CatalyzeCU’s Demo Day is July 31st

I’ve been watching CU’s entrepreneurship ecosystem really evolve over the last 5 or 7 years.  It’s a grassroots efforts, led in part by the students, and in part by passionate faculty within CU.  For instance, Brad Berenthal’s efforts over at Silicon Flatirons have become a staple in the entrepreneurship community.  The Spark Boulder co-working space is thriving with young student entrepreneurs.  And the New Venture Challenge is producing some great companies, including many who made it to the final rounds of Techstars.  In fact, Varsity, one of the winners, has recently been accepted to Techstars (expect a blog post on that one!)

If you’re going to be in Boulder at the end of July, and want to catch a glimpse of the fun stuff happening at CU, you’re in luck.  Catalyze CU is throwing their first-ever Demo Day on July 31st from 6-8pm.  Make sure to check out the companies, and get your tickets before they’re gone!  And keep your eye on CU – the entrepreneurial groundswell is picking up some serious steam.

Angel investors in CO might get a tax credit

Angel investors in CO who invest in tech (and a few other growth industries) might be able to get a tax credit for their investment.

You have to apply for the tax credit within 90 days of making the investment, there are only $375K worth of tax credits for this year, and I believe they evaluate on a first-come-first served-basis. I love that CO is trying to encourage more angel investing here.

Learn more in the OEDIT’s press release.

Jason Mendleson Techstars Boulder 23rd Studios Colorado Videography (25)

18 things that can screw up your company

Last week, Jason Mendelson came and gave a fantastic talk at Techstars in Boulder on all the things you can do to screw up your company.  According to Jason, there are 18 things and most of them are not fixable!  I’m including his list below, and also the video of his talk for those who want to watch it in all its glory.

If you like content like this – make sure you get your applications in for Techstars – early deadline is April 13th!

Jason’s 18 things that can royally screw your startup…

  1. Pick a bad team
  2. Pick a bad idea
  3. Pick bad advisors
  4. Be arrogant
  5. Don’t know your business model
  6. Don’t understand your competition
  7. Staff up & hire too quickly ahead of revenue (aka, spend too much!)
  8. Don’t constantly test your hypothesis
  9. Don’t stay on top of your PR & press relations
  10. Overpromise & underdeliver!
  11. Not paying attention to people’s incentives (this is a really good section, watch the video for details!)
  12. Screw up your cap table
  13. Screw up your IP
  14. Not having defined goals and not knowing how to define success
  15. Not firing people fast enough
  16. Not knowing what you can control, and what you can’t.
  17. Not holding yourself accountable
  18. Figure you can do the ‘lawyer’ stuff later (hello 83b!!!)



Getting the most out of your board of directors

I work with a lot of companies, some of them  have boards, but most haven’t formed their first board of directors yet.  As they venture into their first real financing and are required to put that board together, I watch them struggle with how to best utilize the group.  Early stage entrepreneurs usually fear the board, and through that fear tend to use it as a reporting tool instead of a strategy tool.  In that structure, the board members are grossly underutilized and are put in the position of being a reporting entity, which reinforces the original fears the entrepreneur had.  When Brad Feld announced that one of the books in his Startup Revolution series was going to be on this topic, I knew it would be an amazing resource for startups.

So I was thrilled when I got my copy of his newest book, Startup Boards: Getting the Most Out Of Your Board Of Directors.  I’ve read all the books in his series, and I’m sure this one is going to be just as fantastic as the rest.

If you’re an entrepreneur and you know you’re going to need to form a board of directors (or you already have one and want to better utilize them), this is a must read.

Lean Startup Conference Livestream on Dec 9-10

The lean startup movement has dominated conversations in the startup community since 2011 when Eric Ries presented a methodology for building efficient companies. Terms like “minimum viable product” and “validated learning” have become ubiquitous.

On December 9th and 10th at the Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco, 70 entrepreneurs from the lean startup world will share their founder stories, case studies, and advice for creating and managing successful startups.

If you can’t travel to SF, have no fear. Fuse at the Riverside, a co-working community in Boulder, CO, will be live streaming the Lean Startup Conference for the Boulder startup community.

Stop by Fuse on December 9th and 10th from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm to hear from startups, Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and nonprofits on how they’re integrating lean startup principles into their organizations. Register here, tickets are free.

Whether you’ve drank the lean startup kool-aid or are about to take your first deep dive, the Lean Start Livestream at Fuse is a chance to connect and discover what the lean startup movement is all about.

“How to be a killer CEO” workshop tomorrow, by an amazing CEO!

As part of our efforts to Give First to the New York entrepreneurship community, Alex and I have put together a series of free events for startups.

Tomorrow night, we’re hosting “How to be a Killer CEO” by Techstars Mentor and veteran CEO Matt Blumberg of Returnpath.  He’s also authored the book “Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling your Startup“.  If you’re a CEO of a startup, this is an event you should not miss.  While any CEO can attend, it’s best for startup CEOs that already have product-market fit and are thinking about issues like board management, hiring, competition, financials, and more.

We just opened up additional seats, so please join us, tomorrow, Wednesday the 20th, at 6:30pm.  Click here for more info or to register.

How do you say “Free Translations” in Spanish?

One of my favorite companies, VerbalizeIt, is on a great growth trajectory.  They went through the Techstars program in 2012 and I’ve been impressed with their execution ever since.  Kunal & Ryan are great entrepreneurs and have been fun to watch!

VerbalizeIt provides human translation services (because Google translate really does suck).  Imagine traveling in a foreign country, and just pressing a button on your mobile phone to be connected with a live translator.  The great thing is that they’ve expanded their service offering beyond individuals.  For companies needing translation services, VerbalizeIt is a great option.

If you don’t already have the app, you can download it here.  And for businesses – click here to get 1 month free VerbalizeIt translation!  Muchas Gracias Ryan & Kunal.

Entrepreneurs building connected hardware

Entrepreneurs!  If’ you’re working on hardware, internet of things, and connected devices – you should be aware of a date that’s fast approaching.

October 11th is the last day to apply for the R/GA Accelerator, powered by Techstars.  The 3 month program is focused on connected devices and is based in NYC.  As is standard with all Techstars programs, you’ll have access to the leading mentors from NYC, Techstars, Makers, Marketers, major brands, any people who are experts in all things connected devices.  The 10 best companies will get:

  • Up to $120,000 in funding
  • Co-location space provided by R/GA in New York
  • Design and development support from experienced R/GA designers and developers who’ve built connected devices and services.
  • Mentor sessions with industry leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and influencers
  • Access to prototyping equipment, including Makerbot printers
  • Invite-only launch presentation event in Austin, TX at SxSWi 2014
  • Demo Day presentation to angel investors, select R/GA clients, and media in New York

It’s perfect for teams still ideating, have a working prototype, or up to about $2M in revenue or funding.

Get all the details at

OR just follow along on TW with @RGAaccelerator