by Vadim Slavin
Many folks ask us why we, as VC's, hold free office hours? After all, VC's have an agenda to meet only with those startups which have been singled out for a potential investment.
This is still true for us at StartupMonthly. However, we find a few more advantages to hold our office hours even for those teams which are not ready for funding from us. Other VC's out there - take notes.... The rest of the readers, skip to the end to see how to take advantage of this opportunity.
Smart$Money is a unique program which informes, educates and prepares foreign business angels and VCs for their future investments in IT startups. Smart$Money enables them to exchange knowledge and experience as well as share, inspire and connect with each other.
Program moderator Pemo Theodore and Startup Monthly team made it a reality.
40+ participants, keynotes, and panelists (among them Steve Blank, Robert Scoble, Buddy L. Arnheim, Christine Herron, Jeff Pulver, Bill Reichert, Greg Kidd, Brant Cooper and more key players in Venture Capital ecosystem) learned about foreign and domestic angel and VC investments, deal-structure, market trends, and the Silicon Valley ecosystem. The participants got connected to leading investors in Silicon Valley, visited successful startups, and got acquainted with various accelerator programs. During the 4-day program, participants visited Facebook, Microsoft, Stanford University and other Silicon Valley companies' offices. Agenda also included keynotes, roundtable discussions, networking events and pitch sessions (5 companies from Startup Monthly Accelerator presented their products to investors).
Each day had special keynotes, themes, mentors and speakers: Ecosystem Day, Angels Day, VCs Day, Investment Day.
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Accelerator Program 2012 is rapidly gaining speed, 5 teams from Russia, Greece, Lithuania and Silicon Valley are working side by side with mentors, investors and angels improving their products.
Every other week we will be introducing you to one of the Startups!
Weendy is a web and mobile application for surfers, snowboarders and extreme sports fans, enabling them to share action video and photo updates, meet with people, explore places and find the best conditions before they go out.
Co-founders Katerina Stroponiati and Yiannis Varelas will tell you about Weendy.
All sport enthusiasts face the following problem: lack of real time updates from the spots they care about as well as failing forecasts. These challenges makes these enthusiasts drive for hours to the beach/mountain, but most of the times actual conditions are far away from those expected. These guys are struggling to find a way to connect with the people who are already at the spot in order to get an accurate update of the conditions, so they can save their time and their money. To overcome this problem, some created Facebook groups, but they ended up as advertising lists. Lack of filtering based on users' profiles makes the groups noisy and (due to their local character) it's hard to discover new places or connect with people in different locations. Also, industry fragmentation and the lack of a common communication platform provides a unique opportunity for businesses to find, communicate and engage with new or existing customers through weendy.
How they started
Both of the founders are addicted windsurfers, kiteboarders, surfers and everything related with watersports, so they know first hand how it feels to spend all your weekend driving around to find the appropriate conditions and get in the water. And it's common to be wasting your time and money, either because forecasts were wrong or because you didn't have the right information. So, they decided to do something about this in order to help their community members not wasting their time. They built a simple app that allowed you to shoot a 10 second video of the conditions, and share them with your friends. In just two months, the app dominated the Greek market, and expanded to more than 15 countries.
Why they got selected
They believed that what they had was a kick-ass product. They are part of the extreme sports community, great niche of the crazy people/surfers, so they deeply understand how this market works. The product has been validated from their market, has remarkable traction and the business model is straightforward.
Good luck, Katerina and Yiannis!
by Vadim Slavin (StartupMonthly co-founder, COO)
StartupMonthly started as a grass roots movement in Silicon Valley but as many already know is quickly spreading to other parts of the worlds. Here is why. Firstly, it offers the entrepreneurship school which teaches (through hands-on workshops)
It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur!
Do you want to start a company? Have an idea? Maybe you already know someone who wants to work on it with you? That’s a good start. What about the tools and methodology to see it through?
“A Startup is a place where you work hard to build the product that you know customers will love so much that it’ll make you rich practically overnight.” High five!
Unfortunately, that’s wrong. It might’ve been the preferred definition before the dot-com bubble of 1995-2000, though, which would explain why so many companies went belly-up. That would include the startups where some of us worked. A moment of silence for those broken dreams… and luxury car leases.
After seven days of driving from Waterloo, Canada I finally made it to California with my "Where in the world is Wall Drug?" bumper sticker (the mark of a true cross-country traveler), eager to explore what the infamous Bay Area had to offer and contribute in ways I didn’t yet know how to define.
As with any relocation, step one – find an apartment; step two – furnish it.
This led to Craigslist and the purchase of a mocha Scandinavian Design futon that seemed to be a snag of a deal. As it turns out, that futon is possibly the most rewarding investment I’ve done to date! The seller was a founder of Startup Monthly, and within minutes of “small talk” I was hooked with the vision of defining a template for entrepreneurship and making it available to anyone with an idea willing to get that initial traction.
Entrepreneur or Engineer? Why not Entrepreneurial Engineer?!
Startup Monthly Team includes Software Architects, UX Designers, Legal, Financial, Lean Startup experts, Serial Entrepreneurs and Industry experts