Expert Dojo: Join The Largest One on One Pitch Event in the U.S.

Over 80 of the Top Investors in the U.S. are Attending

 

 

Expert DOJO, the fastest growing startup community in Santa Monica, is hosting the Investor Festival. Starting August 29thto August 30th 2018, startups will pitch one on one for some of the biggest investors in the United States.

The Investor Festival is designed to help early-stage startup founders who have identified a very specific problem or challenge in growing their startup and could find investment to make a difference in overcoming that challenge.

 

This is the largest One on One Pitch Event in the United States. Over 80 of the top investors in the U.S. including Sequoia Capital, Greycroft, Rubicon, NEA, March Capital and more.

 

Here are two prime examples of companies who received funding through our Investor Festival:   

 

ZAPP

Zapp raised $1M through our Investor Festival earlier this year. Zapp provides a fully shared, multi-vehicle solution proven to solve last mile logistic in colleges through the U.S.

 

 

 

Smart CSM

Smart CSM is an easy-to-use technology to visualize and manage your building’s utilities from any device, anytime, anywhere.
They raised $1,5 M through our Investor Festival.

 

 

If you want to know more about Investor Festival CLICK HERE

Expert Dojo: Join the Ultimate Pitching Competition

Get the Chance to Win $1M in Potential Investment

 

Expert Dojo, the fastest growing start-up accelerator based in Santa Monica, is organizing a pitch competition for early-stage start-ups to get funded. A total cash prized investment will not exceed $1M. The individual investments will be a minimum of $50K to a maximum $500K, depending on investment needed.

 

“We know that start-ups need more than just money, which is why we have partnered with the top workspace, marketing, and logistics.”, said Brian Mac Mahon, the founder of Expert Dojo.

 

Starting July 31stthru October 31st, Expert Dojo has an Ultimate Pitching Competition for Start-ups!

 

Contestants from all over the world can go to Expert Dojo’s website and submit pitch video online or pitch at Tech-day and submit a video. Participants who entered the cage will also have the opportunity to be featured on Viral Hub’s TV Show.

 

Expert Dojo improves the success rate of early-stage start-ups through investment, foundation, showcasing, influence, and community.

Since 2014, they worked with over 500 start-ups to accelerate their growth and success. Entrepreneurs love Expert Dojo and the power of our start-up community. All entrepreneurs in their programs have agreed to support the whole community as we get stronger together.

 

APPLY FOR FREE HERE

 

 

 

Expert DOJO Launches “Ultimate Pitching” Championship at TechDay LA

 

 

The first round of investment to be given exclusively to TechDay exhibitors, up to $1M investments

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 18, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Expert DOJO, the fastest growing startup community in Santa Monica, today announced the kickoff of their Ultimate Pitching Championship. The first round of the championship will take place exclusively at TechDay LA, the largest startup event in Silicon Beach. Expert DOJO will be investing up to $1 Million to startup companies worldwide, at least $50,000 of which is guaranteed to one TechDay exhibitor.

The Ultimate Pitching Championship, kicking off at TechDay, is designed to help startup founders who have identified a very specific problem or challenge in growing their startup, and could use the $50,000+ investment to make a significant difference in overcoming that challenge. Ideal applicants are innovative thinkers in any segment of technology who believe their products are unique, groundbreaking, and can affect positive change in their vertical.

Expert DOJO’s team of judges will choose the top innovators from the pool of applicants, and each finalist will have the chance to compete for the grand prize by showing off their products with a live demo at TechDay LA.

The number one candidate from TechDay LA’s live demo competition will compete against the number one finalist from TechDay London, to be held October 26, 2018, at The Old Billingsgate, London, England, with the final winner announced in late October.

“We are looking forward to bringing Expert DOJO’s Ultimate Pitching Championship to the TechDay series of events,” said Walter Charnizon, President of Continental Exhibitions, the owner and organizer of TechDay LA and TechDay London. “We’re excited that this year, TechDay is not only providing guidance to entrepreneurs with networking and marketing resources, we’re providing an opportunity for financial resources as well.”

“Expert DOJO believes that we must support the earliest stage startups with investment, connections, and training in order to build the greatest innovation eco-systems,” said Brian Mac Mahon, founder of Expert DOJO. “We are committed to making that happen and are thrilled to be launching this new initiative at TechDay LA.”

TechDay LA will take place on September 27, 2018 at The Reef and is the city’s biggest tech startup conference, expected to attract over 7,500 registrants, including investors, tech talent, press, and early adopters from established industry leaders and exciting new startups. The event will showcase the latest innovations from over 200 exhibitors across categories like fintech, edtech, health tech, hardware, e-commerce, and more. With Live Demos, Fireside Chats and TED-style TechDayTalks, TechDay LA has resources for everyone.

To apply for The Ultimate Pitching Championship, TechDay LA exhibitors can go to https://expertdojo.com/techdaylaapplication/ and TechDay London exhibitors can visit https://expertdojo.com/techday-london-application/.

To register for TechDay LA, and review the agenda, TechDayTalk speakers and more, visit https://techdayhq.com/los-angeles.

About TechDay
TechDay is the largest startup event series in the world, hosting annual shows in New York City, Los Angeles, and London. TechDay is owned and managed by Continental Exhibitions, a leading producer of business-to-business events, including trade shows, conferences, and webinars since 1984.

About Expert DOJO
Expert DOJO improves the success rate of early-stage entrepreneurs with investment, foundation, showcasing, influence, and community. Since 2014, they have worked with over 400 startups to accelerate their growth and success.

Expert Dojo: Startup Spotlight – Zebra Instant

 

One of Expert DOJO’s https://expertdojo.com members is Zebra Instant, which is a platform that turns smartphone pictures, via Facebook messenger and text messaging, into printed photos and merchandise. Zebra Instant provides the most frictionless way to turn those special moments into gifts. Another amazing product that Zebra Instant offers are “Printbots”. Printbots provide a program to different messaging platforms for instant access to an online marketplace. With a few clicks, a client can order prints to various merchandise, ranging from phone cases to mugs to tote bags.

 

Anton Pereiaslavtsev, the founder of Zebra Instant, has always had a passion for photography. Anton was born and raised in Russia and moved to the states in the late 90’s. His background is in IT and business but eventually became interested in pursuing his own business. Anton also has 10 years of experience in finance.

 

His idea for Zebra Instant emerged from various events while traveling abroad. As a huge photography fan, he would travel and snap photos with a DSLR camera. These types of cameras tend to be big and bulky, which causes a huge inconvenience for travelers. He saw an opportunity when a merger of cell phones and photography became a thing. People were starting to use their smartphones to document their special moments on a daily basis. The convenience of snapping photos stemmed Anton into to creating a convenience in publishing prints and gifts. By sending in the photos taken on a cell phone, a user is able to publish those prints onto various merchandise, creating a custom product, which will be sure to make a huge statement.

 

To learn more about Zebra Instant, visit their website at www.zebrainstant.com

Gary Vaynerchuk at Expert Dojo

Gary Vaynerchuk at Expert Dojo

 

Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the most known entrepreneurs in the world, he is also an author, speaker and an internet personality. First known for being a wine critic who grew his family’s wine business from $3 million to $60 million. Today, Vaynerchuk is best known for his work in digital marketing and social media, leading New York-based companies VaynerMedia and VaynerX. He can to Expert Dojo to discusses his childhood, early career, angel investing, hiring & firing, owning & playing for the Jets, immortality, and much more. Gary also takes questions from the audience.

 

 

The sold out crowd at Expert Dojo were so excited to listen to Gary Vaynerchuk’s talk!

 

 

Watch his full appearance at Expert Dojo on the Youtube link below!

 

To get more info about our upcoming events, go to: https://expertdojo.com/events/

Raising Money through Crowdfunding

King of Crowdfunding Howard Marks on Raising Money for Startups

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

Howard Marks, pioneer in crowdfunding and founder of StartEngine, outlines his path in business and the difficulty in finding money when starting a business. StartEngine has been instrumental in helping raise millions of dollars for several early-stage startups through crowdfunding.

 

Prior to crowdfunding, only a few people could pass the early stages of starting a business. Friends and family would have been the prime source of financial help. Now, with the passing of the Title II (2012) and Title III (2016) of the JOBS Act, adults of any financial means are legally allowed to invest in startup businesses. Both Titles II and III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startup Act (JOBS Act) were put in place to encourage and enable funding for small businesses. Title II focuses on helping job creators get access to funds while Title III focuses on equity crowdfunding regulations.

 

Aside from this new investment tool, what is it that you need to focus on to be successful in raising money for your new business? Some key points according to Howard Marks’ experience in business:

–       Resilience and persistence in front of the naysayers. We have heard that in the world of bodybuilders as well as in business, whatever business you are doing (starting a new company or starting a degree) requires perseverance.

–       Understand the market you are going into.

–       Make sure your product will be viable 3 to 5 years from the time you start your business. Have a vision in the future so that you can stay in business.  Predict the future of your market.

–       Have a team where your CEO is great at marketing.  You need to be visible so that people can understand what they are investing in.

 

From here, the people who will invest in your company are the ones who truly believe in your product. More often than not those folks will be you most loyal supporters.

 

Up to recently, raising money for a new business was not a democratic affair. Mostly, it was people who already had ties to folks with money who could get money.  In other words, women and minorities were poorly represented in entrepreneurship up to just a few decades ago.  Crowdfunding is the best game-changing tool for all entrepreneurs to raise funds to start their dream businesses. Places like StartEngine are where the traditional “no” has been replaced with “yes, let’s get that money”.

 

Crowdfunding, also known as Online Public Offering (OPO), has been the best way for investors and entrepreneurs to grow innovative ideas. And as Mr Marks points out, one of the great things is that for an OPO to be successful the company you want to start doesn’t have to have a history. You mainly need to show a few key qualities, as pointed out above, to make sure your investors get to know you and the market you want to get into. After all, getting investors is mainly about creating a relationship of trust.

 

Other than that, the great news is that small businesses are not crippled by the Innovator’s Dilemma big businesses often go through. Once a business gets stuck in focusing only on what it does best and doesn’t look into how the future is being shaped by trends, failure often follows suit. So, follow your dream idea for a new business, stay nimble, adapt to your market!

For more advice and ideas from Howard Marks, follow his blog, or go on StartEngine.

You also can listen to Brian Mac Mahon (Expert Dojo) interviewing Howard to hear more on the topic of crowdfunding.

Entrepreneurship Lesson from the Startup Mentor; Brian Mac Mahon

How to Build an Empire Based on Your Business Idea!

Brian Mac Mahon, The Founder of the Startup Accelerator; Expert Dojo shares his thoughts on how entrepreneurs should build their empires!

 

  1. BRANDING

It’s not the product, the product is irrelevant, and any products can be copied. What it is, is the brand. You have to create the greatest, unique experience for your customers that nobody can copy. Just think of the iPhone, that iconic apple that sits on the back of the iPhone, that is such a strong brand that they can charge two, three, four times what anybody else can charge because they don’t sell a phone, they don’t sell a laptop, they sell you being more popular, you being more self confident, you having more friends. That’s what Apple embodies. The same with Nike, with runners, and being able to run faster. And all the way through with great brands, create a great brand, don’t get stuck focusing only on a good product.

 

  1. FILLING SKILL GAPS

A lot of entrepreneurs hire their best friends, and make sure that they’re surrounded by people they really like and that are like-minded people. What Brian suggests is to do the opposite, and instead your entire focus should be on filling skill gaps. So, as you look at your company and what needs to happen in your company for it to be successful, through each stage there are skill gaps that you have, and you need to be not just hiring for the skill gaps that you have for today, but the skill gaps that are coming in the future as well. Look at those gaps and find incredibly awesome people to fill them.

 

  1. DIFFERENT MARKETING CHANNELS

Don’t focus on just one or two marketing channels. You have affiliate marketing which is a form of partnership marketing. You’ve got direct emails, you’ve got cold calling, you’ve got advertising, digital advertising. Whether it’s on Facebook, whether it’s on Google, whether it’s on the other platforms. You’ve got social media, you’ve also got a million ways to do content marketing to build your audience, therefore Brian suggests you to practice all of the different ways and measure, measure, measure, along with milestones that you have for everything that you’re trying to accomplish.

 

  1. BUILD A COMMUNITY

Now you have built your business, you are growing your user base, let’s take it to the next level, which is getting investment. Now, as you’re getting investment Brian suggests you to do something that you should’ve been doing with your users all along; building a community. Build the greatest community that any product that has ever had. Communities do not leave you as long as you provide to them what you promised them. Then you can add in the corporates on top of that, don’t be afraid of anyone because now you are a true cage fighter breaking through.

 

Finding an Investor Should be Like Finding a Partner You Want to Marry

Are you Going to Make a Great Fit with Your Potential Investor?

Photo credit: Pexels.com

Asher Leids is a prominent super angel based in Santa Monica and specialized in early stage startups. Previous to investing individually he practiced venture capital, securities, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law. In short he is an expert in what he is doing and knows startup investment inside out.

 

A vital task for entrepreneurs who are in the process of finding an investor is to figure out if you are going to be a good fit for each other. You don’t want to take the money from just anybody, you want to take it from someone who is a great match for you. But how do you know if you are going to be a good fit for each other?

 

Mr. Leids suggest to look at the investor as if it’s someone you want to marry, like choosing a life partner. You don’t want to end up in a nasty divorce. For example, if you go for lunch with you investor and during lunch the investor yells at the waiter or waitress, then you can figure out that this person will act the same way to you at some point. And will you be okay with that?

 

You need to be aware of who you are choosing, but also make an effort yourself. If you are not asking the investor the questions that makes him or her comfortable with the relationship, then it’s not going to lead anywhere. Imagine if you are on a first date and you didn’t ask your date any questions about what they were like, what their habits were or other personal questions, and just asked how much money they were bringing in to the relationship. Then that person will enter the relationship with a very different perspective.

 

Besides showing interest, according to Mr. Leids one of the other main things you need to think about when meeting your potential investor is to show that you are passionate about what you are doing. Tell the investor how strongly you feel for your product or service, don’t start the subject about needing investment.

 

At the end, it’s not only about the expectations that you have from the investor. It’s also about the expectations that the investor has about you what you should want from them. If it’s just the money then you are going to have problem right at the beginning. To learn more about the relationship between entrepreneurs and investors, listen to Asher Leids episode of Expert Dojo’s podcast; “the Art of Startup War” here:

 

 

For more startup podcast episodes, please visit: https://www.expertdojo.com/investor-podcast/

Top 5 Things to Make a Remarkable First Impression!

What does a Potential Investor Consider UNRELATED to Your New Business?

 

Michael Miller’s over 30 years of experience in the trenches of Wall Street law and finance provide him with a unique aerial view of the “do’s” and “don’ts” in start-up land. Mr. Miller’s Expert Dojo’s Podcast last year was voted as 2017’s most favorite. Known as one of LA’s most sought after mentors and advisors, Mr. Miller is generous with his time and advice, always willing to sit with anyone that asks for a 15 minute coffee. He reminds me with a smile, “Advice is really only worth what you pay for it”. Finally fortunate enough to shed the Wall Street uniform of coat and tie, he is focused on the things he loves. Including philanthropy, building Over 21 Capital Partners, which upon completion, will be the largest private fund in America, focused on adult-oriented investments (including cannabis, caffeine and alcohol). The launch of Table 21, the first conflict-free cannabis dining salon bringing together investors, companies, and legal, medical and legislative professionals. To add, he is the Senior Venture Partner for Fusion LA, which mentors and accelerates Israeli startups selected out of the 8200 Unit of the Israeli Defense Forces. He is also writing his second book entitled, “Weedonomics: From Criminal to Capitalist Enterprise”.

 

Mr. Miller, I mean Michael, (he firmly noted) that the most important factors are typically the ones that are never discussed, considered or even taught. “If I am going to bet on the horse, I better damn sure love the jockey” is a very powerful message. Even the most “perfect” companies have failed, when those involved forget something so simple. “We are both people.” My mother always told me, “Son you only have one chance to make a first impression. Make sure you wear clean underwear.” How will YOU make your first impression? As Michael expresses: “how can you have the greatest idea, but flame-out tragically?” Here are Michael’s top 5 things to consider to in making a remarkable first impression:

 

  1. Maturity

    Do you have the emotional intelligence to realize that you can’t know everything? Those that do, surround themselves with those SMARTER than they are.

 

  1. Articulation

    Are you clearly, concisely and effective? Do you look someone in the eye? Get to the point!

 

  1. How You Dress

    What is YOUR uniform? What image do you want to project? What take-away do you want to leave with a potential investor? Read more about how to dress for business purposes here;  https://www.businessknowhow.com/growth/dress-impression.htm

 

  1. Confidence

    Are you capable of getting outside your self-created comfort zone? Exude passion. Exude confidence. Or.. go get a 9 to 5.

 

  1. Genuineness

    Humble wins EVERY time.

These are the human skills that are not taught in school or in an MBA program, but that are so essential. These are the things that matter in life that you weren’t taught in school. To learn  more about how to impress your potential investor, listen to the first podcast episode of “The Art of Startup War”, click here: 

 

 

For more startup podcast episodes, please visit https://www.expertdojo.com/investor-podcast/

If you would like to have a coffee with Michael, contact him at michael@millerlawla.com

 

Expert Dojo is Planning to Open an Accelerator in China

The team at Expert DOJO arrived in Hangzhou, China last week and proceeded to go on a whirlwind tour of 5 cities (Shanghai, Yiwu, Jiaxing, Beijing, Hangzhou) in 5 days. We even visited 3 of the cities twice.  We met the Mayor or high level dignitaries in each city and in this short period we became convinced that China can outperform the USA in output of unicorns within 5 years.

 

 

Our goal was to work out what this enormous market of 1.2 billion people wanted and how we could serve our american based startups better by being here as well as be a resource locally in China. It will be no surprise to anyone that the biggest challenge US based companies have working in China is trust and that just happens to be our biggest strength. We also saw that many of the Chinese cities are tired of making cheaper product and want to do as the Japanese did when they moved to quality over quantity.

 

 

Here is what surprised us. Our expectation was to see a country of socialists where enterprise and innovation was neither encouraged or rewarded and we found the opposite. Their new Government led policy to actually incubate and accelerate startups with entire streets dedicated to them is admirable. In addition the free workplace, free training and free resources are unlike anything I have ever seen in over 40 countries.

 

 

We were met by over 41 high ranking officials in each city and all of them offered incentive after incentive to open up there. This may be the model we have been searching for as the perfect Government led startup ecosystem.

 

 

So whats next I hear you ask. Well we may just open an international accelerator over there. The Government not only support startups but they are also desperate for international collaboration in their community. We know that China has its issues but, as supporters of startup globally, I cant help wanting to help fix this very broken bridge between our two countries. Our startups in America deserve to have the best representation on site to help them manufacture, produce and ship the best product at the right price and ontime. In addition we will possibly raise a fund to help US companies benefit from all the opportunities out there.

 

 

We all know that the seas of China are full of forgotten westerners who came with good intentions but no possibility of ever fulfilling their unfinished dreams.  We at Expert DOJO are cautious but optimistic of a future where we all get along and create great startup cultures while doing it.