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November 25, 2012 / microaccel

Azure 2013 open now + Demo Day January 17

Apply for the Azure 2013 class of the Microsoft Accelerator. See below for more information about what we are doing in the Azure 2012 program.

Want to join us for Demo Day on January 17, 2013 to meet 10 exciting startups graduating from the Microsoft Accelerator?  Email matt.dyor@techstars.com to request an invitation.

January 23, 2013 / microaccel

Demo Day for Microsoft Accelerator

Windows Azure 2012 startups did an absolutely amazing job at demo day. Could not be more proud of these teams!

December 22, 2012 / microaccel

Bill McAleer Talks Venture Capital

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Bill McAleer, from Voyager Capital, spoke with some of the teams in the Microsoft Accelerator about how VCs evaluate opportunities. More details to follow…

December 22, 2012 / microaccel

Robi Ganguly talks Fundraising and Investor Relations

  • 20121221-142229.jpghow much to raise: think through a just this team plan, a fill key gap plan, and an aggressive plan
  • prove you can learn and execute-belief in momentum is the goal of the weekly update
  • use the pattern “this is what we did last week, and this is what we are going to do next week, and how you can help”
  • just CEOs should meet with prospective investors to start
  • leave people wanting by having short meetings (this also gives you more time)
  • people don’t buy into your vision until you have gained credibility-start with specifics around customer and problem and market

 

December 20, 2012 / microaccel

Scott Porad talks Team and Tech

  • 20121220-152226.jpgthe thing that I like and tend to be good at is the beginning.
  • there are 2 aspects – is it a good idea/opportunity, and does your team care
  • this isn’t about cats, it’s about humor
  • learn about your early indicator metrics v red herring metrics so that you can tell early on whether you are going to succeed or fail
  • with web-based software, you are running a marathon and you need to celebrate achievements along the way. Identify different milestones that are key along the paths.
  • when to write a spec: when reasonable people on your team could come up with different systems from the same description

 

December 20, 2012 / microaccel

Rich Barton talks Power to the People

  • 20121220-112644.jpgglass door, trover, avvo, benchmark capital, zillow, expedia
  • the easy part is having the vision, the hard part is execution
  • ideas are cheap execution is dear
  • you and the people you surround yourself with is all you can control
  • all money is not created equal
  • I say no a lot, but your own networks can help filter out the best people and opportunities
  • board meetings occupy a lot of time, and then it is going to where he is most needed
  • big pond, big fisherman-that is it. More of a power point investor than an excel investor.
  • an entrepreneur never stops selling.
  • you want to encourage your people to take risk-smart failure is ok
  • you can do unscalable things to get your community flywheel going-at Xxx, they did human surveys that would never have pencil out

 

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December 20, 2012 / microaccel

T.A. McCann Talks Fundraising

  • 20121219-190033.jpgget investors on board who complement your team’s skill
  • a no is better than a maybe, particularly if you can quantify why they say no
  • my question: why don’t investors create investment profiles?
  • generally you raise 12 – 18 months of funding (6 – 12 months with angel). Think precisely through how much money you need, how you will spend it, and what you will accomplish with it.
  • slow iterations on your fundraising plans are smart–do not constantly flip your plan bases on investor feedback.
  • send a biweekly email to investors to make them understand your trajectory: important info / did / doing / need / supporting info
  • it is ok to quickly ask a prospective investor about how frequently they invest, how much, what are the metrics of success
  • ask people interested in investing in your company whether they have contacts who are also interested
  • release every two weeks, plan your awesome release, build it, tell your customers, measure how much value your customers derive from these features
  • use surveys to filter out disinterested customers…if they make it through your survey, they may be willing to give you good product feedback
  • check out followerwonk, recently purchased by SEOmoz

 

December 19, 2012 / microaccel

Paul Thelen – CEO of Big Fish Games

  • Be 20121218-162631.jpgpassionate about what you are doing. You have to enjoy the ride because there is no guaranteed destiny.
  • focus: you try to do a bunch of things, you do a bunch of things average
  • if, for every dollar you spend, you make $1.50, raise money
  • big focus on retention, so they could drive up the lifetime value.
  • cashflow is a serious problem if you have a 2 year customer life cycle
  • work for hire fails every time, but covering costs and giving a prepay against future flows
  • telling the developer what to build does not work, but showing them how they can make more money does (gamescore)
  • use data but also rely on creativity
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