6 > 7 = 8

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Okay, I’ll admit it… I have not yet upgraded to an iPhone 7 Plus. In fact, I love my iPhone 6s Plus so much, I don’t even want to upgrade! I know, I know… I’m in the business of apps, I need to upgrade for testing purposes, I need to have the latest and greatest, etc., which means every once in awhile I’ll ask myself if I need to upgrade. However, the iPhone 7 Plus is going to have to send me flowers or do something pretty amazing to convince me to abandon my little 6s Plus buddy, my handheld link to the world. We’ve shared so much!

For the skeptical holdouts like me, I’ll share some of the research I’ve read if you’re still resisting as I am:

No Headphone Jack: This really is a dealbreaker for me. I can’t imagine driving without a little Joy Division, Foxy Shazam or some Hendrix, and I’m simply connected by a $1 cord adapter while I simultaneously charge my phone. It works, okay? But now the iPhone 7 Plus has the “haptic engine” and it’s “faster.” Have I joined the ranks of “Old Dogs?” Give me back my headphone jack, please. I’ve read that I can use Apple’s $159 wireless AirPods or Bluetooth headphones, or use a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter bundle. Sigh, but it works now, and I’m happy. More accessories = more money, or maybe a new car? Hmmm…

Processor Speed and Graphics Speed: In my research, I’ve read that the iPhone 7 boasts up to twice the Processor Speed of iPhone 6s Plus, and a Graphics Speed up to three times faster. Apple claims a substantial CPU increase of 40% and a significant GPU increase of 50% over the iPhone 6s Plus. I was blissfully unaware these were issues, but I can be logical. It is technology, after all. Faster = upgrade. Got it.

  • iPhone 7 Plus – Apple A10 Fusion chipset: Quad Core CPU, 3GB of RAM
  • iPhone 6S Plus – Apple A9 chipset, CPU: Dual-core 1.84 GHz Twister; GPU: PowerVR GT7600, 2GB RAM

Water Resistance: Okay, this seems like a big deal, but when I purchased my 6s Plus, its water resistance claim was also appealing to me. Knock on wood, I’ve been lucky with this phone and have never had to test its swimming capabilities; however, the 7 Plus features mention a full submersion for up to 30 minutes.

The Look: Other than the glaring removal of my beloved headphone jack, the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone 6 Plus are visually very similar. I am a fan of the color options for the 7 Plus, though: Jet Black, Rose Gold, Gold, Silver and Black (on the 128GB and 256GB models). Additionally, the displays are 25% brighter on the iPhone 7 Plus, but the general specs are the same:

  • iPhone 7 Plus – 5.5-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 ppi), 67.7% screen-to-body ratio
  • iPhone 6S Plus – 5.5-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 ppi), 67.7% screen-to-body ratio

Better Earpiece Speaker: the iPhone 7 Plus has louder dual speakers compared to the iPhone 6s Plus which has just the mono speaker. This is great, but doesn’t have me running to AT&T just yet.

Battery Life: Will we ever be happy? The iPhone 7 has an hour longer of battery life, but the remaining battery features are pretty much similar to the iPhone 6s Plus. In fact, it seems the 6s Plus gives you more audio playback time and 3 more hours of talk time than the 7 Plus.

And Finally, the Camera: I’m a mom, which means by default I am a self-proclaimed photographer and videographer, right? How can I say no to better pictures, a better flash and improved digital zoom?

Think I’m going to have to pass on the iPhone 7 Plus. They almost had me with the camera, but I think I’ll wait for the iPhone 8 rumored to release in September if I’m going to spend $1,000. The possibility of a front 3D camera, wireless charging and a Touch ID sensor integrated into the screen are exciting if they can navigate the delays. Also, a rumored bigger battery could significantly increase the battery life features which in my opinion did not overwhelmingly improve with the iPhone 7 Plus.

If the iPhone 8 lives up to its superphone status, the wait will be worth it… gives me time to properly retire my iPhone 6s Plus friend.

 

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

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.

Impact Venture Capital Entrepreneurs Showcase Accelerator

EOH

Impact Venture Capital (formerly Velocity VC) is taking applications for their Entrepreneur’s Showcase Accelerator.  The most promising technology startups from Northern CA are selected to engage in 8 weeks of intensive education and mentoring sessions in order to refine their business model, hone their pitches, and prepare to take the stage in front of investors on Demo Day. The Entrepreneur’s Showcase was a recipient of the City of Sacramento’s RAILS Grant.    Apptology went through the program in 2013 and we highly recommend the program.

Application: http://impactvc.com/showcase-accelerator/

Benefits include:

  • 30+ hours of intensive coaching, mentorship & peer review
  • 6 months of access to co-working space
  • Free Office hours – including legal, sales, business & marketing
  • Promotion via web, social & events
  • Opportunity to present to investors, customers, mentors at Demo Day
  • 50 company Alumni Network

Applications Due: 2/20 Accepted Companies Announced: 2/23

Please contact info@impactvc.com with any questions.

*Sessions will be Tuesday nights (6:00-9:00pm) at 801 K Street, ste 2800, Sacramento 95814

TechCrunch’s 10th Annual Crunchie Awards

TechCrunch Monkey

TechCrunch’s 10th Annual Crunchies Awards is Silicon Valley’s version of the Academy Awards.  With the venue at the spectacular San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, the attire ranged from evening wear to hoodies (it’s Silicon Valley after all).    Tech celebrity sightings included Yahoo Marissa Mayer, Atom Factory Troy Carter and 500 Startups Dave McClure.  The emcee of the awards ceremony was comedian Chelsea Peretti who described sex as 3D printing using DNA.  The event was kicked off by a witty opera performance by Laura Krumm that took jabs at President Trump and Peter Thiel (a high profile Trump supporter) — Silicon Valley’s disdain for the Trump Administration was voice often during the evening.  Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for and the envelope please…

 

slack techcrunch

Best Startup:  A Star startup in all categories

Slack (Winner)

Stripe (Runner-Up)

Didi

Giphy

SpaceX

 

otto

Hot New Startup:  A startup founded or publicly launched this year

Otto (Winner)

Prelude Fertility (Runner –Up)

MarcoPolo

VIV

Winnie

 

crispr

Best Technology: An exceptional recent technological achievement

CRISPR – Cas9 (Winner)

Tesla Solar Roof (Runner – Up)

Blue Origin

Facebook Solar Plane

SpaceX Falcon 9 Landing

 

 Pokemon Go tech crunch

Best App:  A recent standout that has earned a place on your home screen

Pokémon GO (Winner)

Musical.ly (Runner- Up)

Clue

Prisma

Weedmaps

 

snapchat troy carter techcrunch

Hardware of the Year: Breakout hardware product of the year

Snapchat Spectacles (Winner)

Bevel Trimmer (Runner-Up)

Doppler Labs Here One

June Oven

Markforged Mark Two

 

 

project include techcrunch

TechCrunch Include Award:  An organization or individual that has advanced inclusion in tech

Project Include (Winner)

Tony Prophet, Salesforce (Runner-Up)

Change Catalyst

DigitalUndivided

Mission Bit

 

kapor crunchie social impact

Social Impact:  Excelling in using technology to advance social impact

Kapor Center for Social Impact (Winner)

Signal Protocol (Runner – Up)

A Vision for Black Lives

Oakland Digital

We The Protesters

 

jeff lawson techcrunch

Founder of the Year:  A founder that has made a statement in leadership or execution this year

Jeff Lawson, Twilio (Winner)

Tristan Walker, Walker & Company (Runner-Up)

Jessica O. Matthews, Uncharted Play

Morgan DeBaun, Blavity

Ryan Petersen, Flexport

 

naval

Angel Investor of the Year: A breakout portfolio

Naval Ravikant  (Winner)

Troy Carter (Runner-Up)

Carine Magescas

Eric Paley

Fabrice Grinda

 

kristin

VC of the Year: An investor whose bets on founders and companies have borne fruit this year

Kirsten Green, Forerunner Ventures (Winner)

Aydin Senkut, Felicis Ventures (Runner-Up)

Byron Deeter, Bessemer Venture Partners

Stuart Peterson, ARTIS Ventures

Tony Florence, NEA

 

snapchat2

Best Startup Video:  Best launch or explanatory video

Snapchat Spectacles (Winner)

Slack (Runner-Up)

Lyft

Navdy

StockX

 

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.

 

 

7 App Advertising Models

madmen

The smartphone app ad market is at a paced to hit $100 B in 2016. Consequently, numerous mobile ad companies have sprouted up. The mobile ad companies are wooing developers with various monetization models that can easily be integrated into an app with their SDK. This post lists 7 mobile ad monetization models.

1. Banner Ads

This is what most people think mobile ads are. They typically will occupy the real estate at the top or bottom of an app. If the user taps the ad, all sorts of possibilities open up from watching a video to the option of downloading an app.  I personally think this is pretty ineffective method of advertising and cheapens your app.  Users have become blind to banner ads.   The dominant players for banner ads are Google’s AdMob and Chartboost.

2. Interstitial Ads

These are inserted at transition points in an app like right before an app starts or in a case of a game after a level is complete. It’s like watching a commercial on television. It’s typically a video that can drop the user off to the advertiser’s desired URL or to download another app. Some of the mobile advertisers that use this model include TapJoyRevMob, and Flurry.

interstitual

3. Rewards Ads

They are my favorite because it’s a win – win for all involved. The reward is triggered by some event in the app like getting an achievement. The user will see a pop up where they will get a discount, gift card, coupon, etc. The owner of the app will also get compensated too. So everyone’s a winner. Players in this space are Kiip and Avocarrot.

 

rewards

4. Offer Walls

These are typically used in games where virtual goods are sold for real currency. The offer wall gives the player the option of earning virtual goods by performing some action on the wall. For example, a player can earn virtual gold by signing up for a trial Netflix account. Mobile Advertisers that support Offer Walls are TapJoyStartApp, and Fiksu.

offerwall

5. Notification Ads

I’m not a big fan of notification ads. Apps that support notification ads act like a Trojan horse (To be fair, users have to Opt-in). They will be able to push notification ads even when the app is dormant. Notification Ads are only supported on Android. My theory is that the reason that it’s not supported on iOS is that Apple rejects it because of the Trojan-like nature. AirPush and LeadBolt offer this mechanism.

 

notificationad

6. Native Advertising

This is used for apps that are content based and typically show up in the apps’ news feed. Facebook adopted native advertising and has done exceptionally well.  This ad model is probably the most effective way to generate revenue through mobile advertising.  Mobile advertisers that offer native advertising include AdRoll,Sharethrough, and PubNative.

nativeads

 

7.  Data Collection

When I originally wrote this article, I listed 6 mobile monetization models.  Recently, I met the team at Beacons in Space that developed a new revenue model that essentially collects data about users near beacons.  As such, I had to update this article with a new revenue model that  I’m calling Data Collection.  Essentially, the model passively collects data about the user.  Specifically in the case of Beacons in Space, the developer integrates their SDK into their app.  After the user downloads the app, it will track when users near a beacon and rewards the developer accordingly.  The biggest downside is that the app will ask the user to enable location based services for the app.  It’s not a big deal if the app already uses location services but if it doesn’t, it may set up a red flag for the user.  The upside is that this model doesn’t change the user experience.

datacollection

 

If you plan to develop an app that incorporates mobile advertising, my advice is to research the different mobile ad models, select one, then design the app to support that model.

 

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 much does it cost to make an app?

“How much does it cost to make an app?” As a developer, this is the most common question I am asked. This is like asking “How much does it cost to build a house?” Following the house analogy, are you looking for a mansion or a shack? Do you want a house made of straw, sticks, or brick? Do you want a custom home or a tract home? Just like a house, the variables in developing an app are endless.

Develop a Storyboard

The first place to start is defining what you want your app to do. I normally recommend our clients storyboard their app (the technical term is wireframe). The wireframe is like the blue print in the house analogy. The goal for developing a wireframe (or storyboard) is to capture functionality and flow. This is not the time to worry about the actual aesthetics yet. It’s important to start from the beginning though, when a user first launches your app. Think about what’s the first thing they will see? On the home screen, if they tap the first menu selection, what happens next? And so on.

To create our wireframes, our designers use a design tool called Sketch.  When I wireframe, I personally use PowerPoint.  My wireframes are ugly but effective.  I send our clients a PowerPoint template where they can either use PowerPoint’s drawing tools or they can even print it out and hand draw it.  My general recommendation is to use a graphics program that your’e comfortable with.

Other Factors

Beyond the storyboard, other factors that will impact the development and cost are:

  • Integration to an existing backend / Development of backend: Most of the apps we develop now either need to talk to an existing backend or we have to create a backend to support the app.
  • Integration to third party vendors: A lot of features that typically used to be expensive to develop can now affordably be added by leveraging third party vendors. Examples are push notifications and mobile commerce.

In addition to the wireframe, if you’re app requires extensive integrations to third party vendors, you may need to put together an architectural diagram.

Getting a Quote

For the most part, a developer should be able to provide you a quote to develop your app based on your wireframe (and architectural diagram). You can find reputable U.S. based developers at thumbtack.com and theymakeapps.com.

You can also find freelancers and offshore teams at upwork.com and guru.com.  Just beware. I’ve talked to clients that have used developers from these sites and it’s a mixed bag. I’ve talked to a few people that have had good experiences and I’ve heard of some horror stories.

If you feel like your app concept is the next Uber, it’s okay to ask the developer for an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) or to ask them to sign your NDA. When you go through this process, you’ll find a vast range for the quotes. My recommendation is to look at other when selecting a developer.

(Shameless plug – we also would, of course, be happy to provide a quote for your project. Just visit us at Apptology.com)

Alternatives

App development, like most technology has become commoditized to some extent. If you have little budget for app development, you may consider DIY (Do It Yourself) App services like ibuildapp.com or seattlecloud.com. There is also a middle ground where a developer can create a robust but cost effective solution based on templates. Apptology offers a cost effective app development solution using templates (called ReadyBuilt). Mobile Roadie is another developer that uses template. Apps based on templates are primarily used to promote a business or to provide content and are typically a fraction of the cost of developing apps from scratch.

Final Thoughts

My answer to the question, “How much does it cost to develop an app?” is “It depends.” If you are thinking about developing an app, I highly recommend taking a little time to create a storyboard or wireframe. This step will help you flush out your concept and greatly assist a developer in providing a solid quote for your app.

Howard Love: The Original Business Plan Never Works!

Howard Love is a startup legend founding or co-founding a total of 15 companies since 1985. Some of his most notable enterprises have been LoveToKnow, PageWise, and Flex Jobs. He recently released his new book, “The Startup J Curve” that stresses the importance of agility and willingness to follow through with change.

No time for reading? Fine! Watch the video interview by clicking here now! 

While attending Colgate University, him and his partner changed the school’s computer network to a trading system. It evolved into a technical analysis and software charting package for users of the original IBM PC. They made an okay name for themselves and later got involved in software development tools. After moving to Silicon Valley, they named the tool “Zap” and sold them in abundance. By 1996, their original charting package eventually merged with Roguewave Software and provided him with enough funds to start angel investing.

“The Original Business Plan Never Works…But that’s Okay!”

At the time, Angel investing was frowned upon and lacked structure. Him and his venture partner decided to be a lot more hands on with entrepreneurs by partnering up and offering additional support. Howard would launch startups with any candidate he thought had potential. They may polish the original idea, provide substantial funding, and even lead the first round. Howard values the character of individuals he works with because he believes the team is most important. Funding will come and go and the the idea constantly changes. Your team members on the other hand, will stay the same which is why it’s important that everyone’s compatible for the long-term.

6 Phases of the Startup J Curve: “Create, Release, Morph, Model, Scale, Harvest”

In his 35 years of entrepreneurship, Howard understands that startups either evolve or die. Many successful startups take time to eventually reach their peak and  popular “overnight success stories” such as Twitter and Groupon he feels are a misconception. Howard admires the efforts of startups creating a solid business plan but looks more for the ability to pitch their idea. What he looks for in a business pitch is the team’s resourcefulness; are they able to do a lot with a little? He also wants a sharp and open mind, ambition, passion along with an undeniable energy that can sustain the growth process. Above all, he feels that you have to like the individuals on a personal level before even considering investing time let alone money into their venture.

If you want to get more in depth with the most helpful entrepreneur insight available, watch the full interview now! 

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.

Margaret Mackenzie Empowering Female Entrepreneurs: Seeing is Believing

Margaret Mackenzie was interviewed at Startup Grind Sacramento at the Urban Hive last September and enlighten the audience with well-needed entrepreneurial wisdom. Currently serving an executive role in Astia, Margaret also consults several early-stage startups with a specialty in finance, IT and artificial intelligence. She served as CFO at Paymo (now Boku) and JustInvesting along with being CEO to 3 financial market corporations. Her focus has been identity, digital/mobile transactions, and FinTech.

Born in Stockton and raised in Sacramento, Margaret founded her first startup named Paymo with the model that customers would be charged for their digital transactions on their phones rather than their credit/debit cards. Feeling that the idea was ahead of its time for the states, she raised most of the funding in the UK where it was already being practiced. In order to effectively acquire a user base, they targeted online and mobile gamers who were mostly too young to own a Visa but old enough to have a cell phone.

“If you can bring women up to the level of equality in business relations, we would add $25 trillion to the global economy.”

She co-founded Astia in 2008 as a nonprofit in San Francisco providing networks and capital to women who are managing or involved with high growth tech startups. After seeing the clear challenges for women to raise funds in the industry, she was compelled to help make it easier. Not only did it make sense morally, but from a financial standpoint, she feels that women can contribute a lot to the global economy but are largely underfunded. Astia offers free and low-cost services to female entrepreneurs and now have offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, London and more. She discussed how female entrepreneurs tend to underestimate their qualifications in favor of a man. This hinders the amount of examples that young women look up to and gain confidence in their abilities.  In regards to the value of programs that promote women and minorities, Margaret commented:

“Regardless of your gender or color, in order to believe it, you have to see it.”

Despite the obvious and not so apparent reasons why women struggle in the tech industry, Margaret understood that the difficulties of an entrepreneur remain gender neutral. The grueling task of working for little to no pay along with constantly trying to beat the odds are true regardless of your reproductive organs. She also emphasized the importance of a team and how significant it is for the well-being of a company.