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: 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

How to Choose the Right Accelerator, To Ensure That the Time and Money Spent is Valuable?

The Structural Success Pillars For a Startup to Succeed

 

Most startups decide on which accelerators to go based on getting investment. However, money is the last reason why people should choose an accelerator. “At Expert Dojo, we believe very strongly in the Pre-Accelerator model where the first focus is on the startup receiving assistance with the structural success pillars for a startup to succeed,” said Brian Mac Mahon, the founder of Expert Dojo.

The first of those pillars is Community. Building the right community around startup to make sure that startup can be successful. This community includes not only other startups, corporations, and mentors but also local government.

The second pillar is a focus on milestone based business growth. This growth can come from not just digital marketing, but also on how a startup can be more visible in the local area.

The third pillar is the Influence Score. This pillar is overlooked by many startups and accelerators. People like Eric Ries and Jason Calacanis, are famous and successful, not just because of the companies they have exited, but more importantly, because of the Influence score, they created through speaking at conferences, being on panels, writing books, acknowledgment on press releases, etc. It’s very important that as a startup, influence score is high to reflect the disruptive solution that you are bringing to the market.

Next area that is extremely important is the “Foundation” of the company.
Investment without structure is wasted money. The foundational focus should not only include product fit, brand, market validation, but also other areas such as team, efficiencies, automation and structure strategy for the future. Mindset is also a key factor in a startups success. Starting a business is one of the most difficult things people will ever do. “You need to be prepared physically and mentally. This is something you can train yourself into as a navy seal rather than a wet fish,” said Brian Mac Mahon.

The final pillar is Investment. A startup should only consider accepting money from an accelerator when they know they can grow in all these areas. Investment from an accelerator should be worth more than just a check for $50K-150K.

For more information, check out the website.

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/

Invest in one of Expert Dojo’s Startups; Ampere Motor

Bringing Stylish, Innovative Electric Vehicles

to the Modern Consumer

 

Ampere Motor, one of Expert Dojo’s favorite startup members! 

The Ampere vehicles are as stylish as they are affordable. The three-wheel roadster is just under $10,000, making the vehicle accessible to everyone, not just the wealthy. People love that our roadsters are classy, sleek, and fun to drive.

 

 

The founder, Tony Chan has been a car fanatic all his life. He started waxing his neighbors’ cars for pocket money when he was seven and repaired classic cars to pay for his tuition and expenses when he studied at UCLA. He then worked as a software engineer at Microsoft and built race cars on the side. Tony then left Microsoft to start his venture in product design and manufacturing; he successfully supplied various product lines to large national retailers such as Sears and Lowe’s.

 

 

Tony and his partners started the Ampere project more than four years ago to design and build green, affordable, and exciting vehicles for everyone to enjoy. Currently, Ampere is working with world-class designers and engineers from the same institutions from which the designers of Audi, Mercedes, and Ferrari designers come.

The body of the Ampere Roadster combines vintage race car elements as well as futuristic curves and lines. Even the Sharks on Shark Tank said it looked amazing and everyone who sees it will most likely want to get behind the wheel.

 

 

Now, you have the opportunity to invest in this vehicle! With your investment, Ampere can fulfill their current orders and begin the work of taking Ampere Motor to even grander heights. This is a first in the industry, and Ampere’s goal is to deliver up to 100,000 vehicles within the next four years.  Invest in Ampere Motor today at www.startengine.com, and help them spark the next electric-vehicle revolution in the automotive industry.

 

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.

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.

 

Expert Dojo’s Startup Spotlight – Classic Stills

Expert Dojo’s Startup Spotlight – Classic Stills

 

One of Expert Dojo’s https://expertdojo.com members: Classic Stills is Rene Freling’s second startup venture. Rene has previous experience in digital media, general management, content and sales. His first startup, “Treat Angel”, was a monthly subscription costing $20 that encouraged members to treat themselves once a month. Treat Angel was a self-launched business and Rene quickly realized that he was in need of significant investment in order to scale. From his first startup, he learned many valuable lessons, one being that being a sole-founder is not ideal. Rene vocalized that “finding the right co-founder is difficult”, comparing it to a long-term relationship.

 

A few years later, Rene Freling founded Classic Stills. Classic Stills solves a problem for movie/TV studios and other companies with large photo archives. In phase one, Classic Stills is publishing official collections of  limited-edition prints from iconic movies and TV shows, capitalizing on a gap in the $256bn licensed products market. Long-term they plan to help monetize the vast archives of clients in entertainment, music and sports by building a publishing platform that uses machine learning and blockchain technology. The idea came from a realization that there is so much valuable IP in the form of classic photography that generates zero revenue and is never seen, despite the huge appetite for rare and iconic photos among pop culture fans. The hand framed prints, which are all numbered and certified, range from $149 up to $1000, depending on the size, with an entry level price point that’s affordable to the majority of pop culture fans. The stills are printed on archival photo paper and are produced through the chromogenic printing process. “The images are presented using preservation-grade mats, acid free hinging, protective UV acrylic and hand cut wooden frames”.

 

This past year, Classic Stills has agreed terms with several Hollywood Studios as well as HBO, BBC, and AMC. They were able to sign up these studios without any prior connections in the entertainment industry. Currently the company is focusing on their marketing strategy, price points, and securing global appealing content to sell globally. Classic Stills is looking for $300,000 from investors, to help with the marketing, salaries, and advances on their contracts with studios.

 

Check out his photography and fine art prints on https://classicstills.com.

Check out Rene Freling’s full interview at https://youtu.be/Wl8EikwmyAA, or at our YouTube channel @ExpertDojo

Don’t forget to follow, like, & share our Linkedin, Instagram, and Twitter @expertdojo

6 Points to Creating a Great Team

Advice from Sonya Sepahban

on Building a Strong Team for Startup Entrepreneurs.

Photo credit: Pexels.com

Sonya Sepahban, a strong supporter of women in Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and angel investor with the Michigan Angel Fund (MAF) shares her ideas on how to build a strong base for beginner entrepreneurs.

 

Diversity 

It comes as no surprise that diversity is key to success in team building.  Not just gender and cultural diversity, it is also about having different backgrounds (social, interests…).  Research has shown how diversity will boost the potential for success in businesses, as described in this article from worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey and Company.

All in all, diversity in a team will enable you to tap into a wide-ranging set of solutions to problems an enterprise will bump into from time to time.

 

Network

So, once you have your brilliant idea, surround yourself with great people.  Find folks that will support you and be a resource to you.  Network!  Find people who can mentor you and advise you during your path to establishing your business.  Go to gatherings where you can meet people with whom you can exchange ideas and from whom you can get help.  The more folks you talk to, the better the feel you get in the field you are going into.

 

Get ready for your investors

Of course, you also need to find investors.  But then you really need to show them you have done your homework about knowing your own strengths and weaknesses in your business.  For that you have to be honest with yourself and know your limitations:  you can’t be great in all areas!  You need to be aware of the things that will not work in your business.  All the while knowing where you are not so strong, focus on what you are good at, as Guy Kawasaki keeps telling the entrepreneurs he mentors.

 

Communicate

Another point Sonya Sepahban emphasized: Be communicative with your team.  The most successful businesses are the ones where there is the most transparency.  Talk, ask questions, discuss things.  Create an environment where ideas can flow.  And communicate with your network: they can be your best soundboard to help you succeed.  The more you communicate, the greater the relationships you can establish with your supporters and your investors.

 

Be a listener

Then also learn to be a great listener.  This is where you can be a sponge to other people’s ideas and knowledge, to benefit you and your business.  Take time to just hear what people have to offer you.  If it’s something that you find hard to do (as it is for so many!), here are two short articles that outline the essentials in improving this skill.  First, just 3 simple ideas.  And then there are the 6 tips on becoming better at listening.

 

Be tenacious

Now you have your team, your network, and your investors.  You communicate and listen to your supporters’ input.  But business can take time and patience to get established.  This is where Sonya stresses how important tenacity to anybody starting a new business.  You must believe in your ideas.  Be tenacious in the process.  Develop your own way in feeling comfortable in the process, despite the possible failures.  There will be times of doubts and loneliness.

 

I highly recommend you listen to her podcast which you can find below. It is chock-full of great ideas that you don’t want to miss.

For more investor podcast episodes with the startup accelerator Expect Dojo, go to https://expertdojo.com/investor-podcast/

 

So, bring on the ideas!  Be tenacious!  Hang in there!

The Ultimate Pitching Championship

Join the Largest Startup Competition in the World here at Expert DOJO!

 

Join the most innovative startup competition in the world for a chance to win $1,000,000 in guaranteed investment.

 

Starting May 10th, 2018 contestants from all over the world can go to Expert DOJO’s website and book a time to pitch, submit your pitch video online or pitch at Techday & submit your video. Participants who enter The Cage will also have the opportunity to be featured on ViralHub’s TV Show. Do you have what it takes? Contest ends October 31, 2018.

To apply: https://expertdojo.com/upcapplication/