Archive | November, 2011

Is the Angel Bubble Going to Burst?

28 Nov

Last week I wrote an explainer defining angel investors and their role in start-ups. The subject has been a hot topic in the world of entrepreneurs, as many aren’t qualified or looking to avoid the venture capital road.

Angel investors may becoming too hot of a topic in the start-up world, as both the president of Facebook, Sean Parker, and venture capitalist Mark Suster claim the angel investor bubble is about to pop. (more…)

#SmallBizSaturday a Social Media Success

26 Nov

The second annual Small Business Saturday, a program sponsored by American Express, is hoping to continue to drum up sales for local businesses.

The promotion provided customers a $25 credit on their card, if they spent the same amount at a participating local merchant. American Express bumped up the cap from 200,000 to 300,000 and it has been a social media success.

As of 11:00 pm EST., (more…)

Can Angel Investors Help Spread Your Wings?

21 Nov

As banks tighten the purse strings on loans for start-ups, entrepreneurs are looking for alternative forms of funding.

For many start-ups, angel investors are a viable option to get their dream off the ground and running.

For a small business to consider connecting with an angel investor, it is important to define what exactly an angel investor is and if it is the best choice for a company.

What is an angel investor?


Start-up Birchbox Makes it Easy to Take the Plunge

20 Nov

Makeup Love

Walking into Sephora for me is like stepping into heaven—products galore for every need I didn’t know I had. Sadly, I fall for the beauty marketers campaign promising to make my laugh lines disappear, my lips plumper, and my eyelashes longer. The cost? For me, the price tag is anywhere from $20 to $80, but the sky is the limit in terms of how much people will spend.

Usually before I invest in such a “dream,” I will do extensive research looking at reviews, awards, and write-ups. After plunking down my hard earned student loan money, I go home and have a kind of séance before using the product.  Once I sweep the magic product on, psychology kicks in and voila—I’m improved. Usually. Sometimes I don’t notice any changes or the $108 magic cream caused a massive breakout on my skin.

What if I could try the product on before I purchased it?


Move Over Silicon Valley—Competition is Heating Up

20 Nov
"Technology has exceeded our humanity"

Image by Toban Black via Flickr

As technology seems to be the sector to focus on, a number of places are looking to take the crown away from Silicon Valley and become the next start-up mecca.

New York City

Mayor Bloomberg is hoping to surpass Silicon Valley with the development of the NYC engineering campus. Bloomberg devised a competition among schools to come up with the best plan for this campus. Currently, the bids from various colleges have been submitted to Bloomberg for review and an announcement will be made early next year. It is speculated the forerunner is the Stanford/CUNY proposal, which would house a 10-acre campus on Roosevelt Island with approximately 100 faculty and 2,200 students. Bloomberg is hoping in the first 30 years, 22,000 jobs would be created. The estimated cost is $100 million.


Russia is also looking to develop their own Silicon Valley with the creation of Skolkovo Innovation Center Project, which is estimated to employ 25,000 to 30,000. Presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich believes Russia will grow to directly compete with Silicon Valley in the tech industry and he claims Eric Schmidt of Google backs his claims.  Microsoft and GE have already invested and IBM may have also landed a deal.


The New York Times reported the progress of Guatamela’s Campus Technológico, which is looking to bring start-ups to the country for an inexpensive alternative. Currently, the campus only has one building with 375 inhabitants but is looking to expand to a five or six block entrepreneurial haven. The campus tech founder, Juan Mini, does realize the country’s drug problem, unstable economy, and huge division gaps in income create a challenging situation for growth but he believes the low cost of starting a business, about $7569 according to The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, will sway entrepreneurs to take the risk.

What does this mean for Silicon Valley?


Case Study: Trash Talking with Doug Belkin

17 Nov

This piece was a class assignment and  unrelated to entrepreneurs

“Chicago Mayor Trashes Politics of Waste Removal”

by Douglas Belkin, Wall Street Journal






The writer: Doug Belkin, 43, is a Midwest general assignment reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Besides being a generalist, Belkin also occasionally covers politics. Previously, he was a reporter for the Boston Globe where he covered police and crime before getting promoted to Bureau Chief and did general assignments along with news features. Belkin graduated from Colby College with a degree in English and waited until he was 27 to pursue journalism.

The story: “Chicago Mayor Trashed Politics of Waste Removal,” a 2,000 word journal explainer discusses the trash sector, one of Chicago’s most inefficient departments.


Start-Up Artsicle: a Sweet Treat for Newcomers

10 Nov

Image via Wikipedia

Celebrating its one-year anniversary this Friday, Artsicle, a virtual art rental gallery start-up, is looking to grow with recent funds raised.

The company raised $390,000 on AngelList, an online meet-up for start-ups and investors, and will use the funds for national expansion and hiring.

Based in New York City, Artsicle was founded by Alex Tryon and Scott Carleton last November. After a gallery experience left a bitter taste in her mouth, Tryon wanted to create a “try before buy” online gallery experience where people interested in starting an art collection could rent expensive pieces from emerging artists before committing. (more…)

Are Celeb Tweets Worth the Money for Small Businesses?

8 Nov
Khloe Kardashian attending Maxim's 10th Annual...

Image via Wikipedia

“Summers almost here! Keep a girly figure, eat yummy subs! @Quiznos coupon for a $2.99 sub? Yes, please. Those 108 characters rakes in $2300 for MTV star JWoww, according to a recent post. Getting JWOWW to tweet about your new product or upcoming sale for $2,300 a pop may sound a bit ludacrious, but as Twitter continues to grow it may not be that bad of an idea.

In a recent TechCrunch post, CEO Dick Costolo rambled off a pretty impressive array of stats. In September 2010, Twitter was seeing about 90 million tweets a day. Earlier this year, that figure jumped to over 100 million per day and has now reached a shocking 250 million a day.

Not only do celebrities often times have huge following but a tweet can get retweeted indefinite times for a huge ripple effect.

A case (more…)

Digital Age Helping Women Entrepreneurs

7 Nov

Now is the time for women to venture into the entrepreneurial world, according to a Mashable post.

“Why Women Make Excellent Entrepreneurs in the Digital Age,” discusses how women are dominating the entrepreneur landscape and are using their skills to succeed.

2010 was the first time ever there were more women in the work force than men. In terms of women-owned businesses, between 1997 and 2011 there was a 50% increase, while male-owned business only grew by 25%, according to an American Express report. (more…)

Tips for Using AngelList for Entrepreneurs

6 Nov

While our economy is in the dumps, consumer confidence remains glum, and jobs are still hard to come by, I believe the silver lining lies in innovation and entrepreneurs.

During this time of hardship, it may not seem like the ideal time to fork over a huge chunk of change to begin your dream endeavor of being your own boss. Mashable reported on a site called AngelList that provides a smoother transaction for small business hopefuls looking to connect with moneybags.

The site provides a meet-up place where start-ups can upload their business plan, network with investors, and hopefully land a little dough. I checked it out. The idea is great but because it is relatively new there is room for improvement in user experience.

As someone who wants to run their own business, having an angel investor may not seem like the most ideal scenario. Isn’t one of the perks of starting your own company is you are your own boss? Regardless of this fantasy world some may want to live it, reality sets in for many and investors are their only option.

Technology is making it easier than ever to connect with investors who may helped cash-strapped entrepreneurs live their dream for a stake in the business.

Even though, the online world is making it easier to find angel investors don’t expect to raise capital with the snap of your finger.

AngelList has approximately 50 to 100 new start-ups a day, and only 1% actually achieve their goal.

If you are thinking about using AngelList as a way to get investors chomping at the bit to fork over their hard earned money for “the next Facebook,” you may want to follow Mashable’s guidelines to ensure you fall into the 1% success rate. (more…)


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