Raising Capital through an ICO (Initial Coin Offering)

A friend of mine kept nagging me to buy Bitcoin when it was around $900. Honestly, the whole concept of cryptocurrency seemed a little wanky. For those of you that don’t know, Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency enabled by blockchain technology which debuted in 2009.

The founder(s) of Bitcoin remains unknown to this day and is only known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. Anyway, I finally caved in and started buying Bitcoin when it hit $1300 and at the time of this writing it’s valued at more than $7,200 (which really makes me wish I bought more).

In 2010, if you bought $100 worth of Bitcoin, it would be worth more than $1 M today (the highest value of Bitcoin in 2010 was 39 cents).   The staggering rise of Bitcoin has led to the rise of countless cryptocurrencies.  In fact, Coin Market Cap currently lists over 1000 cryptocurrencies.

Similar to an IPO (Initial Public Offering), a cryptocurrency will have an ICO (Initial Coin Offering).  For example, Ethereum debuted at 40 cents and has a value over $300 at the time of this writing.

While I was covering TechCrunch Disrupt 2017, I witnessed the ICO of SparkleCoin, a cryptocurrency backed by diamonds, which had a countdown punctuated with a confetti canon (I always enjoy a good party).

Initially, when I heard the concept of ICO, I shrugged thinking that it’s another cryptocurrency in a crowded market.  Why would I speculate on another cryptocurrency?   However, ICOs have evolved beyond cryptocurrency -it’s been a way for startups to raise capital.  A startup can assign an amount of equity per coin in a similar way that equity is assigned to stock in a publicly traded company. With blockchain technology, a company’s coin can easily be traded on various exchanges (CryptoCoinCharts lists over 100 coin exchanges).

I talked to an angel investor and she said that she preferred to invest in companies that have done an ICO.  One of the reasons is that she can cash out a lot earlier in an exchange whereas with a traditional investment in a startup, she may never have the option to cash out.

For a startup to raise money through an ICO, they should expect to pay for about $500 K in legal fees (this is cheap compared to an IPO which may cost north of $5 M – typically it’s about 7% of the revenue generated).

iComplyICO, a Vancouver BC based startup, aims to drastically reduce the cost of an ICO  by streamlining the legal, compliance, and due diligence procedures that traditional IPOs must go through today. iComplyICO CEO, Matthew Unger, said that his goal is to reduce the cost of a legally compliant ICO to below $100 K.

Here are examples of some successful ICOs for this year:

  • Filecoin ($257 M): A blockchain-based storage network and cryptocurrency
  • Tezos($232 M): new decentralized blockchain that governs itself by establishing a true digital commonwealth.
  • EOS($185 M): a blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications
  • Bancor($153 M): enables built-in price discovery and a liquidity mechanism for tokens on smart contract blockchains.
  • Status($90 M):  an interface to access Ethereum, built for Android & iOS.

As you can see, it’s possible to raise a tremendous amount of capital through an ICO at the fraction of the cost of an IPO.  With that said, the SEC has declared that some ICO’s are actually securities and subject to regulations.

Recently, the SEC charged two companies, REIcoin Group Foundation and DRC World, of defrauding investors with their ICOs.  In these case, the two companies claimed to have cryptocurrencies backed by Real Estate and Diamonds respectively (and it turns out they didn’t). So investors, beware!

For startups, an ICO can be an amazing vehicle to raise money; there’s less red tape and the costs are a fraction of going public. If you are thinking of raising capital through an ICO, you need to consult with legal counsel that’s well versed in this field.

Personally, I foresee that once the regulations and procedures for raising capital through are fully established, IPOs will go the way of the dinosaur and be replaced by the more agile and leaner ICO.

 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

 

 

Startup Grind Sacramento hosts GrowthX Founding Partner Will Bunker

Startup Grind Sacramento in partnership with the Urban Hive and Projectile X will be hosting serial entrepreneur, Will Bunker on October 10.  Will co-founded the dating site that eventually became Match.com. He has invested in over 160 companies and  He currently is a founder partner at GrowthX Academy and GrowthX Capital.   GrowthX Academy is an immersive 12 week boot camp in San Francisco that has programs in Sales , Marketing, and Design.  GrowthX Capital is a seed stage venture capital for technology startups.

This event will be co-hosted by with ProjectileX. ProjectileX is a youth business education non-profit organization dedicated to furthering youth entrepreneurship through teaching a startups-oriented curriculum, organizing entrepreneurship conferences and networking events, empowering the youth to solve societal problems through projects, funded by our incubator, as well as putting the youth in a the driver’s seat to utilize our resources and connections and their drive to effect change in the K12 school system. ProjectileX’s programs are now in 116 schools across 12 countries.

The mission of Startup Grind is to educate, connect, and inspire entrepreneurs.   At this event, there will be networking, great food, and live music!  Here are the event details:

Date:  October 10, 2017

Time: 6 pm

Location: The Urban Hive, 1931 H St, Sacramento, CA 95811

Register : StartupGrind.com/Sacramento

Apptology is a sponsor of Startup Grind Sacramento.

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

Favorites at TechCrunch Disrupt 2017

The winner of TechCrunch Disrupt 2017 Startup Battlefield is Pi.   They developed a device that allows smartphones and other devices to charge wirelessly .   Amazingly, they were able to demonstrate this on stage in front of a live audience.  In comparison, in the previous week, Apple announced their wireless charging pad, Mophie,  which is clearly an inferior product.  Along with the bragging rights, Pi received a $50,000 cash prize.

Pi and the runner-up, Oneva,  got the limelight but there were literally hundreds of startups that participated at the event that don’t get any attention .  I spent three days wandering the floor at Disrupt; talking to scores of startups and I would like to highlight a few of my favorites.  So, in no particular order…

Hashgraph

Hashgraph has a bold claim. They stated that their patented algorithm is faster and more secure than blockchain (the underlying technology that enable cryptocurrencies ).  Blockchain has been the basis for other startups that have figured out innovative uses for its distributed ledger system.  If Hashgraph’s claims hold true, they can potentially replace blockchain in a rapidly growing space.

Waggit

Being a dog owner, Waggit caught my eye.  Their high tech collar captures the vitals for dogs which can be tracked on an app.  Their point is that dogs can’t tell us when they’re in pain (since they can’t talk-we’ve tried) and that their platform can help diagnose your dog’s health.   This can be a useful diagnostic tool for veterinarians.

SparkleCOIN

One of the new areas of coverage at Disrupt is Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain.  SparkleCOIN is a new cryptocurrency that had their ICO (Initial Coin Offering) at the event.  Every SparkleCOIN will be backed by $5 worth of diamonds.  In addition, they plan to build a whole ecosystem including an exchange and an ecommerce site.

UnitOneDose

UnitOneDose is a robotic pharmacy dispensary.  Their  system accurately dispenses the drug in containers that can be only opened by the patient with their wrist band. Having seen how pharmaceutical drugs are dispensed in hospital and retail settings, I immediately saw the  benefits.  The current process is manually intensive and prone to errors and abuse.   I can easily see their device being the standard in hospitals. 

JumpStart

On the final day of Disrupt, Mexico was hit with a 7.1 magnitude earth quake.  Coincidentally, JumpStart had an earthquake demonstrator that simulates a 7.9 magnitude earthquake.  To see a video click here.  It was a pretty impressive demonstration.   By the way, JumpStart provides supplemental earthquake insurance.

eggXYt

eggXYt is an example of a startup that solves a problem that most people are unaware of (including myself).  In a nutshell, 6 billion male chicks (of a breed that’s meant to lay eggs) are killed annually.  Their technology is able to detect the sex of the egg shortly after they’re laid and prevents them from going through incubation process.  Their technology can also potentially save $1.5 B annually.

Equbot

Equbot uses artificial intelligence to analyze investment opportunities.  Pretty intriguing.  They’ve already been using their platform to make investments and claim that it’s done amazingly well.  However, because they are currently working in negotiating their A round, they couldn’t provide specifics. 

Aris MD

Aris MD has developed a platform that enables surgeons to superimpose patient data (like an MRI) over a live patient using augmented reality (AR).  This is probably one of the most practical and innovative uses of AR that I’ve seen.

Stemless

Stemless has developed a solution that allows for online ordering and payment for cannabis dispensaries.  For those not familiar with the cannabis industry, it’s primarily an all cash business.  Their solution is not just a technical solution but also a legal solution where they had to work and negotiate with banks willing to work in cannabis industry.

Ourotech

Chemotherapy is painful process as an oncologist goes through trial and error with FDA approved chemical cocktails on cancer patients.  Ourotech has developed a testing platform where they can test various cocktails on cancer cells obtained from the patient in a lab environment and then recommend an optimal course of action.  This process totally makes sense to me and I can see it becoming standard practice with oncologists. 

In the 3 days at TechCrunch disrupt, I talked to scores of startups.  I wished I could have highlighted more in this article.  It will be interesting to see which of startups become the next big thing.

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014

Sign Up for the 3rd Annual Startup Grind Summer Party

Startup Grind Sacramento will be hosting the 3rd Annual Startup Grind Summer Party on July 11th at the Urban Hive.  Unlike our normal monthly event which features an interview with an accomplished entrepreneur, this event is just a party to celebrate the Sacramento Startup Community.  We’ll have food, adult beverages, and live music.  Best of all, it’s free.

The party will feature tables with 10 Startups.  If you would like a table to promote your startup at this party, you can sign up here.  Our party typically has over 200 attendees and we have had some media coverage.  Here’s Mark S. Allen giving the Startup Grind Summer Party some TV coverage.

Here’s the event info:

Date:  July 11, 2017

Time:  6 pm – 9 pm

Location:      The Urban Hive

                        1931 H Street

                        Sacramento, CA 95811

Fee:  Free (but you have to register here)

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

2017 UC Davis Big Bang Competition Awards

UC Davis Big Bang Competition is the biggest startup event in Davis.  This year, 70 companies participated in the 8 month program that started in October 2016 and concluded with the final pitches held on May 25th.   Personally, I was impressed with the final presentations.  Here are the award winners of the competition:

1st Place ($10, 000) 

Raydiant Oximetry has developed a low-cost, noninvasive fetal pulse oximeter that keeps mothers and babies safe during labor and delivery. The device is intended to reduce medically unnecessary c-sections that can create health complications to millions of babies and mothers each year and increase healthcare costs.

 

2nd Place ($5,000)

Chromatiscope aims to boost students’ scientific literacy by combining four specialized laboratory devices—each of which costs thousands of dollars—into a single, easy-to-use device that costs just $40 to $70. The result: more students can have the experiences necessary to excel in STEM.

 

People’s Choice ($2,500)

This award was voted by the audience.

AthleticOutlook:  A web-based platform that connects high school and college athletes with NCAA-experienced coaches for evaluations, feedback and resources.

 

Gowan / AGR Challenge Award ($10,000)

Two teams tied for this award and split the cash prize.

FloraPulse is building a data service for growers that provides water stress data for their crops in real time. This could replace current technology (pressure chambers) that dates back to the 1960s and that is slow, expensive and often inaccurate.

ReNew Foods is developing great-tasting, healthy snacks from high-quality rescued fruit and vegetable pressings.

Biomedical Innovation Award ($4,000)

Oomni Inc. is developing a drug called Oomnicoxib. When combined with current chemotherapies, the drug will improve cancer treatment.

 

Global Poverty Alleviation ($3,000)

Reach 1600 Foundation has developed a free, adaptive SAT prep program for students from underserved communities.

Innovation in Food & Agriculture Award ($3,000)

WISRAN identifies operation logistics inefficiencies in real-time for growers to capture profits.

1st Place Food + Ag Innovation Pitch and Poster Contest ($1,000)

Global Water Farms is working on developing solar powered desalination plants.

 

It will be interesting to see how the startups that participated in the competition turn out.  Sierra Energy can trace their roots as a past Big Bang People’s Choice Winner.  If you are interested in participating in next year’s Big Bang’s Competition, check out their site around October.

 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

 

 

How to Introduce Your Brand New Company to the World in 5 Easy Steps

Compared to established companies, startups often have to play by different rules. They are just starting their journeys into the business world and face additional challenges to conquer early on.

One of the biggest challenges is marketing. Because startups have little to no brand recognition and often offer a niche product or service which might be difficult to explain to outsiders, a foray into marketing has to be carefully considered. Whereas other companies may make use of tried-and-true techniques, startups have to be more creative in order to succeed.

5 Key Steps to Market Your Startup

1. Identify your key audience and influencers

Before you take one step, first identify where you will market your product. A staggering 42 per cent of founders cite a lack of market need as the number one reason for failure. Even if you have an outstanding product or an excellent service, it is absolutely useless unless people actually want to use it.

Of course, that’s not to say you should only cater to an existing audience. Steve Jobs famously said that people don’t know what they want until you give it to them.

For instance, smartphones were adopted extremely quickly, yet few people could have predicted their popularity. Even so, you must understand exactly who your product will be marketed toward so you can create relevant content and marketing campaigns that will actually interest your audience.

2. Analyze and plan accordingly

Entrepreneurs often hear that the majority of startups are doomed to fail before they are even conceived, a notion that is supported by hard statistics. In fact, 90 per cent of startups inevitably fail for one reason or another; that’s a fact every person in the business has to face.

The first step is to make a cohesive plan. As any entrepreneur will tell you, plans are also prone to failure. The turbulent nature of business will render a lot of them useless by the time they are supposed to come into fruition.

Even so, studies have shown that setting challenging and specific goals is linked to more effective performance and increased motivation. When you have clear objectives in sight, you work slowly toward achieving them.

Even if you fail in some steps along the way, keep working toward fulfilling your purpose. Hurdles and obstacles in the entrepreneurial world are not just common; they are to be expected at nearly every turn.

Once you carefully lay out your plans, it’s time to make an in-depth analysis of what makes your startup tick. Before you go into market and start promoting your product, it’s vital to properly understand what your startup is made of. It’s only when you can safely answer all the questions that may be thrown at you that you are actually ready to go out and meet the world.

3. Craft targeted and engaging content

Some of the most effective B2B marketers spend 39 per cent of their marketing budgets on content, and there’s a general trend toward creating relevant, targeted content for specific audiences. That’s why ignoring content creation is a bad idea. After all, the majority of consumers learn about a company through content rather than ads. Though this takes into account a number of different services and ways to serve content, as a startup you may be limited on the type of content marketing that you can create and push.

Blogs, however, are fantastic and inexpensive, and the vast majority of companies employ blogs for marketing purposes. Marketers who prioritize blogging see increased search-engine traffic, build their company’s authority in the industry, improve conversion rates, increase leads, and more. It’s not hard to see the benefits of such a practice, particularly because you have full creative control over what’s happening in your company’s blog. It’s a great way to create a brand identity, reach out to potential consumers, and create much-needed awareness for your brand, your product, and what it entails.

4. Make sure you’re on social media (your competitors already are!)

In this day and age, you have no excuse for not keeping up with social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites provide a free way of directly reaching out to your target audience. They are great places to promote your brand, explain how your product or service works, and keep your startup in the spotlight for as long as possible.

When you first start, social media management can easily be done by one person—often you, the founder. As you grow, you can always delegate social media marketing to other people within your company. Of course, first educate yourself in how social media marketing works. What you may think is simple and obvious might turn out to be a difficult lesson indeed.

5. Maintain engaging and interactive social media presence

In addition to being social, being interactive is of equal importance. If you maintain a social media presence that is faceless and cold, consumers will turn their backs on you. In the digital age, users expect their questions to be answered and companies to interact with them on a personal level.

As long as you respond immediately (or within two hours), 34 per cent of customers are more likely to complete a purchase with your company. In addition, about 43 per cent are much more likely to recommend your product or service to friends and family as well as promote it through social media. On the other hand, failing to respond may result in customers feeling indifferent about your brand, which means you won’t receive word of mouth advertising and a positive image in social media.

Common Mistakes Made by Founders When Marketing

  1. Putting too much trust in the idea of their product, not its real-world applicability. Since entrepreneurs live and breathe the products and services they offer, they often (mistakenly) think everyone will feel the same way.
  2. Failing to connect with customers and listen to their feedback. No one can offer a service without customers, and it’s the general population that largely defines the market.
  3. Failing to work out a personal, tailor-made plan for the company. Just because something works for another startup doesn’t mean it will work for yours.
  4. Managing the budget poorly. Though investments are necessary, they should be carefully thought out and executed since money is tight, especially in the beginning.
  5. Failing to identity the actual target market, and thus creating a completely irrelevant campaign. As mentioned before, in-depth research is absolutely necessary before attempting to reach your target market.

Take a Cue from other Entrepreneurs’ Successes

Shopify may be an incredibly successful Canadian company, but that wasn’t always the case. According to CEO Tobias Lütke, there are some key elements that all startups should take into account when they are trying to launch their business and introduce it to a wider audience.

First and foremost, a startup that fixes an existing problem is much more likely to be successful. Even better, if you create something that you need for yourself, it means that you will be that much more connected to the product. You’ll also have an easier time identifying the right market.

Find the right team. This can mean a number of different things, but in essence it boils down to finding people who share your passion for the product and who are also able to help with its growth. A team of engineers might create a fantastic product, but if no one else can use it, then it has no value in the market.

Expect to do everything at once. When you are just starting out, you may need to conduct a range of jobs that you’re not well-suited for—and that’s perfectly fine. Though you may just want to create a product and leave everything else for other people to handle, you’ll most likely need to address those issues by yourself. This also applies to marketing. No one knows your product better than you do, and creating a brand should and most likely will be your responsibility.

Be visible, both to your target audience and to any potential investors. For example, you may find that the product you offer will do great in another city, but if you’re not prepared to move, you may risk everything else. If you don’t have a presence, users who may have been interested in your product will simply be satisfied elsewhere, with another product.

Stay focused and true to your purpose. Once you start marketing your product, you will face a lot of challenges. You’ll also be confronted by a lot of distractions and failures. Being distracted and inconsistent is a surefire path toward failure because your users need to identify stability in your product. A company that doesn’t know what to do with itself is harder to trust.

By guest writer, Jonha Richman  who is a marketing strategist with over 9 years of experience advising tech startups. She’s also a staff writer at Small Business Trends and her works were featured on The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Business Insider, among others. You may connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

500 Startups’ Batch 20 Demo Day:  The Summer of Love

The 41 companies of Batch 20 proudly graduated from 500 Startups three month Accelerator program by pitching to an auditorium full of investors on their Demo Day held on May 12, 2017.  The startups fell mainly into the categories of Digital Health, FinTech and Civic Tech.  With a flair for fun, the theme for the event was the “Summer of Love” and Dave McClure and the 500 Team were dressed up in their groovy getups.  In no particular order, here are some of the startups that I found hip.

 

Outta Sight!

I have two Amazon Echo’s in my house and use Siri often with my iPhone.  Consequently, Mycroft AI was my top pick for the batch.  They’ve developed an open source voice assistant platform that allows companies to create their own voice assistant interface.

Bummer…You Need a Lawyer

The only thing worse than going to a dentist is having to find a lawyer.  Having personally done this in the past, it’s really not fun.  Court Buddy helps consumers find solo practicing lawyers that offer flat rates.

Keep on Truckin’

 Preteckt has developed a platform that uses both hardware and software to provide real time data for big rigs and effectively predicts needed maintenance and minimizes on down time for the trucking industry.

Flashback: It’s Been Done Before But…

With Printivo, you can make business cards, custom stationary, banners, posters via their web site.  Hmmm….aren’t there a ton of companies like VistaPrint and Shutterfly that already do this?  Yes, but Printivo is the only online service that does this in Africa which is green territory worth an estimated $8 B.  I personally like startups that do functions that we find mundane in areas that are underserved.

Head Trip:  Why Hasn’t This Been Done Yet?

BenRevo has developed a sales automation platform for the health insurance industry.  This essentially provides the ability for health insurance to be purchased online.  Why is this head trip?  I don’t know why the insurance companies do this themselves.  Kudos to the Benrevo team for recognizing the need and developing a solution.

It’s Hip to be Square

Combine the most boring topics, government, big data, and urban planning and you get the startup, UrbanLogiq.  UrbanLogiq has developed a platform where they aggregate big data into a usable format which really helps out city planners.   A yawn fest for me but, if you’re a city planner, UrbanLogiq is pretty hip.

Nark and Get Paid

Sacramento based Text To Ticket has developed an app where you can report texting drivers.  A good video that catches the culprit will nab the nark $5 (Text to Ticket gets a lot more when they forward the video to the appropriate enforcement agency).

Groovy:  A Fun Startup

Win-Win has developed a platform where athletes can engage their fans by hosting games while raising funds for their charities.  I found their CEO, Mike Tauiliili, pretty interesting.  He was an NFL Player that played for the Indianapolis Colts.  Afterwards, he learned to code and joined the Silicon Valley startup world.

Join Batch 22

How well the Batch 20 companies do remains to be seen, but 500 Startups does have an excellent track record. Producing three unicorn startups (with a fourth, possibly on the way). 37 Centaurs, (valued $100-999 M), and over 300 Ponies ($10-99 M).

If you’re interest in 500 Startups, they are currently looking for applicants for Batch 22.

A good candidate should have:

  • Balanced Team
  • Product Launched
  • Traction with Good Metrics​

If your startup is interested in applying for Batch 22, find the application here.

After applying, be sure to ask your local Startup Grind director for a warm referral!

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

How Do You Turn Your Idea Into an App?

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I will always remember my first convention as a vendor representing Apptology. As we set up our booth, I was nervous for a number of reasons: Did I understand our technical services well enough to answer questions? Would convention-goers suspect I was new at this? Should I have worn the Apptology-branded baseball jersey versus the outfit I’d purchased specifically for this event?

In short, none of this mattered. As people slowly migrated to our booth, they watched our video presentation and read our marketing materials… it was surprisingly comfortable. However, what I noticed more than anything was that most of the people stayed to chat! Some even waited in line simply because they had an idea and they wanted to talk about it.

If you have an idea for an app but have no clue how to get to the next step, it really is easy to have the conversation. Don’t be intimidated! It’s okay if you aren’t tech savvy. It’s okay if you have only jotted down a few notes. Of course, it’s wonderful if you’ve come fully prepared with a wireframe, a flow and navigation document and an architecture diagram, but in my five plus years in the Mobile Application Project Management world, very few clients actually come to us fully prepared. It’s okay! That’s our job!

To get started, we will want to have a clear understanding of your vision for your app. If you have sketches or samples of things that inspire you, we can begin there. If there are functions in other apps that you love, but they have nothing to do with your product and you’re not sure how that could translate to your specific app specs, we can help you get there. In fact, many clients come to us with their ideas and ask us to collaborate with them. We are happy to research and suggest solutions that will enhance the performance or user experience of your app,

Once we are ready to move forward, we can initially provide a package that helps define the project scope and creates the “bones” for your app from concept through submission. With the client’s constant input, we provide:

• Page Schematics with explanations of page-by-page functionality and features required for all screens.

• Site Architecture (both user and admin when applicable)

• Presentation of Final Site Architecture

Once these documents are created, we have a clear and precise roadmap to move forward with design and development.

If you plan to develop an app, my advice is to have fun! Research other apps to see what is out there! Find colors and designs you like! Our job is to adapt our development methodologies to meet the technical specifications of your project by helping you determine resources needed depending on your app’s complexity. Whether you have Post-It notes or detailed digital files, it’s okay! YOUR job is to be the expert of YOUR idea.

 

Shellynn Finstad is the Chief Creative Officer for Apptology and Project Manager for Apptology’s Custom App Division.

500 Startups Batch 19 Demo Day

500 Startups Batch 19

The theme for 500 Startups Batch 19 Demo Day was Valentine’s Day (although it technically was on February 15) and accordingly Founder, Dave McClure, kicked it off dressed as the Queen of Hearts.  Batch 19 had 44 companies participated in two tracks, B2B and Fashion and Beauty.  I’m always impressed with the diversity of 500’s startups.   Almost half of the startups are international and over half the founders are woman and minorities.  I wish I had the time to write about each startup but alas, I only have time to mention my personal favorites.  So in no particular order…

 

Park Evergreen

Check Please

The startup that I would personally invest is Park Evergreen.  They have developed a parking management software that makes it easy to find and pay for parking.  Oddly enough, on my drive to Demo Day, I was listening to a Freakonmics podcast called Parking is Hell which describes the high cost of parking.  It made me think of the times when parking is a challenge and how much I would pay to not have to drive in circles to find parking.  Their platform allows a driver to pay and reserve a parking space.  In my mind, if it solves this problem effectively, it will be a unicorn.

 

o6

I’d Buy That!

O6 makes a little widget that can be mounted on the steering wheel.  In conjunction with their companion app, you can navigate through your iPhone while you’re driving without taking your hands off the steering wheel and it allows you to keep y our eyes on the road.  Interestingly enough, as I was getting a demo of the product, Silicon Valley icon, Tim Draper, was waiting in line behind me wanting to buy one (I don’t  know if actually was interested in investing in them also).

 

claimcompass

Free Money!

ClaimCompass declaration of free money caught my attention.   If your flight gets delayed or cancelled, their platform will automatically check if you are eligible for compensation and if you are; they will make a claim on your behalf.   They can get you compensated up to $650 and take a 25% commission if successful.  I’ve bookmarked their site just in case I have to go to battle with an airline in the future.

 

pawprint

Sign Ruby Up!

PawPrint allows you to move and maintain your pet records on their platform.  If you have a pet, you know what a hassle it is to manage their shot records.  Mental note:  sign Ruby (she’s our dog) up.

 

gymhit

Shameless Plug for the Sacramento Region

This is a shameless plug for Sacramento based startup, GymHit.  GymHit has developed a business management software for the fitness industry.   (I also gave them a warm referral to 500 Startups).

 

sickweather

Clever Use of Social Media Data

Sickweather has developed an innovative method to track the spread of disease using social media.  You can track the spread of illness on a map like a meteorologist tracks weather.  The data they’ve gleamed has outperformed data provided by the CDC.

 

kompyte

That’s Original

This is original idea I haven’t seen before.  Kompyte has developed a platform that allows their users to automatically track and analyze their competitors.    At my last company, we had a full time employee that performed this function.    I can see this platform being extremely useful for any company that actively tracks their competitors.

 

Join Batch 21

How well the Batch 19 companies do remains to be seen, but 500 Startups does have an excellent track record. Producing 3 Unicorn startups (with a 4th possibly on the way), 37 Centaurs (valued $100-999 M), and over 300 Ponies ($10-99 M), you might be wondering how to get into 500 Startups. Well, first you’ve got to apply!

If I piqued your interest in 500 Startups, they are currently looking for applicants for Batch 21. Good candidates should have:

 

  • Balanced Team

 

  • Product Launched

 

  • Traction with Good Metrics

 

If your startup is interested in applying for Batch 21, find the application here.

After applying, be sure to ask your local Startup Grind director for a warm referral!

 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

 

Sacramento Kings Hosts 2nd Annual Capitalize Startup Contest

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Last  year, 89 startups participated in the Sacramento King’s Capitalize Contest.  It was a March Madness type of event which had several judging rounds that culminated to a four finalist where the winner was decided by Kings Fans.

The Sacramento Kings announced the second year of Capitalize, the NBA’s first startup pitch contest showcasing local entrepreneurs. Moneta Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm based in Folsom, California, is collaborating with the Kings to highlight the most promising innovators and companies of the Sacramento region, potentially launching their unique products into a global marketplace.

Startups within 75 miles of Sacramento may submit applications for this unique contest. Visit Kings.com/Capitalize to begin the application process.

“The inaugural Capitalize contest highlighted the best and brightest innovators that come right from our community who are ready to compete on a global stage,” said Kings President Chris Granger. “We’re excited to see what projects rise during this year’s competition and grow Sacramento’s emerging innovation economy. It’s a unique way for us to use our robust background in tech to support our community’s entrepreneurs.”

Last year’s finalists have seen tremendous opportunities following the first NBA VC contest. Finalist California Safe Soil provides its innovative waste solution at the Kings new home, Golden 1 Center – the most environmentally friendly and technologically advanced arena in the world – and has expanded to an 80,000 square-foot facility to meet new client needs. Finalist Barobo received the 2016 Sacramento Regional Innovation Award for Hardware and Electronics and looks to partner with the Kings Foundation on a school STEM initiative.

“We are excited and proud to be working with the Sacramento Kings to continue to grow the Sacramento tech economy,” said Moneta Ventures Managing Partner Lokesh Sikaria. “As a fund focused on early-stage companies, the Moneta team hopes to add valuable insight to the Capitalize contest process.”

Capitalize is a two-round tournament where 16 local innovators will compete to be selected for a cash prize and lunch with an owner of the Sacramento Kings. Sixteen semi-finalists will be selected to participate in a one-day pitchfest, where they will have an opportunity to impress a panel of judges consisting of local investors and technology executives. These judges will select the top four companies to move on to the finals.

The four finalists will compete for the fan vote on Twitter from March 15 through March 22, when they will join the join the Kings and Moneta Ventures at Golden 1 Center for Tech Night on March 22. The winner will be announced and awarded a grand prize package.  The deadline to apply for the contest is February 17, 2017.