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San Francisco – The City For Start-Ups

Very cool video segment on how SF’s tech culture is surpassing that of Silicon Valley as pegged by Deutsche Welle TV … with a glimpse of the awesome SF New Tech community and some commentary from yours truly!

 

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ABC News: Party could be the start of the next big startup (They’re talking about us!)

ABC News: Party could be the start of the next big startup (They’re talking about us!)

 

Party could be the start of the next big startup

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Doing business in Silicon Valley has always been different. even unorthodox. In fact, sometimes, it doesn’t look like business at all.

In a dark, crowded night club, cocktails and conversation flow between 20 and 30-somethings wearing nametags. You’d be excused if you mistook this for a singles event. But its founder assures us tonight is about a different kind of matchmaking.

“This is the real underbelly of the tech scene,” said SF New Tech Founder Myles Weissleder.

Mixed into this crowd are CEOs, investors and maybe the entrepreneur with the next big idea. Myles Weissleder started SF New Tech to bring them all together.

“People here have some great ideas and they provide the direct input into the decision maker at that company,” said Weissleder.

Some input happens that the bar, but across the room, something else is shaping up. Tonight, eight startups will pitch their ideas to this highly educated, sometimes skeptical crowd — hoping for suggestions, publicity and maybe funding.

“Going in with a venture capitalist is a lot like going into a marriage. I would like to know someone very in depth before I decide to give them a lot of money,” said GGV Capital associate Andrew Manoske.

In that case, consider this a first date. The pitch starts like what you’d hear in a board room. Though instead of a few people to captivate, you’ve got a few hundred and most of them had a few drinks while the DJ was playing. It helps to start with a joke.

“Anyone else feel like starting a startup? The reality is you’re actually going to lose your job,” said a man who pitched.

But aside from the music and the refreshments, there’s one other little thing here you won’t find in a boardroom, and actually the clock is not so little.

“Uh, the clock was — good,” said a man who pitched. “Definitely makes you be concise and probably miss some things,” said another.

Just like in speed dating, you have five minutes. Not a second more.

“And if you can’t get your point across in five minutes then you’ve got some work to do,” said Weissleder.

Then come the questions, but survive the grilling and you could be like Xavier Damman.

Cool enough for the president and Oprah, social media tool Storify debuted here last year and has since raised $2 million. Now, its young CEO and co-founder, Xavier Damman, is back on a second date. Not to brag, but to inspire the young, casually dressed, perhaps slightly tipsy people he thinks can change the world.

“There is a better future ahead of us. And we just need to shape it and entrepreneurs, hackers are the ones who’re going to shape this future,” said Damman.

 

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Call for Presenters! Ninja Challenge – Pitch Contest for Companies Expanding Globally

The biggest web-tech contest in Japan now lands in Silicon Valley!

The 7th Mashup Awards (MA7) opens their door to the local startups and developers to present their services and products. We call it the event the “Ninja Challenge.”

At the event, up to 10 startups interested in the Japanese market will be presenting Read more…

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SF New Tech in The Wall Street Journal today!

Congrats to YOU who make SF New Tech what it is!

Here’s the excerpt that talks about us …  you can read the entire article here (but it requires a subscription)

Meet-Ups Polish Up Their Acts

By EMILY GLAZER

Technology meet-ups are taking on a professional sheen.

The local gatherings of techies, which are often free and open to newcomers, have long been a fertile field for schmoozing and hunting for investment capital. But as the latest technology boom has gathered steam, meet-ups have proliferated and taken on more importance in the industry.

Many meet-ups have left behind their humbler origins as bull sessions around pitchers of beer. For an increasing number of entrepreneurs, they are places to recruit employees, prospect for clients and keep abreast of the latest tech trends and tools. Some of the groups now have thousands of members—and even corporate sponsors…

At San Francisco’s Mighty nightclub, a recent gathering of the SF New Tech Meetup drew about 300 people, said Myles Weissleder, the group’s founder. Tickets cost $30 at the door, but early birds got a discount. A taco truck parked outside the warehouse served up free food for attendees.

The March meet-up featured demonstrations of the wireless magazine application Flipboard, video encoding service Vid.ly and AT&T, said Mr. Weissleder.

The group began accepting formal corporate sponsorships in May 2007. Since then, it has attracted sums ranging from $1,500 to more than $50,000 from companies including AT&T, Motorola, eBay Inc.’s Pay Pal unit, Cisco Systems Inc. and Citigroup Inc.’s Citi Private Bank. EBay is slated to sponsor an event in September.

Ellie Cachette, founder and chief executive of ConsumerBell, which helps companies manage product recalls online, said she met three venture capitalists while waiting in line for the SF New Tech taco truck in 2009. One of them, Sumeet Jain, a principal at CMEA Capital, helped her develop an executive summary of her start-up’s purpose. “That connection alone did change my life,” she said. “I’ve been able to ask him really important questions, or even get introductions to people.”

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Special Alert :   Pending Stock Option Tax Legislation in SF

Special Alert : Pending Stock Option Tax Legislation in SF

Dear SF New Tech friends -

We need your help to deal with a critical issue for the San Francisco tech community.

Right now, San Francisco is the only major city in the United States that taxes stock options, and there are two competing bills at City Hall to address the issue.

One (sponsored by Supervisor Mark Farrell) would permanently stop this tax – private companies will not pay anything going forward, and existing public companies would be capped at their current levels.

Another (sponsored by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi) would only create a 6-year trial period, where public companies will still be subject to the tax, and private companies will still have to pay up to $750,000 a year once they go public.

We need to support Supervisor Mark Farrell’s legislation — this is VERY important to the technology community in San Francisco.

Please send the email below to the Mayor and the Supervisors at these email addresses:  Board.of.Supervisors@sfgov.org; mayoredwinlee@sfgov.org

If you’re a registered voter that lives in San Francisco, you can also visit the Save SF Startups page on Votizen: https://www.votizen.com/issues/sfstartups/ and submit your letter of support. If you’re not a voter or live outside of the city, you can tweet your support with the #sfstartups hashtag.

We also need phone calls to the supervisors – go here http://www.sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=1616 for phone numbers, call the supervisors, and ask them to support Supervisor Farrell’s stock option legislation.

Finally, forward this email to everyone you know (especially other entrepreneurs who should care about this issue) and ask them to send the same email.

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP IN PUTTING AN END TO STOCK OPTION TAXATION !

Have a great weekend!

- Myles

______________________________________

Myles Weissleder
Founder, SF New Tech
The largest, longest-running, and most-loved tech event in the Bay Area
sfnewtech.com // @sfnewtech // @sfnewtechjobs
415-843-1850

————————————–

Dear Mayor Lee and Supervisors,

I am glad to see City Hall is focusing on creating a solution to the stock options issue.  As a member of the San Francisco technology community, I strongly urge you to support Supervisor Mark Farrell’s stock option legislation.

I support Supervisor Farrell’s proposal for these reasons:

1. City Hall has to create a permanent solution to the problem, or tech companies will continue to evaluate leaving San Francisco.  A temporary solution sends the message that San Francisco is not interested in creating long-term solutions for the local economy.

2. Private and public companies should both be treated equally – it is the only fair solution. Supervisor Farrell’s legislation ensures that both private and public companies benefit – not only are private companies thinking about leaving San Francisco, but larger, public companies are growing their employees outside of San Francisco. I want these jobs to stay in San Francisco – and Supervisor Farrell’s legislation will do just that.

3. Supervisor Farrell’s legislation insures that San Francisco’s general fund will not face any additional budget deficit. City Hall won’t collect more taxes on stock options, but his legislation is designed so that current levels of tax revenue from stock options will stay constant.

Supervisor Farrell’s legislation strikes the right balance in creating incentives to keep tech companies in San Francisco, while protecting the City from adverse budget impacts. Our local economy is at stake – please focus on the long-term, and support Supervisor Farrell’s legislation!!

Sincerely,
[Insert name and address]

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Announcing The Grateful Tech Contest – Tell Your Story For A Chance To Win an iPad!

Announcing The Grateful Tech Contest – Tell Your Story For A Chance To Win an iPad!

SF New Tech gold sponsor CALinnnovates has just announced the Grateful Tech “What Technology Are You Grateful For?” Contest where you could possibly win

  1. A brand new iPad ($499 value) or
  2. An iPod Touch ($299 value)or
  3. An iPod Nano ($149 value)

All you have to do is record a 30 second (max) video telling them what technology it is that you are grateful for, upload the video to youtube, and enter the youtube url along with your contact info on the contest page here.
Your video could be serious, funny, heart-warming or anything else, so long as it is “clean” (before uploading to youtube, think about whether you could watch it with your mom AND grandmom !).

ipad geek

"Technology I am Grateful For? 'Nuff Said!"

In addition to the prizes above, each winner will get 100$ donated to Kiva.org in their name for them to invest in an entrepreneur of their choice.

Deadlines and Dates: The contest runs from November 23rd 2010 until December 15th, 2010 and online voting runs from December 15th, 2010 until December 31th, 2010.

For a full list of contest rules and terms, click here.

Photo: via joshfassbind

About CALinnovates

CALinnovates is a statewide coalition focused on championing the conversation about the future of California’s critical technology sector. For more information, check out calinnovates.org

You can also stay updated and follow CALinnovates on twitter @calinnovates and fan them on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CALinnovates

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Your Chance To Go Trap & Skeet Shooting With MySpace.com Co-Founder Aber Whitcomb

Your Chance To Go Trap & Skeet Shooting With MySpace.com Co-Founder Aber Whitcomb

This just in from our Tip Line*!

Skyara, a marketplace for experiences just launched a campaign of donating an experience to charity to raise money for the UCSF Children’s Hospital.

MySpace.com co-founder Aber Whitcomb has donated a chance to win a trap and skeet shooting experience with him for a few lucky people who donate to the UCSF children’s hospital. Details here.

Please note, NO living creatures will be harmed in this event! Whitcomb promises it will be a fun event!

Trap-Skeet With MySpace Co-Founder Aber Whitcomb (Photo by Britney McIntosh)

Our tipster notes that YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim has also promised to join in supporting the UCSF Children’s Hospital by donating an experience soon.

We are on top of it, so stay tuned to SFNewTech.com!

( Tips? News? Stories? Let us know at tips @ sfnewtech.com )

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Peter Rojas On GDGT, A Crowd-Sourced Social Platform About Consumer Electronic Gadgets

Peter Rojas On GDGT, A Crowd-Sourced Social Platform About Consumer Electronic Gadgets

Peter Rojas is the co-founder of gdgt, a crowd sourced, bottom-up, social platform about consumer electronic gadgets. Rojas’ past includes being the founding editor of wildly successful technology sites Engadget, Gizmodo and Joystiq. He sold Engadget to AOL in 2005 and soon after started his 4th venture: gdgt (pronounced, “gadget“) with co-founder Ryan Block.

SFNewTech caught up with Peter at GDGT 2010 event here in San Francisco (on Nov. 12, 2010) to find out what he’s up to these days and his vision for gdgt.

peter-rojas-sfnewtech-gdgt-interview-1-pic

GDGT Co-Founder Peter Rojas at the GDGT 2010 Event in San Francisco (Photo: Shiva Manjunath)

SFNewTech: What came first? gdgt, the website or gdgt, the event?

Rojas: We started with the site first and our first event was kind of like a launch event. It was very similar to this, but we just meant it to be a party to celebrate the launch of the site.

SFNewTech: When did you launch the site?
Rojas: We launched the site in July 2009. Our first event was in August 2009.

SFNewTech: Where was the launch held?

Rojas: At the DNA Lounge, with about 24 companies and a similar format to this event. Then we did another launch event in New York in October 2009 and decided that maybe we should keep doing these.

So we decided to do a handful, about 5 this year, probably 6 or 7 next year.

SFNewTech: Any plans for taking gdgt to the rest of the world?

Rojas: We’d really like to, but logistically it’s just more difficult outside the U.S. We’ve definitely thought about it. We’d love to do London, because we have lots of UK users, so that would make sense at some point. I don’t think it’ll happen in 2011, but it’s definitely possible in 2012.

SFNewTech: Are you positioning gdgt as a blog or as a website?

Rojas: We’re not in business as a blog. gdgt.com is a crowd sourced, bottom-up, social platform about consumer electronics gadgets, to share what you know, and either write reviews and ask or answer questions about your gadgets.

SFNewTech: Do people have to sign up see it?

Rojas: You have to register to contribute, not to just look at it.

SFNewTech: How many users do you have?

Rojas: We have a lot, but we’re not releasing the number yet. (editor’s note: according to the Wall Street Journal, as of April 2010 gdgt has hundreds of thousands of users, and 17,000 products in its database)

SFNewTech: Are you funded or looking for funding?

Rojas: We’ve raised two rounds of funding, totaling 3.6 million. Our biggest investors are True Venture, Spark Capital and Betaworks.

SFNewTech: Who founded the company?

Rojas: It’s myself and Ryan Block. My background is I was a founder of Gizmodo, Engadget and Joystiq, this is actually my 4th company. Sold Engadget to AOL, left AOL about 2 years ago to start gdgt. (editor’s note: Ryan was editor-in-chief of Engadget)

SFNewTech: How do you compare to say the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), or is it a totally different market or audience?

A; Our biggest difference is that our event is obviously much smaller and open to the public. The CES is for trade only, so members of the general public can’t go to CES. You need to be a member of a company or the press.

SFNewTech: Awesome, anything else you’d like to add?

Rojas: Check out the site, it’s the best place to ask a question about a gadget.

gdgt-founders

GDGT.com Co-Founders Ryan Block (left) and Peter Rojas. (Photo: (cc) Kenneth Yeung - www.snapfoc.us)

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Been There, Done That: Founders Talk About Learning on the Path to Success. BizTechDay 2010 Highlights

Been There, Done That: Founders Talk About Learning on the Path to Success. BizTechDay 2010 Highlights

An array of advice, in various form factors, from those who’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, were presented at the one day “Biz Tech Day” in San Francisco. Through tell-all presentations and panels with representatives from successful companies and venture firms, tips were doled out on lessons learned about success.

naval ravikant rise of the angels

Angel investor Naval Ravikant presenting The Rise Of The Angels at BizTechDay San Francisco 2010

BizTechDay 2010 San Francisco Highlights, Major Take-aways

  • Getting funded: Don’t name drop or put pressure on because you’re already talking with others; models for funding startups have changed entrepreneurs are in the driver’s seat with less up front investments and more little fish succeeding
  • When looking at being acquired, dissect your business pitch into easily understood pieces so they can see the fit within the bigger picture and be patient, it’s a slow process
  • Building virtual teams take time, be around, treat it like being a parent: create a better workplace, write clear job descriptions, keep in touch with candidates you admire, use contractors as a testbed for permanent roles and always hire A players.
  • Stay close to your customer through monitoring, analytics and talking directly to customers
  • Be honest and build trust (any way possible, content, accuracy, acknowledging mistakes) the best way to keep a customer happy
  • Use your site to create a customer experience
  • Measure your marketing; find a process that works to analyze your business then invest in the right tools to evaluate the cost of acquiring customers profitably
  • Repetition and regularity build brands; find a unique niche and fill it; know what drives your business
  • Create loyalty in your customers to retain them
  • Build your brand, make it unique, remarkable and be sure it solves a problem

Bottom line: Create your own path, learn lessons from others, especially those who continually reinvented themselves until they found a path that led to success.

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Journalists’ Collective PR Wisdom for Startups: Credibility Rules

Customize your message, be absolutely factual and catch the attention of the press by being different, were some tidbits of collective wisdom given to about 100 attendees at a San Francisco event Oct. 16, 2010 – titled Startup PR Summit 2010 – hosted by PR consultant Marissa Louie.

startuppr summit 2010 address and date info pic

Louie tipped off the event, noting she’d wished she’d known some of these tips when she launched her own startups.

With representation from an array of media pundits – from local to international — along with those active in a spectrum of media types – from video to blog/internet radio – attendees received a plethora of opinions on unique approaches from those various journalists.

StartupPR Summit 2010 Highlights

  • Pitch the right story to the right editor
  • Don’t pitch the same story to editors on each coast (east and west), it damages your credibility
  • Personalize your story, don’t shoot out bland press releases
  • Comment and blog about what you’ve read so the message lives on
  • Spread the word yourself, viral aspects of video/talk radio is more important than typical media pros realize
  • Engage your listeners; coupons and discount codes are best options
  • Build your base using twitter, often overlooked by many businesses, it’s easier to use than web sites with constraints
  • Use online video to show how you give back to your community
  • Video gets your message out quickly, gives you full control on your web site, if it goes viral, leverage any burst of attention with comments/tweets
  • Video content can spill over to text, another leverage point
  • Sponsor a video blogger, it’s cheaper so your dollars will go further
  • TV journalists want local content and visual appeal which they find “irresistible”
  • Submit your pitch embedding graphics or video
  • International journalists want a local spin with statistics they can verify
  • Trend pieces are most interesting to readers, so if you find a way to tie it in to what’s happening in the industry, the world, the technology, then, score for your company
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