparable products? How much of those current sales can your company steal from competitors?

Other information to have perfected in your pitch includes:

  1. Competitive Analysis - Never say “I have no competitors.” If there are no competitors – there is no market for your business. Define your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses compared to your company’s and where there are opportunities for your idea to flourish.

  2. Revenue Model – How will you make money? Investors need to see a clear path to a return on their investment. Find recurring revenue. Don’t rely solely on data-driven revenue or ads. Make sure whatever the path to revenue – you showcase it clearly in your pitch.

  3. Use of Proceeds and Needs – Make sure that you ask for enough funding to give you 18 months of runway (12 for performance, 6 for cushion while you fundraise again). Have your cost analysis completed to show to investors if they ask. Investors want to know what their funds will be used for (i.e. marketing, tech development, team growth), but also why you need THEM specifically. How can they be a resource to you on an advisory level or what partnerships and introductions can they make for you?

Heidi: How did your presentation style change from your very first pitch until today? Did you have to overcome any performance fears or challenges?

The bottom line is that you need to be confident and convey passion about your idea. If you are not comfortable as a public speaker – practice in front of people until you are. One of the benefits of joining an accelerator like the Preccelerator, programs like Women Founders Network’s Fast Pitch, or participating in one-off pitch events – is that you gain all of the necessary training to become comfortable and confident with your pitch. Many VCs would be happy to also give you valuable feedback on both your pitch deck and pitch presentation that you can utilize when you go to fundraise. If you have warm intros to willing investors in your network - don’t be afraid to ask!”

Heidi: Finally, what is one piece of advice that you would give a founder just starting out on their fundraising journey?

Never stop learning. Surround yourself with individuals who have the experience and expertise that can take you and your company to the next level. Be coachable and heed guidance – but don’t bend like a reed in the wind with every different piece of advice. Be confident in your domain expertise and ability to build your idea!

To read the full article "An Insider’s Guide to Perfecting Your Investor Pitch" on WFN visit here. 
Heidi Hubbeling Leach

About the Author

HEIDI HUBBELING LEACH is the Chief Marketing Officer at Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP. Throughout her 12-year career with SA&M, Heidi has been a consummate team player with the firm's continued growth. Heidi’s experience in professional services marketing, relationship building, business development strategy and entrepreneurship has aided her in leading the Preccelerator Program, an accelerator program for early-stage startup companies housed out of the Santa Monica offices of Stubbs Alderton & Markiles.

While this program began as a marketing initiative for the firm, it has grown into a venture-backed accelerator over the past 7 years and has demonstrated the dedication that the firm has for startups in the LA ecosystem. As COO of the Preccelerator, Heidi sourced and provided due diligence for hundreds of applicants, developed the Program curriculum, a formal mentorship program with over 100 active mentors, and built a Partner Program with various strategic corporate partners. Utilizing her network and fundraising expertise, Heidi continues to provide investment strategy and introductions to capital for both Preccelerator cohort companies and SA&M clients.

Preccelerator Company Lumenus and founder Jeremy Wall were featured this past week on Iot For All in an article discussing how AI takes wearables to the next level. The company started when the founder, Jeremy Wall, was almost killed while riding his bicycle. It was this life-changing event that pushed him to create products that use technology for something meaningful—to save lives. Today, Lumenus designs and produces apparel equipped with wearable LED lights for runners, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.

To read the full article visit here.

About Lumenus
Lumenus is an IoT safety company, building a Smart Lighting Hardware/Software platform using the Internet of Things to provide real-time safety alerts and create actionable insights for both consumers (bike/run/motorcycle) as well as industrial usage (high-risk vocational workers).

Visit www.lumenus.com for more information.

For more about the Preccelerator® Program or to apply,  contact Heidi Hubbeling, COO at (310) 746-9803 or

LOS ANGELES, Calif., March 28, 2018 (Newswire.com) – The Preccelerator ® Program, a Santa Monica, California-based accelerator program for early- stage startup companies in the digital media and technology space, announced today that it has added its ninth class of companies featuring three innovative startups.

In 2012 Stubbs Alderton & Markiles launched the first-of-its- kind Preccelerator® Program to provide select start-ups with co-working space, mentorship, sophisticated legal services, curriculum and access to a strategic perks portfolio with the objective of helping grow a founder’s idea from business concept to a funded company. Over the past five years, 37 companies have graduated the Program, of which 24 have received funding totaling over $11.2M.

Louis Wharton, President of the Preccelerator states, “Class 9 is representative of the diverse Southern California tech ecosystem, showcasing fintech, e-commerce and social connectivity.  We’re thrilled to partner with these founding teams as they accelerate development and deployment of their market solutions.”

Preccelerator® Program Class 9 companies include:

Payclub is the easiest way to organize and collect money with a group. Payclub can be used for any type of group, which we call “clubs.” Payclub enables you to manage the entire process directly from your phone with a few simple taps, empowering groups to come together and gain insight without the need for spreadsheets or outdated systems. Whether you are collecting for your club or organization, to planning that next getaway with friends, Payclub will help bring both your group’s finances and the people who matter most, together.  Based out of Los Angeles, CA, the team is founded by tech, financial, and sales veterans who had a deep need for a solution to managing funds together. It’s time to #JoinTheClub.

Loved lots offers the best in premium pre-loved baby goods in one safe and easy to use marketplace.  Buyers enjoy the best selection of top-of-the-line baby gear and Sellers benefit from a marketplace of Buyers who know the value of quality baby goods.  We've eliminated awkward cash exchanges and offer a variety of shipping and delivery options to fit your needs.  Rest assured with our Buyer and Seller Protection Programs and feel good knowing that a portion of each sale goes to help children and families in need.

Connect. Cook. Share. Creating a culinary delight for someone is one of the most genuine expressions of care. Fork & Spoon revolutionizes the dating app paradigm by combining the joy of a home cooked meal with the convenience of a mobile app. Realize or extend your passion for cooking and experience what it's like to Fork & Spoon.  Put a spark in your day by sharing your culinary adventure stories and even your #kitchenfails with our unique community. Welcome to a place where relationships start with the magic of sharing.

For more information about the Preccelerator® Program, visit www.preccelerator.com.

About Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP
Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP is a Southern California-based business law firm with robust corporate, public securities, mergers and acquisitions, entertainment, intellectual property, brand protection and business litigation practice groups focusing on the representation of, among others, venture- backed emerging growth companies, middle market public companies, large technology companies, entertainment and digital media companies, investors, venture capital funds, investment bankers and underwriters. The firm’s clients represent a broad range of industries with a concentration in the technology, entertainment, video game, apparel and medical device sectors. The firm’s mission is to provide technically excellent legal services in a consistent, highly-responsive and service-oriented manner with an entrepreneurial and practical business perspective. These principles are the hallmarks of the firm. For more information, visit https://stubbsalderton.com.

About the Preccelerator® Program
The Preccelerator is a novel platform offered to select start-up companies out of the Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP Santa Monica office that provides interim office space, sophisticated legal services, education, networking, mentorship and $350,000 in usable perks from Google Cloud for Startups, Amazon Web Services, and HubSpot among others, with the objective of helping grow a founder’s idea from business concept to funded startup. The program also retains more than 50 active strategic mentors providing free office hours and discounted services, and provides over 50-plus educational workshops and networking events each year. The Program expanded in 2017 to accept a greater number of companies in more formalized classes, depending upon where the companies are in their evolutionary growth, expand benefits to accepted companies, and will look to make strategic investments backed by strategic angel investors. To apply to the Preccelerator, visit www.preccelerator.com/application.

Contact:
Heidi Hubbeling
Chief Operating Officer, Preccelerator ® Program
310-746-9803

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 Sue Funkhouser on "Navigating Corporate Culture."

Sue Funkhouser is a management consultant and coach at Pinwheel Performance.  For 15 years, she has helped companies from Fortune 500, Startups and Non-Profits to improve organizational performance. Sue’s passion is helping founders grow their companies by developing leaders, teams and company culture. She mentors entrepreneurs and facilitates team and culture workshops at the SAM Preccelerator and Cross Campus. Sue also speaks to groups such as Young President’s Organization and has authored an e-booklet, Steering Company Culture during Growth. Connect with her on Twitter and Linked-In.


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Speaker: Sue Funkhouser

Moderator: Heidi Hubbeling

Sue: My background is that I for the last 12 years have been working with company’s leaders on their own leadership style, team effectiveness, and looking at the organization because culture is an organization as a whole. I have Master’s degree from Pepperdine University, the business school and that really taught me how to look at organization through a system’s lens and how does everything work together and that is how I approach my own work.

Heidi: You ‘ve been really beneficial to a lot of companies and we know that corporate culture can be a trigger for great success for a company long term or can be a trigger for failure. It’s one of those foundational items that these startup companies need to know, so why is corporate culture so important?

Sue: It’s your competitive advantage and it’s been proven in the marketplace. There’s research that shows that if you have an effective, greater company culture, you will get greater financial returns. You can look up Money Magazine’s research that shows that there is a 23% financial more return based on having a healthy effect of culture. There’s others if you want to know. Besides the financial research, it is something that can’t be replicated, something that can’t be duplicated not one culture is the same as the next. Your products and your capabilities can be copied, but your company’s culture can’t. The last thing is it acts as a magnet, you want to attract your people so if you have a healthy company culture you’re going to attract your top people as well as retain them.

Heidi: One of things that is a bedrock in company culture is the value systems of the company. How do you work with organization’ to develop your value system?

Sue: Its always helpful to provide a framework for people to look at so, I developed an acronym called WE ARE. Imagine a license plate called WE ARE and its we embody, so what is as a group we embody, and then articulate your values, reinforce your values and evaluate. I want to say one thing about the “we embody” so you have a culture no matter what and you want to find out as a collective what is most important here. I ask founders to please never take a piece of paper with words on it and say, “oh we are this, this and this” ask questions and stories about when have you made the most difficult decisions and what’s been most important. What have you weighed? That’s a way to draw that out. I have processes for each part of the we are, but I think that’s an important way to what do you embody? How do you articulate that value? How do you enforce it? Then later how do you evaluate it?

Heidi: Very important for companies building out that foundation for the long-term strategy of their company. I think that is a very powerful tool. What is some advice you give to companies wanting to build high performing teams?

Sue: One of the things, that I first like to talk to founders about is to understand that teams develop, much like individuals do. There are normal developmental stages for teams. Sometimes, they complain it’s like “this, this, this”, but its natural. Teams form and the they’ll storm and they must settle down and work on how they norm with each other and then they to perform. I remember I was working with a leader and they were prescribing this stuff and I explained that they were just storming. They’re trying to figure out how to work together and you need that if you’re going to get them to perform. That’s the first thing I tell people is to just know that its normal and you need it. Another thing I have found that a lot of people think its interpersonal. That all the problems are personal. As soon as we start working around what is your purpose or mission, what are the role clarities? What are the expectations of each other? A lot of that strife goes away.

Heidi: As a company grows, what do founders struggle with most?

Sue: There’s a lot to struggle. One common theme is about letting go. In a couple of ways, first in kind of a cognitive sense, leaders as they grow, have to let go of control and they have to move from being a technician to a strategist. I was talking to late David Goldberg, the former CEO of Survey Monkey and he said in his first venture when they went from 20 to 50 employees the hardest thing was to let go of the reigns. That’s one thing. The most heart wrenching thing that employers find is that they must let go of their early employees. What happens is as a company grows, some employees can’t scale their capabilities. You may try to develop them and move them around and eventually they just can’t or for a scaling company they don’t fit they’re just not interested in. It is so heart wrenching, every founder I talk to mentions that a person has been with them since day 1, but the fact of the matter is that if you do not let them go, there’s going to be some repercussions. One example, I was working with a company in New York and the CEO, heart of Gold, but when I interviewed his team they mentioned that for two years they had been shuffling people around every single department. The high performers said they didn’t have time to babysit, they’re getting in the way and he just had to cut it. It impedes performance and from what edmunds.com has told me is that you know in your gut. It’s hard but, you have got to do what is right for the company. What I advise people to do is how they let their early people go is do it in a way that shows that you care. You do care! Call-up your buddies and say, “I know this person they’re really good at this, would you meet with that person because you might know someone or you might have an opportunity”. Then go with that person and say “here is a list of 5 people that I have talked to, they’re ready for you and ready to take your call”.

Heidi: Very difficult, but very impactful advice, I think that’s a tough situation when that company gets to that stage of growth. The way that you respond, also affects your company culture overall and it’s a testament.

Sue: Those stories will ripple.

Heidi: You’ve been a mentor of the program for a couple of years now, what is the biggest give back to you, what do you enjoy most!

Sue: I love coming in here and thank you for having me. I just met with this new company whom I have never met before and we were supposed to meet for 20 minutes and we met for like an hour and half. I mean it was fabulous! What I love is that I learn so much. I get to meet with hot entrepreneurs that want to unleash stuff in the world and I get to learn about the new technology, I get my things opened. Just our interactions and the ability in such a short-time even though we expanded it to have fun, to get to know each other, but to have an impact and help them prepare for something, it so great. Thank you so much.

Management Consultant & Coach
Pinwheel Performance

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To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at .

 

Congratulations to SAM Preccelerator alumni company nēdl for being admitted to Matter, a media-focused accelerator based in San Francisco, California. nēdl was a part of Class 7 at the Preccelerator and recently graduated after a fantastic presentation at Demo Day.

"As we sourced Matter [class] Eight, we were on the lookout for start-ups focused on amplifying voices that aren’t always being heard; building secure technologies to protect free speech; rebuilding trust; moving beyond targeted advertising to new business models; harnessing emerging technologies like augmented reality and artificial intelligence to create new models for understanding and empathy; and creating ways for individuals and media companies to own their online identities and relationships."

To read the full press release visit here. 

About nēdl  
nēdl
 uses proprietary Speech Recognition to let you search within 100,000+ live news, sports, talk, and music broadcast streams to find what you want and listen to the stream or add your unique voice to the global real-time database for instant discovery. Visit www.findnedl.com

For more information about the Preccelerator® Program contact Heidi Hubbeling, Director of Operations at

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 .

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

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To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at .

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

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To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at .

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 .

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 .

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 .

[vc_row type="in_container" full_screen_row_position="middle" scene_position="center" text_color="dark" text_align="left" overlay_strength="0.3" shape_divider_position="bottom"][vc_column column_padding="no-extra-padding" column_padding_position="all" background_color_opacity="1" background_hover_color_opacity="1" column_shadow="none" column_border_radius="none" width="1/1" tablet_text_alignment="default" phone_text_alignment="default" column_border_width="none" column_border_style="solid"][vc_column_text] The Preccelerator® Program, a Santa Monica, California-based accelerator program for early- stage startup companies in the digital media and technology space, announced today that it has added its eighth class of companies featuring four innovative startups.

In 2012 Stubbs Alderton & Markiles launched the first-of-its- kind Preccelerator® Program to provide select start-ups with co-working space, mentorship, sophisticated legal services, curriculum and access to a strategic perks portfolio with the objective of helping grow a founder’s idea from business concept to a funded company. Over the past five years, 34 companies have graduated the Program, of which 20 have received funding totaling over $9M.

Preccelerator® Program Class 8 companies include:

Boomer Returns – Boomer is an ecommerce return platform that brings returns to your front door. The company's goal is to eliminate the pain points in the return process where they hurt online shoppers the most. If you need clothing or accessories returned, you no longer have to leave your home. Instead, you can use Boomer and a reliable person will be at your door within an hour to handle your returns for you. The company is founded by Pat Bauer and Ben Grabow.

Best Food Trucks - Best Food Trucks (BFT) is the largest food truck platform in the U.S., with over 500 trucks booking lots nationwide. BFT is reinventing the office lunch experience, by providing business parks & office buildings with all the logistics of setting up food trucks, booking, and (coming soon) the ability to skip the line and order ahead from your phone. The company is founded by Matt Geller and Kevin Davis.

Lumenus – Lumenus is an IoT safety company, building a Hardware/Software platform using the Internet of Things to provide real-time safety alerts and create actionable insights for both consumers (bike/run/motorcycle) as well as industrial usage (high-risk vocational workers). They license their technology out to existing companies to scale the operation across industries and use-cases. They are currently in production with Timbuk2 on a backpack ‘Powered by Lumenus’ launching Spring 2018. The company is founded by Jeremy Wall.

BluAtom VR – BluAtom VR is a provider of a next-generation motion and haptic game controllers for virtual and augmented reality entertainment and training applications — It effectively turns any player’s body into a game controller. The BluAtom system comes with a wireless motion vest, hand controller and network hub to detect as well as enhance the user’s movements for a more natural and immersive virtual reality experience. The system is plug and play, no special device driver is required. The BluAtom VR founding team are Steve Kearsley,  Dean ShipleyFarzad AhmadkhanlouSean Sharifian, and Mark Thimmig and Sean Lee.

For more information about the Preccelerator® Program, visit www.preccelerator.com.

About Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP is a Southern California-based business law firm with robust corporate, public securities, mergers and acquisitions, entertainment, intellectual property, brand protection and business litigation practice groups focusing on the representation of, among others, venture- backed emerging growth companies, middle market public companies, large technology companies, entertainment and digital media companies, investors, venture capital funds, investment bankers and underwriters. The firm’s clients represent a broad range of industries with a concentration in the technology, entertainment, videogame, apparel and medical device sectors. The firm’s mission is to provide technically excellent legal services in a consistent, highly-responsive and service-oriented manner with an entrepreneurial and practical business perspective. These principles are the hallmarks of the firm. For more information, visit https://stubbsalderton.com.

About the Preccelerator® Program

The Preccelerator® is a novel platform offered to select start-up companies out of the Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP Santa Monica office that provides interim office space, sophisticated legal services, education,  networking, mentorship and $250,000 in usable perks from Google Cloud for Startups, Amazon Web Services, and HubSpot among others, with the objective of helping grow a founder’s idea from business concept to funded startup. The program also retains more than 50 active strategic mentors providing free office hours and discounted services, and provides over 50-plus educational workshops and networking events each year. The Program expanded in 2017 to accept a greater number of companies in more formalized classes, depending upon where the companies are in their evolutionary growth, expand benefits to accepted companies, and will look to make strategic investments backed by strategic angel investors. To apply to the Preccelerator, visit www.preccelerator.com/application.

Contact:

Heidi Hubbeling
Chief Operating Officer, Preccelerator® Program

310-746-9803[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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 Jonathan Tavss of Kaleidoko, Inc. as he chats about "Utilizing Mentorship." Jonathan Tavss is an award-winning entrepreneur, marketer, strategist, and content creator with more than two decades of experience leading content creation, distribution, product development and global marketing for international entertainment studios, Media firms, CPG brands and service corporations.

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Transcript

Heidi: Jonathan, what do you see being the most important benefit to the Preccelerator companies in regards to mentorship? 

Jonathan: I guess the one that just sticks out the most is connections. Right?  It gives you resources that you might not otherwise have. What I have seen, are the companies that really succeed, are the ones that take advantage. It’s almost like a secret thing, the fact that there’s so many mentors here, there’s so many people that you can call upon. That in and of itself is something that people aren’t used to.  A. having the people to talk to and, B. knowing what to ask of them. It’s interesting because in success you will have a lot of people coming in wanting to be an advisor. Can I be on your board? Wanting to do all that kind of stuff and in this secure environment you can work with different advisors on different things, even advisors that do similar things to each other, to really get a sense of how you are going to work best with them.

Heidi: With your personal background, with your professional background what perspectives do you bring as a mentor 

Jonathan: I think it really is tied to what Kaleidoko is all about, which is to brand holistically. How you position, but it’s not just about the marketing. It’s how you set up your company to be able to deal with change that is constant. With Kaleidoko we usually work with later stage companies and so it’s a matter of going in and seeing what fundamental bricks were not placed as they were rushed to deliver to clients’ needs. We go in with that fresh look we really fill in those bricks. What I deal with for these participating companies is to help them be mindful of those fundamental pieces that you need to be able to set up for your company so that you can be successful moving forward into the future. 

Heidi: If you could give one piece of advice to the companies based on your breath of experience, what would that be? 

Jonathan: I think it would be to have your eye’s wide open all the time. As a founder you’re really heads down, running that sprint to get to where you’re trying to go. You have got to keep your eyes open to see what’s happening culturally, what’s happening technologically. Mentors, advisors, board members, or employees will come up with different ideas. So, it’s a matter of really capturing that. Also, something that I find interesting; there’s a lot of companies out there that set off to do a certain thing and as they were developing that certain thing. They found, this pot of gold, that they were just creating to help them deliver, what they thought was a value, but the real value is over here. So, not that you’re trying to go right, left, all over the place. What you want to be doing is to be able to keep your eyes open. What is that IP? What is that certain thing that might be a different direction, but that might be your real winner?

Heidi: One last question. What is your favorite thing about being a mentor at the Preccelerator. What does it give to you?

Jonathan: I got involved because I really wanted to find a way to give back. Being that I am also a university professor you know I have always just been of the "how can I help other people" mindset. This was just a great opportunity to be able to do so and meet a lot of really great people. Both on the company side and the mentor side. There’s some really strong participants all over the place. That’s why I was really excited to be a part of it.

Heidi: Very much appreciate you.

Jonathan: Thanks.

Jonathan Tavss
Kaleidoko, Inc.
www.kaleidoko.com 

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To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at .

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 Chris Bechtel of Growth Engine Labs as he chats about "Driving Growth for Early-Stage Startups."  Chris is a growth consultant, start-up advisor, customer acquisition and sales coach, former SaaS CEO, and marketing executive. Chris brings 20 years of sales and marketing expertise, specializing in demand generation, marketing automation, pipeline optimization, content marketing, and sales technologies. Chris has extensive experience in B2B, internet and SaaS technologies working with start-ups, growth stage organizations and brands to maximize the results of their digital marketing, PR and revenue generation activities through the use of content and technology.

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Transcript

Heidi: What do you think is the most important thing for driving growth for early stage companies?

 Chris: I think really, the most important thing is really the market. Being in the right section of the market, really focused on customer needs. I think that most start-ups, start with a hypothesis. It usually comes from personal experience, but people often forget there’s many potential buyers of that start-up’s initial idea. There’s a problem, there’s a pain that needs to be solved and think sort of the biggest barrier is not really focusing on the right growth segment within that market. So, I think first and foremost it’s about making sure you’re in a strong market, where the customer’s segments under served. I think then it’s really about that focus. It’s really about focusing on the right section of the market, really understanding who you are marketing to and that’s really going to dictate the value proposition to use and what channels you use to acquire them.

 Heidi: Going back to barriers, talk about the most common barrier to early stage success.

 Chris: I think really the same it’s about focus. With every entrepreneur, it’s both a blessing and a curse to have that creative mind. To be able to come up with unique solutions to common problems. But, then the barrier often comes from overthinking and questioning all those ideas and then not actually being able to focus because essentially every start-up is a hypothesis and then when it comes to marketing that hypothesis those are also a set of hypotheses. The key is focusing and prioritizing a series of tests.

 Heidi: For early stage start-up, how do you find the right people to surround them with to provide attraction and growth.

 Chris: I think that’s a great question, and one that often many founders struggle with.  In terms, of how do I have a co-founder, who’s my initial founding team?  A lot of it starts with what’s the stage that you’re in? What kinds of people? Do you have people, you know, if you’re already at product market fit and you need people to scale? You will need people who have had experience really scaling. In the early days, you needed people who could do many things and are willing to do many things and are able to then also focus on those core things and get us to the next stage of validating product market fit and identifying the actual acquisition channels that are going to help us get to that next stage. Hopefully get some more capital to start scaling.

Heidi: Finally, what’s your favorite thing about being a mentor here at the Preccelerator? What drove you to join us?

 Chris: Well, first of all it’s a great community. There’s great people here and I just really love helping people. That’s why I do what I do I think and helping people get clarity. Because people have so much passion, but it’s hard, it’s really, really hard. So, I love the joy in people’s face when they sort of get clarity, at least what I’m supposed to focus on for the next week or two and get unstuck. I think that’s really what I enjoy the most about being here at Stubbs.

 Heidi: Yeah, community and that sense of empathy, among advisors, mentors, and other entrepreneurs that are advising. It’s been really important and greatly beneficial. Thank you for being here.

Chris Bechtel
Growth Engine Labs

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To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at .

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 SA&M Managing Partner Scott Alderton as he chats about "How to Position Your Company for Financing."  Scott is the Co-Chair of the Venture Capital & Emerging Growth practice at Stubbs Alderton, General Partner of SAM CREATV Ventures, and a thought leader in the startup financing space.

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Transcript

Heidi: Tell me a little bit about your practice and experience and what you love most about working with emerging growth companies?

Scott: Sure, I have been doing this for a long time. My practice is broad-ranging. Early on in my career, I was more of a corporate & securities lawyer doing traditional SEC type of work with larger companies. As this thing called the “Internet” began to develop in the '90s, it looked like it was interesting, I transitioned my practice to being more of a technology and venture capital lawyer. I really like working with companies all along their evolutionary path, but I really like working with early-stage companies. They have diverse, wide-ranging needs, they typically don’t have the resources that large companies have. I feel like I can play a vital role as an advisor even more-so than a lawyer. The lawyering part is the easy job to me, the advising part is really the fun part.

Heidi: Let’s talk a little bit about emerging growth companies and how they approach financing. What are some of the things an early stage company should be thinking about when they are going for funding. If they are really early, how do they attract investors?

Scott: I think it's really a couple of things. The first thing that every company needs to do is to decide what its vision is and what kind of company it's going to be. Venture capital is not right for every company and there’s lots of different ways to fund your businesses. The overwhelming majority of businesses do not get funded with venture capital. Venture capital is a way of financing a business through its growth stage. When it has a proven product, when it's found its market and when it now needs to scale and grow. That’s when venture capital comes in and helps a company do that, but to get to that point is challenging. First you need to decide; am I a company that is going to require venture capital and am I company that is going to address a large scaling market, be disruptive, grow to be very large? That’s a venture fundable business.  Through the early stage, the second thing you need to figure out is  - how am I going to get to the point where professional investors are going to be interested in me? Professional investors are not going to be interested in every company like I said they are going to be interested in companies where they can apply their capital, grow and scale the business.

Heidi: As far as some of the tips that you would give to them, for them to actually attract investors - where do they look for them? Are warm introductions the best thing? What are some of the tactics?

Scott: First of all, don’t look too early. Understand that if you are really going out and seeking traditional, professional investment that you are going to have to have some metrics. You’re going to have to have at least a MVP of a product, you’re going to find a market where that product is being accepted. You are growing and scaling a business in that market. Whether its users or customers - whatever it is - you have to get to that stage first. How do you get to that stage? Well, you get to that stage by raising money from friends and family, from people who know you. From people that are going to invest in you, because you’re the entrepreneur. They believe in you. Relatives, friends, strategic business partners. A second way to look at that is for people who ultimately will be interested in your product, even though you have no metrics or proof of your product today. They will invest in you because they want your product to hit the market. Might be a strategic investment. Figure out a way - come hook or crook-  to raise that initial capital to where you can develop your product. Find a market place and the other doors will open.

Heidi: From a legal and business stand-point, how do they best position themselves?

Scott: Early stage companies by necessity cut corners, right? You don’t have resources. You’re boot strapping. You’re making promises that you can’t fully document. You can’t always afford lawyers or professional advisers and that’s fine. Do not second guess any of that. You got to where you are, but when you reach that point where you are now ready to go out and find professional capital, it's important to look internally first. That you look at yourself, do the same kind of diligence with yourself that an investor is going to do on you. That way there are no surprises. Figure out capital issues and fix them. Figure out your employment issues and fix them. Figure out your commercial contracts that you have done on a whim and fix them. So that investors don’t look at you and think good concept, but I am not going to take all this risk.

Heidi: There’s another topic that startups tend to think a lot about but aren't typically fully  educated on - how should they approach valuation and dilution?

Scott: I think that people get hung up on valuation because they have some number set in their mind or they have some experience that they talk about with other entrepreneurs. They think they either have to hang on to a certain percentage of their business or it’s not appropriate to give a certain amount at a certain round. You have to come into a financial transaction with an open mind and understand not just what you’re selling and what you have to give up for that. Also, where you are going and where that money is going to take you? I see entrepreneurs being penny wise and a pound foolish all the time. They think they don’t want to be significantly diluted. They end up throwing a wrench in the negotiation  or they loose a financing deal because they want to hang on to a few points of equity. In reality that money is going to take them so far that they are going to be vast and more valuable. Its a simple proposition of - there’s a pie and you want a piece of that pie. It's much better to own a smaller piece of a gigantic pie than it is to own a big piece of a small pie.

Heidi: Appreciate you for being here and I’m sure we will have you back for other topics some time soon.

Scott: Thanks, looking forward to it.

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To learn more about our Venture Capital & Emerging Growth Practice, contact Scott Alderton at .

SA&M Preccelerator Program company RentSpree, an apartment listing website that allows renters to submit multiple applications and non-damaging Transunion credit reports, was featured this week on Built In LA's Tech Roundup announcing that is has entered into a partnership with Michigan-based real estate tech giant ZipLogix. ZipLogix  is the recognized industry standard for electronic real estate forms and transaction management.

To read the full article on Built In LA and learn more about RentSpree click here.

To learn more about the Preccelerator® Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling, COO at (310) 746-9803 or

 

What an exciting evening it was!  4 talented entrepreneurs gave their 5 minute pitches to a crowd of over 100 people at the May 18, 2017 Preccelerator Demo Day.  The evening was topped off by the motivating presentation on "Fearless Media" by SAM CREATV Ventures Partner Peter Csathy.  In case you missed it, check out the video!

About the Preccelerator Program
The Preccelerator® Program is a platform offered to select start-up companies out of the Santa Monica office of Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP that provides interim office space, sophisticated legal services, mentorship and access to a strategic perks portfolio with the objective of helping you grow your idea from business concept to funded startup. The Preccelerator® Program provides these benefits to as many as 10 promising young startups in separate growth tracks.

For more information about the Preccelerator, contact Heidi Hubbeling, COO at .

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SAM accelerator program for early stage companies, The Preccelerator Program, announces its new class of five digital media & tech startups

The Preccelerator Program, a Santa Monica, CA-based accelerator program for early-stage startup companies in the digital media and technology space, announced today that it has added its sixth class of companies featuring five innovative startups.

In 2012 Stubbs Alderton & Markiles launched the first-of-its-kind Preccelerator Program to provide select start-ups with co-working space, mentorship, sophisticated legal services, and access to a strategic perks portfolio with the objective of helping grow a founder’s idea from business concept to a funded company. Over the past five years, 22 companies have graduated the Program, of which 16 have received funding totaling over $8M.

Preccelerator Program Class 6 companies include:

Animate Objects - Animate Objects (AO), an augmented reality and virtual reality development company,  is excited to announce the launch of ARGO, the gamified Augmented Reality (AR) location platform. ARGO adds AR enhanced infotainment, commerce, and analytics that drive engagement and commerce at “Destination Venues” like theme parks, resort, shopping malls, as well as in-the-wild. Guests are engaged and incentivized while site operators use ARGO’s real-time dashboard to manage, monitor and analyze their properties and visitors.

RentSpree - Most apartment searches involve numerous resources, multiple applications, and too many added fees. Rather than spending massive amounts of time and money applying for individual Los Angeles apartment rentals with separate companies, they’ve created a streamlined system. Simply fill out one application, pay an inexpensive application fee, and receive a soft credit check, sparing you unnecessary damage to your budget and credit score. Best of all, their one-stop application allows you to spend more time exploring your favorite listings, and gives our renters a distinct advantage in a competitive market.

Tapp That App -  At Tapp That App they’re passionate about finding great apps, but they know it can be difficult. They’ve set out to solve the problem of mobile app discovery by combining social networks with app marketplaces. By doing so, they allow users to satisfy their curiosity and developers to take part in one of the most powerful purchase motivators around: seeing the apps their friends and influencers are using.

Ca$het -  CA$Het is a multi-services platform (MSP) that allows users to identify, curate, and monetize products in movies and TV shows.  We believe that the entertainment industry creates tremendous value by associating characters and products on screen.  The emotional impact created when actors and products interact has been impossible to monetize due to a lack of a suitable mechanism and marketplace.  We aim to change that through our platform. CA$Het provides a mechanism to quickly and accurately identify on screen products while simultaneously creating the marketplace where they can be purchased. (Coming Soon!)

Swoppit - With recycled fashion now “white hot”, Swoppit offers Generation Z women 15-24 the perfect social marketplace. Here, they swap fashion with friends. Swoppit provides Gen-Zers a terrific way to both expand their community and gain access to a far wider selection of style. It’s an easy, fun experience that doesn’t pollute the market. For Gen-Zers, looks count, opinions matter and Swoppit offers them the chance to refresh their closet whenever they like.  Swoppit has been founded by a 16-year-old Gen-Zer that understands the market and is driven to make it a success. (Coming Soon!)

For more information about the Preccelerator® Program, visit www.preccelerator.com

About Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP is a Southern California based business law firm with robust corporate, public securities, mergers and acquisitions, entertainment, intellectual property, brand protection and business litigation practice groups focusing on the representation of, among others, venture backed emerging growth companies, middle market public companies, large technology companies, entertainment and digital media companies, investors, venture capital funds, investment bankers and underwriters. The firm’s clients represent a broad range of industries with a concentration in the technology, entertainment, videogame, apparel and medical device sectors. The firm’s mission is to provide technically excellent legal services in a consistent, highly-responsive and service-oriented manner with an entrepreneurial and practical business perspective. These principles are the hallmarks of the firm. For more information, visit https://stubbsalderton.com.

About the Preccelerator® Program

The Preccelerator is a novel platform offered to select start-up companies out of the Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP Santa Monica office that provides interim office space, sophisticated legal services, education, networking, mentorship and $250,000 in usable perks from Google Cloud for Startups, Amazon Web Services, and HubSpot among others, with the objective of helping grow a founder’s idea from business concept to funded startup. The program also retains more than 50 active strategic mentors providing free office hours and discounted services, and provides over 50+ educational workshops and networking events each year. The Program expanded in 2017 to accept a greater number of companies in more formalized classes, depending upon where the companies are in their evolutionary growth, expand benefits to accepted companies, and will look to make strategic investments backed by strategic angel investors. To apply to the Preccelerator, visit www.preccelerator.com/application.

Contact:
Heidi Hubbeling
Chief Operating Officer, Preccelerator® Program

310-746-9803

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