Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rice Alliance & Bootstrap Austin Present: How to Bootstrap Your Business

Learn from master bootstrap entrepreneurs this Wednesday, 6pm.


On March 31st, the Rice Alliance Austin Chapter is presenting a panel discussion on how to self-fund a business without raising money. Moderated by Bijoy Goswami of Bootstrap Austin, the panel will include CEOs who have successfully bootstrapped a company and generated revenue without becoming beholden to outside investors.

Moderator: Bijoy Goswami


Neelan Choksi, COO of Lexcycle
As COO, Neelan is responsible for marketing, business development and strategic management of Lexcycle, the company behind Stanza. With over 1.5 million users in over 60 countries and over 7 million e-books downloaded, Stanza is the most popular e-book reader for the iPhone and IPod Touch. Neelan frequently keynotes about e-books at conferences like Tools of Change and BookNet Canada. Prior to joining Lexcycle, Neelan was the COO at SpringSource, the company behind the popular open source Spring Framework. At SpringSource, Neelan helped grow the company 5X in 18 months and led the effort to raise a $10M first round of financing from Benchmark Capital. Neelan has extensive technology management experience, having served as the co-founder and President at SolarMetric, a leading object relational mapping provider, which was acquired by BEA Systems in 2005. At BEA, Choksi was instrumental in the open sourcing of the acclaimed object/relational mapping tool Kodo as OpenJPA. Prior to SolarMetric, Neelan worked for TechTrader, Andersen Consulting Strategic Services (NYSE: ACN) and Exxon Research & Engineering (NYSE: XOM). Neelan has spoken frequently at a variety of conferences on various technology business topics especially the business of open source. Neelan currently serves on the boards of SpringSource and Tasktop Technologies. Neelan is a graduate of MIT (and was part of the often-publicized MIT Blackjack team), Stevens Institute of Technology, and the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business.

Mike Kadyan, Co-founder and President of Crimson
Crimson is a software company that provides Physician Management software to hospitals. Crimson was acquired by The Advisory Board Company in May of 2008. Prior to Crimson, Mike was CEO and co-founder of WhisperWire, an enterprise software company in the CRM space. The company was acquired by Convergys (NYSE:CVG), a $2 billion technology services company. He previously also ran the telecom services business unit at Trilogy, a software company specializing in the interactive selling market and was also a senior consultant at Accenture. Mike has a BS in Information Systems from Boston University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Nick Herman, Co-founder and Search Marketing Director of Adlucent
As co-founder and Search Marketing Director of Adlucent, Nick has been instrumental in driving significant self-funded revenue growth for the company and its clients. He brings over six years of experience in strategic search marketing and bid management to deliver highly optimized campaigns and continuous results for the world's largest Internet retailers. Nick continues to apply his learnings to the vision and implementation of Adlucent’s Deep Search™ technology, which has enabled 3000% revenue growth for the company over the last four years. Nick is highly devoted to creating a close-knit and collaborative company culture at Adlucent. In addition to his passion for helping clients win and creating a great place to work, Nick loves music and is often seen as DJ Silverhero in Austin music venues.

Cost to attend:
Registration Fee: $20
Walk-up fee: $25
Pre-registration deadline: March 27th

Click here to register online

Date: March 31, 2009

Time: 6:00 PM

Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel
701 Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78710

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs at Capital Factory

Entrepreneurs like entrepreneurs

First-time entrepreneurs want to ask questions of successful entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs like investing in young entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs of all kinds thrive on each other's passion.

Gaps have formed in the traditional funding path for early stage companies. Many venture capitalists are moving towards bigger funds that invest larger amounts of money in lower risk companies that have already proven their model. Angel investors are banding together into syndicates that look more and more like venture capitalists. Capital Factory can help to fill some of those gaps and then introduce companies to angel investor groups or venture capitalists at the right time.

How much funding does each company receive?

Each company receives up to $20,000 in cash. We provide you with all of the basic infrastructure that you're not spending that money on office space or legal fees. That's meant to be enough to cover your living expenses, hire an employee or contractor, and do some test marketing.

In addition to cash, each company in our portfolio gets access to our network of mentors, service providers, and more than $20,000 in free stuff.

What kind of companies do you accept into the program?

Most importantly, we want to get involved with companies that we can have the biggest impact on. After all, its not really about the $20,000 its about the 20 mentors who are going to spend time with the companies and help them to focus on the right priorities and with key introductions to customers, partners, employees and investors. If someone submitted a great company idea, but none of us had any real value add beyond the money, we'd probably pass on the deal and select another company that we thought we could really benefit from our advice and relationships.

We like lean companies that can get to profitability quickly and can scale rapidly. Most of us have technology backgrounds and while it is not a requirement, it is very likely that the companies we select will have technology components to them. We're happy to start with just an idea on a napkin, but we'll also work with companies that have some customers or angel investors and are now ready to scale their business.

What about the economy? Is now a good time to start a company?

Now is probably the best time in the past decade to be doing a startup and to be investing in startups. Most people look at the current economic condition and see the losses they have from last year. If you are starting from scratch then you haven't lost anything, and there is nowhere to go but up. During times like these labor and supplier costs are lower, there is less competition, and all budgets are being re-examined. People are open to new ways of doing things that will help them to reduce costs or find customers.

With the growth of cloud computing and open source software, the capital requirements of starting new technology companies is dropping rapidly and heading towards free. Traditional barriers to entry are being abolished and companies are being started on credit cards and then bootstrapped to profitability.

What does it cost me?

Capital Factory receives a 5% equity stake in your company under founder-friendly terms. You will be able to download a copy of our standard legal documents soon.

Who are the mentors?

  • Joshua Baer, SKYLIST & OtherInbox, Managing Director
  • Sam Decker, Dell & BazaarVoice, Managing Director
  • Bryan Menell, Perficient & Fusion Learning, Managing Director
  • Brian Beard, Wilson Sonsini
  • Jeremy Bencken, Apartment Ratings & BuzzStream
  • Andrew Busey, Pluck & Challenge Games
  • Ian Clarke, FreeNet & Uprizer Labs
  • Jason Cohen, Smart Bear
  • Pat Condon, Rackspace
  • Russell Hinds, CTAN
  • Ryan Koonce, Popular Media & Westlake Products
  • Kip McClanahan, Tipping Point & ON Networks
  • Adam Moore, Dell & SpringBox
  • Marc Nathan, HTC & HAN
  • John Price, Trilogy & Vast
  • Mellie Price, Front Gate Tickets
  • Chris Sherman, AustinXL & Game Conference
  • Yvonne Tocquigny, Tocquigny Advertising
  • Michael Trafton, Blue Fish Development
  • Marc Yagjian, Tivoli & Origin Partners

Click here for more details on the mentors.

Apply by April 3, 2009

We're accepting applications through Friday, April 3, 2009 at 11:59pm PT. We're not looking for a long business plan. Try to be concise and compelling. Focus the most on the Questions section and not so much on how accurate your financial projections are.

Please visit our website for more information or follow us on Twitter @CapitalFactory.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cause Subgroup Kick-Off night: Creating social good through bootstrapping

The Bootstrap Cause Subgroup was finally kicked off on Wednesday, March 11, after a long Ideation. We had a great group of people gathered at House Wine and while sipping wine and beer, attendees got to know each other and talked about each others venture.
Bijoy started off with defining what Bootstrap is, and what it is not, so new people in the group would understand the culture of the Bootstrap Austin community.
Then I shared that the mission of this group was to simply create social good through bootstrapping, which means that we welcome anyone from either a non-profit organization, looking for new ways to be self-sufficient, or from social entrepreneurs looking for some help to get started. Our group will have a speaker each month who has been through the journey and from whom we can learn.
Martin Montero, co-leader of the group, made a short presentation where he explained the differences between social business, social enterprise and conscious capitalism. He also briefly told everyone about different social business groups in town.
The discussion picked up after Martin's presentation, where some members shared the challenges they were having in either their non-profit organization or social business and the group brainstormed on some solutions.
Bijoy brought up a very interesting point about duality while working with cause businesses. He asked why do we feel like we have to compromise one thing or the other and can't have both.
The meeting ended with Martin clarifying that this Cause Subgroup will be a place where Cause Bootstrappers will find tools and support.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Bootstrapping RISE

The Bootstrap Series at Rise Austin included 4 core talks:
  1. Bootstrap: Third Way of Entrepreneurship
  2. Founding Teams: Mavens, Relaters, Evangelists
  3. Bootstrapping a Community
  4. Bootstrapping an Experience
Talk #1, by Bijoy, laid the foundations of bootstrapping and how the bootstrap path is differentiated from the cookie-cutter and funding-driven paths of entrepreneurship. All 3 paths have their advantages and challenges. The prospective entrepreneur must know themselves and choose the path that fits. Slides.

Talk #2, co-presented by Nancy Schill and Bijoy, described the first aspect of the bootstrap journey: the founder(s). The MRE Model provides a simple framework to understand that bootstrapping is not a solo journey and the bootstrapper seeks out a complementary partner who brings the skills and capabilities they do not have.

Talk #3, (co-presented by Jon Lebkowsky and Bijoy), and #4 (co-presented by Heather McKissick and Bijoy) explored how communities and experiences can be bootstrapped (in addition to products and services). Communities and experiences are at the forefront of many new ventures and provide unique opportunities (and require unique approaches) for the bootstrap entrepreneur.

The slides for these talks are available here.