This Week: April 19 – 25, 2015

Friends,

Please welcome Alicia Amaral, Managing Director of Scalar Analytics’ Cambridge office, and Marcus Yee, IBM Cambridge, to our Office Hours roster. Meet them and others on Thursday by reserving your time now.

Then, on Thursday, embrace opportunities for serendipitous encounters in between your Office Hours appointments by meeting new people and chatting with YouthCITIES students before venturing into the Cancun conference room for How to Find Business with the U.S. Government Or Military.

Meanwhile, learn about Cleantech Open Northeast, Fab Lab Hub’s upcoming fundraiser: Lend a Hand to Make a Hand, Lean Startup Machine’s upcoming event at hack/reduce, and YouthCITIES Student Pitch voting at their Info Tables around the Café.
Hope to see you Thursday,

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

3:00 – 8:00 P.M. | Venture Café in Session

Feature Event

6:30 – 7:30 P.M. | How to Find Business with the U.S. Government or Military

How do you find business opportunities with Government and Defense? Many leading technology companies launched their success by doing business with the military. Centurion Technologies Consulting LLC is a management consulting firm that assists high technology start-ups and defense products and services business. This discussion with Ingrid Centurion and Nick Starling will cover the challenges and hurdles in taking your first steps as a small business interested in creating opportunities with Government and Defense. Take your first steps and learn how to interact with large organizations and build the company that supports our National Security.

Office Hours

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Alicia Amaral

Alicia Amaral is the Managing Director of the Cambridge office of Scalar Analytics, a national business valuation firm. Alicia speaks frequently on the subject of valuation for startups and issuing stock to employees. She also teaches entrepreneurial finance at Tufts University. Come by to chat about valuation for your startup or stock based compensation.

Reserve 30 minutes with Alicia here.

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Don Greenstein

Don Greenstein, a conflict manager for over 25 years coaches individuals and teams in creating positive collaboration, when difficult conversations and differences exist among entrepreneurs/business owners. He has helped individuals identify and value differences turning them into strengths while working through stressful, conflict situations. Schedule 30 minutes with Don to discuss how to navigate differences individually or as a team.

Reserve 30 minutes with Don here.

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Marcus Yee

Marcus has over 25 years of sales and sales consulting experience at IBM working in multiple sales and business development roles. He specializes in sales process consulting to shorten sales cycles to customers and to empower IBM business partners. Prior to his current role of working with startups, entrepreneurs, developers, incubators, and VCs in the Cambridge/Boston area, he managed the relationships of IBM partners that drive multi-millions of IBM annual revenues.

Marcus is available to discuss sales strategies as well as partnering strategies that can greatly impact the successes of startup companies.

Reserve 30 minutes with Marcus here.

3:00 – 6:00 P.M. | Joe Caruso

For the last 20 years Joe Caruso has served has been an “Advocate for entrepreneurs” as a mentor, coach, and personal advisor to CEO’s and entrepreneurs. In recent years, he has served an investor, advisor and active director with dozens of companies, public and private. He also maintains an active consulting practice dealing with structuring and negotiation of acquisitions, strategic partnerships and financings, and issues related to dispute resolution.

Reserve 30 minutes with Joe here.

3:30 – 5:30 P.M. | Marty Sack

Marty Sack has mentored more than 200 start-ups over the last two years as a volunteer for SCORE. He brings with him the mentoring resources of more than forty additional successful executives, CPAs, small business owners, and other experts in diverse areas of business and non-profits–all volunteers offering free mentoring services.

Marty is the now retired co-founder of LunchDates Dating Service. He also founded and led a national job publication for 26 years, and he was the executive director of a Cambridge based non-profit for 18 years.

Reserve 30 minutes with Marty here.

4:00 – 6:00 P.M. | George Mabry

George is an active consultant, mentor and angel investor in the Harvard, MIT, and Boston entrepreneurial communities. With degrees in computer science and business, George co-founded a biotech market research company that was acquired by a global bio-pharmaceutical service provider in 2008. If you are seeking feedback on your business concept, come prepared with high-level materials to explain your idea, including information on the market, team, and how you are addressing the problem / opportunity.

Reserve 30 minutes with George here.

4:30 – 6:00 P.M. | Jennifer Jordan

Stop by and chat with Jennifer Jordan, Vice President of MassVentures, an early-stage venture capital fund dedicated to investing in Massachusetts high growth technology companies. MassVentures is currently focused on Series A investments in software, data, analytics, crowd-sourcing, and the intersection of healthcare and IT.

Please bring a high level pitch deck, covering at least:

a.) The problem you are addressing
b.) The size of the market
c.) The team
d.) The product offering
e.) The exit strategy

Reserve 30 minutes with Jennifer here.

Info Tables

 5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | Cleantech Open NE

Are you a clean technology or sustainability-related startup? 5/1 is the final deadline to apply to the Cleantech Open Accelerator! The accelerator includes 6 months of mentoring, visibility and networking to boost your startup to the next level. Ask questions and apply at northeast.cleantechopen.org.

 5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | Fab Lab Fundraiser

Fab Lab Hub is raising funds through C3 Community Member, SocialSeam, to outfit a group in Cambridge with 3D printers and materials to crowdsource prosthetic hands for kids and adults in need at zero cost. They’re hosting a campaign launch party on May 1 at Venture Café and you can get details at their table.

5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | Lean Startup Machine

Lean Startup Machine is officially back in Boston on May 8th at Hack/reduce! This three-day educational conference will put you through a mental workout practicing lean startup methodology in a fun, competitive format.

Keynote speakers Dave McLaughlin of Vsnap & the City of Boston, and C Todd Lombardo of Constant Contact & TEDx will open the event on Friday night. Then, it’ll be open season to pitch ideas, form teams, gather experimental data, and iterate through the weekend. On Sunday, an expert panel of judges will decide which teams were the leanest and meanest.

RSVP here.

6:00 – 8:00 P.M. | YouthCITIES Student Pitch Voting

Middle school and high school students are midway through a Startup Bootcamp, and are learning about the art of networking. These students will be entering Venture Café for the first time, anxious and excited to meet and share about their venture. The goal is for the students to meet as many people as possible, engage Venture Café guests in conversation…and hopefully gain a vote. Students with the most votes from engaged Venture Café participants will receive iTunes gift cards.

 

Vicky Wu Davis speaks about Stakeholder Engagement to Obtain Innovation in the Neighborhoods

Vicky Wu Davis of Youth Cities discusses the role of stakeholder engagement as the key difference between well-intentioned invention and sustained innovation in neighborhoods at our recent Civic Innovation Conversations.

These short thought provoking talks fueled some active breakout sessions afterwards.

Venture Café and Microsoft co-host these quarterly Civic Innovation Conversations.

Gillian Pressman on Education for the Neighborhoods

Gillian Pressman of Generation Citizen talks about teaching youth to fully understand the issues and engage with the community to solve them at our recent Civic Innovation Conversations.

These short thought provoking talks fueled some interactive breakout sessions and discussions afterwards.

Venture Café and Microsoft co-host these quarterly Civic Innovation Conversations.

Milton Irving Speaks on Innovation Infrastructure for the Neighborhoods

Milton Irving of Timothy Smith Network talks about the importance of deploying a strong innovation infrastructure to assist local economic development in the neighborhoods at our recent Civic Innovation Conversations.

These short thought provoking talks fueled some interactive breakout sessions and discussions afterwards.

Venture Café and Microsoft co-host these quarterly Civic Innovation Conversations.

Building Innovation Communities – a brief history of the Venture Cafe

How do you build an innovation community?

Join Founder and Chairman of the Venture Café Foundation, Tim Rowe interviewed by Horst von Wendorff about growing the Venture Café from a community idea to a volunteer supported organization over the past five year. Tim walks the ideas path from the Muddy Charles Pub, to Teresa Esser’s book (of the same name), through CIC to District Hall and the first Venture Café expansion in St. Louis, MO. Finally, Tim and Horst talk about how to connect and be a contributor with the Cafe community.

This Week: April 12 – 18, 2015

Friends,

Visit Venture Café on Thursday to learn about whether equity crowdfunding is a viable form of financing with Mintz Levin’s event featuring attorneys: Megan Gates and Kristin Gerber. Then examine the environment for research and development funding in France with Emmanuel Picq, PwC Cabinet d’Avocats, and Stefan Brouwers, Efficient Innovation France.

Also, welcome Sarah von Helfenstein to our Office Hours roster; on Thursday, get feedback and advice to grow your startup during 5 sets of Office Hours.  Plus, learn about the upcoming Open Data Science Conference or explore opportunities to go south of the border with Peace Corps México at their Info Tables in the Café.

If you’re feeling nostalgic about or, missed out on, last Thursday’s Café, check out the photos on Facebook.

This week’s feature blog posting is Building Innovation Communities – A Brief History of the Venture Cafe with Tim Rowe.

Hope to see you Thursday,

Venture Café Boston Team

Hope to see you Thursday,

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Pic of the Week:  Naming ceremony for Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury, home to Roxbury Innovation Center. Opening in the Fall.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

3:00 – 8:00 P.M. | Venture Café in Session

Feature Events

4:30 – 6:00 P.M. | Mintz Levin’s Equity Crowdfunding: Viable Financing for Emerging Businesses or Much Ado About Nothing?

“Crowdfunding” has become increasingly popular as a capital-raising mechanism for artists, film-makers and small businesses, in which financial contributions are made in exchange for a tangible item of value, such as tickets to a performance. In April 2012, as part of the JOBS (“Jumpstart Our Business Startups”) Act, the SEC was directed to implement rules allowing “equity crowdfunding,” in which small businesses would be allowed to raise needed capital in exchange for shares or other ownership interests. Three years on, despite great expectations, the SEC’s rules on this topic have been proposed, but are not yet final. Some states, including Massachusetts, have taken matters into their own hands and adopted rules allowing intrastate equity crowdfunding, in which small amounts can be raised through offerings only to residents of one state.

At this session hosted by Mintz Levin’s Megan Gates and Kristin Gerber, you’ll learn what the SEC’s rules will ultimately permit small businesses to do, what the state rules allow, and other potential means for financing startup businesses.

RSVP here.

6:00 – 7:00 P.M. | French Research and Development Funding Discussion with PwC & Efficient Innovation France

In 2013, the OECD ranked the French R&D credit n°3 in the world by the tax advantage per euro of R&D spend (35%) and n°1 by its weight in proportion to the GDP (0.26%). The credit reduces the cost of R&D close to Singapore and lower than in most Western European countries and the US. Certain features of the credit make it even more attractive for US investors. And there are numerous other sources of financing from the regions, State and the EU. The presenters, Stefan Brouwers, Efficient Innovation France Emmanuel Picq, PwC Cabinet d’Avocats, Paris, will explain the rules, opportunities and pitfalls.

Participants can also learn about the Young Enterprise “Start in France” competition with the possibility to benefit from a free one-week immersion in France: laureates will benefit from an extensive customized business network and connections to some of the best resources in Europe.

6:00 – 8:00 P.M. | MassTLC Seminar: Turning Products Into Companies - CANCELLED

RSVP REQUIRED! Please RSVP here and use the promotional code “CIC”. Only 50 codes available.

If you’re interested in building a billion dollar SaaS business, it’s necessary to first start with a multi-billion dollar problem. And to turn this problem into a billion dollar business you have to make it repeatable, sustainable, valuable, and predictable.

To help you navigate the myriad of challenges at every stage of the process, join MassTLC’s Cloud and Sales & Marketing Communities, Michael Skok and local entrepreneurs as case examples in a three-part series of dynamic workshops on successfully bringing your SaaS business to market.

You may have a great product, compelling Value Proposition, and a Disruptive Business Model, but how do you build a successful company around that? It can take several years to create your company. In the meantime, markets change. In addition to investing in R&D, you need to prove market acceptance – then repeat and scale through sales and marketing.

This interactive workshop, led by Michael Skok and featuring a case study with a local innovator, provides a framework to help founders and entrepreneurs bridge the product-company gap, and will include best practices to:

Develop foundations;
Design to fit; and
Architect to attract

Missed the first workshop on Value Proposition? Click here for the blog recap!

Office Hours

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Massachusetts Small Business Development Center

Mark Allio is Regional Director of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center’s (MSBDC) Boston office and its Minority Business Center. MSBDC is part of a national public business assistance program representing a three-way partnership between the Small Business Administration, Massachusetts Office of Business and Technology, and UMass Boston. The Center provides free one-on-one business advisory services to entrepreneurs and business owners, entrepreneurial training workshops, and special assistance in gaining access to capital.

A former two-time entrepreneur, non-profit administrator, and strategy consultant, Mark regularly meets entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds, providing them with ongoing practical perspective to help them realize the American Dream. More than 2,500 entrepreneurs have attended his workshops on a variety of topics of entrepreneurial interest.

Reserve 15 minutes with Mark.

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Sarah von Helfenstein

Valuation – the queen of finance & economic disciplines – is largely misunderstood, misrepresented, and misapplied. Yet she is essential for all business decisions – particularly those for dynamic, high growth companies and projects.

Sarah von Helfenstein would like to move you past Go – that “point estimate of value” where most people get stuck – and guide you behind the veil of mystery. Bring your questions. Find out how a meaningful valuation can do far more than wow potential investors or plug a number into a tax return or audited financial statement.

Value + Realism + Insight » Effective Decision Support

RSVP here. Sarah’s Office Hours on Thursday are full.

3:00 – 6:00 P.M. | Joe Caruso

For the last 20 years Joe Caruso has served has been an “Advocate for entrepreneurs” as a mentor, coach, and personal advisor to CEO’s and entrepreneurs. In recent years, he has served an investor, advisor and active director with dozens of companies, public and private. He also maintains an active consulting practice dealing with structuring and negotiation of acquisitions, strategic partnerships and financings, and issues related to dispute resolution.

Reserve 30 minutes with Joe here.

3:30 – 5:30 P.M. | Marty Sack

Marty Sack has mentored more than 200 start-ups over the last two years as a volunteer for SCORE. He brings with him the mentoring resources of more than forty additional successful executives, CPAs, small business owners, and other experts in diverse areas of business and non-profits–all volunteers offering free mentoring services.

Marty is the now retired co-founder of LunchDates Dating Service. He also founded and led a national job publication for 26 years, and he was the executive director of a Cambridge based non-profit for 18 years.

Marty’s Office Hours on Thursday are full. Reserve 30 minutes with Mary here.

5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | Dr. Sheldon Borkin

Get advice from Dr. Sheldon Borkin on growing and funding your company. Sheldon leads Strategic Angels which helps larger software companies become involved in the innovation economy. He is a mentor at both Techstars Boston and MassChallenge, and also a member of both Launchpad Venture Group and Investors Collaborative. Sheldon has done three startups resulting in two IPOs (including WebMD) and one acquisition. He is particular interests in enterprise and SMB software companies across verticals, and those with IoT and/or digital marketing technologies..

Reserve 30 minutes with Sheldon here. Sheldon’s Office Hours on Thursday are full.

Info Tables

5:30 – 7:00 P.M. | Peace Corps México

Want to get warmer and still be cool? Consider joining Peace Corps México! Their unique program promotes technology transfer, innovation and the sustainable use of natural resources. They work with the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) to place experienced Volunteers in research centers throughout central Mexico. They also work with technical universities, where Volunteers help strengthen university English and science curricula, train teachers, and teach classes in their areas of specialty. In the environment, they collaborate with the Mexican park service and forest service and are looking for Volunteers with expertise in land management, biodiversity monitoring, GIS and environmental education and communication. They’d love to talk to you!

5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | Open Data Science Conference

The #ODSc Conference brings together most influential practitioners, innovators, and thought leaders in the open source and data science fields to discover, develop, and accelerate the adoption of open source in data science.

Open source data science is revolutionizing the way we analyze information.

Be among the first to understand how you can leverage the promise of the #ODSc revolution
Explore 70+ technical and non-technical talks to grow your expertise
Discover latest applications and breakthroughs
Connect with other innovators across industries and disciplines

This Week: April 5 – 11, 2015

Friends,

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Visit Venture Café on Thursday to share your Ideas on the Future of Digital Retail in a session hosted by Staples, Thursday’s sponsoring organization.  Selected companies can also pitch ideas to Staples Execs afterwards.

Consider paying it forward by helping middle- and high-school students tackle local community issues during Youth CITIES Mini-Hack.

Also, New Leaf Legal returns to our Office Hours roster, so you’ll have 6 different sets of Office Hours to get feedback and advice to grow your startup.  Plus, learn about two upcoming events, Open Data Science Conference and World Congress on Angiogenesis, at their Info Tables in the Café.

And, like every other Thursday, find resources to grow your startup, pay it forward, and make great things happen.

Hope to see you Thursday,

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Coffee (and beer) and conversations
Pic of the Week: Throwback to Venture Café on the 11th floor of CIC, circa July 2010. Check out those old school name tags!

Thursday – Apr. 9, 2015

3:00 – 8:00 P.M. | Venture Café in Session

Feature Events

4:00 – 6:00 P.M. | Youth CITIES Mini-Hack

Monthly Mini-Hacks, organized by CIC, Youth CITIES, and Belmont High School teacher Josh Goldfine, aim to build solutions to local community issues. Each session addresses one topic by employing a range of decision making and problem solving styles. Join this month’s Mini-Hack at Venture Café. After a collaborative discussion, each participant will share an elevator pitch version of what is believed to be the best solution. Mini-Hacks are open to middle or high school teens, college students, entrepreneurs, educators, and other professionals. Please RSVP here.

4:30 – 6:00 P.M. | Ideation Session: Digital Retail Future hosted by Staples

What do you think the future of Retail will look like in 1 year…3 years….5 years? If you have a point of view on this, Staples would like to invite you to an ideation session followed by a networking event. During the ideation session they want to engage with you to learn your perspectives on emerging and future retail trends (mobile, omni channel, digital, delivery, etc). Those who attend the ideation session would get the opportunity to pitch their ideas to Staples leaders during the networking time. If you are interested only in the ideation session please register below. If you are interested in both ideation and pitch session please register below and send an email with your name, area of interest, and company description to june.laroche@staples.com. Participants for the pitch sessions will be selected on a first come, first served basis.

Please RSVP here.

Office Hours

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Bill Larrenaga

Bill is a Director with The CFO Center, the largest international provider of CFO resources, services and solutions to the small and medium sized enterprise sector. Bill was previously a Partner of KPMG LLP, one of the Big Four CPA Firms. He has extensive experience working with senior management and Board of Directors in high tech, manufacturing and retail and distribution industries. He has led client service teams in providing risk based, process driven internal audits that provided value. He can help you organize your financial operations and business plans. Please be sure to bring your business plan including your high level pitch document, the problems you are addressing, the size of the market, your team, the product offering, etc.

Reserve 30 minutes with Bill here.

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Investors Collaborative

Investors Collaborative (iC) provides venture capital to select early stage companies in a wide range of industry sectors including software, IT, biotechnology, clean technology, healthcare, energy, communications, hardware, and professional services. They seek to help individuals developing innovative technologies build world class companies.

Investors Collaborative’s Office Hours this Thursday are full. Their next available appointments are on May 14. Reserve 15 minutes with iC here.

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | New Leaf Legal

New Leaf Legal, focuses on creatively developing Corporate, Entertainment, and IP infrastructures for their start-up clients as well as helping established companies embark on new and entrepreneurial paths. Stop by the Cafe to talk shop!

Reserve 30 minutes with New Leaf Legal here.

3:00 – 6:00 P.M. | Joe Caruso

For the last 20 years Joe Caruso has served has been an “Advocate for entrepreneurs” as a mentor, coach, and personal advisor to CEO’s and entrepreneurs. In recent years, he has served an investor, advisor and active director with dozens of companies, public and private. He also maintains an active consulting practice dealing with structuring and negotiation of acquisitions, strategic partnerships and financings, and issues related to dispute resolution.

Reserve 30 minutes with Joe here.

3:00 – 6:00 P.M. | Steve Davis

Meet with Steve Davis, a business growth strategist who has been a mentor and advisor to entrepreneurs for over 20 years. He’s Founder of CXO Advisory Group, a company that works with businesses, entrepreneurs and service providers to accelerate revenue growth. Steve helps you strategize to build a profitable, efficient business capable of growing to scale.

Reserve 30 minutes with Steve here.

3:30 – 5:30 P.M. | Marty Sack

Marty Sack has mentored more than 200 start-ups over the last two years as a volunteer for SCORE. He brings with him the mentoring resources of more than forty additional successful executives, CPAs, small business owners, and other experts in diverse areas of business and non-profits–all volunteers offering free mentoring services.

Marty is the now retired co-founder of LunchDates Dating Service. He also founded and led a national job publication for 26 years, and he was the executive director of a Cambridge based non-profit for 18 years.

Reserve 30 minutes with Marty here.

Info Tables

5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | Open Data Science Conference

The #ODSc Conference brings together most influential practitioners, innovators, and thought leaders in the open source and data science fields to discover, develop, and accelerate the adoption of open source in data science.

Open source data science is revolutionizing the way information is analyzed.
• Be among the first to understand how you can leverage the promise of the #ODSc revolution
• Explore 70+ technical and non-technical talks to grow your expertise
• Discover latest applications and breakthroughs
• Connect with other innovators across industries and disciplines

5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | World Congress on Angiogenesis

The World Congress on Angiogenesis is an exciting reinvention of the medical conference. Hosted at the Stuart Street Playhouse in Boston on April 11-12, this event will bring together a wide range of stakeholders in angiogenesis research and treatment, including clinicians, researchers, advocates, industry representatives, international experts, and others.

Attendees will have the opportunity to listen and participate in interactive discussions around exciting treatment breakthroughs, bold ideas to advance patient outcomes, research across different fields of angiogenesis (oncology, ophthalmology, cardiology and wound healing), and the future of angiogenesis-based treatments.

Don’t miss the opportunity to lend your voice to the discussion and network with experts at the most innovative conference you will attend all year.

 

 

Going to Market and Key Concepts for Entrepreneurs

Going to Market and Key Concepts for Entrepreneurs

Why do some startups succeed while others fail?

What are some of the most common mistakes made by entrepreneurs?

How can you reach your market?

If you couldn’t be there when start-ups first got started, this interview might be the next best thing…Software industry veteran Godfrey Hiltebrandt shares gems of wisdom from decades of bringing tech startups to market. Hear about changes in the field, key mistakes to avoid making, and the core principles to success in entrepreneurship.

Host: Katya Margolin, Multimedia Storyteller
Guest: Godfrey Hiltebrandt, Marketing/Sales/Operations

Music Credits:
“No Qualms,” Dynamic Syncopation
“Nostrandt,” Ratatat