Tatiana Battles the Big Boys
The Startup Show: Episode 6.6
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In Episode 6.6 of The Startup Show, Joe Procopio (Automated Insights, ExitEvent), Jon Colgan (Veeto, Cellbreaker), and Andy Roth (RocketBolt) discuss the challenges of starting up a retail product, in this case, Mati Energy, with founder and CEO Tatiana Birgisson. The beverage industry is home to some entrenched, deep-pocketed (sometimes evil) corporations, and the plucky startup has to be more than just unique and hardworking to survive in that environment.

There's almost always an element of luck involved.

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Entrepreneur Isn't a Job
The Startup Show - Episode 6.5
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In Episode 6.5 of The Startup Show, Joe Procopio (Automated Insights, ExitEvent), Jon Colgan (Veeto, Cellbreaker), and Andy Roth (RocketBolt) discuss how rare it is when people who aren't entrepreneurs understand what we entrepreneurs do, let alone respect what we do. But we love what we do, and it almost always shows in how we talk about what we do. That's not something a lot of people can say.

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How to Start a Company Outside of Silicon Valley
The Startup Show - Episode 6.4
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In Episode 6.4 of The Startup Show, Joe Procopio (Automated Insights, ExitEvent), Jon Colgan (Veeto, Cellbreaker), and Andy Roth (RocketBolt) are kind of done with all the thinkpieces coming down from on high that plead with every startup ecosystem that isn't Silicon Valley to stop trying to be like Silicon Valley. Trust us. We're not. But we do need to focus on all the ways in which we're different and how to play to our strengths.

Look. We get it. West coast investors don't invest in places outside of Silicon Valley because there's so much money and opportunity falling out of pockets on Sand Hill Road. See Episode 5.1: Why West Coast VCs Won't Fund Your Business.

The thing about startup is that it doesn't work well unless there's a community built around it. Techstars' Brad Feld likes to say that building a startup community is a 20-year proposition that needs to be led by the entrepreneurs.

But can that 20-year window shortened if we start leaning on technology, like video conferencing, teleworking, and freelance marketplaces? Shouldn't we be able to connect and bring the physical hubs closer together with digital hubs (like with, say, Teaching Startup)?

It depends.

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When Being an Entrepreneur Stops Being Fun
The Startup Show - Episode 6.3
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In Episode 6.3 of The Startup Show, Joe Procopio (Automated Insights, ExitEvent), Jon Colgan (Veeto, Cellbreaker), and Andy Roth (RocketBolt) discuss every entrepreneur's responsibility to walk the fine line between having fun and making money. Startup should be a blast, but at some point, you have to start chasing revenue. Here's how to do that without killing your company culture.

The first few years at a startup can feel like a constant party, not in the traditional sense, but coming in to work and kicking ass every day and finding success while doing it can be a contagious, addictive kind of fun.

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How To Almost Kill Your Startup
The Startup Show: Episode 6.2
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In Episode 6.2 of The Startup Show, we interrogate the amazing Tatiana Birgisson, founder of rapidly-growing natural energy drink startup Mati Energy. Mati has exploded over the last 18 months, and they've started to go up against big, entrenched players, including behemoth multi-national corporations (think Coca-Cola). Find out how Tatiana learned fast, kept her company agile, and how she recovered from a critical mistake that almost killed her company during its first mass-production run.

Tatiana talks about some of the things she didn't think she would ever need to deal with, including delivering batches to local companies out of her car and hand labeling over 100,000 cans of Mati before she could afford professional canning.

One of the hardest lessons to learn but one that became an incredibly valuable weapon in her startup battle was cultivating and managing the relationships on her team through Mati's rapid growth. This included letting go of a lot of that aforementioned grunt work, delegating it to her team and, as the kind of perfectionist that most founders are, learning to live with the results.

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Why Every Entrepreneur Needs a 2nd Startup
When your side project becomes your day job, pick up another side project
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In Episode 6.1 of The Startup Show, Joe Procopio (Automated Insights, ExitEvent), Andy Roth (RocketBolt), and Jon Colgan (Veeto, Cellbreaker) propose that all entrepreneurs need two things to work on at the same time.

A lot of entrepreneurs get started by building their own business on the side while still working at their day job full time. This is a hard path to walk, but for the sake of creativity and motivation, every entrepreneur should continue on with a 2nd thing, something between a hobby and job, once their startup becomes their full time job.

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How To Start a Business Without a Good Idea
You may not have a good idea, but you've got problems
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In episode 5.3 of The Startup Show, we dive into how to do startup without having a good idea, a question posed by one of our members at teachingstartup.com. Current entrepreneurs Joe Procopio (Automated Insights, ExitEvent), Andy Roth (RocketBolt), and Jon Colgan (Veeto, Cellbreaker) talk about how get started without an idea, how to generate good startup ideas, brilliant ideas that don't make money, why your first idea won't be your best, and alternatives to starting your own company right away.

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A Startup Culture of Entitlement and Sexual Misconduct
The Startup Show - Episode 5.2
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In Episode 5.2 of The Startup Show, we get three dudes together to talk about sexual harassment, because how could that go wrong. But in all seriousness, this discussion should be uncomfortable, and it's necessary, for everyone, including these three dudes, to push the conversation forward.

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Why West Coast VCs Won't Fund Your Business
The Startup Show - Episode 5.1
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In Episode 5.1 of The Startup Show, entrepreneurs Joe Procopio (Automated Insights, ExitEvent, Intrepid Media), Jon Colgan (Veeto, Cellbreaker), and Andy Roth (RocketBolt) talk about everything from beer to religion to creative writing to west coast venture capitalists and how they can influence and impact local economies.

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Five Funding Sources for Startup: Venture Capital
Accelerators & Incubators, Seed Stage, Early Stage, Expansion, Exit
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There's so much to talk about with Venture Capital funding, so here's what I won't be talking about.

I'm not going to discuss all the varieties of financing that can be a part of VC funding, like bridge financing or down rounds. I'm going to stick to the basics and compress a few things. I like to cover the entire universe at a high-level, so you know what the game looks like. There will be plenty of time to drill down into specifics here and elsewhere.

I'm not going to give any advice on how to find, contact, or pitch VCs. That's been done to death and, in my opinion, there's no single right way.

I'm not going to talk about the funding process, i.e. term sheets, preferred shares, amended articles of incorporation, and so on. Why? See the previous two things I'm not going to talk about.

I'm not going to tell you whether or not you SHOULD focus on VC, but I will tell you this:

Fundraising, especially when it involves VC, is a long, painful, time-sucking process. It is a full time job. It will drain your resources and your sanity. It is not a measure of success, but it can pave the way to success. It can be dangerous, depending on who ends up with their hands on which control levers. It can be life-changing, when it comes at the right time for the right reasons.

If you don't know whether or not you need VC funding, you don't need it, because you're not ready. You should know exactly how much you need to raise and exactly what you're going to do with the money. You should already have relationships in place at a handful of Venture Capital firms before you make the decision.

But if you've already run the investor gauntlet of Customers, Self, Friends and Family, and Angel, and if you know you need VC funding, and if you know who you're going to reach out to first, second, and fiftieth, then it's time. Here's what the universe looks like:

Funding is the most complex part of startup. How, when, and why you get funded is an individual series of choices, and every startup will take a different path. No one strategy is better than another, but you should definitely have a strategy in place before you raise a dime.

Venture Capital investors are firms that manage funds that invest in startups. VC is what we think of when we think of traditional startup investment, and their money is often referred to as institutional capital (which mostly means the money is not coming from a single individual).

VC firms are usually staffed in a chain with Partners at the top. Limited Partners are investors in the fund, while General or Managing Partners are investors in the fund and also run it. Venture Partners and Principals find and make deals for the fund, and may or may not be invested. Associates are at the bottom of the chain. They create relationships and do research, but often don't have the authority to green light a deal on their own.

Some VCs will invest small amounts as early as the Seed Stage, alongside the founder, Friends and Family, and any Angel investors. However, most VCs won't invest until there is progress beyond the Seed Stage, what's called a Series A round. From there, additional rounds will be called Series B, Series C, and so on.

VCs are always looking for a return on their investment, either through the sale of shares in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) or via merger and acquisition, where the company is sold to another company or to another financial entity like a Private Equity Fund. Sometimes VCs are bought out in future Series rounds when new VCs come in.

In almost every case, once you're in the VC world, you're not getting out until the company sells, which is called the exit. Oh, you're going to need legal and accounting help on hand during the fundraising process and retain that help through the actual funding.

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