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2016 Summer Digital Accelerator


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The First Caribbean Startup Digital Accelerator: We accelerate 100 companies to market each quarter annually. Our 3-day online accelerator program targets Caribbean entrepreneurs from 20 Caricom countries and the global diaspora.

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2016 Summer Digital Accelerator

  1. 1. 1 Summer 2016 Cohort The First Digital Accelerator in the Caribbean
  2. 2. Agenda  Introduction & Orientation  Product Dev 101  Customer Dev 101  Guest Workshop  Funding 101  Marketing 101  Guest Workshop  Open hour office hours  How to avoid top 99 mistakes of entrepreneurs  10 companies selected to demo for top 3 prizes 2 Day 1 & Day 2 Day 3- Demo Day
  3. 3. Founder Introduction 3 Christine Souffrant Ntim • 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 • AdAge 40 Under 40 • TEDx Speaker • Founder of Vendedy • Managing Director of Startup Grind Dubai • 30 under 30 Caribbean American Emerging Leaders & Changemakers Guelma Emile • Founder of • actively involved in community awareness initiatives and launched the 3 social media networks with close to 40,000 followers to inspire, educate, and encourage bold life choices.
  4. 4. Orientation What We Offer?4 is the home of the Caribbean’s startup ecosystem. 1. The First Caribbean Startup Digital Accelerator: We accelerate 100 companies to market each quarter annually. 2. Code it Caribbean hosts a series of monthly digital workshops to help entrepreneurs, careerists and students learn to code. 3. Central Startup Ecosystem Directory: We list all events, programs, and initiatives that advance entrepreneurship in the Caribbean. 4. Annual Online Caribbean Startup Ecosystem Expo: an action-packed lunch hour where the top accelerators, incubators, and events present their programs to aspiring entrepreneurs of the Caribbean. 5. Ecosystem Partnership Platform: We help facilitate the collaboration of government, incubators, accelerators and entrepreneurs by hosting monthly online roundtables, blasting monthly insights to 1000+ influencers in the Caribbean
  5. 5. Orientation What We Offer?5 The First Caribbean Startup Digital Accelerator: We accelerate 100 companies to market each quarter per year. Our 3-day accelerator program is open to all small businesses, startups, and freelancers connected to the Caribbean. 1. Part 1 Startup Development: First is the 3 -day accelerator program that includes 2 days of intense startup development training followed by an online demo day for the top ten companies to pitch investors, press and global accelerator directors. 2. Part 2 Mentorship: Once companies complete the program- they are given access to monthly startup development training with mentorship from successful Caribbean entrepreneurs. 3. Part 3 Progress & Investment: Companies are given an opportunity to submit updates on their companies 4x per year to and pitch our investor network for capital
  6. 6. Orientation Prizes6 Top 3 teams will receive $5k in prizes. • VIP tickets to ATECH- the biggest tech conference in the Caribbean. The winning team will receive (2 tickets, value of $695 each) VIP guest services (e.g., VIP service at the airport, free transportation to and from the airport and conference venues), including access to one- on-one investor feedback sessions. • $1,560 worth of credits with SendGrid ($129.95 / month for 12 months) • Consultant review package with SeedIM Investments (2 hours) valued at $350-Review your business model; Review Marketing Strategy; Provide recommendation Top 10 Teams Pitch • 2 investors • 1 startup influencer • 1 global accelerator
  7. 7. Orientation Continued Offerings7 $100 Pitch Challenge Give Away! July 8- August 8 Monthly 1 hour webinars w/ Successful Caribbean Entrepreneurs
  8. 8. Orientation Stats on the Inaugural Class8 Top 3 Countries 1. Trinidad w/ 40 2. Haiti w/ 18 3. Jamaica w/ 13 105 Selected -432 entrepreneurs Majority early stage • 2016- 28 companies • 2015-29 companies • 2014-15 companies Funding needed • 45% less than $50k • 54% btw $50k-$20M
  9. 9. Orientation- Stats on the Inaugural Class9
  10. 10. Orientation Stats on the Inaugural Class10 1. Participated in the Caribbean Innovation Challenge 2. NEDCO Entrepreneurship Boot Camp 3. Global Leadership Coalition Entrepreneurship Boot Camp participant 4. 2015 Caribbean Entrepreneurship Challenge 5. 711 Startup Pitch Competition Event - 2015; 6. 1776 Challenge Cup – Local 7. Idea 2 Innovation Competition 8. Arthur Lok Jack Bizbooster Incubator 9. UStart Incubator (University of Trinidad and Tobago, 10. IBIS (state-run seed fund in Trinidad ) 11. Startup Weekend, HBX (Harvard Business School), 12. Pitchit Caribbean, 13. Devlabs, 14. 15. MCI start-up accelarator 16. MEMA businees plan training 17. CodeSPRINT 2016 1. Branson Centre Online Training Programme 2. PitchIT Challenge 3. KingstonBETA 4. startup Weekend 5. Women Innovators Network in the Caribbean, 6. Creativity for Employment and Business Opportunity. 7. Youth Leader of The Americas Initiative 8. Forum on Finance (Haiti) 9. A USAID (Haiti) project called Konbit 10. Digicel entrepreneur of the year 11. Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship - Caribbean; 12. Jamaica Business Development Corporation 13. US Department of State '' International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)'' 14. Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), 15. FCC's Small Business & Emerging Technologies Conference & Tech Fair, 16. Haiti Renewal Alliance (HRA) Expo. Additionally 17. The National Integrated Business Incubation System (IBIS) Your Cohort participated in over 34 Programs in the Caribbean
  11. 11. Orientation- Stats on the Inaugural Class11 Self Development 1. Coursera 2. 3. Mastermind 4. small business workshops 5. 6. 7. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries 8. Running Lean, Ash Mauria 9. Road to Riches, Rich Dad Poor Dad books and motivational talks on youtube 8-week Coaching Program Resources in the USA 1., 2. 3. US Small Business Administration 4. Microsoft BizSpark 5. StartingBloc, 6. CSIS at Penn, 7. Be Social Change NYC, 8. Echoing Green, 9. Impact HUB, 10.Ashoka Changemakers 11.Skoll Foundation resources. 12.Tech Noir 2.0-Washington DC Business summit 14.Miami Caribbean Tech summit What else were you using for startup development training?
  12. 12. DAY 1 12
  13. 13. Orientation 13
  14. 14. Product Development 101 14
  15. 15. Product Development-Week 1 15 A. Ideation Process 1. Spend a week writing down all of the things that annoy you; enjoy; that you’re good at 2. Write out idea. Executive summary sheet of problem, solution, competitors. 3. Research 4. Do the “Why activity” for 1 hour 5. Identify: Target User & Consumer B. Beta Testing 1. Create a landing page- post on 50+ facebook/linkedin groups : Wistia or Unbounce 2. Do at least 100 Survey & Interviews with random people at mall, school etc. 3. Use tools like (Balsamiq)/ to create a test app or mock app to potential customers. C. Online Presence • Website + blog: Wix or WordPress • Media: Post photos, videos, testimonials • Social Media: Create a FB Page, Twitter • Get Noticed: HARO- Help A Reporter Out; Submit to HackerNews, Reddit • Google Alerts on your competitors
  16. 16. Product Development-Week 2 16 Decision Options go technical then hire a tech lead Or hire a tech lead then go technical Once you have a good sense of demand, you have to build the tech plan for the product 1. Alpha: Stripped down version of your application, which might be unstable and missing data verifications and error handling, but covers the core application features. 2. Beta: Usually this version is only available to a controlled group of users with early access privilege to the system for the purpose of testing and feedback. 3. Release Candidate: System is very stable at this point and no new features will be added at this stage, and the system is available as an early preview to the users for the purpose of identifying the last set of bugs in the system, or understanding user behavior on a larger scale than Beta user set. 4. Release (v1.0, v1.2): At this stage system is usually released to the customers.
  17. 17. Product Development-Week 3 17 Decision Options • External Freelancer work • External outsource agency/tea m • Internal team member with high coding skills for MVP Tech funnel hiring • Hire 20 developers on same small relevant coding task- fiverr, freelance etc. • Have them send links to previous projects and referrals • Google performance tests and have each of them complete it within a week (, • Select 2. Each will receive a 1/3 or ½ payment for the first set work. Select the best one to continue with,…
  18. 18. Product Development-Week 4 18 Design and release w/ no code apps-without-experience/ Design and release w/ basic website Learn to Code and release • Self taught in 12 weeks ruby-rails-12-weeks-launch-freelancify • Self taught in 8 weeks myself-to-code-in-eight-weeks-511615189 Code App/Website Send to beta users Get feedback Repeat
  19. 19. Idea to Market Example
  20. 20. www.Vendedy.com20
  21. 21. Customer Development 101 21 Prep-Before We Begin Bucket 1 & 2 For Startups w/ a great product that is ready to go!!! 40+ Ideas based on Growth Marketing Hacks Bucket 3 & 4 For Startups that need to focus on product enhancement and user engagement.
  22. 22. Customer Development-Site Submissions22 1. Post on the legendary 3: Reddit, Digg, HackerNews, (Ninja Tip: Before posting a link of your screenshot to Reddit, first share it on Twitter and then post the Twitter status link to Reddit. It’s an easy way to pick up a few Twitter followers) ; Go to the /subreddit (Page on Reddit) related to your business and leave comments 2. Post a screenshot of the app with the link on Product Hunt, Dribbble, DesignerNews and other niche forums. Don’t limit your self to the legendary 3. 3. Post on Craiglist,, Launch a Competition, Campaign or Event to test your app on advertise it on these platforms 4. Post Question on Quora Post an answer on Google Search: Leave comments on the top 5-10 search results . 5. Post on the TNW Market- While primarily a place for specific special offers or promos, you can also create a listing of your startup for free. IWebsite: & Add New Company Twitter: @TNWMarket 6. Post on Dubbler. Promote your blog posts or content having to do with your app's niche on Dubbler -- a 60-second audio social network. 7. Post a deck demo on slide share with a perk: and Add comments on other slideshare power point presentations
  23. 23. Customer Development 101 23 1. Get featured on,, Thrillist, DailyCandy, Groupon or some site that promotes others. 2. Get featured on alternative app stores like- Windows, Amazon, 3. Apply for awards. Look into awards such as the Kiip Build Fund or The Mobileys. Submit to HARO to get press 4. Submit app for review: Cnet, 148apps, Mashable, Techcrunch, IGN wireless, etc. 148apps, AppStoreApps andAppAdvice . Submit to PreApps (free) Submit to UserTesting lets you “look over the shoulder” For $49, 5. Submit to & Twitter: @BetaList 6. Submit to & Twitter: @erlibirdapp 7. Submit to & Twitter: @thestartuplist 8. Submit to & review/ Twitter: @appstorm 9. Submit to startup/ Twitter: @killerstartups
  24. 24. Customer Development 101 24 3rd Party Directories • Exposure: Submit to 100 directorieshttp://www.beingprac startup-directories-to-submit- your-startup-for-free/ • 130 Places to Promote Your Startup • php
  25. 25. Customer Development-Social Media25 1. Reach out to organizers of meetup, eventbrite, facebook to post on their page, or email out to followers 2. Reach out to the newsletters organizers that you subscribe to already. 3. Reach out to Bloggers & local tech newsletters: Provide 500 word document: app’s features, startup story and value proposition 4. Reach out to twitter influencers with 20k+ followers: Provide tweet and link about app. Request that they tweet at midday. 5. Contact admins of related Facebook pages. “Look for pages with 100k+ likes and reach out to their admins. Make sure these pages have something to do with the focus of your app. Then give them a compelling reason to mention it”. 6. Select 100 twitter influencers with at least 10k followers or more and have them tweet your app campaign on the same day/ stagger for 20 each day if necessary 7. Download email contacts on linkedin and Email blast ONLY once w/ mail chimp 8. Google form campaign- get people to signup to be network ambassadors for a day/week
  26. 26. Customer Development 101 26 1. Google alert competitors and reach out to reporter to write a follow up story or rebuttal 2. Follow your Audience: Target your customers/users on intagram + pinterest and comment the link to the app on a relevant post. 3. Look at new channels that have less competition (rules) like snapchat, pinterest, instagram to drive traffic 4. Search Twitter for related hashtags - then tweet at the people to offer feedback 5. Leave video responses on popular-related YouTube Videos 6. Create a six-second how-to series. Make the most of Vine with videos potential customers will find useful. The hashtag #howto is one of the top trending tags on Vine. 7. Thunderclap campaign your network for the launch date 8. Do Content marketing: Blog away not about your product, just anything that your target market would want and that would make them want to explore the product. 9. Ride a wave- If an image is going viral put your name on it and share it too 10. Use to share viral blogs with your own advert 11. Find Trending Content find titles that gets the most shares 12. Google Keyword Research Tool To Know Search Volume and Demands 13. Click To Tweet Tweet From any Blogs or Pages 14. Bounce Exchange To Track User’s Mouse Movements on your page
  27. 27. Customer Development-Fake the Hype27 1. Fake it till you make it: When users come initially to your platform and there's nothing there, they see little value in using it. Platform usage requires investment; you set up a profile, you browse around... it takes time. Users won't invest if they don't see activity. Well, if there isn't any activity, create some. Reddit did it. Paypal did it. A lot of marketplaces do it. Once you create some activity, more users start coming over. 2. Seed the community on standalone mode: Essentially, a user should be able to derive value out of the product even when other users aren’t on it. A product that has standalone value irrespective of the network is more likely to get traction among at least one set of users. 3. Piggyback on an existing network: Piggyback on a thriving network as long as your platform is contextual and complementary to that network. PayPal got almost all its traction by piggybacking on eBay and offering a much superior payment method than the painful check-over-mail. PayPal solved all the payments pain points on eBay providing instant payments without the hassle of credit cards. Moreover, while credit card companies scrambled to figure out how they’d manage online fraud, PayPal simply did away with the problem by taking the risk upon itself (a classic case of how a high burn rate company changed an industry). PayPal soon became the predominant mode of payments on eBay and essentially rode its growth to become synonymous with online payments.
  28. 28. Customer Development-Fake the Hype28
  29. 29. Customer Development-Random Gorilla29 1. Take a weekend, afternoon, major event parade etc to go our to the streets and attract users to sign up. Have a big sign with the value proposition and make it fun. Timesquare madness- you never know- you might get caught on youtube or news. 2. Sit in Barnes and Nobles with $5 Starbucks cards and get people to talk with you about your service. 3. Go to events and try to get users as they leave or enter an event- make sure you coordinate with organizers so you don’t harass them. Go to parties, festivals etc to get users 4. Email 10 entrepreneurs you know and ask them how they got users (target ones in your field and ones that aren’t) you will be surprised what you learn.
  31. 31. 31 Summer 2016 Cohort The First Digital Accelerator in the Caribbean
  32. 32. DAY 2 32
  33. 33. Agenda  Introduction & Orientation  Product Dev 101  Customer Dev 101  Guest Workshop  Funding 101  Marketing 101  Guest Workshop  Open hour office hours  How to avoid top 99 mistakes of entrepreneurs  10 companies selected to demo for top 3 prizes 33 Day 1 & Day 2 Day 3- Demo Day
  34. 34. Funding101-Re-access 34 Always Target: 1. Cash investments 2. In kind services for free- marketing, legal etc. 3. Partnerships- validation • Your goal is not just to raise cash but value that can propel your startup forward. • Remember- you are raising money to spend and advance your startup. If you already get what you need for free, then you’re on the right track. Make strategic requests. Example- instead of can you sponsor our event? Say, “can you host us at your venue and we will gladly share your brand with our network” Our startup received closed to $50k in cash, $50k in legal support and $100k in marketing, partnerships, services. That’s $250k in 6 months!
  35. 35. Funding101-5 Bucket Strategy 35 Bucket 1 Competitions- Prizes, Contests, Grants Bucket 2 Family, Friends, and Supporters Crowdfunding Bucket 3 Smart Capital Investments Bucket 4 Incubators, Accelerators, & Corporate Programs Bucket 5 Get Creative & Monetize
  36. 36. Funding101-Prizes & Grants 36 Competition Funding – 100 apps in 3months 1. Calendar: Use main databases to list out all applications for at least 6 months ahead- Gust, Angelist, Younoodle, F6s 2. Apply: In bulk for all due in one month over a weekend. Ex. Do all February applications during the first weekend of February. 3. Document: all application answers in word. Track: your progress w/ highlights. Note: Keep track of missed opportunities for next year
  37. 37. Funding101-Friends, Family, Fools37 Top methods/platforms • product perk • – thank you perk • – need • Peer Lending group • Microloans by a group • Crowdrise- equity based funding • Teespring- T shirt crowdfunding site Before you begin • Prepare the media plan, list out potential campaign partners… • Reach out to the top 50 campaign raisers across different crowd funding groups. Ask for 15 minutes of their time to tell you how they did it and if they are similar or complimentary, if they can partner with you; recommend you to reporters and investors! Also reach out to the top worst campaigns and ask them what they regret.
  38. 38. Funding101-Smart Capital Investments38 • Target Angels First: on + + Angel Capital Association. Angel investors (individuals) or (syndicates) can invest from $10k to $500k to $1M • Ask for feedback: 50-100 angel investors and send them this message: "Hi <>, I'm a student at <> University looking to solve a huge problem in the <> space. We're still pre launch and not ready to raise yet, but I was hoping to get 5-10 minutes of your time to ask some questions. Since you invested in <> and <>, I figured you would be perfect! Thanks!” Golden Rule: Ask for advice, get money…ask for money, get advice... DO NOT DO THIS BUCKET BEFORE YOU HAVE TRACTION!!! “If you can’t be bothered to spend $5k-$10k to build a prototype, of what you want to do, then why should I take you seriously?”—Jason Calacanis
  39. 39. Funding101-Incubators & Accelerators39 Get $20k-$100k from Accelerators • According to the National Association of Business Incubators, there are about 800 incubators in the US. • Apply to at least 12 that fit your niche. Even if you don’t get in, the interview process reveals a lot of wholes that you night of missed. Target Corporates for Startups • IBM Global Entrepreneur, Microsoft Bizspark, Amazon, Target, Nike, Disney Hubspot, Citi Fintech, Barclays,Coca Cola, GE, Google Ventures, Qualcomm, Sales force, Digital Ocean, Rackspace etc • Some have their own accelerators! • Google name of company and startup company or innovation hub. • Go on linked in to find innovation coordinator. Go to events targeted for corporate companies
  40. 40. Funding101-Get Creative & Monetize40 Get Creative • Host events, workshops where you offer your solutions to customers…charge $5, $10 etc • Google consulting projects at major entrepreneurship centers- colleges and graduate schools are consistently looking for live cases to do work for • Donations via social media . For example, the Tweetsgiving drive via Twitter pulled in over US$10K in just 48 hours, simply from donations of $5 or $10 dollars. • Online ad revenue and Affiliate advertising Monetize • Subscription • Beta sales etc Air BNB raised $25k selling cheerios- We made 500 of each (Obama O's and Cap'n McCains). They were a numbered edition on the top of each box, and sold for $40 each.
  41. 41. Funding101-Resources 41 Top Resource Archives • • • • tch-deck-collection-from-vc-funded-startups/
  42. 42. www.Vendedy.com42
  43. 43. Press & Marketing 101 43 Blue Print Your Announcement Dates & Frequency: • Beta signup, launch, updates • Trial Day Run Assign roles & engagement management workflow Blue Print Media Content • Email: Construct a 3 paragraph email (press release + personal outreach formats) • Share: Construct the 140 tweet, facebook, linkedin, instagram etc Target amplifiers • List: Coordinator, supervisor, and/or representative: Alumni networks: High school, College, Programs, jobs, internships, contract roles, HARO Reach out to Social Media Influencers • Social Media Groups- Facebook/Linked organizers • Eventbrite attendee lists message coordinators to share • Create a list of 20+ Twitter/FB w/ 10k followers+ to share your post on the target date (send personal email) • Post google doc form for volunteers to blast their networks (goal 50) • Email list: Excel Spread sheet of all linkedin contacts- blast (mailchimp)
  44. 44. Press & Marketing 101 44 Budget & Prep Step 3: Plan the Budget • Social media Marketing • Google Adwords Step 5: Trial Day Run • Assign roles & engagement management workflow Free tools for the day: MailChimp (2000); Hootsuite (3 accounts);
  45. 45. Press & Marketing 101-Email 45 What:List: Coordinator, supervisor, and/or representative for the following networks Who: 1. Alumni networks (Personal Email) • High school, College, Programs • Part time jobs, full time jobs, internships, contract roles • Clubs, sports, church etc. 2. Social Media Groups (Personal Email) • Facebook/Linked in groups 3. Social Media Ambassadors (Personal Email) • Create a list of 20+ Twitter/FB w/ 10k followers+ to share your post on the target date (send personal email) • Post google doc form for volunteers to blast their networks (goal 50) 1. Contact your network list (include media and target date); Request: Newsletter posting or social media blast 2. Engage w/ responders 3. Input confirmations into launch excel file (to follow up 3 days prior + on the target date) Free tools for the day: Boomerang
  46. 46. Press & Marketing 101-Email 46 What: Keep the momentum going! Use press release email Who: 1. Event+ Competition networks + previous press coverage (send update email) 2. Eventbrite attendee lists message coordinators to share 3. Google alert & compile reporters & reference story 4. Submit to: HARO, Reddit, HackerNews, BuzzFeed 5. Submit to: Directory submissions (130+ locations-; directories submit-your-startup-for-free/ 6. Email list: Excel Spread sheet of all linkedin contacts- blast (mailchimp)
  47. 47. Press & Marketing 101-Spend 47 Tools of the Day • ThunderClap • Wistia, Unbounce • KickoffLabs To increase value of spend dollars • Competition/ prize campaign • Call to action social media share • Webinar introduction • Google hangout- live demo
  48. 48. Press & Marketing 101- Networking48 Get Out There • Attend local startup events: StartupWeekend, Step Conference, etc • Tools: Meetup, Eventbrite etc • Volunteer: Shadow disruptive entrepreneurs; organize & support local events Event Networking Done Right • Go through the attendee list of or • Google Profiles & Linked In • How do you two relate • What matters to them • Ask 1 great question out loud for the audience to get noticed. Follow Up: Business Cards • Write notes on the back of cards
  49. 49. Press & Marketing 101-Pitching 49 30 Seconds- 1 Minute Pitches (Teaser) • What & Why in 30 seconds • Value in 10 seconds (tailor to audience) • Traction & Call to Action (20 seconds) 2-10 Minute Pitches (Details) • 1 Minute Teaser Intro Additional Info • Pre recorded demo • Competition Matrix details • Customer experiences • Financial metrics • Team profiles • Call to Action Elite Pitch Competitions • Application materials are longer • Review previous winners • Exploit application weaknesses- don’t avoid them • Highlight the publicity effect you will have: your story, your traction, unique product, etc. • Keep emails of organizers for future use • Request blasts on social media • Leverage names for other competitions & opportunities • Keep photos w/ logos for marketing material
  50. 50. 50 Summer 2016 Cohort The First Digital Accelerator in the Caribbean
  51. 51. DAY 3- DEMO DAY 51
  52. 52. Agenda  Introduction & Orientation  Product Dev 101  Customer Dev 101  Guest Workshop  Funding 101  Marketing 101  Guest Workshop  How to avoid top 99 mistakes of entrepreneurs  10 companies selected to demo for top 3 prizes  Final Annoucements 52 Day 1 & Day 2 Day 3- Demo Day
  53. 53. Orientation Stats on the Inaugural Class53 Top 3 Countries 1. Trinidad w/ 40 2. Haiti w/ 18 3. Jamaica w/ 13 105 Selected -432 entrepreneurs Majority early stage • 2016- 28 companies • 2015-29 companies • 2014-15 companies Funding needed • 45% less than $50k • 54% btw $50k-$20M
  54. 54. Stats on the Inaugural Class54
  55. 55. Top 99 Mistake-Product Dev 55 Ideation Phase: • Mistake: launch based on an idea and not a problem. • Solution: Research problem space, do why activity, survey + 100+inperson interviews, beta test landing pages (Business Model Canvas/Lean Startup) Alpha/Beta Phase: • Mistake: Launch w/ too many features. • Solution: Phase out features and test beta response. Simplicity is key. Know the process- Alpha, beta, release, V1+++ Release Phase: • Mistake: Paying for growth & users leads to false success markers • Solution: Organic growth and viral spread is important. Figure why they love it to incorporate the right features. Version Phases: • Mistake: Outsource product development at the release phase. • Solution: Internal memory for product development is key. Github all source code & maintain wireframe vision progress
  56. 56. Top 99 Mistakes-Team Dev 56 Hiring Phase • Mistake: No contracts. • Solution: NDA all collaborative parties. Contract agreement all team development parties. Vest schedule/equity deal all founding members Hire • Mistake: Hire based on resume & past. • Solution: Startup different then corporate process. Hire based on project execution milestones. Never provide title positions until earned. Payment • Mistake: Defer payment to big investment. • Solution: Not guaranteed. Hire based on budget and agreed hourly pay or stipend pay. Recruiting Phase • Mistake: Quick to take in a Co-founder but slow to hire. • Solution: Co-Founder search is like marriage. It should be a priority taken with care. Sources • Mistake: Hire on job board sites based on profiles • Solution: Hire within your network first, network meetups second and take in recommendations from others. Bplan • Mistake: Plan business plan and vision with the team as you go. • Solution: Can’t inspire without a foundation. Have Bplan, vision, and strategy concrete first.
  57. 57. Top 99 Mistakes-Team 57
  58. 58. Top 99 Mistakes-Business Dev 58 Partnerships • Mistake: Depending on partnerships for growth. Red flag. • Solution: If you can’t scale without partnerships, the business model flawed. • Mistake: Not knowing the partnership process for a company. • Solution: Find out if the company has an established startup innovation arm; competition; representative. See how competitors closed partnership Accelerators • Mistake: Apply to as many as possible and attend whatever accepts your team • Solution: No accelerator is too much alike. Be strategic on location, mentor network, partnerships, development focus (some better for hardware others for software others for retail etc) Milestone Progress • Mistake: No milestone markers. • Solution: Need to motivate internal team and need to validate potential with stakeholders. Have set milestones • Mistake: No metrics. • Solution: You can’s scale unless you know what success parameter needs to be repeated over and over like a playbook. Track traction markers early and compare to competitors • Mistake: Focusing on too many value propositions. • Solution: Do one thing well and have people love you for it. Then expand.
  59. 59. Top 99 Mistakes-Bus Dev 59
  60. 60. Top 99 Mistakes-Funding Dev 60 Continued… • Mistake: We just need $500k. Just because. • Solution: You must always have a budget breakdown of what you need to accelerate growth at each milestone. Not accomplish it. You should be able to progress even without capital. • Mistake: Providing only executive summary for investment opportunities • Solution: Have pitch deck and summary deal sheet already prepared. Quick & dirty financials is a must. Typical • Mistake: Seek funding before you have a product. • Solution: Don’t waste time. Fundraise when ready for better deals or else you will exhaust exposure. • Mistake: Focus on venture capital. • Solution: Target all 5 streams of funding (Credit & savings, prizes, crowd funding/equity, accelerator funding, smart capital) • Mistake: When running capital rounds with conflict of interest. • Solution: separate the investor lead from your investor mentor.
  61. 61. Top 99 Mistakes-Marketing Dev 61 Go to Market • Mistake: Focusing on too many marketing development avenues. • Solution: Know the difference in approach and select a balanced strategy. (Internal: Launch Live event, Pilot & Beta, Marketing Campaign. External: Global Competitions, Accelerators, Partners) Marketing Materials • Mistake: Pay thousands for photo stock or using google images. • Solution: recycle marketing materials from events, pitches, meetings, pilots etc. More authentic Pitch • Mistake: Pitch at every event possible. • Solution: In the fist month- practice to a couple. Once beta is out, focus on strategic pitch platforms for partnerships prizes not exposure. Have format locked: 1, 2, 5, 10 Minutes Web Presence • Mistake: Just have a website and social media pages. • Solution: Newsletter blast w/ Linkedin, submit to directories; Complete Startup Profiles Crunchbase, F6s, Angel List, YouNoodle,, etc;
  62. 62. Top 99 Mistakes-Legal Dev 62 Valuation • Mistake: Try to get the highest valuation possible early on. • Solution: Be strategic, the highger your valuation number the higher ROI you have to return and greater chances for down round. Be fair and think long term. Taxes • Mistake: Issue stocks immediately without proper valuation. • Solution: Remember to take caution with this. For founders remember to do a 83b election within 30days of issuance for future tax purposes Paperwork • Mistake: not getting your house in order. • Solution: you can use popular platforms like Clerky and Legal zoom to get started but remember to always have minutes, contracts and NDAs all in one place. Trademark + Patents not necessary for ideas. Lawyer Fees • Mistake: Pay lawyers with equity. • Solution: Don’t do it. Get the costs and see if you can back pay based on funding. Target startup lawyers only!
  63. 63. Top 99 Mistakes-Ops Dev 63 Admin • Mistake: Sharing admin responsibilities across the team. • Solution: Dedicate only one person to admin and limit focus to one part of the week/day. Use tools like boomerang, wufoo for scheduling, and google docs for collaboration. Every meeting must have a summary emailed out! Crucial for institutional memory • Mistake: depending on google hangout and skype for team meetings & investor meetings. • Solution: Pay for $10 per month web meetings- zoho or use; it will maximize efficiency Team Flow • Mistake: Daily meetings • Solution: Keep meetings to a minimum. Try the MWF email update approach and have 2 meetings per week- one short one long. • Mistake: Hire before a small team has operational flow • Solution: It’s a train wreck waiting to happen. Wait to have a system approach with a team of 5 or less before hiring more people, Project Management • Mistakes: no execution feedback loop. • Solution: have dates posted for group view; All main documents must be accessible to all and not just via email. Consider tools for this like GIRA
  64. 64. Top 99 Mistakes-PR Dev 64 PR Networks • Mistake: Cold call reporters before you are ready. • Solution: target alumni networks, bloggers, and local community newsletters first to get a buzz. Then submit to HARO- Help A Reporter Out; HackerNews, Reddit; • Mistake: Email random reporters to write a story on you. • Solution: Target reporters who are already interested in your space. Google alert your competitors and contact reporters who profile them Competition and Events • Mistake: Pitch at events and go home. • Solution: Whether you win or loose, always network with reporters and bloggers at the event and update event organizers on your progress. Their brand validation can help get you press.
  65. 65. DAY 3- DEMO DAY 65
  66. 66. Judges-Jamaica + Aruba 66
  67. 67. Judges-USA 67
  68. 68. Top Ten Demo 68 1. (Jamaica) 2. (Trinidad) 3. (St.Lucia) 4. (Trinidad 5. (Antigua 6. (Haiti 7. (Jamaica) 8. (Montserrat) 9. (Jamaica) (Guyana) 1 Minute Pitch 2 Minute Questions from Judges Ratings 1-10 Per Judge
  69. 69. What’s Next? 69 $100 Pitch Challenge Give Away! July 8- August 8 Share-most likes/shares wins! RSVP- Monthly 1 hour webinars w/ Successful Caribbean Entrepreneurs