Great Work by Maria Williams of the Growthink Market Research team!

"What else can I say but, WOW! I am absolutely blown away by what was compiled for my market research, impressed I mean. How could I have EVER produced such a compilation? Not easily I can assure you, and now that you have completed it, and with only a brief perusal I can see the depth and clarity of the information. I suspect you have some pretty nifty computing power, but how it was done is irrelevant, I cannot thank you all enough. Very fine work!

A very grateful start-up owner, 

Patrick Minns

Solar Tech DIY, Inc"

Aaron Levie Honored at Silicon Beach at USC Event



Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of enterprise close company Box, was honored yesterday as the USC Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year. The Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, part of USC's Marshall School of Business, hosted the event, which was attended by over 500 entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, and students.

Levie spoke for about an hour, then took questions from students in the audience. He was funny and engaging and offered up a superb gem of wisdom when he said Box really started to grow once they adopted a mindset of "Constant, relentless execution mode."


Now in its third year, the event featured break out panels on diverse topics for entrepreneurs such as:
  • Business models and business plans
  • Apps and the growth of mobile phones
  • Legal advice and structures
  • Marketing
  • Cryptocurrency (such as BitCoin)
  • Generating revenue
$50,000 in prize money was also given away in the finals of the Venture Competition. Each team gave an eight minute presentation followed by five minutes of Q&A from four judges, including Lloyd Greif. The winners were:

1st prize, $25,000 to LeadBoost
2nd prize, $15,000 to StatisLabs
3rd prize, $10,000 to Movn​
 

Client Success - Studiovox Signs Partnership with Sundance Group

StudioVox Partners With Sundance Cinemas to Expand Opportunities for Creatives With New Professional Network

StudioVox

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 8, 2014) -StudioVox, a Los Angeles-based online network for creative professionals offering a platform for visual artists, photographers, interior designers, performers, filmmakers, musicians and other artists to network with likeminded colleagues, agents, companies and fans, announces its partnership with Sundance Cinemas Galleries, of Robert Redford's Sundance Group. StudioVox serves as the submission and curation platform for artwork to be exhibited at Sundance Cinemas' fine art galleries in West Hollywood, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston and Madison, Wis.

Unlike LinkedIn and traditional social media sites,StudioVox fills the gap as a credible site for showcasing creative talent, connecting and collaborating with others, finding work, building teams and hiring talent. StudioVox allows creatives to promote themselves by creating a comprehensive profile with which they can share their portfolios and work.

"Our partnership with Sundance mirrors our purpose. It offers our community of artists a chance to be seen and have their art recognized by a brand built on creating opportunities for new voices in the arts to be heard, as well as its continuing commitment to quality in the arts," says StudioVox CEO and Co-Founder Amanda Slingerland.

StudioVox' platform offers instant promotion and exposure, with the additional abilities to schedule and invite people to events and house personal blogs, as well as soon-to-be-added capabilities that will streamline the ability for users to push their StudioVox content out to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles and sell art, music and merchandise directly from the site.

"Our new relationship with StudioVox is a gift. It's a gift to us, as we are now able to draw upon their fantastic connections in the art world, and a gift to the artists, as not only will they have shows at Sundance Cinemas, but StudioVox will be enhancing the way the shows are marketed, thusly giving the artists much deserved acknowledgement," says Nancy Klasky Gribler, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sundance Cinemas.

The partnership is being celebrated with a private party at Sundance Cinemas in West Hollywood on Oct. 9, where StudioVox artist and Los Angeles-based abstract painter Lori Dorn's artwork is exhibited through November.

To submit your artwork for consideration for exhibition at the Sundance Cinemas Galleries, peruse artists' portfolios and creative works, or look for talent, visit StudioVox.com.

Source: See articles on StudioVoxMarket Wired or Yahoo Finance.


Teens are officially over Facebook


(Paul Walsh/Flickr)

By Caitlin Dewey

Since children are the future, and no one over 21 really knows what they find “cool” (do the kids even say cool these days…?), researchers have devoted many, many surveys to the exact quantification of what it is #teens do online.

In May 2013, they were fleeing Facebook’s “drama.” A year later, they flocked back to the network like lil’ lost sheep.

Now, a pretty dramatic new report out from Piper Jaffray — an investment bank with a sizable research arm — rules that the kids are over Facebook once and for all, having fled Mark Zuckerberg’s parent-flooded shores for the more forgiving embraces of Twitter and Instagram. Between fall 2014 and spring 2014, when Piper Jaffray last conducted this survey, Facebook use among teenagers aged 13 to 19 plummeted from 72 percent to 45 percent. In other words, less than half of the teenagers surveyed said “yes” when asked if they use Facebook. (A note: There’s no spring data available for the “no networks” option, which is why that spot is blank.)

Surveys of this type are, of course, a dime a dozen, and teen whims are as volatile as Twitter’s trending hashtags. That said, Piper Jaffray’s research is pretty thorough: It surveyed a national group of 7,200 students and accounted for variables like gender and household income.

Among the survey’s other findings: Kids love Apple products above any other consumer tech brand, though only a sliver — 16 percent — were interested in the iWatch. They overwhelmingly predicted that, by 2019, they’d watch all their movies on Netflix. They’re cooling on Pandora radio, which has seen a host of streaming apps and other competitors crop up in the past five years.

Alas, none of this helps explain why teens like the things they do, a question as old and impenetrable as time. Both research and anecdote would suggest, of course, that it has something to do with the presence of adults on the site, as well as the typically high-school plagues of oversharing and in-fighting. The recent rise of anonymous social apps — things like Whisper and Yik Yak, which is dominated by college students — would also seem to suggest a youthful wish to escape the confines and responsibilities of a fixed online identity. (Facebook certainly seems to worry that’s the case: On Tuesday the New York Times reported that the Web site was working on an anonymous, stand-alone messaging app of its own.)

That should perhaps worry parents, of both the helicopter and cool-Dad variety: You can’t really interact with — or “check up on” — your kids on Whisper the way you do on ye olde FB. (Whisper users don’t have friends and go on under pseudonymous usernames, which, arguably, is the app’s main draw.)

Facebook needn’t panic, though. Even if it’s namesake platform is now totally passe, the kids still love Instagram — so Zuck wins, either way.

Growthink Exhibits at LAEDC 2015 Economic Forecast

On October 8th, LAEDC presented the 2015 Economic Forecast Event.

LAEDC’s twice-yearly economic forecast events provide insight and planning information to our members, partners, LA County leaders, and the general public.  For this event, LAEDC shifted its format to include a five-year planning horizon, and with the help of our guests such as Cal State University Chancellor Timothy White and expert panelists, we discussed the drivers in the economy related to education and skills.

The industry panel discussed how their workforce needs are changing and made recommendations on the skills needed to remain relevant and in-demand

  • Jodie Lesh of Kaiser Permanente
  • Michael Bissonette of AeroVironment, and Steve Nissen of NBC Universal
  • Art Yoon, FilmLA
  • David Rattray of LA Area Chamber of Commerce
Growthinkers Myke Andrews, Luke Brown and Justin Goodkind represented Growthink, below.

The full industry report is available here.



Tips on Negotiating a Termsheet


Last year, OpenTable founder and all-around great guy, Chuck Templeton, asked me to put together a talk on negotiating termsheets for participants in his Impact Engine program. Although Chuck thought he was asking a favor of me, I found the process of organizing my thoughts on negotiating termsheets (and in general) a personally useful exercise. Below is a digest of the talk including some of my tips.

You see, I got a “B” grade in my negotiations class at Chicago Booth. It’s my own fault for not doing a great job on my final paper. The only time I’ve ever tried to discuss a final grade with a professor (in undergrad or grad) was that class, since I figured that a negotiations professor would have no choice but to appreciate a student trying to negotiate a better grade. The professor never responded to my request for a meeting, which branded upon my forehead one of the great tactics in negotiations: don’t negotiate at all. Well that’s why he was the professor and I was the student.

 

Ever since then, I’ve been trying to make up for my “B” and have given much thought to the many negotiations I’ve been through in the last 13 years (including buying cars). I’ve paid close attention to great negotiators and bad ones.

 

Sharing these tips may come as a surprise to people– a VC sharing the secrets of negotiating?! But I don’t see it that way. My philosophy is that I want an entrepreneur to understand in detail the deal they are signing up for. Anything different results in disappointment and a bad partnership eventually. A good negotiator on the other side will express the principles behind their goals (not positions) and we can get to a solution (or not) quickly. Bad negotiators hide their true intentions, obfuscate and confuse, which makes it much harder for the other party to fashion an agreement that satisfies the counterparty. It’s like refusing to tell your spouse what types of gifts you would like for the holidays– you are less likely to be happy with the outcome, or worse yet maybe you won’t get a gift at all!

 

Not all negotiation tactics/strategies are applicable for all situations. And the approach you use will also depend on your personality and style. It will also depend on your business. For example, distressed investors negotiate with the power and asymmetric leverage of certain doom as an alternative to their deal. Yet a different approach is required for the president of the tiny country of Maldives trying to convince world powers to stem global warming (see the film The Island President in my list of documentaries). So this advice below is applicable in situations where there is balanced leverage.

 

I like to approach negotiating and a problem solving exercise. I find that makes it less confrontational and less uncomfortable for everyone. When I was negotiating the Base CRM investment, Uzi and I sat at a Carribou Coffee on Clark Street with the cap table in front of us on one computer, and we would just change the numbers together to find something that was fair, Excel goal seek be damned.

 

Here are some of my observations from great negotiators over the years:
goodnegosh
Some of these are worth highlighting. Finding “trades” is a great one that you learn playing Monopoly. When two people assign different values to items in a negotiation, there arises a great opportunity to trade. Without Park Place, Boardwalk isn’t as valuable to you as it is to the owner of Park Place. And if that owner has a property you need to complete a monopoly, that they in turn value differently than you do, there’s a good chance for a deal. This is a great example of how negotiation can create net value– both sides gain. This is opposed to value-claiming, when creativity doesn’t result in more total value- it’s just a land-grab for the existing value. Given the endless customization of termsheets, there usually lies opportunity to create value for those who are creative. So when in a negotiation and there is disagreement about what terms are important, that’s generally great news!

 

Seeking fair deals may also surprise some as a tip. I’ve seen countless examples of deals that were funded with unfair terms in earlier rounds. Regardless of which side “won” the negotiation, it winds up biting in later rounds, especially as one side feels scorned.

 

And in contrast, here are some of the mistakes I’ve seen lousy negotiators make:
badnegosh

 

There is one mistake I’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs make that ultimately costs them: singular focus on valuation. The truth is that economic value in a termsheet is a function of many terms: pre-money valuation, liquidation preference, size of the option pool, if the option pool is pre or post money, warrants, anti-dilution provisions, dividends, etc. Good negotiators treat all of these as a package. And while each of these economic terms have different magnitude and behavior (some are a function of time, some emphasize downside others upside, likelihood of being negotiated away), they all play a part in the overall economic outcome for a founder. I understand that it’s more impressive to the market to have a big valuation, and no one is going to write a blog post highlighting your small, post-money option pool. It’s just not as exciting. But if all of the PR and personal pride is at the expense of all the other economic terms, that ability to brag has a real cost to it. Per-money valuation is like the MSRP of a car– every educated person knows that’s not what it’s really worth, and that there are a lot of factors that determine the true value.

 

So good luck on whatever you are negotiating. And here’s to hoping that my former professor reads this post….

Definitive Guide to Crowdfunding Sites (Infographic)

In the last few years, the crowdfunding scene has exploded. Now there are hundreds of platforms to choose from, with more popping up every day. But which crowdfunding site is best for your small business? Or charitable cause? We covered 26 Top Crowdfunding Sites by Niche, and now we've created an infographic with all the essential details. 

 
Check it out! 


26 top crowdfunding sites to choose from for your next campaign

-- 
Melissa Welch

Director of Client Development

Growthink

melissa.welch@growthink.com

(310) 846-5015


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