Tag Archives: Startup Superhero Series

Introducing the Startup Superhero Video Series! – This Week Featuring Jonathan Tavss on “Utilizing Mentorship”

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 
jonathan@kaleidoko.com

 

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

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Introducing the Startup Superhero Video Series! – This Week Featuring Chris Bechtel on “Driving Growth For Early-Stage Startups”

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
cbechtel@growthenginelabs.com

 

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

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Introducing the Startup Superhero Video Series! – This Week Featuring Scott Alderton on “Positioning Your Company For Financing”

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 salderton@stubbsalderton.com.

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Startup Superhero Series with Kimberly Brooks – Dot-Com Entrepreneur, Artist and Tech Wizard at Lightray

Join Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP
for this exclusive event!

 

Startup Superhero

What is a Startup Superhero? Join us as Kimberly Brooks, Founder and Chief Strategist of Lightray, is interviewed by Kevin DeBre, Partner at Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP, on the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, stories from her Dot-Com adventures, and how entrepreneurship has changed for her today.

When:
Thursday, February 23, 2017
5:30-6:15pm – Networking
6:15-7:30pm – Fireside Chat with Kimberly Brooks

Where:
SAM Preccelerator Program
1453 3rd Street Promenade, Suite 300
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Kimberly Brooks

Kimberly Brooks is a Contemporary American Painter, Innovator, Technologist. She has had numerous solo exhibitions in the United States and has been showcased in juried exhibitions, including curators from Mira Schor, Chris Burden, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, California Institute of the Arts, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. As founding arts editor at the Huffington Post, Brooks grew the section to 22M unique monthly readers/month. She also founded the Science Section and Art Meets Science. In 1996, Brooks founded of Lightray, a web development incubator and design lab which works with numerous companies around the world: www.lightray.com. Website www.kimberlybrooks.com

Moderator 

Kevin DeBre Kevin 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. Kevin is a business lawyer, a registered patent lawyer and a former engineer.

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP is a 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 the full spectrum of Southern California business with a concentration in the technology, entertainment, videogame, apparel and medical device sectors. Our 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 our Firm. For more information, visit www.stubbsalderton.com

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SAM Preccelerator Program Presents: Startup Superhero Series with Adam Nazar of ACD (f/k/a AutoClaims Direct)

Please join Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP and CohnReznick LLP for this special invitation-only speaker session and networking event!

What is a startup superhero? Join us as Adam Nazar, Founder and CTO of ACD (f/k/a AutoClaims Direct), is interviewed by Matt Swider, US Mobile Editor for TechRadar, on the highs and lows of entrepreneurship and what it feels like to create a brand used by thousands of people.

When:
Thursday, February 18, 2016
5:30-6:15pm – Networking
6:15-8:00pm – Fireside Chat with Adam Nazar

Location:
Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP
1453 3rd Street Promenade, Suite 300
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Register!

SPEAKERS

Matt Swider

Matt Swider is the Mobile Editor of TechRadar.com, covering smartphones, wearables and car tech. He began writing about gadgets when we started his own video game news and reviews website at 14 back in 1999. He holds a Journalism degree from Pennsylvania State University.

Adam Nazar is a founder and CTO of ACD (f/k/a Autoclaims Direct), which under his tenure has grown into one of the largest claims technology & service companies in the industry with over 1,000 employees and contractors. ACD has been named to Inc. Magazines’ list of fastest growing private companies, the Deloitte’s Technology Fast-500, and the Red Herring Top 100 North America among others.  Adam has spent over 15 years serving as a CTO, investor, board member, and advisor to many Southern California companies. He is still an avid programmer and has developed software and technology solutions for numerous industries leading to successful private companies and multiple acquisitions.

A native of San Diego, Nazar got his start developing software at the age of 16 where he worked for HealthLine Systems on one of the first web-based management systems in the Health Care industry. At 19, Adam became a developer during the early formation of The Content Project, which became Schematic/POSSIBLE, a leading global creative agency. Nazar went on to co-found ACD at age 20 and became actively involved in the Los Angeles startup & tech community.  Adam holds a BS in Computer Engineering and Computer Science, and an MS in Computer Science, as well as an MBA from the University of Southern California, where he has also served as a part-time faculty member in the Viterbi School of Engineering.

 

About Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP is a 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 the full spectrum of Southern California business with a concentration in the technology, entertainment, videogame, apparel and medical device sectors. Our 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 our Firm. For more information, visit www.stubbsalderton.com.

About CohnReznick

CohnReznick LLP is one of the top accounting, tax, and advisory firms in the United States, combining the resources and technical expertise of a national firm with the hands-on, entrepreneurial approach that today’s dynamic business environment demands. Headquartered in New York, NY, and with offices nationwide, CohnReznick serves a large number of diverse industries and offers specialized services for middle market and Fortune 1000 companies, private equity and financial services firms, government contractors, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations. The Firm, with origins dating back to 1919, has more than 2,700 employees including nearly 300 partners and is a member of Nexia International, a global network of independent accountancy, tax, and business advisors. For more information, visit www.cohnreznick.com.

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You’re Invited! Startup Superhero Series with James Citron and Networking Under the Stars – Nov 12, 2015

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Startup Superhero Series & Networking Under the Stars

 

Please join CohnReznick LLP and Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP for a special invitation-only speaker session followed by an opportunity to network under the stars.

What is a startup superhero? Join us as James Citron, CEO of Pledgeling, is interviewed by Matt Swider, US Mobile Editor for TechRadar, on the highs and lows of entrepreneurship and what it feels like to create a brand used by thousands of people.

When:
Thursday, November 12, 2015
5:30-7:00pm – Startup Superhero Series with James Citron
7:00pm-9:30pm – Networking Under the Stars (2nd Floor Patio)

 

Location:
Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP
1453 3rd Street Promenade, Suite 300
Santa Monica, CA 90401

RSVP:

Katie Garcia, 310-843-8218

Speakers

Matt SwiderMatt Swider is the Mobile Editor of TechRadar.com, covering smartphones, wearables and car tech. He began writing about gadgets when we started his own video game news and reviews website at 14 back in 1999. He holds a Journalism degree from Pennsylvania State University.
James CitronJames Citron is a mobile entrepreneur, evangelist, and disruptor. Over the last dozen years, Citron has led multiple companies through acquisitions, built products that have reached 150MM Americans on mobile and launched mobile products in 20 countries.

As Co-Founder & CEO of Mogreet, he helped to jump start the mobile video industry when his products powered the first mobile video campaigns for ABC, Fox, Nike and Paramount beginning in 2008. Nicknamed the ‘Father of MMS’, Citron’s company sent the first cross-carrier MMS in the market and today, his technology powers 80% of all MMS messaging sent by US brands. While serving as President of Outspoken, his mobile CRM platform become an industry standard used by brands and agencies to power over fifty thousand mobile campaigns. As CRO of mGage, Mr. Citron’s ran the largest mobile messaging business in the United States delivering over four billion mobile messages annually to over fifty percent of American wireless subscribers. In

2015, Mr. Citron recently joined Pledgeling as its CEO with the goal of making charitable donations via mobile simple, secure and fun.

Citron is a long-time active member of the Mobile Marketing Association and author of several mobile industry guidelines currently in use today. He is a frequent speaker at leading industry trade events, published author, educator, and an advisor and investor in early-stage companies. Citron is a graduate of Princeton University.

 

 

About Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP
Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP is a 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 the full spectrum of Southern California business with a concentration in the technology, entertainment, videogame, apparel and medical device sectors. Our 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 our Firm. For more information, visit www.stubbsalderton.com.

About CohnReznick

CohnReznick LLP is one of the top accounting, tax, and advisory firms in the United States, combining the resources and technical expertise of a national firm with the hands-on, entrepreneurial approach that today’s dynamic business environment demands. Headquartered in New York, NY, and with offices nationwide, CohnReznick serves a large number of diverse industries and offers specialized services for middle market and Fortune 1000 companies, private equity and financial services firms, government contractors, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations. The Firm, with origins dating back to 1919, has more than 2,700 employees including nearly 300 partners and is a member of Nexia International, a global network of independent accountancy, tax, and business advisors. For more information, visit www.cohnreznick.com.

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