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Ready, Go! December Bootcamp has started

With teams from Brazil, Lithuania, Hawaii and the outskirts of Silicon Valley, our December Startup Bootcamp started yesterday, Monday December 1. The teams gathered around a U shaped table on the fourth floor of our SOMA co-working space and spent the first morning getting to know each other and letting us know about their companies, their traction and what their goals are for the next two weeks.

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On Monday afternoon we had a hands on, interactive session with our fantastic mentor Karine Schomer, PhD. from Change Management Consulting and Training. Starting with The Rules of the Garage, Karine shared stories about Silicon Valley culture,and the key values and behaviors that define our local ecosystem. After plenty of back and forth discussions and role playing exercises, our teams now feel at home here in San Francisco and are ready to go out and do some serious networking.

RebekahWu

It’s a wet, rainy day in San Francisco this morning, but we’re having a lively discussion with Rebekah Wu, from Right-Hand Partners, who is telling us all about “Raising Money in Silicon Valley & Beyond”. We are learning about having meetings with angel investors and VCs, what to say and, of course, what not to say.

You can continue to follow the our December Bootcamp teams’ Silicon Valley journey here on our blog or on Twitter with the hashtag #DreamBig

SV In.Fusion Mentors

The good mentor teachs. The great mentor inspires.

As we wrap up our September 2014 Startup Bootcamp, we wanted to pause and say Thank You to our incredible mentors. SV In.Fusion’s mission statement starts with the words “Share Silicon Valley’s startup culture & best practices…” and among the key people who make this happen are our mentors.

The list of people who helped make the September 2014 Startup Bootcamp is long, and we hope we haven’t forgotten anyone who contributed. Thank you to Dr. Karine Schomer from Change Management Consulting & Training, Steve Forte from Telerik, Ariel Poler from Best of Angel, Mark Escobosa from Mode Media, Rebekah Wu from Right-Hand Partners, Joe Sanchis from Queue Technologies, Cort Tafoya, SEO/SEM/Content Marketing Consultant, Marvin Liao from 500 Startups, Michael Perry of KitCRM, Jennings Segura from Merrill Lynch, Bear Douglas from Twitter, Christian Wiklund from Skout, Zach Finkelstein from Lumia Capital, Max Shapiro from PeopleConnect and Scott Kupor from Andreessen Horowitz. And thank you also to our great tech supporters at local companies for hosting developer workshops, Amir Shevat  and Dan Feld at Google,  Deap Ubhi and Paul Underwood at Amazon Web Services, Ludovic Ulrich at Salesforce.com,and John Frost at eBay/Paypal.

 

SV In.Fusion Mentors

SV In.Fusion Mentors

The combination of master classes, workshops, breakfast meetings, and happy hours provided many opportunities for our Bootcamp entrepreneurs to interact and learn from our mentors. Here is some of the feedback we captured after these sessions:

  • Really liked the how the programme kicked off with teaching us the values and common practices in Silicon Valley. This definitely gave us a lot more clearer picture of the Bay Area and the people living in it. It’s the people and the diversity of the culture that makes up what Silicon Valley is today.
  • Enjoyable and extremely insightful. Presentation was extremely relevant and entertaining
  • The mentor was awesome and his answers were good and made us to immediately switch our plans on re-visit the customer acquisition plans.
  • We learned that pitching to the right group of people is important no matter how good your product is.
  • The mentor was very knowledgable and helpful in terms of providing feedback to the startups.
  • We’re happy to say that the mentors provided us with enough pointers to guide us to the right path.
  • All good :)

Again, thank you to all of our mentors. If you are interested in joining SV In.Fusion’s community as a mentor, please apply at our website.

“Leaders..should influence others..in such a way that it builds people up, encourages and edifies them so they can duplicate this attitude in others.”
― Bob Goshen

 

SV In.Fusion Mentors

SV In.Fusion Mentors

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From Silicon Valley with love 10 tips for startup founders

Now that everyone has gone home and the decorations, pizza boxes, and empty bottles from our Stay Foolish Farewell Party have been cleaned up, we wanted to reflect on some of the events that happened and some key lessons shared during our September Startup Bootcamp session.

Startup Bootcamp

Our teams from Malaysia arrived at SV In.Fusion’s working space on Monday September 8th eager and motivated to start learning. Over the course of the next two weeks these entrepreneurs were immersed in a thorough and practical education program in business, technology and design, while getting a view into Silicon Valley, its culture, practices and people.

Eight master classes were conducted by top Silicon Valley mentors on topics ranging from Silicon Valley Culture, Networking, to UX/UI Design,  and Lean Startup methodologies. Other master classes covered Startup Financing, Growth Hacking, Marketing & SEO and more.

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Workshops followed each of the master classes, where we asked the teams to put their new skills into practice and to work on everything from their elevator speeches, pitches, and formal presentations, to their company profiles on social media, their business models and their financial goals. SV In.Fusion and BootstrapLabs worked closely with each team, providing feedback, advice and suggestions.

SV In.Fusion at Google Campus in Silicon Valley

SV In.Fusion also brought in top startup founders, industry experts and thought leaders who made presentations and led discussions on finding great partners, customer acquisition, pricing and business models, and hiring & recruiting as your startup grows. The group traveled around San Francisco and Silicon Valley meeting and collaborating with founders, startup advisors, and developer relations resources from companies such as Twitter, Google, Amazon, Facebook, eBay/Paypal, Salesforce and more.

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Our entrepreneurs really had the opportunity to sharpen their pitches and messaging about their companies. Startup Bootcamp included pitch presentations, pitch training and the ability for each team to make presentations during our VC office hours at Andreessen Horowitz, to visiting investors, and finally to the SV In.Fusion / BootstrapLabs community who joined us for our final pitch event at the Stay Foolish Farewell Party on Friday September 19th. 

 Lessons Learned

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A large amount of information was shared with our Startup Bootcamp participants We know that they will be reviewing, contemplating and executing on many of the key lessons they learned. Here are some interesting facts, thoughts and tips that our master class mentors and others shared during the Bootcamp:

  1. Tech startups fail because they lack customers, not funding
  2. Competition: it is ok to be in a competitive space if you have a better solution
  3. A rule of thumb: it is easier to keep a current customer than to acquire a new one
  4. About 50% of your web visitors will not make it past half the article or web page they have landed on
  5. Major steps in the sales/marketing process: Attract -> Convert -> Close -> Delight
  6. Customer lifetime value (CLTV) helps you make important business decisions (sales, marketing, product development, customer support)
  7. NoSQL is hot right now, but unless you have a very specialized application it is recommended that you start with an SQL DB (It’s well worn technology, easy to find trained staff, and you aren’t going to break SQL DBs in your 1st 10M users)
  8. Don’t reinvent the wheel – use SOAs (Service-oriented architectures) to save time and keep you focused on your application
  9. Hire “A” Players, hire people smarter than you
  10. Presentations: the title of each slide is important, many people just read the title
  11. Bonus tip: Remember the “Rules of the Garage”

Coming soon

Our next Startup Bootcamp starts the 3rd of November, 2014. We are currently interviewing candidates. If you are a startup entrepreneur interested in a program where you can Immerse, Learn, and Apply the lessons of Silicon Valley, we invite you to apply at the SV In.Fusion website. If you know any entrepreneurs that would benefit from our program, please pass along this information and refer them to us at team@svinfusion.com.

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#DREAMBIG

September Bootcamp Week 2

Week 2 for our five companies from Malaysia started on Monday with a Master Class titled “Startup Financing” led by Rebekah Wu, founder of Right-Hand Partners, a VC relations company.

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Rebekah shared valuable information in the form of short presentations and words of advice that she has picked up from investors and venture capitalists over the past 10+ years. She talked about the importance of having

  • a strong team
  • a very large addressable market
  • defensible IP
  • and a disruptive business model

She left the entrepreneurs with plenty of “Do’s & Don’ts”, tips and good advice about making presentations to investors. They learned that “a demo speaks louder than 1000 slides”. And what not to say during that all important VC meeting.

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Later in the day, we were joined by Zach Finkelstein, a Senior Associate at Lumia Capital, a Silicon Valley investment firm that focuses on later stage Internet and Software companies expanding into emerging markets. Zach spoke about important things to highlight about your startup company when talking with investors. For example, TRACTION – there’s always something you can describe, whether it’s how quickly you’re growing (based on number of users, visitors, engagements, or sales) or the number and quality of marquee customers you have been able to attract so far. (Everyone needs that slide in their presentation where the curve goes up and to the right!)

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After an engaging conversation, Zach grabbed a chair and watched each of the teams present their companies. The focus was on business models, and many assumptions were challenged and looked at more closely. Zach asked questions like

  • What’s the payback time per customer?
  • Who are your main competitors?
  • Do your initial customers continue using your product? What percentage do you lose? Why?
  • Are your target customers ready to adopt a solution like the one you are proposing?
  • How did you come up with your pricing? What are your margins?

Most of teams had at least some of the answers ready and everyone learned where they needed to tighten up their pitches. Zach’s overall feedback was that all of the teams need to be prepared to discuss their competition. He said “it’s ok to be in a competitive space if you have a better solution, but it makes investors nervous to not see a thoughtful competitive landscape”.

Valuable feedback and good lessons today – Tuesday the teams are offsite, with a breakfast to discuss recruiting, followed by development workshops at Amazon.com and Salesforce.com.

HP Rules of the Garage

Silicon Valley is a state of mind

SV In.Fusion’s mission is:

Share Silicon Valley’s startup culture & best practices with foreign founders in order to increase their chances of success, accelerate their local ecosystem development, and create jobs & wealth globally.

We want to immerse our participants into the Silicon Valley culture by meeting local entrepreneurs, angels and VCs, stopping by well known coffee shops and diners as well as visiting city (and geeky) landmark and museums, local university campuses, technology company tours and dedicated sessions about the Silicon Valley mindset!

During one of the sessions of the SV In.Fusion September Bootcamp our participants had the opportunity to learn some of the most important values, historical stories and best practices of  the Silicon Valley culture! Thanks to our rockstar mentor Dr. Karine Schomer during the Master Class “Cultural Tips & People Skills to Succeed in the US” our Malaysian entrepreneurs improved their pitches and learned how important is to share with the community to create positive synergies!

Sharing, asking for feedback, meeting competitors and experts, hosting events and attending conferences, inventing and finding new ways to work are only some of the very important values and tips we learned during this amazing master class.

In order to spread the Silicon Valley mindset and culture, during and after each Bootcamp, SV In.Fusion will share advice, tips and important information in order to support foreign founders and help other local ecosystems to succeed!

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Links to episodes from the “Silicon Valley” TV show:

Team discussing bringing in an outside expert

 

Follow the teams’ Silicon Valley journey right here on our blog or on Twitter with the hashtag #DreamBig

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