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SV In.Fusion hosts Smart Government: Open Data in San Francisco

Yesterday evening (February 25, 2015) SV In.Fusion and SFAsia hosted a talk with the Chief Data Officer of the City and County of San Francisco. Held in the TownHall space at Galvanize, the presentation on Smart Government: Open Data in San Francisco was just one of the exciting sessions in our February 2015 Bootcamp.

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SFAsia Director Jennifer Xu introduced Joy Bonaguro, who told us how open government data is revolutionizing civic engagement in San Francisco. We learned how the City is making its data available to citizens, startups, and other organizations, allowing for the creation of solutions that should lead to more innovative, prosperous and accountable communities.

Our bootcamp teams from Malaysia and United Arab Emirates joined startups from the Galvanize community and others at the presentation and then participated in a lively discussion of the possibilities of other governments around the world following San Francisco’s lead in publishing data.

While not in Masterclasses ranging from Silicon Valley culture, to lean startups and UX/UI design, our bootcamp teams have been exploring and enjoying San Francisco, whether just grabbing lunch or heading over the Palace of Fine Arts to visit our friends at Wearable World.

 

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Welcome 2015

SV In.Fusion wants to wish everyone a

HappyNewYear

We hope that 2015 will be full of success and accomplishments in each of your ventures. There are many interesting ideas brewing in our new San Francisco offices and we will be announcing many exciting things throughout the year.

Our next Startup Bootcamp begins on the 23rd of February. 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

For now…any questions?

FAQ:

Why a startup should attend the bootcamp?

Who are the mentors?

Feedback from past bootcamps?

Stay tuned, #DREAMBIG, and don’t hesitate to contact us at info@svinfusion.com

 

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Overheard at the December 2014 Bootcamp

We are well into our 2nd week at the December 2014 Startup Bootcamp. Our teams have heard from investors, developer relations experts, growth hackers and other entrepreneurs who have been in their shoes. Some of the teams have focused their pitches, upgraded their products, implemented new ideas or even pivoted to more specific problems to solve. Everyone has been having a great time and learning plenty (can you say “Drinking from a fire hose”?).

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As we talk to the teams and collect their feedback, here are some of the best things that we have overheard about the program, our mentors and the experience here in San Francisco:

“Overall, I enjoyed the honest, straightforward nature of the talk. It gave a really good impression of both how to interact with VCs, and the level of expertise and preparedness that is expected in this field.”

                                                    “The book recommendations were great – I plan on reading all of them.”

marcE       bearD       steveforte

“I appreciate the honest 1 on 1 advice that he gave.”                                                                                                                                                                             “Everything she said in that short ten minutes of 1-on-1 time was the best thing I have learned so far.”

“The in-depth guide of how PayPal can be integrated into offline transactions was very eye opening.”

“The tour through the Autodesk Gallery was fun, and and inspiring!”

ievaspin                                                            amazonPaul

 

“I didn’t know it rained so much in San Francisco”   – hey! it usually doesn’t :-)

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#DREAMBIG

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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.

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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

East Meets West

Last week SV In.Fusion was a sponsor of the East Meets West Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii that was hosted by our friends at Blue Startups a local technology accelerator founded by Henk Rogers, the man that brought Tetris Game to the world! Continuing our practice of reaching out to entrepreneurs outside of Silicon Valley, we were please to be able to participate in this cross-cultural event that targeted Asian, US, and Hawaiian participants.

The conference brought speakers and attendees from around the Pacific region, including Ben Levy, co-founder of BootstrapLabs, our parent company. Ben participated in a panel discussion titled “Cross-border Investing – Opportunity or Headache?” and was also a judge for the “East/West Startup Pitches”, where thirteen startups presented their teams, products and traction, competing for cash prizes and the opportunity to attend an SV In.Fusion Startup Bootcamp.

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We want to congratulate Co-Founders Daphne Hargrove and Nicole Randall of Yuru“A mobile app that gives you instant advice and feedback from friends or strangers on anything and everything, personally or anonymously – advice has never been so fun!” Daphne and Nicole will joining our December Startup Bootcamp that starts on December 1, 2014. and we can’t wait to have them join the teams for another 2 weeks of AWESOMENESS!

If you want to come along for the ride, hurry as we only have a few spots left and December is already around the corner.

 

APPLY HERE NOW!

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#DREAMBIG

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3 reasons why a startup should attend SV In.Fusion Bootcamp

We talk to many entrepreneurs at startup companies. Some of them are here, in the San Francisco Bay Area, taking advantage of co-working spaces, meetups, pitch competitions, hackathons, networking events, mentors, advisors, investors, and the entire ecosystem that Silicon Valley and San Francisco offers. But other entrepreneurs are spread across the globe, working from their universities, in their communities, or in cramped office spaces. They see some fellow entrepreneurs occasionally, they try to spend a weekend at a startup event, or maybe attend a conference in a nearby city.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

– Steve Jobs, Co-Founder and CEO, Apple

We want to reach out to those other entrepreneurs. Everyone knows that running a startup company takes dedication, passion and commitment and that time is one of the most valuable resources. Entrepreneurs have to invest that time wisely, in activities that have the biggest and most immediate paybacks.

And that’s why we think there are 3 reasons why a startup should attend our SV In.Fusion Startup Bootcamp.

LEARN, APPLY, IMMERSE

#1 To Learn. Our Bootcamp will expose you to the tools, techniques, and tips that Silicon Valley entrepreneurs use everyday to build lean and mean companies. SV In.Fusion mentors are fellow Silicon Valley startup founders, senior corporate executives, venture capitalists, angels and all experts in their fields.

#2 To Apply. You will take the new knowledge that you’ve learned and immediately start to apply it to your specific venture. Whether it’s improving your pitch, sharpening your business plan, or getting new opinions on your UI/UX, our team will work with you to put together actionable plans for what you and your team need to do next.

#3 To Immerse. We will introduce you to Silicon Valley founders who will share their experiences with you over a sandwich or cup of coffee. Angel investors, venture capitalists and other investors will listen to your pitch and provide you with their professional opinions. Development workshops at companies like Google, Amazon or Salesforce can give you new ideas. And then there are social events such as meetups, hackathons and informal gatherings are where you might meet an advisor, a partner or just someone with a great idea.

“Silicon Valley can not be replicated… but its culture & best practices can be taught”

We asked some of our SVIF Startup Bootcamp alumni to share their thoughts with us. Here are some of their comments:

“People here are very willing to share, and I learned a lot from those people.”

“The mentor was awesome. His knowledge and the ideas and UX/UI tweaks he shared were very useful for our upcoming SaaS platform.”

“We can’t wait to go back and apply what we learned here.”

Our next Bootcamp starts on December 1st. We encourage you to learn more, reach out and APPLY HERE

#DREAMBIG

SV In.Fusion Supporters

SV In.Fusion Supporters

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

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Announcing winners from the beGLOBAL Conference

Korean Startup Swizzle wins a Startup Bootcamp, sponsored by BootstrapLabs

“Bringing Seoul to the Valley”, the beGLOBAL 2014 conference, was held on Sep 12, 2014 at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel in San Francisco. As an Executive Sponsor, BootstrapLabs offered one lucky Korean team a complimentary 2 week Startup Bootcamp for 2 people provided by SV In.Fusion. The winning team was selected based on its ability, desire to learn, and potential benefit for their business to be immersed in Silicon Valley for the duration of the Bootcamp.

SV In.Fusion prize at beGLOBAL 2014

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Congratulations to Swizzle! We are looking forward to working with you in Silicon Valley very soon. Swizzle (swizzle.fm) is a Social Jukebox for parties that makes music sharing much easier by creating collaborative playlists among friends with YouTube music videos.

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Photo credit: beSUCCESS 

“I’m so excited to participate in this great program operated in the core of Silicon Valley. I expect to learn more about Silicon Valley entrepreneurship and improve our product quality dramatically with the 2 weeks intensive course.” says Ian Inyoung Lee, the CEO of Swizzle.

BootstrapLabs was proud to support this year’s beGLOBAL and looks forward to supporting beGLOBAL 2015. The founders of BootstrapLabs remain committed to investing in Korean startups and helping them go global.

beGLOBAL is the annual Global Tech Conference with a Korean touch, organized by beSUCCESS  (the Korean version of TechCrunch) and sponsored by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and KISA (Korea Internet Security Agency).  beSUCCESS also organizes beLAUNCH, the top startup conference in Korea, bringing together the best of Tech from the East and West.

beGLOBAL was launched last year to connect Korean startups to Silicon Valley and help them enter the global market by attracting foreign investments. K-Startups had a chance to pitch their products and services in front of high profile, local institutional and strategic investors such as Kevin Hale (Partner at Y Combinator),  Christine Tsai (Managing Partner at 500 Startups), Matt Kaufman (CEO of CrunchBase), Kevin Scott (Managing Director of Silicon Valley Bank) and many others.

Outstanding VIP speakers at beGLOBAL 2014:

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William H. Draper, III General Partner, Draper Richards LP shared his insights on the future of global investing during the Fireside Chat. He is one of America’s first venture capitalists, the founder of several leading firms (including Sutter Hill, Draper Richards and Draper International) and the first Silicon Valley VC to invest globally.  Mr. Draper, a veteran of the Korean War,  has strong ties to Korea.

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Kevin Lin, Co-Founder and COO of Twitch (acquired by Amazon for $970M), shared his story about founding and growing the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers. Since graduating from Yale in 2004, Kevin has worn a variety of hats. In 2008 he joined Justin.tv as COO, where he was instrumental in the launch of its Twitch platform, attracting the site’s larger partners and other activities that helped grow the Twitch brand.

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Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger Network & Co-Founder of Circa, has been called one of the 100 most creative people in the business by Fast Company and one of the top 10 virologists by the Daily Beast. The Cheezburger Network, founded in 2007, has been credited with bringing Internet memes to the mainstream and popularizing Internet culture.  Ben credits the success of his company to the users and fans who create the content. His goal is to make the world happy for 5-minutes a day.

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Jorn Lyssegen, CEO & Founder of Meltwater Group, founded his startup in Oslo in 2001, moved the HQ to Silicon Valley and bootstrapped it all the way to over $100 million in revenues without taking any venture capital.   In 2008, he started the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and the MEST Incubator in Ghana.  The School and Incubator provide training, investment and mentoring for aspiring entrepreneurs with the goal of creating globally successful companies that create wealth and jobs locally in Africa.   Graduates of the program have pitched at TechCrunch Disrupt and been part of the 500 Startups accelerator.

About BootstrapLabs

BootstrapLabs is a Global Technology Venture Investment Company for Global Entrepreneurs. Since 2009, BootstrapLabs has invested in foreign born startups such as Prezi, Witsbits, AudioDraft and Zerply, facilitated their relocation in Silicon Valley to build global companies, while maintaining their roots in their countries of origin to access local talent. Today these startups are valued at $500M+, employ 250+ people and have raised over $25M of follow-on funding from Angels and VCs in Silicon Valley.

About SV In.Fusion

SV In.Fusion offers a hands-on two week Startup Bootcamp for foreign founders in Silicon Valley taught by experienced local experts. Learn and apply the best tools, techniques & trends Silicon Valley entrepreneurs use everyday to building lean and mean startups!

The bootcamp format includes Master Classes taught by experts, immediately followed by Workshops to implement new learnings, and includes a series of immersive activities in Silicon Valley culture – visiting top tech company campuses and meeting with product people, socializing with local entrepreneurs, angels and VCs, stopping by well known coffee shops and diners, as well as visiting city (and geeky) landmarks and museums, local university campuses, etc.

 

SV In.Fusion, in partnership with BootstrapLabs, works directly with foreign startups, their investors, incubators, accelerator, co-working space partners, NGOs and Government agencies around the world to facilitate and accelerate the sharing of Silicon Valley best practices.

 

 

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.