What is it like to move at an early age from your ancient homeland to a strange new country called Canada?

And what a sight Canada is this day for a 4 year old. It's Halloween. And people are dressed in strange, funny, and damned scary costumes. To top it off they knock on strangers' doors and beg for candy.

Welcome to North America kid!

After another stop in England you eventually arrive in Youngstown, Ohio a few years later. Youngstown is a Rust Belt town. It's different. It's strange. Its home now.

Many years later you have a similar journey. You leave the wondrous and bountiful land known as Silicon Valley ... only to return to the Rust Belt. This time you arrive in Dayton, Oh. 

Sam Boutros, Co-Founder of Silicon Valley startup Inthrma, has had many life and business adventures. And he comes to Outside The Valley to discuss:

  • His early years
  • His Silicon Valley adventures
  • Inthrma
  • The greatest tech startup moguls

 

 

This is a true adventure traversing the globe - Egypt, Canada, England, Rust Belt USA, Silicon Valley. What a story!

 

Direct download: Sam_Boutros.mp3
Category:Entertainment business talk -- posted at: 3:43pm EDT

In every adventure there's a tipping point. That point is where something important teeters delicately on the brink. It could tip in the right direction ... or it could tip in the wrong direction, depending on what the heroes do. 

Either way, a future hangs in the balance.

This may be the case for Startup Weekend Dayton. Startup Weekend is riding fast and furious into the Dayton, OH area on May 9th - 11th, 2014. Though a bit of tech startup activity has been bubbling up consistently in the last year, this event could determine whether or not the region is really ready to energize a strong grass-roots tech startup movement.

And Dave Best, a local programmer, is riding the lead stallion to bring this event to town. Dave and his team are working pretty damned diligently to make this initial effort a success. 

Dave comes to Outside the Valley to converse about all things Startup Weekend. He talks about the history, its success in other markets, and why he's bringing it to Dayton. 

Dave also tells why the movie "The Social Network" and one tech podcaster turned him off of the tech statrtup scene for a long time. And in a Battle of the Tech Titans, Dave has Steve Jobs vs Jeff Bezos. 

 

And the winner is ...

 

Direct download: Dave_Best.mp3
Category:Entertainment business talk -- posted at: 5:31pm EDT

In every adventure that we take as entrepreneurs there's a make or break moment. It's that moment where we must decide to continue the journey or to throw in the towel and regroup. We may have some anguish and shed a few tears. But we live on to fight another day.

That moment is called a crossroad!

At 10:00 pm one Saturday night, in the middle of who-knows-where Mississippi, at a no-name gas station, with little else around, Justin Bayer came to that crossroad. His interactive vehicle, MARV, had broken down ... again. He didn't have the right part to fix the vehicle. And he had to have MARV in New Orleans for a show on Tuesday.  

It was gut-check time!

Justin Bayer founded his venture, Welcome To College, with the idea of helping high school students to find the right college fit. But as always happens, that core mission has evolved in the four years since he launched. During Justin's adventure he's had exhilarating highs, devastating lows, and lived a fascinating journey. 

Justin stepped into Outside The Valley to tell some stories and shed some insight into the adventure of launching a tech startup ... including a serendipitous encounter with serial tech adventurer Tony Hsieh. 

So buckle up those seatbelts. And hold on tight my friend. This ride is gonna be one hell-of-a-rollercoaster!

 

Direct download: Justin_Bayer_2.mp3
Category:Entertainment business talk -- posted at: 11:28am EDT

Barbara Hayde

Incubators Ain't for Chickens!

 

Well Barbara Hayde is no chicken.

She's the President of The Entrepreneur's Center, a tech incubator in Dayton, OH. A series of adventures led her to this job. And at first she was real reluctant to take it ... until she had a light bulb moment while driving in her car one day. Her reluctance was based on fear - the fear of failing as other incubators had before. But it didn't fail. The Entrepreneur's Center was the first building in an area known as Tech Town in downtown Dayton. 

She started off as a 3rd grade teacher. But that wasn't her deal. So she launched a business, even though she swore she never would. Because she's been willing to take on assignments even when she felt out of her comfort zone, she's been able to sample a potpourri of opportunities in her career.

What are some great take-aways from my conversation with Barbara?

  • Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone to seek opportunities
  • An idea has no value until it meets someone that knows how to make money with it 
  • Incubators ain't for chickens!

 Hey. Don't be a chicken. Just click the button and enjoy my conversation with Barbara! 

Direct download: Barbara_Hayde.mp3
Category:Entertainment business talk -- posted at: 2:51pm EDT

Dayton, OH is one of the many rust-belt cities that's been devastated by a collapse in its traditional heavy manufacturing industries. Now Dayton is attempting to make the difficult transition to a new tech-centric economy. And a place called Tech Town, located in the downtown area, is right smack dab in the middle of those efforts.

The face of Tech Town, at least as far as the tech startup community is concerned, is Steve Nutt. Steve is a Vice President at an economic development company called Citywide Development. And he's been working for a few years now to help make Tech Town a great Live ... Work ... Play environment.

And those efforts are bearing some fruit as more tech startup activity is bubbling up in the Dayton mini-region, and the Tech Town area in particular. So Steve steps into Outside The Valley to share the story of Tech Town, his thoughts on the tech startup community, and a story or two about the genesis of the project.

There's a rumor that Steve is a masked superhero. As of yet I've not been able to prove that he is in fact the one and only Batman. I'm on the trail ... and I'm getting real close. But Batman or not, Steve and I had one hell-of-a fun conversation!

Direct download: Steve_Nutt_-_Tech_Town.mp3
Category:Entertainment business talk -- posted at: 1:09pm EDT

In many rustbelt cities across the country, the old auburn flakes of rust are slowly but surely starting to give ground to a new type of growth rising up ... tech startups!

That might be what we're seeing now in the Dayton, OH area. Dayton is one of the old-line hard-core manufacturing cities. It's a member of the rust belt hall of fame. Over the decades lots of jobs have been lost. And the population has steadily declined.

But in the midst of this, little seeds are being planted here and there to start growing a new tech startup crop in the Dayton region. Yea it's small right now. Maybe barely visible. But it's there for sure. It's gaining momentum. And maybe one day soon it will form into a real sustainable movement that launches many tech startup ideas into high-growth ventures.

One sign of that took place on November 4th, 2013. An event called Ventreprenure Marketplace was held in downtown Dayton. At this event I held discussions with 5 regional tech players. Unfortunately, because of the background noise, only 3 were salvageable.

But those three are a good representation. 

  • Lincoln Berry III leads Grab Vision Group, a company developing a solution for the holy grail of TV commerce - shopping directly from within a TV show
  • Pat Newcomb is the director of a local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). She works with entrepreneurs to get their ideas into focus and to eventually launch them.
  • Michael Klein represents Accelerant, the VC arm of a local economic development agency. He's seeking great ideas to fund.

Together their perspectives represent a good cross-section of what's happening in the Dayton region now ... and what the future may hold.

Yep, it looks like the rust belt is starting to rise again!

Direct download: Outside_The_Valley__Ventreprenure_2013.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:21pm EDT

Right now Kevin Hiser and the crew at QStart Labs can help you go from "zero to completed web tech prototype" in a week. And this isn't just a basic Minimally Viable Product. It's more than that. And soon, hopefully real soon, he wants to cut down that lag time to 24 hours.

What can I say ... the man's got ambition!

Kevin joins me to talk about his journey to become CEO of QStart Labs in 2009. We discuss the growing tech startup scene in Columbus, OH (where he's based) and, believe it or not, Greenville, SC, another emerging tech startup community.

Say what ... Greenville, SC? Really?

We discuss the elements needed to build a vibrant community of tech startups. Kevin also tells why one of his favorite biz movies is Glengarry Glen Ross and which two tech startup titans would meet in a gladiator showdown.

And the winner is ... uh, sorry, you'll have to listen to learn that!

Oh, one more thing. After Kevin's interview I have a short discussion with Steve Nutt. Steve is responsible for Tech Town in Dayton, OH. Steve gives an overview of the Tech Town concept, maybe the first in the country. Tech Town is also the sponsor for this episode.

Thanks for listening and enjoy the show!

Direct download: Kevin_Hiser_-_Outside_The_Valley.mp3
Category:Entertainment business talk -- posted at: 2:13pm EDT

Engelhardt and Heltzel @ Recharge

Finally!

After a delay of several days due to a glitch between my hosting service and my payment service and a kidnapping (and return) by semi-hostile aliens ... another Outside The Valley episode is here.

Actually this is the last preview episode before I launch the full-blown series. This episode combines my discussions with Keith Engelhardt and Ed Heltzel. I spoke with both of them at the Recharge party back in July of 2013.

Keith is the co-organizer of the Dayton Web Developers, a group focused on creating more high-skilled developers in the SW Ohio region. And with 340 members the group is the largest tech-focused group in Dayton, Oh. 

Ed Heltzel is the founder of Rainy Day Media, a startup new media company based in Dayton, Oh. Ed and his cohorts did the branding for the Recharge party and work with clients on their digital media campaigns. Both Ed and Keith have some interesting thoughts about the tech startup scene in SW Ohio.

But of course they do ... or I wouldn't be posting their interviews right!

I hope you enjoy the episode!

Direct download: Keith_Englehardt__and_Ed_Heltzel__Recharge.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:25pm EDT

In another short preview of my new show, Outside The Valley, I speak with Don Fisher. A few years ago Don relocated to Southwest Ohio from San Diego to be closer to his wife's family. I guess what they say is true ... you'll do anything for love!

His current venture is focused on wireless communications. But while in sunny San Diego, Don joined a team that purchased an existing tech company. They eventually went to an IPO. In our discussion, Don gives his take on the tech startup community in SW Ohio and who he thinks would be the two left standing (actually 3 in his interpretation) in a tech entrepreneur gladiator tournament.

Enjoy!

Direct download: Don_Fisher_-_Outside_The_Valley_Preview.mp3
Category:Entertainment business talk -- posted at: 1:48pm EDT

In this short preview of Outside The Valley, I speak with Justin Bayer. He's the founder of an interesting tech startup called Welcome to College. This is another interview I did at Recharge, a tech party that took place on July 31, 2013 in Dayton, OH.

Justin has some ties to the Las Vegas downtown project.  And he's bringing what he's learned in Vegas to Southwest Ohio. So sometimes ... what happens in Vegas actually does not stay in Vegas!

Enjoy!

Direct download: Justin_Bayer_-_Outside_The_Valley_Preview.mp3
Category:Entertainment business talk -- posted at: 3:52pm EDT

This discussion is with Lincoln Berry III, founder of Grab Vision Group in Dayton, OH. His company is creating a technology called GrabTV. GrabTV will allow TV viewers to buy items they see in TV shows. My discussion with Lincoln took place at Recharge, a party for the tech community that took place on July 31, 2013 in Dayton, OH.

My discussion with Lincoln is the first in a series of previews for my upcoming web show ... "Outside The Valley". All of these preview discussions took place at Recharge.

Enjoy the preview!!

Direct download: Lincoln_Berry_III_Recharge_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:59pm EDT

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Turnarounds ... Restructurings ... Reorganizations .. Oh My!

Alphonso Spence, CEO of Trinity Corporation, is a man you want on speed dial if you're having business difficulties. In addition to teaching business at two colleges, he's completed some real interesting turnarounds of distressed firms.

He joins The Looney Executive to discuss the signs and remedies for troubled businesses. In part I of our discussion Alphonso lays out some of the typical red flags of trouble. A couple of key, and obvious, signs include:

  • Declining profit
  • Difficulty in acquiring new clients
  • Dependency on a small number of key customers

Also, Alphonso cites competition, or rather the inability to respond to it, as another key factor.

And of course Jennifer Vallarautto, CEO of Office Out Of The Box, returns to offer you tips on saving money and working with your office technology. 

So click the link below or POD button above to listen now!

 

 

Direct download: Alphonso_Spence__-_Turnarounds.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:27pm EDT

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Find A Niche And Be King ... Or Queen!

So it's just another day in Silicon Valley. "Mature Entrepreneurs" are cashing out ... Growth Entrepreneurs are chirping about their new ventures and reading their press clippings ... Would-be entrepreneurs are meeting at coffee houses, student unions, Meet-up groups, and in private homes to discuss the new new thing!

But what about Middle America?

Detroit ... Dayton ... Cleveland ... St. Louis.

How do these and similar markets generate excitement and buzz about entrepreneurship?

Well Dave Gasper has some definite thoughts about that. Dave is the CEO of Initial Point Corp., an entrepreneurship consultancy based in Dayton, OH. As a successful serial entrepreneur and Angel investor, Dave has unique insight into what it takes to create a dynamic environment that fosters tech entrepreneurship.

In Part I of our discussion, Dave says that entrepreneurs need to find a niche and own it. He also says that technologists and business builders need to do better at connecting with each other

And by the way, did you know that one of the first search engines was developed in Dayton, OH?

Neither did I!

Last, but definitely not least, Jennifer Vallarautto returns in our new segment "Out Of The Box Ideas With Jen". She offers up some tips on making tech work together and Voice over IP technology ... Good Stuff!

So click the link below or POD button above to listen now!

Direct download: Dave_Gasper_Interview_-_Part_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:15pm EDT

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Even savvy investors make big mistakes. And Jim Butz, an angel investor based in Carlsbad, CA, is no different. He's picked a dog or two. And from his mistakes he's learned a key rule of investing:

  • An A team with a B product trumps a B team with an A product hands down!

By the way, that's not the same A team that includes Mr. T and 3 other army renegades. But it does mean your team must be top notch to attract equity investments.

In Part II of our discussion on venture debt, Jim dishes on valuation, emerging tech in Southern California, and the time he got so mad that he went across the table at a group of, uh, confused entrepreneurs!

When Jim's not California Dreamin', you can reach him at his consulting company Resonnect or Startup Coast, his educational web site for entrepreneurs.   

Oh, and one more thing. Jennifer Vallarautto, President of Office Out Of The Box, offers up a great tip in our new segment "Out Of The Box Ideas With Jen". 

So go ahead and click on the link below or the POD button above to hear the interview. 

 

Direct download: Jim_Butz_Interview_Part_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:58pm EDT

 

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Uh Oh ... Chongo!

That's a well-known line from a late 1960's show called Danger Island. It's what someone said when a character named Chongo got into trouble.

And Jonathan Aberman is saying that right now about early stage venture investing in the U.S. Jonathan is Managing Director of Amplifier Ventures, an early stage VC firm in McLean, VA.

In Part Deux of the interview, Jonathan gives his perspective on how the federal governemt should collaborate with experienced company builders to kick-start early stage investing and innovation.

Oh yea, we even flashed back to the 1980's with a discussion about how former bond King Michael Milken used "junk bonds" to finance growth firms.

Finally, we're introducing a new segment called "Out-of-the-Box Ideas With Jen". Jennifer Vallarautto, President of Office-Out-of-the-Box, presents interesting tips and ideas for businesses.

Uh Oh Chongo! You're not listening yet. So go ahead and click on the link below or the POD button above to listen to our latest show!  

Direct download: J._Aberman_Interview_Part_II.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:35pm EDT

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So What's Your Exit Strategy?

Uh, I mean, how we will make money and when?  

According to Jim Butz, that's what investors really mean when they ask about your exit strategy. Jim is the co-founder of Resonnect, a consulting company based in Carslbad, CA. He's also an investor with California Capital Partners, a venture debt firm near Los Angeles.

In Part I of our discussion, I started off thinking we'd discuss angel financing. But Jim initially focused on his bread and butter ... venture debt funding. It's an alternative and less expensive form of financing that's a hybrid between equity and debt (it's mostly debt by the way, with a little equity kicker added!). But it's definitely not for early stage firms with no profits to repay the debt.

Jim also gives an overview of how VCs make their money. But maybe the most intriguing item is his story about an investment in a pet pharma company. And the specialist vets treating the sick pets take only cash money homey!

Oh by the way, Jim runs a web site called Startup Coast. It has all sorts of great stuff for tech entrepreneurs. 

So click the Direct Download link below to hear Jim's financing wisdom!

 

Direct download: Venture_Debt_-_Jim_Butz_Part_I.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:12pm EDT

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A Dinosaur lumbering through the forest!

That's how Jonathan Aberman describes the increasing concentration of venture capital into the hands of massive sized venture funds. This means that the big funds get bigger, slower, and more risk-averse ... as the smaller funds are being choked off from funding sources. This is one symptom of how U.S. innovation is being slowed by the trickling of early stage capital to entrepreneurs. 

Jonathan Aberman is the Managing Director of Amplifier Ventures, an early stage VC fund based in The Washington, DC region. In Part I of his interview, Jonathan provides some ideas to jump-start early stage investing. His prescription, also described in detail in his free whitepaper, include:

  • More favorable tax treatment for early stage investors
  • Closer alliances between federal government programs and experienced company builders (VC's and successful entrepreneurs)

Jonathan also gives a real good overview of the various stages of company financing. And he points out that some existing government programs already provide a bit of early stage financing.

For more details, you can find Jonathan's blog post and white paper - What the Government Should Do About the Decline in the Venture Capital Industry - at AmplifierNetwork.com, the social networking site of Amplifier Ventures.

In the meantime, delay no further Looney Executive. Listen now to our interview with Jonathan Aberman to learn about the current state of early stage investing!

 

Direct download: Jonathan_Aberman_Interview.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:32pm EDT

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Want another way to make some dough?

I'll assume your answer is a definite yes!

For many entrepreneurs, taking a technology from concept to product is the standard business practice. But there's another fast-growing model you should consider that could also be quite lucrative. It's called licensing.

Jeff Matsuura, world renown IP expert and author lays out a step-by-step approach to creating a licensing business model. As an attorney with the Alliance Law Group, Jeff has worked on numerous licensing projects.

And he lays out 3 key components to successful licensing:

  • Secure your intellectual property via a patent, trademark, or copyright
  • Develop the prototype
  • Market your technology to potential partners

According to Jeff, even though you're not manufacturing the product, you still need to have a robust marketing effort to find licensing partners!

Jeff also says that Ocean Tomo is an intellectual property marketplace that

 

Direct download: Jeff_Matsuura_Interview_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:49am EDT

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Be Prepared To Do Lots Of Research (Pun Intended)!

According to Jeff Shick, the process of technology commercialization can be a lucrative venture avenue for tech entrepreneurs. Whether it's commercializing technology from a federal government lab, or perhaps licensing technology from a university, there are numerous ways to exploit un-commercialized technology. 

But it takes lots of market research to, uh, be successful in commercializing tech research.

Jeff is the Director of Manufacturing and Technology for the Ohio Small Business Development Centers. Operating in Central Ohio, he travels around assisting tech entrepreneurs with commercialization and licensing issues, among other things of course.

In our discussion, Jeff offers up some tips on how to successfully navigate tech commercialization:

  • Connect with organizations already conducting research and become their commercialization arm
  • Having an experienced PhD on staff will bump you above competitors that don't  
  • There are primarily three sources of tech research: 1) Federal government; 2) Universities; 3) Commercial firms

Jeff also discusses the federal government small business innovative research program (SBIR) and provides some resources that will help you to discover potential tech commercialization opportunities and partners.

Listen now to hear Jeff's tips and advice on tech commercialization.

Happy Deal Hunting! 

 

 

 

Direct download: Jeff_Shick_Interview.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:33pm EDT

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 It's an age-old dilemma folks.

Where do you get the initial funds to build your product?

Like many other entrepreneurs, Troy Miller believed in his idea so much that he raided his retirement account for those initial funds ... $80,000 to be exact. 

A good idea?  Well, only time will tell!

Troy is the founder of ATM Central Development, a Columbus, OH based developer of healthcare applications. His key product is an application that professes to save hospitals $$$thousnds$$$ on the front end and potentially $$$millions$$$ over the course of a few years.

Sounds like an easy pitch to me!

In our Looney Executive interview, Troy dishes on issues such as:

  • How ATM Central Development came to be
  • Why he thinks the company can create a mini-monopoly in its niche
  • His wife's reaction to his retirement-raiding decision
  • Why you need to launch fast after conceiving your idea

And much more!

Troy is also an elected city councilman with definite ideas on tech public policy. Unfortunately, we didn't get to that compelling discussion. But we'll bring him back again ... I promise!

Now don't waste any more time. Listen to Troy's interview now!


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ATM Central Development

Direct download: Troy_Miller_Interview.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:10pm EDT

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Adventures In Businessland!

On the road to that great golden rainbow filled with wondrous riches (we hope), entrepreneurs often follow a winding, twisting, thrilling, heart-pounding roller coaster ride to success ... or not!

David Levine is no exception.

David is the Co-Founder and CEO of Wireless Environment, a lighting technology venture based in Cleveland, OH.  

In one of our most compelling discussions yet, David reveals the inner workings of a tech entrepreneur that has raised $750,000 to develop an innovative product. And he's seeking at least another $1,500,000 to get to the next "value inflection point".

David and his partner face a strategic dilemma ... 1) License the technology to other manufacturers;  2) Manufacture the technology themselves; or 3) Create a hybrid model where they manufacture only certain components and license the rest.

In addition to discussions on raising capital and business strategy, David reveals how Wireless Environment is protecting its creations via the patent process.

He also tells a great story that involves the Baja 1000, Mexican Desert, and the elusive Mexican Desert Alligator!  

Now don't waste any more time. Listen to David's interview now!


Important Links

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Wireless Environment

Direct download: David_Levine_Interview.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:51pm EDT

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You've Got To Think About Growth Beyond The Darkness!

The darkness for many is the current economic crisis that has caused tight lending, more scrutiny from equity investors, and cost-cutting from clients!

But you must think about growth anyway.

So says Susan Lentz. Susan is the Director of the Maricopa Small Business Development Center (SBDC), based in Tempe, AZ! 

In a real interesting and frank discussion, Susan dishes on the role of SBDCs in facilitating business growth. She also provides some key tips including:

* Back up your entrepreneurial zeal with good research!

* Even most experts can't tell you if your venture will breakout or be a dud! 

* Arizona has a small but growing tech venture community!  

* Building a family venture can be ... uh, well let's say very challenging!

Susan also tells a great story about an entrepreneur that made millions with a very looney idea!  

Now don't waste any more time. Listen to Susan's interview now!


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Maricopa SBDC

Direct download: Susan_Lentz_-_Maricopa_College_SBDC.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:01pm EDT

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What's Your Greatest Fear?

I'd bet that facing a large deadly predator bare-handed might be somewhere on the list!

But that's exactly what Tony Manuel had to do in coming face-to-face with a large mountain lion. Fortunately for Tony, the big cat decided to walk past him and go about his business. Actually, I think it's more fortunate for the mountain lion! 

Tony Manuel is the founder and CEO of Stan Solutions, a Dayton, OH based defense technology firm. Stan Solutions makes technology that helps to minimize friendly fire incidents on the battlefield.

Tony's insights include:

* Entrepreneur tips: Look for the opportunity in a crisis!

* Why he's different: A family of 18 kids honed his highly competitive instincts! 

* Differentiation: A multi-skilled workforce means less personnel and more productivity!  

Tony has much more to tell. His personal story is the stuff of feature films. We just hit the very tip of the iceberg in this interview. But since he's one of our featured executives, in the coming months you'll learn a lot more about Tony as we follow him and Stan Solutions. 

Now don't waste any more time. Listen to Tony's interview now!


Important Links

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Direct download: Tony_Manuel_Interview.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:36pm EDT

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Did you know that Ohio has the second largest Angel investment group in the U.S.?

I bet the answer is no!

Ohio also has one of the most progressive state-wide efforts to foster the growth of tech ventures and jobs.

Ted Ford, CEO of TechColumbus, joins the series to discuss tech ventures in Ohio. And Ted provides a fantastic look into one of the organizations at the front lines making tech ventures go, especially in Central Ohio.

TechColumbus provides services and assistance to help tech entrepreneurs hone their ideas, launch their ventures, raise capital and grow. This includes a nationally known incubator.

Ted's insights include:

* Financing tips: A clear biz plan and a President with tech startup and venture financing experience are key!

* Emerging tech sectors in Central Ohio: IT, medical devices, advanced materials! 

* Entrepreneurs need to be willing to give up control to be successful!  

 

Ted''s  excellent adventures include an acid rain trip that was a debacle at the time, but became a great learning experience!

Acid rain ... I haven't heard that term since the 80's.

 

Ted’s Looniest Moment:

Having to raise $7.5 Million in 70 days for TechColumbus. 

So delay no longer my friend. Listen to the interview now by clicking the "POD" button at the top left of the page! 


Important Links

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Direct download: Ted_Ford_Interview.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:30pm EDT

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What keeps an entrepreneur up at night?

Well the list is pretty long and might possibly include:

* Deciding between various options for raising capital ... but giving up equity and control in the process!

* Dealing with vendors that you've outsourced to for product development!

* Spending so much time away from your family to run the venture!  

* Tripling the number of company employees!

* Investing all of your savings in the venture ... and not being paid for several months!

Well Manoj Ramnani has had to deal with all of these. Manoj is the Founder and CEO of DubMeNow, a mobile tech venture based in Vienna, VA. 

DubMeNow is a business card exchange platform that allows easy information exchange between mobile phones. But the company has also penetrated the university market by allowing the distribution of various content to students' cell phones.  

In total the company has raised $2,000,000, most of which has gone to product development and marketing. Since Manoj is one of our featured entrepreneurs, we'll be following his and DubMeNow's progress over the next several months. 

It looks to be a real interesting ride as he and his cohorts reach near that magical 1,000,000 user milestone and attempt to turn DubMeNow into a viral success!

Manoj's  biggest mistake in the last year:

Depending on outside vendors for product development work!

Manoj’s Looniest Moment:

Deciding whether to raise an additional $5,000,000 and give up lots of equity or raise a much smaller amount and keep a larger ownership of the firm ... but risk being under-funded!

So what are you waiting for? Listen to the interview to hear Manoj Ramnani's story and his fund-raising travails!


 

Links

The Looney Executive WebSite

The Mogul Jungle Blog 

DubMeNow Web Site

 

 

Direct download: Manoj_Ramnani_Interview.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:38pm EDT

Subscribe To The Looney Executive Emerging Growth Series!

Follow The Looney Executive on Twitter! 

Contrary to popular opinion, RFID was not a character on any Star Wars Episode!

However, it does stand for Radio Frequency Identification. And it’s a technology that has numerous applications. One of those is for tracking sales data in retail point-of-sale systems.

Jack Eggert, Co-founder and CEO of WeConectIT, joins The Looney Executive to discuss his company, the technology, and the challenges of launching a tech venture.

Based in Dayton, OH, WeConectIT has a handful of installations and is looking for a broader rollout to additional locations.  Jack and his partner started with $60,000 in friends and family funding. Now, in order to grow fast, they want to raise an additional $3,000,000!

Will Jack be able to raise the $3,000,000?

Well of course that remains to be seen. But since Jack is one of our “Featured Entrepreneurs” you’ll be able to follow his progress for the duration of this series.  

One of Jack’s best tip for other fast-growth entrepreneurs:

Whatever you do … don’t under-fund your venture!

 

Jack’s favorite Mogul: 

Bill Gates!

 

Jack’s Looniest Moment:

A very smart math PhD tried to connect to a network by simulating modem sounds with his mouth!

So what are you waiting for? Listen to the interview to find out more about Jack Eggert, WeConectIT, and RFID technology!


 

Links

The Looney Executive WebSite

The Mogul Jungle Blog 

WeConectIT Web Site  

 

 

Direct download: Jack_Eggert_Interview.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:15am EDT

Subscribe to The Looney Executive Interview Series!

Got IP?

Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents … Oh My!

Attorney Jeff Matsuura helps to launch our new emerging growth series with a very interesting discussion on intellectual property, aka IP.

In less than 30 minutes, he gives an “Intellectual Property 101” course that defines IP and the different ways it can be protected.

Jeff is a pre-eminent global practitioner of IP law and the author of numerous books, including:

* The Law of the Internet

* Managing Intellectual Assets in the Digital Age

* Jefferson vs. The Patent Trolls   

Thomas Jefferson had to fight Trolls … really?

According to Jeff, when you create something original from your own thoughts, you’ve created intellectual property.

But hold on a second.

He also says that by simply creating IP doesn’t necessarily mean it has any commercial value!

And commercial value is the measure of whether or not you should seek a patent, trademark, or other protection.

So to learn more about how to protect your own intellectual property listen now to this discussion with Jeff Matsuura.    


 

Links

Follow The Looney Executive on Twitter

The Looney Executive web site

The Mogul Jungle Blog

The Alliance Law Group

 

 

 

Direct download: Jeff_Matsuura_Interview.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:39pm EDT

Manoj Ramnani, CEO and Founder of DubMeNow, has a technology to automate the exchange of business information.

The Vienna, VA based firm just launched a product that facilitates the automatic exchange of business card information for those Looney Executives that have smart phones such as Apple's iPhone.

And his competitiors should be forewarned:

He loves the movie "Goodfellas".

As far as I know, he's not responsible for any bodies found in the East River or Arizona desert.

But he does have a another successful venture under his belt!

 


 

So listen in as Manoj discusses:

  1. How DubMeNow he has put $1,000,000 in angel financing to use!
  2. How the company will utilize $5,000,000 in Series A venture financing they're seeking now!
  3. His keys to success for emerging growth firms!
  4. His biggest blunder ... and favorite mogul!

 

 

Direct download: Manoj_Ramnani_CEO_of_DubMeNow.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:03pm EDT

Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get to the other side of course!

What you might not know about that old joke is ... the chicken might have been wearing rose colored contact lenses!

Yes, someone pitched the idea of chicken contact lenses to Mark Levine, Managing Director of Core Capital Partners, a VC firm based in Washington, DC.


In Part II of my interview with Mark, he recounts that chicken tale and provides some insight into the VC world:

*  Exit strategies

*  Hot investment areas

*  Why entrepreneurs should not be so focused on valuations


Mark also discusses the value of "The Art of War", and why upstart entrepreneurs are his favorite moguls, beating out the likes of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates!

 

 

 

Direct download: Mark_Levine_Interview_-_Part_II.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:49pm EDT

Letitia Green is the Managing Director of The Virginia Active Angel Network based in Charlottesville, VA.

In Part II of our discussion, Letitia offers up some great tips including:

  1. Set up an experienced board of advisors
  2. Retain a great law firm
  3. Find a really good accountant

Letitia also tells the tale of the time a woman pitched her a real interesting investment opportunity:

A nationwide psychic franchise operation for paranormal activity!


Letitia also discusses whether or not a bubble exists in social networking.

Oh, and her favortie biz movie ... "War Games"!

 

 

Direct download: Letitia_Green_Part_II.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:48pm EDT

IntepPros Consulting is a fast-growing technology services firm based in Massachussets, and with a regional office in Rockville, MD.

The company generates well over $20,000,000 in revenue ... with plans to reach more than 3 times that in the next few years!

At Twin Tech II, I interview Richard Dinnis, the Regional VP of the IntePro's Rockville, MD office about the firm's fast growth.

 

 

Direct download: Richard_Dinnis_-_IntePros_Consulting.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:39pm EDT

TechLab develops medical technology to diagnose what ails those of us with, uh how shall I say, intestinal problems!

Its founder, Tracy Wilkins, is a serial entrepreneur that has both bootstrapped his way to success, and leveraged venture financing to grow fast and cash out.

He likes bootstrapping better.

Listen to Tracy's compelling tales of business ... including a run-in with a large beer company over a T-shirt, and making the front page of a tabloid paper!

 

Direct download: Tracy_Wilkins_-_CEO_of_TechLab.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:01pm EDT

Here's Another Twin Tech II Bonus Interview!

Navigation Arts implements large complex web technology projects. This includes Web 2.0, Web 1.0, and Web no dot oh!

Listen to Michael Endres, VP of Client Services, discuss Navigation Arts and the state of Internet technology.

 

Direct download: Michael_Endres_-_VP_of_Client_Services_for_Navigation_Arts.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:45pm EDT

Twin Tech II brought together over 1,000 players from the Wahington - Baltimore technology communities. This includes emerging growth firms, government contractors, financiers, consultants, plain old geeks, and many more!

At Twin Tech II, Blake Glenn interviews the executives of a company called evDeliv.com, an upstart firm that promises to marry the desktop with the Internet in delivering all sorts of services.

Listen to Shawn Busteed (CEO) and Julie Soukup (VP of Marketing) tell the story of their exciting, but challenging, first year in business!

Now they're ready to grab for the money tree in the form of VC or Angel financing!

 

Direct download: Twin_Tech_II_-_evDeliv.com_Final.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:38pm EDT

Mark Levine is a Managing Director with Core Capital Partners, a venture capital firm based in Washington, DC.

In Part I of our discussion, Mark talks about:

  1. The types of firms he invests in
  2. How much capital he typically invests
  3. What will get him to say yes to a deal 
  4. Exit strategies

... and so much more!

 

 

 

Direct download: Mark_Levine_Interview__Final.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:35pm EDT

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