Investor Connect Podcast (general)

Why Monetize Data

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Data brings another dimension to the startup in product, market size, and revenue.

Here are some reasons why you should monetize your startup’s data:

Give your company an additional competitive advantage over the competition.

Data sets you apart from the others. 

Generate new sources of revenue.

Data is another product you can package and sell.

Improve your operations.

Data can help you increase your efficiency and make your business run more effectively.

Create stronger ties to partners.

Providing data to partners can increase your strategic relationships.

In raising funding data gives your startup an additional advantage over other startups.

It increases your total available market size as it gives you more potential customers.

Investors find data highly attractive for the margins it brings.

Consider these points in pursuing data monetization for your startup.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: 05.Why_monetize_data.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Kirk Otis, President of Keiretsu Forum - North Texas. Located in Plano, Texas, Keiretsu Forum is a global investment community that brings together accredited private equity investors, venture capitalists, and corporate/institutional investors.
 
Kirk Otis, with over 40 years of business development and investment experience, oversees the North Texas chapter of Keiretsu Forum. He has held leadership positions in startups and large corporations, closing over 50 transactions totaling $13.5 billion in enterprise value and raising $46 million in venture capital for startups.
 
As the Managing Director at Hawkeye Capital Partners Inc., Kirk advises on executive-led exits, acquisitions, roll-ups, and management buy-outs (MBOs), seeking private equity (PE) backing in a faster, lower-risk model than traditional investment banks provide. His strategic expertise and extensive experience in transaction-oriented strategy and corporate development make him a trusted C-level advisor and leader of cross-functional teams.
 
Kirk Otis emphasizes the forum's collaborative approach in fostering strategic partnerships and sharing knowledge among members to access diverse angel investment opportunities. They delve into the rigorous company vetting process employed by Keiretsu Forum, highlighting the importance of team quality and due diligence in early-stage investments. Otis also reflects on navigating cross-border deals and the emerging trends in North Texas's early-stage investment landscape.

To connect with Kirk Otis and learn more about Keiretsu Forum, visit https://www.keiretsuforum.com, https://www.linkedin.com/company/keiretsu-forum-north-texas/ or reach out via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kirkotis/.
 
_______________________________________________________
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Direct download: riverside_hall___apr_7_2024_001_kirk_otis_of_keiret.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

How To Monetize Your Data

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several business models for monetizing data.

Consider these models for your startup:

Mining your own data -- this business model takes your own startups data and uses it to provide new services and products for the business.

This could be creating a resource list from your research to sell as an additional data product to existing and new customers.

For example, a business could provide a data product that lists other sources to buy key products.  

This becomes a content marketing tool for drawing more potential customers to your website.

Providing data sets for other businesses -- this business model captures a data set such as the current stock market prices and makes it available for other businesses to use in their product.

Another example is tracking the number of people walking down a specific street over time would be useful information to businesses selling in that location. 

It shows the best times for the most traffic.

Providing higher level information for other businesses -- this business model takes analyzed data and provides an answer to questions that other businesses have.

For example this could be an analysis of the characteristics of a customer buying a product and where they currently look for those products.

This answers the question, who should we target to sell more of our current product and where do we find them.

Each type of data is useful.

The more analysis often leads to higher monetization levels.

Consider how to use these in your business. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 04.How_to_monetize_your_data.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Type of Data Analytics

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Finding data to monetize comes in steps and stages.

Each step leads to a more detailed understanding of what data can be monetized and how to generate it.

Here’s a list of key steps to consider:

Reactive analytics -- this data captures how customers find products and services.

This could be where customers find the product and how they access it.

Descriptive analytics -- this data captures how customers use products and services.

This could be how long they engage with it, what they do with it, and what they take from it.

Diagnostic analytics -- this is the core data that others find most useful.

For example, this could be characterizing what triggers a customer to buy a product or service.

Proactive analytics -- this is additional data that can be generated using what was learned before.

This could be setting up additional triggers to generate more customer purchases.

You can modify current products or create new ones to facilitate it.

Data evolves over time from raw data to analyzed data to products that make use of the data.

Consider these steps in identifying what data you can monetize in your product.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: 03.Types_of_data_analytics.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Data Monetization Models

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several data monetization models for startups 

Sources of data come from a large network of customers, in depth content, or heavily trafficked websites.

Consider these for your startup.

Data as a service -- takes data generated by the startup and makes it available to other companies. 

For example, weather data captured by one startup can be sold to other companies.

The data is captured by the software and then made available in machine readable form to other companies’ websites. 

An automatic feed continuously generates the data and sends it to other sites.

Direct data transfer -- takes data directly from the startup and sells it to other companies.

This could be a customer list with email addresses.

This works well when you have a list of customers that others want to sell to.

Data augmentation -- taking other data sets and combining with your own to create a new data set that is more valuable.

A startup could take their customer list and augment it with data from other sources to provide a richer set of data to sell to other companies.

For example a startup could take their customer list and add contact and location information and sell it to other companies.

Automating this process makes the data more valuable as it reduces the friction between source and use cases.

Consider these data monetization models for your startup.

More analysis often leads to higher monetization levels.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: 02.Data_monetization_models.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

What Is a Data Strategy and Why Is It Important

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

A data strategy is a comprehensive plan to use data to drive business decisions.

You can use it to monetize data to achieve your business goals.

Data strategy has four components:

Story -- it tells the goals of your business and how data enables it to succeed.

This includes the vision, goals, and what success looks like.

Processes -- it shows the processes needed to use the data to accomplish the goals.

This includes the key roles and responsibilities and the deliverables to be achieved.

Transformation -- it shows how the business will change to implement the processes.

This includes the data requirements, data architecture, and methodology to be used. 

Culture -- it shows the values the company holds with regards to data and its usage.

This includes the organization structure, training, and practices to be used.

Data strategy is important for aligning the organization to include data into the process.

It creates new products for the company and additional revenue streams.

It requires a fundamental change to the business to incorporate it. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: 01.What_is_a_data_strategy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

UX Design

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

UX design provides the experience the user encounters when using a product.

This is different from the user interface which is simply how the information is rendered to the user.

The UI consists of the typography, color palettes, and navigation.

The UX is the customer journey with the product.

It consists of the experience strategy which meets the needs of the user and the company.

The interaction design is how the user interacts with the product.

This comes from user research which identifies what the user must accomplish and what tools are required.

It rests on an information architecture which structures the information for the work to be done.

Good UX design achieves the following benefits:

Anyone can use the product.

It is simple and intuitive to use.

It provides useful information to the user at the right time.

It can handle user mistakes and recover from errors.

It is easy to follow.

Products with good UX outsell products with poor UX as users have little patience for hard to use products. 

Ensure UX design is part of your product management duties.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 05.UX_design.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Brian Cain, President Keiretsu, Philadelphia Chapter. Based in Philadelphia and Jacksonville, Keiretsu Forum is a global network of angel investors, venture capitalists, and business leaders focused on fostering strategic partnerships and accessing promising investment opportunities worldwide.
 
Brian Cain brings a wealth of experience to his role as President of Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic’s Philadelphia chapter. With a background in Market Research, Business Intelligence, and Commercial Analytics at major pharmaceutical companies such as J & J, BMS, Celgene, Merck, and smaller biotechs like Ironwood, Brian possesses a comprehensive understanding of the pharmaceutical landscape and strategic decision-making processes. His involvement as a board member for various early-stage life science companies further enhances his value to Keiretsu members and portfolio companies.
 
Brian shares his journey from the pharmaceutical sector to the early-stage investment community, highlighting the appeal of working with small biotech startups. He discusses the evolution of Keiretsu Forum's Philadelphia chapter under his leadership, emphasizing the importance of due diligence and collaboration among members.
 
Brian elaborates on the rigorous company vetting process at Keiretsu Forum, emphasizing the objective assessment of opportunities and risks. He also reflects on emerging trends in the early-stage investment landscape, particularly in AI, and offers advice for both investors and entrepreneurs to leverage networks and expertise. Finally, Brian encourages listeners to get involved with Keiretsu Forum and engage in discussions to enhance their understanding and portfolio strategies.
 
For more information about Brian Cain and Keiretsu Forum, visit their website at www.keiretsuforum.com. You can connect with Brian on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/brianecain/ and follow Keiretsu Forum on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/keiretsu-forum-philadelphia/. For inquiries, reach out to Brian via email at betra@keiretsuforum.net

_________________________________________________________

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Direct download: IC_795.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Engagement Metrics

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product engagement is a key metric to track as it can predict revenue growth and churn rates. 

To track product engagement metrics consider the following:

Build tracking metrics into the product that captures user activities.

Capture key metrics such as number of active daily/weekly/monthly users.

Capture trial to paying customer conversion rates.

Measure new feature adoption to see which features are actually being used and how often.

Capture the retention rate of users to see how long they stay with the product before leaving. 

Identify which features provide stickiness for retaining customers.

Feed the metrics back to the developers and the support team to improve the quality of the product.

Update your marketing with the results of the product engagement metrics.

Consider providing additional training and tools for features that are hard to use.

Track product engagement metrics by customer segment to see the different use cases. 

Product engagement metrics indicate the quality of the product by its user engagement.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 04.Product_engagement_metrics.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Data

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product data refers to the data about a particular product or generated by that product. 

This is separate from version control which tracks each version of the product and the features it contains.

Product data refers to the brand name, product description, schematics, source code, cost to build, price to sell, sales forecasts and results and more.

This typically involves storing the product data in a central location that all stakeholders can access such as developers, marketers, sales, and others.

Product data managers often use product data for A/B testing by capturing the results of each test.

Product managers use the data to review past sales and make future forecasts.

It can also be used to map our product roadmaps.

Product data can also refer to the data the product captures and creates.

Customer usage can be a critical data element for some products as it can be monetized by itself.

Other companies will buy your product data as the customers or their data may be a good fit for their product.

Some companies seek product data that can be used for testing algorithms.

As data becomes more valuable, more companies will seek to monetize their data.

Consider the data running through your product to see how it can be used.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: 03.Product_data_usage.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Pre-Seed Product Work

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In the early stages of the startup before the product is designed and launched, there’s product management work to be done.

Consider these points for the pre seed stage product work:

Focus on the problem the customer has.

Understand it very well. 

Don’t get your heart set on  a specific instantiation of the product.  

Early stage products will morph and change over time.

Set intermediate goals for customer research, MVP designs and customer feedback.

Adopt the fail forward attitude.

Look for fast failures so you can move the project forward more quickly.

Create a short list of customers you can contact and get immediate feedback.

Launch several MVPs and vary the scale and scope of them.

Not everything must be built into a product to get feedback.

Some MVPs can be small experiments such as a web page capturing the number of users landing and converting.

Other MVPs can be actual products the customer can use. 

Set up your team to capture customer input from all sides.

Share customer feedback with everyone on the team on a regular basis.

Product management in the early stages focuses on a core set of customers and problems to be solved.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 02.Preseed_product_work_best_practices.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Gamification For Your Product

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Gamification is adding game techniques in a software product to increase user engagement.

The content inspires the user to continue engaging with the product.

Consider adding these gamification techniques to your product:

Set up goals for the user to accomplish.  

This provides a challenge to the user to complete the task.

Assign points for completing the tasks.

Use leaderboards to show the status of the users compared to each other.

Organize users into teams to complete the tasks.

This builds community among the users. 

Embed educational information into the tasks to increase the skill of the user.

This could be tips, quizzes, and other techniques to provide information.

Offer rewards for completing tasks.

This could be virtual such as assigning points, avatars, and badges.

Gaming has proven techniques for fostering engagement.

Use those techniques to foster more engagement with your product. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: 01.Gamification_for_your_product.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Management Best Practices

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product management is an ongoing process of analyzing the market and monitoring customer needs.

Here are some best practices for implementing product management at your startup:

Focus on your customer and not your product.

If every discussion with a customer starts with your product then you limit the feedback from the customer.

Start with the customer’s challenges to learn more and generate new ideas.

Create a mental model for the customer you are researching.

What is the problem they must solve and what is their workflow?

This opens up new applications for your product.

Observe the customer and their workflow to understand the problem better.

New applications often take a different approach in problem solving.

Capture the customer research into a form that everyone can access and contribute.

Organize the customer research into meaningful structures so one can make sense of the data and can generate potential solutions.

Set up collaborative meetings to review the data and brainstorm ideas for solutions.

Propose solutions for the rest of the team to review and comment on.

Involve the entire organization in customer research to get the best ideas.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 05.Product_management_best_practices.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Barry Etra, President of Keiretsu Forum, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Keiretsu Forum is a global investment community of accredited private equity angel investors, venture capitalists, and corporate institutional investors. With over 2,000 accredited angel investor members dispersed throughout 53 Chapter cities on 4 continents, Keiretsu Forum is the world’s largest and most successful accredited investor–private equity community.
 
Since its founding in 2000, Keiretsu Forum members have invested more than $1 billion in 1400+ different companies from a myriad of industries, including software, telecommunications, health/life sciences, biotech, real estate, mobile applications, Internet, consumer products, and other high-growth areas.
 
Barry Etra is a seasoned professional whose career exemplifies a deep commitment to fostering growth and innovation within the early-stage landscape, particularly in the South Eastern United States. His journey began in the manufacturing sector, where he amassed experience over several years.
 
In 2014, Barry pivoted towards the entrepreneurial ecosystem and created the RAISE (Retention and Advanced Investment for the Southeast) Forum based in Atlanta. This move marked a significant shift in his career path toward the cultivation of a robust support system for early-stage companies in the region. In 2018, he was recruited to lead the Atlanta Chapter of the Keiretsu Forum, the world's largest and most successful accredited investor-private equity community. Under his guidance, the Atlanta Chapter has grown to become a key player in the local and regional early-stage investment community, providing a conduit for investors to access high-quality investment opportunities.
 
In this episode, Barry discusses his transition from the manufacturing sector to early-stage investment. He highlights the challenges faced by companies in securing funding and the emergence of Koretsu Forum as a solution. Etra emphasizes the comprehensive due diligence process conducted by Koretsu Forum, which benefits both investors and entrepreneurs. He describes the collaborative decision-making process within the Atlanta chapter and the diverse profile of investors involved. Etra also discusses emerging trends in early-stage investments in the Southeast, particularly in healthcare, and advises listeners on how to get involved with Koretsu Forum.
 
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Direct download: IC_Sem_04_-_Barry_Etra.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Experience Best Practices

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product experience is the customer's journey with the product from adoption to trial to ongoing usage. 

This is separate from the customer experience which includes interactions with the company including buying the product, training, support, and more.

The better the product experience, the better the overall customer experience which results in lower churn and higher retention rates.

Build into the core product all the key elements such as purchasing the product, unsubscribing, support, training, and community.

The product becomes the central hub for the customer.

Use the product to train the customer about how to use it in particular new features.

Build access to support into the product so the user can share key information with the support team.

Design in metrics to capture the customer’s use of the product and make it available to the developers for product roadmap decisions.

Use it to capture feedback from the customer such as new product feature suggestions and complaints about current functionality.

The product is the ideal place for onboarding, training, and monitoring the customer’s experience with the product.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: 04.Product_experience_best_practices.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Differentiation Features

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In product development, there are several types of features.

These include basic requirements, nice to haves and differentiators.

The basic requirements are table stakes. 

All products in the space have those features and customers expect them to be there.

These are must have features.

Then there are the nice to have features.

These are features the team found interesting or a customer or two requested.

They are not critical to the use of the product but it’s a nice plus.

Finally, there are differentiators.

These features add value and they help your product stand out from the competition.

These are the ones to push from a product management position as customers don’t necessarily ask for those features.

You must prioritize these on the product roadmap and overcome objections from the team who want to stick with the basic requirements.

It’s the differentiators that help you win new customers and stand out from the crowd.

Review your product roadmap for these features to make sure enough differentiators are making it into the roadmap.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 03.Product_differentiation_features.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Adoption Steps

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product adoption is the process of increasing the customer’s awareness of the product so they try and then buy the product.

Product adoption increases revenue and retention and reduces churn. 

There are six stages of adoption as follows:

Awareness -- the customer becomes aware of the product and its capabilities.

A strong brand helps generate awareness.

Interest -- the customer finds something interesting about the product.

Interest usually comes from the specific problem they are trying to solve.

Evaluation -- the customer tests the product to see how it works.

Customers often try competitor products at the same time for comparison purposes.

Trial -- the customer signs up for a trial run of the product.

Trials are often free for a limited time.

Activation -- the customer signs up to use the product ongoing.

Customers should see immediate benefits when signing up.

Adoption -- the customer makes the product a part of their workflow. 

Build tools to facilitate the customer through these steps.

Remove friction from the process so customers can more easily engage the product.

Understand the customer journey of your product to build out this program. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 02.Product_adoption_steps.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Before Product Development

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

To ensure you are developing the right product for your target customer ask these questions first:

What are you losing customers over?

If customers choose another product because you don’t have a specific feature then this is worth putting into the product.

What are competitors doing that keeps you awake at night?

If the competition is working on features that you don’t have then this may be a candidate to include in your next product upgrade.

Have customers been asking for it for sometime now?

If you have customers that have asked for a feature but you haven’t put it in, then this is something to prioritize.

Do customers add this feature into your product by themselves?

If you have customers who hack a feature into your product, then it’s important to do this for them.

Can you sell them on the proposed feature?

If you have customers buying the product because they want to use that feature, then prioritize building it for them.

The rule is sell it first, build it second.

If you can’t sell it in the first place, you don’t need to build it in the second place.

Consider these questions in prioritizing the features to build into your product.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 01.Before_product_development.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Research Practices

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Most founders talk to ten or twenty prospective customers and then start building their product. 

It takes a minimum of fifty customer discussions to understand the problem and how to solve it.

If you know the space and come from the industry you’ll be in a better position to research it.

If you are new to the space then it’s best to recruit a domain knowledge person to join the research team.

This will speed up the process of understanding the basics of the industry.

It also helps in contacting potential customers for interviews and discussions.

In the discovery phase you’ll want to hear not only about the problem to be solved but also about the customer himself.

Ask questions such as how did you find the solution you are using now?

How did you choose this solution over other solutions?

What was unique about the product that led you to choose this one?

How important is the product in your overall workflow?

Look at the problem through the customer's eyes and with empathy for the customer.

Place yourself in as the customer and ask how else you can solve the problem.

It takes a substantial amount of time with customers to understand their problems and how it fits into the overall workflow. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 05.Product_research_practices.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

In this week's episode of Investor Connect, Hall T. Martin engages in a discussion with a startup representative from Indochina. The entrepreneur expresses their funding aspirations, aiming to secure between $500,000 to $1.5 million, with a deadline set for securing a lead investor by March.
 
They highlight the importance of conducting thorough due diligence walkthroughs and leveraging existing investor networks to expand their reach. They emphasize the significance of proactive engagement and strategic alignment with investor preferences as essential components for navigating the fundraising process successfully.
 
The episode provides valuable insights into the nuanced dynamics of fundraising, showcasing how startups can adapt their strategies to navigate challenges effectively. By fostering proactive engagement, leveraging networks, and exploring alternative funding sources, entrepreneurs can enhance their chances of securing the investment needed to fuel their growth and development.
 
_______________________________________________________
Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.
 
Let's go startup something today.
 
 
For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 
Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: HTRF_19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Lifecycle Management

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The product goes through various stages over the life of the product.

So the role of the product manager will vary throughout the lifecycle of the product.

Here’s a list of stages to consider:

Planning -- the product manager spends time with customers and industry experts to understand the market.

A deep understanding of the market and customer needs is required.

Design -- the product manager spends time with the developers designing the product.

An understanding of the basic technology is required.

Building -- the product manager spends time with the development team building the product.

Project management skill to implement the technology is required.

Testing -- the product manager spends time with beta customers and lead users testing the product.

A knowledge of the customer and their application is required.

Launch -- the product manager spends time with initial customers promoting the product.

Marketing skills and promotion are required.

Maintenance -- the product manager spends time with new customers identifying new features to build into the product.  

Project management skills are required to keep the product moving forward.

The product manager’s job spans from research to building to selling the product. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 04.Product_lifecycle_management.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Challenges

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are many challenges in developing, launching and maintaining a product. 

Here’s a list of challenges to consider:

Choosing what product to build.

Look for customers with unmet needs and build for them.

Choosing your ideal customer.

The ideal customer is the one you chose with unmet needs.

Understanding customer requirements.

You need to talk with fifty customers to fully understand their needs.

Building the minimum viable product.

You should be able to build it in less than six months and sell it in six months.

If you cannot build it in that timeframe, then you are scoping it too large.

Finding product/market fit.

Look at the customer’s work to see what else your product should be doing for them.

Building the follow on product.

Look at the support issues coming in from the first product and use that as a basis for the second product.

There are many challenges in product development but these are the most common ones to look for.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 03.Product_challenges.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

MVP Mistakes

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In starting a business there comes the time to build the minimum viable product.

The most common mistake is planning a grand vision for the initial product.

The MVP will be much smaller than the vision.

MVPs often gather customer feedback on the usefulness of the product but not the actual careabouts of the customer. 

This often generates superficial feedback.

There needs to be more in depth research with the customer to spec out a final product.

Many try to take the MVP and with some additional work turn it into the first product.

This is typically a mistake because the findings from the MVP change not only the product but also how to position and monetize it. 

This requires an entire re-do of the product itself.

The MVP should validate your value proposition.

Your value proposition often changes after talking with numerous customers.

Finally, it’s important to use the MVP to test the key assumptions behind the business.

This includes the size of the market, how to execute it, and how much you can charge for it.

Avoid these mistakes in your MVP process. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 02.More_mvp_mistakes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Minimize the MVP

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Many founders brainstorm a grand vision for their product.

While vision is a must have, realize you’ll need to start small.

Raising too much funding early in the business will cost the founder unnecessary dilution.

In building the MVP think minimum and not maximum.

Keep the team to a minimum.

Focus on the core problem.

Solve a piece of the problem and not the entire thing.

Put a deadline on the time to build to provide boundaries to the MVP.

Calculate the cost to maintain the product in addition to building it.

Design it so you can add more features later such as a software interface that allows for additional features.

Consider how it fits into your user’s workflow and exactly what it must do.

Check with your proposed initial customers to see if they would buy what you plan to build.

Building a new product is hard so it’s best to break it down into phases and steps.

Consider these points for building your MVP.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 01.Minimize_the_mvp.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

What Is Product Management

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product management drives the development, launch, and ongoing support of the product.

Here’s a list of duties and responsibilities:

Research the market and customers for the proposed product.

Identify the customers' key care abouts and pain points. 

Size the potential market for the product. 

Develop a position in the market for the product given the competition.

Test the market with minimum viable products and test use cases.

Drive the development of the product by building out the features in a logical order.

Develop a roadmap for the life of the product.

Refine the vision for the product and its role in the market.

Continually review the product and refine the goals for it.

Product management is a strategic function in the business.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 05.What_is_product_management.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

In this episode of Investor Connect, Hall T. Martin discusses the challenges of fundraising with guest Scott. Scott shares his struggles in closing deals for his startup, highlighting the common issues of finding a lead investor and facing shifting goalposts from potential investors. He explores the difficulties of meeting investor expectations regarding product development and traction.
 
Hall provides insights into the current fundraising landscape, emphasizing the importance of market-rate valuations, creating scarcity in deals, and showcasing a predictable customer acquisition funnel. Scott discusses his startup's valuation strategy, including a convertible safe note with a cap rate and tiered structure.
 
Hall offers valuable advice on refining the pitch deck by incorporating logos of potential partners, emphasizing the significance of proprietary data and the AI's speech recognition capabilities.
 
Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.
 
Let’s go startup something today.
_______________________________________________________
 
For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 
Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: HTRF_18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Roadmap

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The product roadmap lays out the vision of the product at a high level.

It shows where the product is going and what must be done at each stage.

It’s a visionary goal to share with potential investors and customers.

In building your product roadmap consider the following:

Each version of the product should have a goal.  

Who is it for and why are we building it?

Align the team with each version of the product which will change from one stage to the next.

Include marketing for product upgrade launches based on major changes in the product. 

Target new customer segments with new releases.

Use the product in sales meetings with large prospective customers to help close the sale as some customers are looking to the roadmap to make a buying decision.

In product development the product roadmap guides architecture decisions.

It shows what requirements may be needed in the future that should be put in place at the architecture level.

Features that don’t make into an upcoming version of the product can be done in a future version. 

The product roadmap can be used as a competitive advantage.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 04.Product_roadmap.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Management Tools

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product management requires many skills and tasks to complete.

There are tools that help accomplish these tasks.

Here’s a list of tools to consider:

User tracking and analysis – there is embedded software that tracks and analyzes user behavior. 

This tells you what part of the product users spend the most time on and what they don’t.

Roadmap tools –these tracks features and interdependencies between features and creates roadmap slides to foster collaboration.

This helps in the planning process in which multiple parties must come to agree.

Customer survey tools – these are online surveys that gather customer feedback.

This provides feedback for planning roadmaps.

Project management tools – these tools track the project by developer and function.

This helps in tracking the development of the project in the case that the product manager is also the project manager.

A/B testing software – these software tools turn features on and off for specific users.

This helps in running A/B tests.

Heatmap tools – these tools track the user through a user session.

This shows what the user saw and where they went through the product.

Flowchart tools – this helps build flowcharts for mapping the customer journey.

This shows what the customer must do to complete their job and how the product helps them at each step.

Customer feedback and idea capture – this captures feedback from the users and prospects.

This helps in developing future versions of the product.

Consider these tools for your product management work.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 03.Product_management_tools.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Management Skills

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product management requires several skills to succeed.

Here’s a list of skills to consider:

Communication skills -- the product manager communicates verbally and in writing with prospective users, customers, developers, and management.

This comes in the form of planning the product, gathering feedback on the current version, and proposing next step features.

Collaboration skills -- the product manager must align the objectives of several competing groups to come together.

This comes in the form of finalizing the specifications of the product, prioritizing features to include, and how to position the product in the market.

Technical skills -- the product manager must be able to understand the technology behind the product and its application.

This comes in the form of writing case studies, identifying new features to build, and talking with customers about feedback on the product.

Business skills -- the product manager must be able to perform basic business skills such as market research, analysis, and projections.  

This comes in the form of crafting a forecast for the product, analyzing customer usage, and calculating profit and loss on a product line basis.

These are the basic skills needed for product management. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 02.Product_management_skills.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Management in the Launch

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The product manager plays a key role in the launch of the product.

Before the launch the product manager prepares sales and marketing.

This includes product training, competition analysis, and website content.

The goal of the launch is to establish an initial set of customers and grow the user base.

After the launch the product manager guides customer support to resolve user issues with the product.

This requires making updates to the product to fix critical issues.

The product manager works with the developers to define an upgrade plan for the product showing what features to include in each version of the product.

In addition, the product manager looks to increase revenue from the product through more users and upsells.

Also, reducing churn in the product.

The product manager aligns the product goals with the company’s strategic goals.

This includes building a loyal following among customers that burnishes the brand of the company.

The ultimate goal is to find product-market fit with the customer in which demand outstrips supply.

The product manager function changes over time and throughout the life of the product.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 01.Product_management_in_the_launch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

What Is a Certified Fraud Examiner

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

A certified fraud examiner (CFE) is a professional with credentials in fraud detection, deterrence, and prevention.

A CFE performs fraud examinations and reviews compliance.

They gather evidence, capture statements from the persons involved, generate reports, and testify to the findings. 

They coordinate the investigation with the authorities and work with them to recover the missing funds. 

In addition CFEs can design anti-fraud programs. 

Many work as compliance specialists with companies.

Companies hire CFEs to identify causes of fraud and recover losses.

CFEs run fraud examinations to see if fraud occurred, who was responsible and how much money was stolen.

Actions from a fraud investigation begin when a complaint is filed.

The defendant is given a time frame to respond to the allegations.

Financial fraud is defined as an intentional act resulting in financial misstatements.

Examples include improper revenue recognition such as fictitious revenue. 

Fraud investigations take up to two months to run. 

Consider using a certified fraud examiner in your case.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 05.What_is_a_certified_fraud_examiner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

How to Raise Funding 17
 
In this episode, host Hall T. Martin engages with Sherry, a seasoned professional supporting startup fundraising efforts in Austin, Texas. Sherry shares her background working with Elemental Accelerator and Green Biz, shedding light on the startup scene in Hawaii. The discussion touches on the challenges and opportunities in smaller markets compared to major startup hubs like the Bay Area.
 
The conversation takes an insightful turn as Julia, another guest, joins from Florida, adding a dynamic element to the dialogue. Hall explores Julia's fundraising plans for her startup, emphasizing that Investor Connect is geared toward helping startups find more investors. He elaborates on their comprehensive program, providing valuable insights into the process, success rates, and strategies for optimizing fundraising efforts.
 
The episode serves as an informative guide for startups seeking funding and highlights Investor Connect's role in facilitating successful fundraising journeys.
 
Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.
 
Let’s go startup something today.
_______________________________________________________
 
For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 
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Direct download: HTRF_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

How To Recover From a Bad Investment

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

If you invest long enough you’ll make a bad investment.

Here are some causes for a bad investment:

Overpaying for the startup through too high a valuation.

Making a snap decision on just a few factors such as the team or the market.

Failing to perform thorough due diligence.

Here are some tips for how to recover:

Let it go and move on.

Don’t let a bad startup investment get you down.  

Remember, it happens to the best of us.

Reflect on what went wrong and where did you make a mistake.

Reassess your process. 

What should you change to not make the same mistake again?

Finally, don’t beat yourself up.

Look to the future and remember the lessons learned from this experience.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 04.How_to_recover_from_a_bad_investment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

How To Manage Retaliation

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Retaliation is when a manager takes adverse actions against a whistleblower.

This could be in the form of termination, reduction in salary or loss of benefits.

Retaliation laws make it illegal for a manager to retaliate against an employee who blew the whistle.

This includes potential, current and past employees.

Retaliation claims are separate from whistleblowing claims.

There are retaliation laws around each area of the business including fraud by employers, securities fraud, federal fraud and more.

You must prove that the whistleblower laws apply to your case. 

That the manager knew about your activities.

That your manager took adverse action because of it.

That you suffered from adverse actions.

One can claim adverse actions by the manager by either direct or indirect evidence.

Anti-retaliation laws vary depending on the type of fraud in question.

Time limits range from a few days to up to six years depending on the situation.

Each state provides a different path for filing for retaliation claims.

It’s best to use an attorney to navigate through the complex laws.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 03.How_to_manage_retaliation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

How To Keep Your Job After Whistleblowing

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Keeping your job after whistleblowing can be a challenge. 

Consider these steps to protect yourself:

Retain an attorney to advise on the legal ramifications.

Keep notes about calls, meetings, actions, and any retaliations from managers.

Keep a copy of your performance reviews, work policies and procedures.

Capture evidence and keep it in a secure place offsite from work.

Make note of your treatment compared to the company policies.

Consider remaining anonymous before whistleblowing if that’s an option.

Find out if others are aware of the fraud and want to do something about it.

They could be witnesses in a trial case.

Retaliation claims have time limits so maintain awareness of those.

There are many protections to whistleblowers but it’s best to protect yourself with these steps.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 02.How_to_keep_your_job_after_whistleblowing.pkf.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Best Practices for Whistleblowers

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Many people have become whistleblowers.

Here’s a list of best practices based on their experience:

Find a lawyer before you become a whistleblower.

Choose one carefully after proper research and one that works on a contingency basis.

Maintain anonymity throughout the case and for as long as possible.

Gather as much information as you can about the case before submitting it.

Set aside time for the process as there will be many calls and meetings.

Keep the case confidential and don’t talk with anyone other than your attorney and the authorities about it.

It’s important to move quickly on cases as evidence can disappear.

The longer you wait the harder it will be to make the case stick.

Don’t let the size of the company or the status of the perpetrator dissuade you from blowing the whistle.  

Most often you have a strong case and the authorities have tools to bring about justice.

Consider these points in your whistleblower case.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 01.Best_practices_for_whistleblowers.pkf.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

What You Should Know About Whistleblowing

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Whistleblowers provide information to the authorities to help stop fraud.

Here’s what you need to know about whistleblowing:

There are multiple laws around whistleblowing so you should know the relevant laws for your situation.

Whistleblowers are portrayed as downtrodden outcasts by the media which is rarely the case in reality.

There’s no guarantee that your claim will win even if fraud actually occurred.

It’s best to use an attorney to file the claim and shield your identity from the public.

Whistleblower laws have statute of limitations so it’s important to know those limitations in your case.

Anyone can be a whistleblower and not just US citizens.

The laws continue to change and develop in this area so it’s important to keep up to date with the latest rules.

Winning a whistleblower case can provide monetary rewards which have increased over the past years.

Consider these points for any fraudulent activity you see.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 05.What_You_Should_Know_About_Whistleblowing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Malkiat Judge, CEO and Founder of Roots Funding Inc, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
 
Malkiat Judge leads Roots Funding Inc with over 20 years of experience in the financial and technology industry. His team at Roots Funding offers financial services at RBC Wealth Management, utilizing cutting-edge technology to assist High Net Worth clients in building and protecting wealth tax efficiently. Malkiat is recognized for his trustworthiness, honesty, and expertise in managing clients' assets and wealth planning.
 
Roots Funding is an online crowdfunding platform that provides value-added services on private equity and private lending opportunities through RootsFundMe.com. The company's goal is to offer diverse investment and lending opportunities for investors, enabling entrepreneurs to raise funds globally. Root Funding prioritizes customer protection, utilizing the latest technology for secure transactions. The company's diverse leadership team is committed to becoming the most trusted global investment platform.
 
In this episode, Malkiat Judge shares insights into his background, Roots Funding's services, challenges and rewards of crowdfunding entrepreneurship, and the company's future plans. He discusses the uniqueness of Roots Funding in the market and their vision to build a global financial ecosystem.
 
Connect with Malkiat and Roots Funding
For more information, follow Roots Funding on LinkedIn and Twitter.
 
_________________________________________________________
For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  
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Direct download: IC_Malkiat_Judge_Intro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

How To Report Fraud

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Fraud sometimes arises in the startup world.

Here’s how to report fraud should it happen to you.

If you discover fraud don’t pay any more money into it.

Collect the relevant information and documents.

This includes names of the suspected perpetrators and their contact details.

Any information indicating the suspected fraud.

Report the fraud to the authorities.

This includes the state Attorney General, Department of Justice, FINRA, and the FBI.

Check your insurance coverage to see if you have any fraud protection.

Get a second opinion from a coworker or other in your network about it.

Fraud often comes from those who you trust most.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 04._How_To_Report_Fraud.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

How Do Whistleblower Laws Protect You

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Whistleblower laws protect those who report fraud, waste, and abuse to the authorities.

Here’s a list of cases of protections provided to federal employees:

Disclosures made to those engaging in bad acts.

Employees motive for reporting the bad acts.

Disclosures made while the employee was off duty.

Disclosures made while the employee was on duty.

Whistleblower laws protect employees from the following in the event they report bad acts in the workplace .

Violation of laws and regulations.

Gross mismanagement.

Gross waste of funds.

Abuse of authority.

Substantial danger to the public.

The employee is protected from employees and their disclosures in reporting the bad acts of others. 

Consider these conditions in reporting bad acts.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 03.How_Do_Whistleblower_Laws_Protect_You.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Filing a Complaint With the SEC

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC oversees the securities industry in the US.

Here’s a list of sources of fraud related to securities:

Ponzi and pyramid schemes in which funds collected from one investor are paid to another investor with no actual investment.

Theft or misappropriation of funds in which employees take money from the company.

Stock price manipulation in which one's activities increase or decrease the price to the gain of the manipulator.

Insider trading in which those with inside information make gains through stock trades.

Bribery in which employees pay bribes to others to accomplish their goals.

Fraudulent conduct associated with securities.

Report these to the SEC through their website or hotline.

There are whistleblower protections for those who provide information to the SEC.

Remember, there’s no such thing as a guaranteed investment.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 02.Filing_a_Complaint_With_the_SEC.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Claiming Whistleblower Status

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are three Whistleblower programs, False Claims, SEC Whistleblower, and IRS Whistleblower.

One can file multiple claims under each of the programs.

One must file within a time limit of the act of fraud which in most cases is 10 years.

Some IRS and SEC claims require a filing within three years.

The False Claims Act requires you to have an attorney. 

This gives anonymity to the filer.

This act covers fraud and waste to the Federal Government.

This includes healthcare, tax, defense, pharmaceutical, educational, financial and more.

Once filed you cannot discuss the case with anyone.

For SEC Whistleblower cases you file a Form TCR.

For IRS Whistleblower cases you file a Form 211.

The government will determine whether to pursue or not.

The filer can make another claim under a different act to gain a higher payout.

The Department of Justice or SEC will lead the investigation.

The faster you submit the claim, the better the chance of success.

The Whistleblower can receive a percent of any rewards collected which can range from 10% to 30% of the funds collected.

Consider these steps in filing a whistleblower claim.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 01.Claiming_Whistleblower_Status.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Gale Wilkinson, Managing Partner at VITALIZE Venture Capital located in Chicago, IL.

VITALIZE is an early-stage VC firm founded in 2018 by Gale Wilkinson. Fund 1, with a total capital of $16.3M, is fully deployed with 26 portfolio companies, including notable names like The Mom Project, Elevate K-12, and Placer.ai.

Presently, VITALIZE invests out of a $23.4M Fund 2 and manages a 500+ member angel group. The firm specializes in WorkTech, focusing on B2B software that revolutionizes workflows and/or work outcomes, data-driven HR technology (hiring, learning & development, employee engagement), and infrastructure for the growing freelance economy.

Gale Wilkinson, a founder, angel, and venture capitalist, has a passion for investing in and supporting visionary founders. She has spearheaded 125 institutional deals and personally invested in 50 angel deals. As the founder of VITALIZE, Gale has cultivated a community of 500+ individuals enthusiastic about early-stage WorkTech software investments.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Gale is an advocate for diversity in angel and VC investing, aiming to bring more people to the table.

Gale discusses the current trends in work tech, including the push for hybrid work situations and software simplification. Gale highlights the massive potential, with the sector expected to approach $1 trillion in the next few years. She provides advice to founders in this space to think bigger and create truly revolutionary solutions. 

Connect with Gale Wilkinson and VITALIZE Venture Capital:

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: IC_Gale_Wilkinson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43am CDT

Team by Stage of Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

At each stage of funding the startup will need a team to accomplish the goals.

Here’s the team configuration at each stage:

PreSeed - Founder and technical cofounder.

The early-stage team needs someone building it and someone selling it.

Seed -- Founder and technical cofounder.

The founder sells the product or service and the cofounder builds the minimum viable product.

Seed+ -- Founder and technical cofounder.

The founder continues selling the product and the cofounder turns the MVP into a standard product.

Series A -- Founder, technical cofounder, and product person.

The founder continues selling the product alongside a product person managing direct sales and channel partners.

Series B -- Founder, CTO, CFO.

The founder works on scaling strategies and the chief technical officer and chief financial officer are hired to scale the business.

Series C -- Founder, CTO, CFO.

The founder works on building new products while the chief technical officer and chief financial officer continue to grow the business with new products and entering new geographies.

Series D -- Founder, CTO, CFO, and acquisition specialist.

The founder works on acquiring other businesses to fuel the scaling growth of the company with the help of the acquisition specialist.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 05.Team_by_stage_of_funding_Intro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Success Rate by Stage of Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The success rate of startups declines as one moves from seed to Series A and so forth.

Success is defined as a successful exit for the investors through an acquisition of the company.

Here’s the rate of success of startups at each stage of funding.

Seed -- 9%

Series A-- 12%

Series B -- 14%

Series C -- 15%

Series D -- 16%

Many startups stop raising funding and turn into a steady state business before reaching an acquisition exit.

Here’s the rate at which companies go on to raise at the next stage of funding:

Series A -- 40%

Series B -- 25%

Series C -- 15%

Series D -- 5%

This shows the percent of startups still raising funding after each round.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 04.Success_rate_by_stage_of_funding_Intro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Primary Work by Stage of Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

At each stage of funding the startup team takes on a new set of tasks.

Here’s the primary work at each stage:

PreSeed -- Define the market and identify the target customer.

The early-stage team researches the market and talks with potential customers about product needs.

Seed -- Build the initial MVP and test the market.

The team builds a minimum viable product and tests cohorts of prospective customers.

Seed+ -- Build and launch the initial product for the market.

The team takes the lessons learned from the MVP and builds a product to take to market.

Series A -- Grow product sales.

The team builds out the product features to accelerate the growth.

Series B -- Scale product sales.

The team builds out the distribution channels and product delivery to work at scale.

Series C -- Identify new products to build.

The team looks for strategic adjacencies and product extensions to build and sell.

Series D -- Identify target acquisitions.

The team looks for other companies to acquire to increase the sales growth.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: 03.Primary_work_by_stage_of_funding_Intro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Investors by Stage of Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Each stage of funding brings a different set of investors.

Here’s a list of investors to pursue by stage.

Pre-Seed -- Founders fund their initial startup research and market development.

It’s too soon to take outside funding for what is not yet a formed business plan. 

Seed -- Family and friends and closely known angel investors.

Outside funding can begin once the market is understood and the customer is identified. 

Seed+ -- Angel investors and early stage venture capital investors.

There’s often another round of funding at the previous valuation to complete the product. 

Series A -- Venture capital and late stage angel investors.

Institutional capital comes into play at this stage.

Series B -- Later stage venture capital and growth equity investors.

Later stage venture capital carries the startup into scaling.

Series C -- Mezzanine debt and growth equity investors.

Debt investors as well as growth equity investors come into play.

IPO -- Pre-IPO investors fund the IPO.

This  usually starts two years in advance of going public.

Pursue these metrics at each stage of funding.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: 02.Investors_by_stage_of_funding_Intro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Boards and Advisors by Stage of Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Each stage of funding brings a different set of advisors and board members.

Here’s a list of advisors and board members to pursue by stage.

Pre-Seed -- Informal advisors and board members.

They provide domain knowledge about target industries.

Seed -- Informal advisors and board members.

They provide basic business advice on forming and launching the business.

Seed+ -- Informal advisors and board members.

They provide sales and marketing expertise to help find product market fit.

Series A -- Formal board of directors.

The board consists of five members, two from the company, two from the investors and one independent who has domain knowledge.

They provide sales growth expertise.

Series B -- Formal board of directors and a few advisors.

The board consists of five members, two from the company, one from the Series A investors, and one from the Series B investors, and one independent who has domain knowledge.

They provide scaling expertise.

Series C -- Formal board of directors and several advisors.

The board consists of seven persons, two from the company, one from the Series A investors, one from the Series B investors, and one from the Series C investors, and two independent directors.

They provide expertise for expanding into new markets. 

Series D -- Formal board of directors and several advisors.

The board consists of seven persons, two from the company, three from the investors, and two independent directors.

They provide expertise for acquiring other companies.

Pursue these advisors and board members at each stage of funding.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 01.Boards_and_advisors_by_stage_of_funding_Intro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

In this episode, Hall T. Martin engages with Cheryl from Torgan to explore effective fundraising strategies for startups. Torgan, part of the Keiretsu program, specializes in investor relations and introductions, with a focus on the life sciences sector.

Cheryl sheds light on Torgan's unique approach to fundraising, emphasizing the increasing interest in the biotech and AI markets. The discussion covers the duration of fundraising efforts based on different amounts sought and Torgan's monthly retainer model. The importance of transparent milestones and incentivizing early investors with favorable valuations is highlighted.

Hall T. Martin offers advice on incorporating an exit strategy into fundraising decks, focusing on potential buyers and exit valuations. The episode concludes with a discussion on angel groups, suggesting Keiretsu as an option for its extensive investor network. Torgan's experience provides valuable insights for startups navigating the complexities of fundraising.

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let's go startup something today.


For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: HTRF_16_V02.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37am CDT

Financial Work by Stage of Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Each stage of funding requires financial work to be done by the startup.

Here’s a list of financial goals to consider for your startups fundraise:

Pre-seed -- identify locked value in a customer segment.

The output of this stage is a target market that is ripe for disruption with revenue potential.

Seed -- identify a case for the business in unit economic terms.

The output of this stage is a revenue model that works on a unit economic basis.

Seed+ -- refine the business model.

The output of this stage is a business model that works consistently.

Series A -- build the business model that provides a 50% return on invested capital.

The output of this stage is a business model that not only sustains the business but also grows it.

Series B -- build the business model that scales the business. 

The output of this stage is a business model for rapid growth to scale.

Series C -- acquire other businesses.

The output of this stage is to identify businesses to acquire that maintain the  return on invested capital.

IPO -- build a war chest.

The output of this stage is funding that can take the business into new markets. 

Each stage of funding presents the startup with a financial challenge .

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: 05.Financial_Work_by_Stage_of_Funding.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Valuations by Stage of Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

At each stage of funding there’s a valuation range for the startup.

This changes over time with fluctuations in the market and by sector.

Here’s a list of ranges to consider for your startups fundraise:

  1. Pre-seed -- $50K to $100K

The output of this stage is market research and an initial list of potential customers.

  1. Seed -- $1M to $5M

The output of this stage is an initial product.

  1. Seed+ -- $1M to $5M

The output of this stage is a refined product with better metrics.

  1. Series A -- $5M to 15M

The output of this stage is growing revenue for the main product.

The valuation varies based on the monetization model in the startup.

  1. Series B -- $20M to $50M

The output of this stage is a meaningful share of the market.

  1. Series C -- $50M to $200M

The output of this stage is new product lines.

  1. IPO -- $100M+

The output of this stage is an ongoing business on the public market.

Valuations will vary from one sector to the next and with the state of the market.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: 04.Valuations_by_Stage_of_Funding.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Fundraise Amount by Stage of Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

At each stage of funding there’s a standard amount to raise.

Here are the fundraise amounts by stage:

Pre-seed -- $250K to $500K

This funding sets up the business and launches the customer discovery and product development process.

Seed -- $500K to $1M

This funding starts the MVP product build and takes it to the market.

Seed+ -- $500K to $750K

This funding is to complete the standard product and launch it into the market.

Series A -- $1M to $5M

This funding sets up the company for rapid growth.

Series B -- $3M to $15M

This funding sets up the company to scale the business.

Series C -- $5M to $20M

This funding sets up the company to expand into new markets and geographies.

IPO -- $25M to $100M+

This funding takes the company public and establishes it as an ongoing business.

Using the standard fundraise amounts simplifies the fundraise process and will be more familiar to investors. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: 03.Fundraise_Amount_by_Stage_of_Funding.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Product Work by Stage of Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The founder works on the product throughout the life of the business.

Here’s the product work to be done at each stage of funding:

Pre-seed -- research the market to identify the customer careabouts and product features.

Check the competition for their positioning and what market positions are left open.

Seed -- build a minimum viable product and test it with customers.

Run several iterations of the MVP to gather as much feedback as possible.

Seed+ -- turn the MVP into a standard product.

Take this product to market and start monetizing.

Series A -- find product-market fit with your product.

Begin the growth trajectory.

Series B -- set up the product for scaling the business.

Reduce the cost to build and deliver your product so that it has the right features and no more.

Series C -- Expand the product into new geographies and applications.

Take the product and extend it to other use cases.

Track your product development through each stage of funding.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: 02.Product_Work_by_Stage_of_Funding.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Purpose of Family and Friends Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Family and friend's funding is often used to start a business.

Here are some key uses of funding at this stage:

File the legal entity paperwork for an LLC, not a Delaware C corporation. 

You can file for a Delaware C later if the business takes root.

This gives your business an EIN (entity identification number) with which you can open a bank account.

Set up the accounting books with a low-cost internal solution.

It’s important to track expenses and revenues from day one.

File a wordmark for your company name.

This prevents others from setting up a company with the same name.

Build a simple website.

In today’s world, if you don’t have a website, you don’t exist.

Keep the website to just a few pages so those who look for you and your company can find your website and get in contact with you.

Print business cards.

Start early promoting the company as it takes time for the word to spread.

Finally, file a number of provisional patent applications.  

The cost is low and it gives you a year to figure out which patents are going to be of value.

Set up the startup so it looks like a real business.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: 01.Purpose_of_Family_and_Friends_Funding.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

In this episode of Investor Connect: How to Raise Funding, Hall T. Martin explores the mission of Juggle Apps with founder John, tackling the pressing issue of social isolation. Juggle Apps aims to combat this challenge by fostering connections in a world influenced by social media and the effects of COVID-19.

John discusses the bootstrap approach and the decision to raise funds a year ago at a $10 million pre-money safe valuation. The conversation touches on potential additional fundraising, considerations of post-money safes, and the strategic approach to ensure optimal utilization of funds.

Hall provides insightful guidance on maintaining a lead funnel, systematic fundraising processes, and the importance of showcasing growth to attract investor interest.

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let's go startup something today.


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Direct download: HTRF_EP15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:19am CDT

Stages of Funding for Startups

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Startups go through a series of stages from launch to growth to scale.

Each stage brings funding to the startup that serves the needs of its stage.

Here’s a list of stages for startup funding:

Pre-seed -- this funding helps develop an idea, research the market, and build a core team.

This is most often brought by the team and family and friends.

 

Seed -- this funding builds the minimum viable product and tests the market.  

 

Some companies join accelerators and incubators at this point for additional support.

Seed+ -- This funding provides more capital to move the product from MVP into a standard one.

This is often an additional round of capital at the previous valuation.

Angels are commonly sought after investors for this round which seeks to go to market with the product.

Series A -- this funding provides growth capital to the startup that has found product-market fit and is now growing fast.

Venture capital comes in at this stage to bring additional capital and expertise for business growth.

Mezzanine funding -- this is debt funding that covers additional expenses such as filing for IPOs and is used to continue the growth of the business.

As the company matures the team seeks to reduce the use of equity and moves to debt funding.

IPOs -- this funding comes from going public on the market to raise additional funds to scale the company.

Map out the path of your company using each of these funding stages.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

Thank you for joining your host Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

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Direct download: Stages_of_funding_for_startups.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:13am CDT

What is a whistleblower?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Internal fraud is often caught by an employee.

The employee who sounds the alarm is called a whistle-blower.

The whistleblower is someone who reports fraud to the authorities.

Whistleblowers fear retaliation for outing a manager or other employee.

Those who want protections for keeping their job or avoiding criminal charges must follow these rules:

The whistleblower must have good reason to suspect the fraud.

The whistleblower must take steps to report the fraud to the authorities.

The whistleblower must refuse to join the fraud.

The whistleblower must testify against the fraudsters.

Cases involving the government can involve additional penalties.

If you suspect fraud then follow these steps:

Collect all the relevant information.

Protect yourself and your accounts.

Report the fraud to the authorities.

Check for any insurance coverage against fraud.

Fraud is often found by internal employees so beware of the activities of others.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: What_is_a_whistleblower.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:46am CDT

More Ways To Prevent Fraud in a Startup

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several types of online fraud.

Here is a list of attacks to watch out for:

Bots -- these automated tools can infect your website and emails with viruses.

Denial of service attack -- this disables your website by sending too many requests for service.

Cross-site scripting attack -- This type of fraud attacks the CSS section of the website in search of login details and credit card information.

SQL attacks -- this type of fraud breaks into online databases to steal the contents.

Phishing -- this type of attack sends an email from a supposedly friendly source but with the goal of capturing social security and bank account numbers.

Password capture -- this type of fraud seeks to capture the password of users by pretending to be a service provider that needs access to your accounts.

Tailgating -- this attack seeks access to key databases and other information by duping an internal contact to give access.

Pretexting -- this type of fraud fabricates a story about their identity and purpose to induce an employee to give sensitive information.

Diversion theft -- this fraud induces the employee to reroute information or funds to a new location at which point the fraudster captures the information or funds. 

Train your employees on how to detect this type of fraud and avoid it.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

Thank you for joining your host Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: More_Ways_To_Prevent_Fraud_in_a_Startup.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

How To Avoid Fraud

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Fraud can be costly to a startup.

Take these steps to avoid fraud in your business.

Separate accounting duties -- have at least two people handling the accounting and separate their functions.

Know your team -- run background checks on new hires and know your business partners' history and background.  

Oftentimes it’s the most likable people who commit fraud.

Set up internal controls -- audit the accounting books and require sign-offs and approvals for expense payments.

Protect bank account and credit card information -- separate personal and business accounts and move bill payments online to avoid check fraud.

Review bank accounts regularly for unusual transactions.

Audit the books annually -- have an outside accountant review the books to prevent fraud.

Use certified fraud examiners to review suspected cases of fraud to help with the prosecution of the case. 

Train your team -- make sure key people in your organization know how to detect fraud and what to look out for.

Implement these steps to avoid fraud in your organization.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: How_to_avoid_fraud.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42am CDT

Types of Financial Fraud

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several types of financial fraud related to startups in the investment industry.

Here’s a list to consider:

Misrepresentations -- fraudsters can lie about the value, risks, and costs of financial investments.

This also includes misrepresenting the financial condition and omitting key facts.

Regulatory violations -- this includes securities law violations such as insider trading, or selling securities without a license.

This also includes failing to register securities.

IPO fraud -- this includes misrepresentations in the offering of an IPO or SPAC by misstating accounting information or omitting key information.

Misappropriation of funds -- this includes Ponzi schemes and skimming money for personal use.

Trading violations -- this includes manipulating the market through pump and dump schemes and front running.

This also includes insider trading.

Cybersecurity fraud -- this includes data breaches and protection of investor data.

Money laundering -- this includes falsifying statements in accounting books and records.

Startups operating in the financial industry should watch out for this type of fraud.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

________________________________________________________________________

 

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Types_of_Financial_Fraud.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:44am CDT

In this Investor Connect episode, Hall T. Martin explores a medical device startup's journey with Marcus, a visionary founder.

Marcus, a medical school graduate, envisions a handheld device for diagnosing eye conditions, aiming to enhance at-home healthcare. The company, having validated demand, plans to kickstart production through a $300,000 Kickstarter campaign after a successful WeFunder round.

Marcus outlines a low-risk opportunity with a proof-of-concept device and validated demand, seeking potential funding or partnerships for mass production. 

You can find Marcus's WeFunder link here: https://wefunder.com/od.vision.inc

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let's go startup something today.


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Direct download: HTRF_14_Polished.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:53am CDT

External Sources of Fraud

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several sources of fraud from outside a business.

External sources of fraud pretend to be someone you trust.

They create a sense of urgency and then demand payments.

Here’s a list of common sources of external fraud:

Fake invoices -- the invoices show services rendered for work that was never done.

Advertising scams -- payment for ad services in a directory or book that was or never will be published.

Imposter scams -- callers who claim you owe them money or critical services will be turned off.

Tech security scams -- a warning screen pops up on your computer showing a critical virus has disabled your computer and you need to pay to remove the virus.

Phishing attacks -- calls or emails requesting personal information such as social security numbers for employees to verify their identity.

Ransomware -- the company’s data files are encrypted and the ransomers demand payment to unlock the company’s data.

Business coaching scams -- the scammer promises to provide business training and services but never delivers.

Train your employees on how to recognize this type of fraud.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: External._sources_of_fraud.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Internal Sources of Fraud

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several sources of fraud within a business.

Here’s a list of internal sources to review:

Identity theft -- the capture and selling of personal information for illegal uses.

This is done by fraudsters capturing employee information through bank accounts and tax returns. 

Asset misappropriation -- this is basically theft.

This is often through forged checks.

Embezzlement -- this is the illegal use of the company’s funds.  

This is often done by charging personal expenses on the business account. 

Payroll fraud -- this is the misuse of payroll. 

One example is claiming hours that were not actually worked.

Employment fraud -- claiming work history that doesn’t actually exist.

This comes up in hiring people who claim to have experience that they don't actually have or omitting key information such as criminal history.

Set up internal controls in your company to prevent fraud.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Internal_Sources_of_fraud.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Red Flags Indicating Fraud

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Most fraud in businesses comes from employees and the management team.

Here’s a list of employee red flags to watch for:

Lifestyle changes show expensive new possessions such as new cars and homes.

Substantial personal debt

Addictions such as gambling or alcohol cause behavior change.

Employees who don’t take vacation or sick leave.

Employees in high turnover areas.

Here’s a list of management team red flags to watch for:

Failure to submit information to auditors.

Business units with weak internal controls.

Frequent changes in bank accounts.

Frequent changes in auditors.

Inexperienced accounting team.

Excessive use of loans.

Excessive compensation plans.

Look for these red flags in your business for potential sources of fraud.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Red_flags_indicating_fraud.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

What Is Fraud?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Fraud is officially defined as 

“The use of one’s occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of the employing organization’s resources or assets.”

Fraud occurs in startups and small businesses and is usually through the action of a founder or employee.

There are five elements of a fraud as follows:

It represents a material fact which is false

That is made intentionally,

Which is believed by the victim

And acted on by the victim

To the harm of the victim.

For one to commit fraud there must be four elements:

Opportunity

Low chance of getting caught

Rationalization in the fraudster's mind that it is okay

And justifications that result from the rationalization.

Investors will find startups are particularly susceptible to fraud due to their lack of information and controls. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

________________________________________________________________________

 

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Whats_fraud.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:50am CDT

How Does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Work?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Chapter 13  bankruptcy reorganizes the debt and sets up a payment plan.

The debtor can keep their house as long as they make the payments.

The debtor has 3-5 years to pay off the debt in most cases.

To use Chapter 13, the debtor must submit a reorganization plan which asks for debt forgiveness for some debts and a repayment plan for the creditors.

Some debts are not dischargeable in any event such as child support payments, student loans, alimony payments, and taxes.

To use Chapter 13, you must be current with your taxes, have a steady income, and have debt below prescribed thresholds.

Chapter 13 puts a Stay on debt collections while the reorganization plan is developed.

To file Chapter 13, the debtor must show a list of creditors and what is owed monthly living expenses, and proof of income.

This type of bankruptcy is meant for individuals and not businesses. 

It is used to avoid liquidating personal assets such as a house.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:52am CDT

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall T. Martin welcomes Ronan O'Hagan, President & CEO of Bectas Therapeutics Inc., a groundbreaking biotech company focused on revolutionizing precision oncology. Based in [City, State/Country], Bectas Therapeutics is committed to developing cancer therapies that target over 400,000 patients annually who do not benefit from the existing standard-of-care treatments.

Ronan O'Hagan boasts over two decades of experience in building biotech teams and businesses, contributing to the development of more than 20 Investigational New Drugs (INDs) and four approved drugs. As the President & CEO of Bectas Therapeutics, O'Hagan leads a team with a mission to provide personalized cancer therapies, increasing the probability of success by fivefold and significantly reducing both cost and time in clinical development. The Bectas advisory board includes luminaries such as Dr. James Allison, a Nobel Laureate for his work in immune oncology, and Dr. Keith Flaherty, a serial entrepreneur in precision oncology.

Bectas Therapeutics Inc. focuses on developing cancer therapies tailored for patients who do not benefit from existing standard treatments, a population exceeding 400,000 individuals annually. Their precision approach ensures each patient receives the right drug for their specific cancer, significantly improving the chances of success and reducing costs and time in clinical development.

Ronan discusses the company's precision cancer therapies, leveraging human patient data. Bectas aims to bring Best-In-Class therapies with a unique blood-based biomarker, promising rapid value creation and potential early exits for investors. O'Hagan emphasizes the significance of clinical proof of concept and highlights the company's mission-driven approach to cancer health equity.

Connect with Ronan O'Hagan and Bectas Therapeutics: LinkedIn: Ronan O'Hagan; Twitter: @ohaganr

 

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 7:34am CDT

How Does Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Work?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Chapter 11  bankruptcy reorganizes the company and sets up a debt repayment plan.

Here is how Chapter 11 works:

It starts with filing a petition with the bankruptcy court.

The debtor must file a list of assets and liabilities and a list of income and expenses.

The debtor stays in possession of the company and assets during the bankruptcy.

The debtor creates a proposed plan for repayment of debts for review by the bankruptcy trustee.

If the plan asks for any debt forgiveness from the creditors, then the creditors must approve the plan as well.

The debtor continues to operate the business while awaiting approval from the creditors.

The company that is a debtor in possession acts as the trustee of the company.

The debtor in possession can retain accountants, attorneys and others to assist with the filings. 

For companies that are sole proprietors, the filings include both the assets of the owner as well as the business.

A subchapter 5 under the Chapter 11 bankruptcy can speed the process of plan approval.

The bankruptcy trustee monitors the progress of the plan filing and approval.

During the process, all creditors are given a Stay which suspends any debt collections.

The debtor has 18 months to file a plan. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidates the company.

Here is how Chapter 7 works:

When a company goes into Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, the bankruptcy trustee takes control of the company to liquidate the assets and pay the creditors.

A Chapter 7 proceeding starts with a creditor filing a petition with the bankruptcy court.

The debtor must provide a list of assets and liabilities along with tax returns.

In the case of involuntary bankruptcy, a creditor can file to move to bankruptcy.

The debtor must provide a list of all creditors and how much is owed, a listing of all properties, and all sources of income for the debtor.

All debt collectors' actions cease.

The debtor must provide all financial records and attend the hearings.

All creditors must file a proof of claim.

Once the bankruptcy trustee issues a discharge of the debts, the creditors can no longer pursue the debtor.

Any act of fraud could remove the discharge order.

Most bankruptcies take up to 180 days to complete. 

There are several alternatives to Chapter 7 bankruptcy which could be considered.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

What is Bankruptcy?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Business bankruptcy is meant to protect the personal assets of the owners of a firm.

It gives your company a fresh start by relieving the business of debts.

There are several types of bankruptcies.

Consider these options for your business:

Chapter 7 -- Liquidation

This shuts the business down and pays the creditors from the assets remaining.

Use this type of bankruptcy if the business is no longer viable even with the debts removed.

Chapter 11 -- Reorganization

This reorganizes the business and shows a plan for how to repay the creditors.

In most cases, the creditors will lose a portion of what is owed them.

If they can recover a portion of the debt that is better than losing it all. 

Chapter 13 -- Personal bankruptcy

This reorganizes a sole proprietorship business in which the owner's personal assets are mixed with that of the business.

It creates a plan to repay the debt over the next three to five years.

Bankruptcy does go on the business owner's credit report.

Consider these options for your startup that is undergoing a turnaround.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Steps to Shutting Down a Startup

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several steps to shutting down a startup.

Here’s a list of key steps to follow:

Pay what is owed to employees such as accrued vacation.

Pay all providers such as contractors, software vendors, and others.

Collect invoices from any outstanding accounts. 

Notify all customers, partners, and vendors about the shutdown.

Sell or distribute any assets leftover such as furniture and equipment.

If you cannot pay all providers you may need to consider filing bankruptcy.

If you can pay all outstanding debts then you can proceed with dissolution of the entity.

File your tax returns -- this includes federal and state and any state franchise taxes.  

Once taxes have been paid you can file a dissolution with the IRS.

You’ll need to report to the IRS any distributions made to investors.

Dissolve the legal entity -- if you have a Delaware C Corporation then you’ll need to file a Delaware certificate of dissolution.

If you have an LLC then you’ll need to file a dissolution of the LLC at the state level.

Shutting down a startup is difficult but when done right can save future headaches.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Preparing To Shut Down a Startup

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Sometimes the startup you launched does not make it and must be shut down.

In shutting down a startup take the following steps:

Give an early warning signal to the employees.

Let them know what is happening such as we’re raising additional funding.

Give them a few month's notice but make clear if things don’t turn around a shutdown may ensue.

When it becomes clear a shutdown is going to happen, then set a closing date.

Give notice to the employees about the shutdown date.

The more notice you give employees the better.

Inform the investors of the shutdown.

Own the failure with investors and articulate the mistakes you made.

If you have any customers, notify them of the shutdown.  

If you have meaningful revenue then you should consider selling the company. 

If you can’t sell the company then you should transition the customers to other solutions.

Finally, close all contractors, bank accounts, and credit cards, and shut down the legal entity.

File your taxes and leave nothing left standing as it could come back to bite you.

It’s tough shutting down a business but there’s a proper way to do it.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:32am CDT

In this episode of Investor Connect, Hall T. Martin engages in a lively discussion with a seasoned entrepreneur in the tech industry. We discuss the groundbreaking opportunity for a product: a system interpreting brain responses for diagnostic testing, initially designed for ALS patients.

We share the challenges and triumphs in securing funding as the guest shares insights into their Dutch company, which has secured 1.06 million in a syndicate at a 6 million valuation, with an additional need for 600,000. Gain a firsthand understanding of the financial landscape, including the initial investment procurement and preparations for future funding rounds.

Explore how Martin's extensive network of US-based investors, Angel networks, and family offices can contribute to supporting the fundraising efforts. Don't miss this insightful conversation on the challenges and strategies of raising funds for tech startups - tune in to Investor Connect now!

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let's go startup something today.


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Category:general -- posted at: 8:27am CDT

Shutting Down a Startup

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Not all startups succeed.

For those that don’t, there may come a time to shut it down.

Here are some key points to consider in shutting down a startup:

Before announcing the shutdown collect all accounts receivables.

Sell any inventory left on hand.

Notify investors first so they are aware.

Notify employees and their last pay date.

Notify your customers with the transition to a new service or program.

Liquidate all assets.

Pay off outstanding debt as much as possible.

Pay taxes and payroll withholding.

File IRS forms related to employment tax.

Close the bank account.

Dispose of any remaining assets.

This may include patents, trademarks and other intellectual property as well as physical assets.

Dissolve the legal entity.

The shutdown process can take some time as each of the steps above requires time to process.

Consider these steps in shutting down a startup.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Best Practices for Building a Company Culture

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In building your company culture consider these best practices:

Measure your company culture -- review indicators that show how the company culture is performing such as employee engagement.

Create rituals -- establish activities you repeat consistently throughout the year to foster employee engagement and have fun.

Storytelling -- use stories to share experiences and create a common history with the employees.

Demonstrate the values -- employees look at what you do for guidance and not just what you say.

Embrace the paradox of the startup world -- early-stage companies have tremendous work to do but with limited resources.

Focus on what is right not who is right -- there are many decisions to be made in a business environment so focus on fostering better decision-making.

Promote fairness -- make sure each decision is fair to all involved.

Involve others in decision-making -- give others the opportunity to weigh in on the discussion and use their input.

Build skills -- encourage the development of the employees through developing new skills.

Consider adding these steps to your company program to build a better culture.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

How To Foster Your Company Culture

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

A good company culture takes time and effort to build.

Here are some steps to build out your company culture:

Give outstanding benefits to the employees.

Run team-building activities to encourage employee interactions. 

Participate in community activities as a give-back.

Promote wellness among employees and make it a part of the benefits package.

Write down your company culture and promote it.

Gather feedback from the employees on how well the company is doing.

Show the importance of the company culture through leader activities.

Call out successful examples of the company culture having an impact.

Consider adding these to your company goals for the coming year to improve your company culture.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Signs of a Good Company Culture

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Company culture is important for the success of a startup.

Here are signs you have a good company culture:

Employees feel they are respected and are treated with dignity.

Leaders support the employees and help them succeed.

Poor leaders are called out and removed from the organization.

Leaders and employees act with integrity.

The company provides perks and benefits to its employees.

The company provides training and skills development.

The employee feels their job is safe from layoffs.

The organization maintains stability and avoids frequent reorganizations.

Look for these signs in your company culture.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

How To Setup a Company Culture

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In building your company culture, realize you already have one for your startup.

The initial hires have brought a culture to the company. 

You can grow the company culture to a greater place.

Consider these steps to grow and develop your company culture:

Continue to hire people who share the values the company holds true.

Set goals for the company that tracks the vision.

Highlight the meaning behind the work to be done.

Align your brand with a cause.

Provide rewards to those who promote the values of the company culture.

Foster a fun working environment.

Promote flexibility in the workplace to foster work-life balance.

Recognize employees who demonstrate the values of the company culture.

Gather feedback from employees and customers about the company culture and act on the responses.

Consider these steps in building your company culture.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Welcome to Investor Connect! I'm Hall T. Martin, and today we dive into the world of fundraising with a candid conversation between a startup founder and me.

At Ten Capital, our expertise lies in investor relations, particularly in the thriving life sciences sector. Learn about our strategic approach, crafting impactful pitch materials, and targeted distribution to our extensive network of 20,000 investors.

In this episode, we embark on a fundraising journey. We navigate the competitive markets, engage with angel groups, and explore unconventional avenues like tapping into dentists' networks. We uncover the challenges and triumphs on their quest for $2 million in a Series A round.

Discover how we recommend involving physicians in fundraising efforts, leveraging their expertise and networks. From tailored events to continuous engagement strategies, we unveil key tactics to maintain and grow investor interest.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let's go startup something today.


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Direct download: HTRF_EP12_Polished.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13am CDT

Before Building Your Company Culture

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Before building your company culture consider the following:

Know your purpose

Search for why your company exists.

Identify your values

Understand the core values of the company and what the company stands for.

Hire the right people.

Choose people who bring value to the company and fit the culture.

Establish positive communication.

Create a positive environment with good communication with employees, customers, and others.

Treat everyone with respect.

Make sure everyone is heard and understood.

Review your current company culture.

Know your company culture and where you stand.

With this in place, you have the building blocks to create a great company culture.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Characteristics of a Good Company Culture

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

A good company culture will manifest itself in several ways.

Look for these signs of a good culture:

Stable workforce -- the employees stay with the company a long time and there’s minimal turnover.

Friendly atmosphere --  relationships among employees go beyond that of colleagues.

Engagement -- employees are engaged not only in their work but also in their workplace.

Mission buy-in-- the employees buy into the mission of the company and internalize it.

Celebratory -- the employees celebrate wins, new hires, and other positives.

Engaged leaders -- the leaders are engaged in the business and with the employees.

Minimal politics -- politics are kept to a minimum.

Employee growth -- employees are given the opportunity to increase their skills.

Transparency -- the organization and how it works is transparent to the employees.

Trust -- the employees trust the leadership and vice versa.

Fun -- the employees have fun in addition to being productive.

Look for these signs of a good company culture in your startup.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

The Startup Company Culture

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The startup company culture brings a unique set of characteristics.

Here’s a list of qualities to consider:

Passion -- the company is based on a driving passion to solve a problem or pursue a cause.

Startups exude passion and everyone strives to work towards it.

Personality -- each startup has its own unique personality based on the founders, their experiences, and their mission.

This gives the company a unique culture based purely on the founders.

Agility -- startups have speed and technology that large companies cannot match.

Startups can move fast and adopt new business models and technologies to pursue their goals.

Authenticity -- startups don’t have a long history or tradition to carry and so can pursue their mission unencumbered.

Large companies come with bureaucracy that distracts from their goals.

Energy -- startups give off energy and excitement.

Based on the potential of the idea and the newness of the company, startups energize the market with the promise of change and improvement.

The startup culture to some appears to lack rigor and accountability.

It can attract and retain employees for a period of time.

Eventually, the startup culture will be replaced with a big company culture as the startup moves to be an established business.

Consider the startup culture of your company. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Types of Company Culture

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several types of company cultures.

Here is a list to consider in building out the culture at your startup:

Clan culture -- this puts the team first and places everyone on the same level.

This promotes equality rather than hierarchy.

Customer culture -- this puts the customer first.

This promotes strong customer relationships and experiences.

Hierarchy culture -- this puts the organization first.

This promotes tradition, structure, and ranking.

Market culture -- this puts the target market first.

This promotes getting products to market and leading the market.

Purpose culture -- this puts serving the community first.

This promotes a give back to a cause.

Innovation culture -- this puts innovation first.

This promotes generating new ideas and technologies to serve the customer.

Creative culture -- this puts creativity first.

This promotes generating new ideas and stories to create experiences.

Consider these approaches in setting your company culture.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Types_of_company.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Components of Company Culture

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several components to building a company culture.

Consider these elements in building out the culture at your startup:

Purpose -- the purpose of the company is the foundational element.

The purpose motivates employees and drives the group toward a common goal.

Growth -- the company culture should provide for employee growth.

Employees should be able to learn new skills and acquire new experiences.

Success -- the company culture should foster and reward employee and company success.

The company culture should foster healthy competition.

Respect -- the company culture should ensure respect for all employees and customers. 

It should imbue a positive outlook for diversity.

Leadership -- the company culture should be driven by the top leaders.

The leadership sets the example for the rest of the company.

Consider how to build these components into your company culture.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Components_of_company_culture.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Welcome back to Investor Connect, and happy 2024! I'm Hall T. Martin, your host, and today we have two insightful segments lined up, exploring the practicalities and challenges startups encounter when seeking funds for their ventures.

In the first part, we explore the dynamic startup scene in India. Our guest shares his mission to revolutionize the Indian retail landscape through a mobile server cloud solution. We discuss the funding challenges, online-offline shopping dynamics, and strategies to navigate India's diverse retail market.

Shifting gears, our second segment focuses on climate tech. Keon, the founder of a climate tech startup, shares his experiences in raising funds, particularly from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and goals for additional private funding.

The funding journey is intricate but worthwhile. Stay tuned for more insights on Investor Connect. Until next time, happy investing!

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let's go startup something today.


For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
For Startups check out: https://tencapital.group/company-landing/ 
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Direct download: HTRF_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:22am CDT

The Importance of Company Culture

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Company culture shows the values, decisions, and behaviors of the founders and employees in a company.

It’s important for founders to actively build the company culture.

This is done primarily through the people you hire and the decisions you make.

Building the right culture will go a long way to achieving startup success.

Here are some key areas impacted by company culture:

Employee engagement -- employees in a strong company culture that matches their values have a higher level of engagement.

This translates into higher-quality work.

Productivity -- engaged employees generate a higher level of output.

This translates into higher profitability.

Reduced turnover -- engaged employees stay with the company longer and typically leave only for non-work reasons. 

This translates into a more stable workforce.

Recruiting -- engaged employees make it easier to recruit new employees as they look for those who match their values.

This translates into a lower cost of hiring.

Consider these benefits in fostering your company culture.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: The_Importance_of_Company_Culture.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:12am CDT

What Is Company Culture?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Company culture is the attitude and behavior of the employees and its leadership.

This comes out in the form of decisions the company makes and the values the people hold.

You can see it in the way the employees act and how they work.

In early-stage companies, the company culture is established by the founders and the first five hires.

In later-stage companies, the company culture is established by the decisions taken over time. 

A strong company culture will guide employees in decision-making.

Company culture helps attract and retain employees who share the same values.

Company culture can come together organically over time or the leadership and employees can foster it.

You can learn more about a company’s culture from their website and employee reviews.

Word of mouth also presents the company culture.

Check your company culture to see if it matches the values you hold true.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: What_Is_Company_Culture.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:04am CDT

Legal Issues Around Equity

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several legal issues surrounding equity to consider:

You must have a legal entity to establish equity ownership.

There are several types of legal structures including LLC, C-Corp, and more.

The LLC is easy to set up and launch the business. 

Delaware C-Corporation is the preferred legal structure by investors.

Start with an LLC and move to a Delaware Corporation when investors require it.

Be careful promising equity as they will come back to claim it at a later date.

Issuing equity falls under the domain of securities law.  

It’s important to have a lawyer review terms sheets and other legal documents impacting equity issuances to ensure compliance.

Make sure options provided to employees are properly documented.

Review the tax implications of equity with your accountant so you understand the impact on the business. 

Be careful with convertible notes and other deal structures so you understand the impact of the fundraiser on your cap table.

Watch out for key terms in the terms sheet such as “most favored nation.”

This term can give investors the same terms as provided to other investors.

Watch out for these legal issues with your equity.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Legal_Issues_Around_Equity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:20am CDT

Best Practices for Founders’ Equity

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are many decisions to be made with founder equity.

Here are some best practices in handling those decisions. 

The founder-co-founder split of equity can be anything except 50/50.

A 50/50 split leaves no one in a position to make a final decision for the company.

In splitting the equity between or among the founders, consider the business needs first. 

What skills and experience must be brought to bear on the business?

Who on the team will be responsible for each aspect of the business?

Put this discussion on the table early on.

Have an open and frank discussion among the founders about what each team member can contribute to the business.

It’s important to vest any equity offered so a founder leaving early doesn’t take an outsized number of shares.

Consider the tax implications and use IRS tax code 83B which gives the shareholder the right to pay tax on the options issued rather than when they vest. 

Consider whether or not to buy back the shares of any founder who leaves.  

This could be expensive for the company.

Gain agreement on the growth strategy of the company.  

Will it grow organically over time or will you raise funding to accelerate it?

Organic growth takes longer but offers less dilution.  

Funding will speed up the growth but will reduce the founders' ownership stake.

Alignment in the growth strategy is important for founders and co-founders.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Best_Practices_for_Founders_Equity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

What it takes to turn a travel startup from zero income to a staggering $100,000 in just one year?

In this episode of How to Raise Funding, Hall T. Martin, the host of Investor Connect, engages in a detailed discussion with a travel startup founder.

They discuss the origin of the travel venture, the struggles against pandemic-induced challenges, the revenues so far in 2021 and 2022, and the plans to raise funds for the startup.

The travel startup has recovered from zero income in 2021 to 100,000 USD in 2022 and above 100,000 in 2023, while still in the pilot stage. They also discuss issues with traditional funding methods and aim to raise 250,000 USD in funding, primarily for product development. 

Hall advises the company to get a convertible note or safe note, primarily from friends, family, or angel investors and accentuates the importance of always having a new piece of info available from a customer that can be shared with investors. Their strategy aims at providing solutions to customers while continually developing new features of their product.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let's go startup something today.


For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: How_to_Raise_Funding_10.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:12am CDT

Best Practices for Equity

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Equity is a key component of startup compensation for founders and employees.

While cash may be king in the short term, equity will be worth more in the long run.

Here are some best practices for founders to follow:

Treat equity as the scarce commodity it is and deploy it strategically and carefully.

Avoid using equity for short-term goals such as upgrading websites or purchasing inventory.

Consider alternative forms of funding for anything related to cash flow and inventory.

Set aside equity to compensate the team and take on potential investors.

While it dilutes the founder, it gives the company the capability to grow larger.

A smaller percentage of a big number is better than 100% of a very small number.

Align your compensation with the employee's needs. 

Know who on the team values equity and will work for it and who prefers cash.

If equity is not worth it to them, then reduce their equity share and give it to others who find it motivating.

Map out your equity ownership through subsequent rounds of funding.

It’s important to know how much equity you are giving away on each round. 

By running a fully diluted cap table on each terms sheet you plan to use, you’ll know how much that raise will cost you.

Consider these points in managing equity for your startup.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Best_Practices_for_Equity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:08am CDT

Equity Vesting

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Vesting is conveying the ownership of equity to the holder.

Vesting schedules show the rate at which equity is vested over time.

It is used to ensure founders and employees stay with the company till the proposed milestones are achieved.

Investors will look for standard vesting schedules on all equity given to founders, co-founders, and employees.  

The standard vesting schedule for early-stage companies is a four-year vesting schedule with a one-year cliff for founders and employees.

The one-year cliff means the vesting starts after one year but conveys equity each month thereafter.

At the end of the first year, the holder receives one-quarter of the equity.

Fully vested means that all ownership has been conveyed to the holder. 

For founders and cofounders, the vesting schedules should be the same even if the equity percentages are different.

The standard vesting for advisors and directors is 2 years with a 3-month cliff.

In some cases, the founders can get double trigger acceleration.

This accelerates the vesting if two events happen at the same time such as the founder leaves and the company undergoes an acquisition.

Vesting is a key concept in equity that founders should understand.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Equity_Vesting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47am CDT

Equity Dilution

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In the early days of the startup, the founders should raise only the amount of funding necessary to achieve the next milestone.

The valuation of the company is low but will rise when adding products, revenue, and team members.

Raising too much early on will cause the founders to suffer dilution.

Pursue the bigger funding in later rounds when the valuation of the company is higher.

It’s important to define very specifically what you are trying to achieve and know what this will cost.

Here are some other ways to reduce equity dilution:

Keep the discount rates on convertible notes and safe notes to a minimum.

Set up an option pool for employees but keep it in bounds.

Look out for pro rata terms that give some investors an outsized position.

Test your proposed terms sheets by inputting them into your cap table and displaying it as a fully diluted version.

In the early stages think minimum -- minimum fundraise, minimum viable product, minimum team.

This will reduce the amount of equity you are giving away.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Equity_Dilution.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:08am CDT

Equity Distribution Over Funding Rounds

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

As the startup raises funding the founder's and employees' ownership stake will fall and the investor's stake will rise. 

This is due to the fact that more investors are added to the cap table over each round of funding.

Both founders and employees undergo dilution throughout this process.

After a seed round the founders typically own 65% of the company, employees own 15%, and investors own 20%.

After a Series A round the founders typically own 45%, employees own 12%, and investors own 43%.

After a Series B round the founders typically own 35%, employees own 10% and investors own 55%.

After a Series C round the founders typically own 30%, employees own 5% and investors own 65%.

After a Series D round the founders typically own 20%, employees own 3% and investors own 77%.

In startups with more rounds of funding, it’s not uncommon for founders and employees to own single-digit percentages of the company.

Consider the impact of additional rounds of funding on both founder and employee ownership.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Equity_distribution_over_funding_rounds.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

In this episode, we dive into the world of fundraising, exploring different strategies for securing funds. We also talk about Ten Capital, a specialized firm in investor relations, and introductions, with a notable track record in life science and tech investments.

We unravel the nuances of 10 Capital's flat fee structure and extensive investor network, particularly in healthcare and women's and children's health.

Now, here's a question for you: How can blending convertible notes and preferred equity shape the future of fundraising strategies for innovative ventures?

Share your thoughts with us on social media, and don't forget to subscribe for more engaging episodes. Your journey in the world of funding continues – stay tuned!

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let's go startup something today.


For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: HTRF_EP09.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:34pm CDT

Why Give Equity to Employees

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Employees are a key factor in the success of startups.

Here’s a list of reasons why you should give equity to employees:

Recruiting -- the market is competitive, especially for quality candidates.

A startup offering equity to employees will find it a competitive advantage over other companies.

Retention -- equity vested over time is a useful tool for retaining employees.

The employee must work a certain number of years before their shares vest.

This is a key factor in building a stable workforce.

Motivation -- employees who have an ownership interest in the company are more motivated than those who do not.

Tax benefits for the employee -- equity compensation is taxed at long-term gains rather than ordinary income rates that apply to payroll.

Tax benefits for the employer -- there’s no income tax cost to the company.

Consider these benefits in setting up an equity compensation plan for your startup.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Why_Give_Equity_to_Employees.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:15am CDT

How To Give Equity to Employees

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Equity is an important compensation tool for employees.

Startups that don’t provide equity must provide all compensation from the cash flow in the form of salaries and bonuses.

This can be difficult on the finances of the business.

Equity compensation doesn’t require any cash outlay.

Consider these methods of compensating employees with equity:

New employees -- give equity as part of the compensation package and pay market rates.

Promoted employees -- give equity as part of the higher compensation package.

Performance compensation -- give equity as part of the compensation for outstanding performance.

Ongoing compensation -- provide annual distribution of equity to employees to create a ladder of vested shares. 

Avoid big gaps in the equity compensation so there’s a steady flow of vested shares coming up each year.

The market is competitive and equity compensation is a key factor for many employees.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_________________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: How_to_give_equity_to_employees.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:06am CDT

Evaluating Employee Equity

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Employees joining a startup will often receive equity as part of the compensation package.

Investors know that only one out of ten startups will generate an outsized return.

The rest turn in a modest return or fail outright.

Employees should consider these factors in evaluating equity compensation:

What is the exit strategy for the firm and is it a reasonable plan?

Many businesses never reach an exit but turn into lifestyle businesses instead.

How much ownership do you have?

Divide your shares by the total number of shares outstanding to find out.

Are you receiving incentive shares or restricted shares?

The strike price shows the value you must pay to receive the shares and compare it to the current valuation.

Understand the tax implications of each.

How long is the vesting period?

The most common vesting is four years with a one-year cliff.

Can you sell your shares on the secondary market and does the company facilitate the sale?

Can you take the vested shares if you leave the company or do you have to sell the shares back?

Make sure the promised equity is formally documented.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Evaluating_Employee_Equity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am CDT

Employee Equity

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Equity compensation for employees varies greatly based on the location, type of startup, and job to be done.

An overall allocation for employees is around 15% of the total equity.

The first five hires receive 1% to 2% each.

Later employees receive 0.25% to o.5% each.

You can also apply a multiplier against the employee’s salary.

This makes it easy to apply to employees across the board.

Director level and above receive 1% while those below receive 0.5%.

Employees seeking a higher salary receive a lower equity percentage.

Those accepting a lower salary receive a higher equity percentage.

Contractors typically don’t receive equity.

Other factors impacting the equity decision include the current market conditions.

You can use equity to compensate seed-stage employees with salaries well below market rate.

Vest the equity over four years with a one-year cliff.

This ensures the employee stays with the company for a meaningful period.

Capture all equity agreements into the cap table.

Remember, follow-on fundraises will dilute all the employee shareholders similar to the founder and co-founder. 



Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Employee_Equity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:36am CDT

Advisors Equity

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Startup advisors can help a startup establish the business and find the right track to grow.

Some informal advisors help the business without any compensation.

Some formal advisors help the business but require compensation.

Advisors seeking compensation look for a small piece of equity.

Most advisors are not paid cash in the very early stages as there’s no revenue to draw from. 

Advisors typically receive 0.2% to 1.0% of a share of equity.

The range covers advisors on the low end who give advice.

Those who provide strategic value such as finding investors or C-level hires are in the mid-range.

Experts who provide domain knowledge are on the high end.

The startup undergoes many changes in the early days so an advisor is useful for two years in most cases. 

The equity is vested over two years with a three-month cliff in case the advisor doesn’t work out.

There are standard advisor agreements to paper the engagement.

Any agreement involving equity should be documented and incorporated into the cap table.

Spend time with the advisor before committing to a long-term relationship to make sure there’s a good fit.



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Category:general -- posted at: 4:21am CDT