Saturday, March 31, 2007

Finding Money for your Start-up - "Irish style"

These are notes from watching (and trying 2 listen) to "Finding Money for your Start-up" from BarCamp South East (Waterford) Ireland 20 Jan 2007. This was held at ArcLabs Research and Innovation Centre at the new WIT West Campus at Carriganore just outside Waterford City and organised by Keith Bohanna and Tom Corcoran

There were several other presentations and talks (see below) but the main interest for this topic was-
Panelists were:
  • Louise Grubb is the CEO of Nutri-Science, a nutraceutical company based in Waterford. In business since 1999 they have raised funding from a variety of sources including County Enterprise Boards, Enterprise Ireland (€150k) and BES (€250k). They are previous participants on the SEEPP program.
  • Mick Cahillane is an active private investor and may be able to help participants understand the way in which Angel Investors make their decisions.
  • DELETED Evert Bopp who is in the process of fundraising for his WiMax venture --- DELETED
  • Tom Doherty of Lecterna instead
  • Brian Caufield of Trinity Venture Capital
  • Bernie Goldbach -very active blogger and journalist as well as teaching at the Tipperary Institute of Technology
Notes from video :

Brian Caufield:
like most VC's they cannot fund very early (less money) startups due 2 the way funds work. They are most interested in market opportunity. U need 2 have sussed that out and thought thru the process, what the problem is u're solving, how u're going 2 solve it, why u're better than the competition, why the customer will buy it from u, how u're going 2 sell.
Get advice from whoever u can. The more feedback u can get the better.
Don't tell me u have no competition - its like shooting yourself. Either u havn't done your research or maybe there is no market 4 what u're trying 2 do.
Get a customer and better still one thats given u a purchase order - then his very interested. Previous experience can help but in priority order 1) market potential 2) people on board 3) technology (and thats way down the list)
They've only once funding (cayala?) a startup with 2 guys and idea and a powerpoint.
For funding help go talk with ISA, accounting firms (corporate finance division) - not so much for the money but more for referrals to their private investors if they like u're idea, ditto for lawyers that are in the space (again connections).
Very little money is available for early on startups and more so because of the Irish property market and won't get money to build a technology foundation. Bootstrapping is back in fashion but time can be an issue regd. opportunity (in case another funded startup will get ahead of u).
Its better 2 build a team around u that can fill in (your) gaps and that team (and individual functions) can change over time. You will have to give equity share for those willing 2 put in that effort (where Evert disagrees) and get that "good" team.
Don't take money from employees if they cannot afford 2 lose it. Its rare 2 have investors as FT employees.

Louise Grubb:
don't go looking 4 money at an early stage. Its very time consuming and unless u have something 2 show its next 2 impossible. Spend the time on developing your product and trying 2 get a customer. Self-fund yourself and maybe go back 2 your FT day job and work the startup on the side.

Get as much advice and mentoring as u can. There is plenty available from Enterprise Ireland and others - u just have to ask and your all the connections u can. When showing people (bank manager etc.) your idea and work ensure u have done your homework and have it well thought out (hence the advisors etc..)
the further out u can delay the funding aspects the better position u r in, the better your product is, the better tested it is

Mick Cahillane:
can now get up to EU2M thru BES scheme; a good business plan can raise this funding; beware of high initial charges (up 2 10%). Friends & family can be good 4 fund raising. Also approach different banks/building societies for spreading the (their) risk and even if they don't take up with u they can recommend some private investors 2 talk with. Starting small is important. Believing in people and their commitment (from investor side).
Five areas/criteria for success (from 'best pratices from 100+ US entrepreneurs)
1) integrity
2) self discipline
3) own personal skills
4) family support
5) hard work

Bernie Goldbach: (came in late due to other talk he was giving)
Was involved with a media startup outa Shannon (failed). He indicated they should have gone after "pivot" leads? with the other startups that were in the same location as there was money available (lots!). He stressed that u need 2 have someone that is good on the phone and is willing 2 chase down invoices that are owed and get the money in the door. Don't screw up on cashflow.
Banks love looking at hard financial data (spreadsheets) so make sure u know what the figures say.

Tom Doherty:
had some interesting thoughts regd. ownership of company (clashed with Brian) and raising money. 

He ran two other startups before and sold both (I think) - both of those were self funded and no outside investment. His current startup has some funding.

He indicated that the team should be employees and not investors and both should be kept seperate. 
Its better to hire the expertise when needed and keep control is important.
Are your customers your investors (as opposed 2 getting outside funding/investment).
U need 2 have >=1 customer before u can go get funding. 
A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tommorow.
U will sell your product if u're really committed. Get out and sell.
Get advice. He indicated EI can be "Ei Ei No" and they keep giving u advice, which u forget and go back doing what u were doing. U go back again and they "Ei Ei No" and give u the same advice. Eventually if u listen and u go get that first customer the penny drops and they then hymm "Ei Ei Yes"!

some presentations:
Ken Maguire had a summary of the overall events here
Anrian Smith also had a summary here. He also has a graphic from the “Building a Web Services company” from
James Cooley has a couple of notes here
Conor O'Neill posted up a video of Donncha O Caoimh Wordpress talk here. Some interesting discussion on working for a US company outa IRL and dealing with Solo in Soho, time/cultural differences etc..

The agenda:

Long list of attendees:
  1. Jason Roe
  2. Laurence Veale
  3. Walter Higgins
  4. James Corbett
  5. Conor O'Neill
  6. Michele Neylon
  7. Bernie Goldbach
  8. Ken McGuire
  9. James Cooley
  10. Aidan Finn
  11. John Butler
  12. Lee McGuigan
  13. Will Letters
  14. Dennis Deery
  15. Tom Atkins
  16. Paul Watson
  17. James Mernin
  18. Brian Caulfield
  19. Conn O Muineachain
  20. Haydn Shaughnessy
  21. Elly Parker
  22. John Ronan
  23. Brian fives
  24. Sabrina Dent
  25. Rory Fitzpatrick
  26. Richard Delevan
  27. Chris Gallagher
  28. Ferghal Reidy
  29. TJ McIntyre
  30. Brian Cleland
  31. Paul Power
  32. Tom Doherty
  33. Alan Burke
  34. Martin Whelan
  35. Justin MacCarthy
  36. Donncha O Caoimh
  37. Siasy Collins
  38. Ray Griffin
  39. Keith Gaughan
  40. Kim Leahy
  41. Cathal O' Riordan
  42. Colm Dunphy
  43. Niall Doherty
  44. Brian White
  45. David Murphy
  46. Kieran Gleeson
  47. Paul McAvinchey
  48. Andrew McAvinchey
  49. Cormac Moylan
  50. Chris Chedgey
  51. Barry Downes
  52. Damien Mulley
  53. Joe Drumgoole
  54. Evert Bopp
  55. Jan Blanchard
  56. John Handelaar
  57. George Pratt
  58. Miguel Ponce de Leon
  59. Eoghan McCabe
  60. John McCormac
  61. Paul Brennan
  62. Laura Czajkowski
  63. Helene Haughney
  64. Roger Galligan
  65. Ken Guest
  66. Donal Mc Carthy
  67. Grainne O Connell
  68. Adrian Smith
  69. Fiona Haughney
  70. Paul O'Leary
  71. Dominic Maguire
  72. Stephen Burke
  73. Zac Burke
  74. Mike Bennett
  75. Stephen Power
  76. Donal Lehane
  77. Bill O'Gorman
  78. Justin Mason
  79. Ray Leahy
  80. Stéphane Corlosquet
  81. Cian Foley
  82. Paul Wright
  83. Michael Shanahan
  84. Brendan Lyng
  85. Jamie Good
  86. Dave Hearne

PS The audio (video wasn't bad) needs 2b a lot better 4 non attendee's 2 follow this. At a min. the speakers need 2 have mic either collectively or individually. Having the mic way at the back (inbuilt with video I presume) just doesn't work

Oh and I wasn't there-- bummer.


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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Irish sites and blogs have "My Brain Fried!"

Ok, so I read and subscribe to some of the Irish blogs and visit the web sites now and again.

So I decided (as part of latest quest) to go check them all out. I "think" I've visited nearly any blog or web site connected with startups, funding, technology etc...
and my brain is fried!

I'll left several comments on some blogs and been corresponding with a few people via email/Skype. Some of the sites had 'commenting' issues and a few required subscription (duh!)

For those that subscribe to "Irish have the gift of the gab" there were a few sites that just went on and on and on... (as in they've been blogging 4 quite awhile and write frequently) e.g. Damien, Donncha and Pat ...

Noticed also that several (mostly woman?) don't indicate their name and prefer to live behind their 'blog handle'. Most annoying as takes some time 2 track down (even if its just for my bookmarks - which by the way need a complete overhaul at this stage)

I also have a habit of going back thru all the blog entries so can be time consuming but often find some interested tidbits especially regd. previous work etc..

So here are a list of the comments I've dropped (well most of them):
+ most of his other posts

I'll be writing the 'current state of affairs' or something like that in coming days (after I get some zzzz...)


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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Come to sunny Colorado and get kick STARTED

TechStars has created an opportunity to get your startup or idea KICKED off the STARTING LINE. For 4 months (mid May-mid Aug) you'll be getting your "business" GOING....

  1. bridge the startup funding gap by providing just enough capital to get your idea off the ground in exchange for 5% of the initial equity in your company. This is a non-controlling interest and comes with no voting rights. We won't ask for a board seat or for any uncommon investor rights. You will still run the show.
  2. advice and mentoring from successful startup guys
  3. get great advice on your product and strategy
  4. connections to potential partners (angels, VC's) and customers
  5. pitch during an investor event that we organize
  6. only take ten companies
  7. you get $5,000 per founder, up to 3 founders. So at most, you'll get $15,000 for the summer
  8. about three times per week, we will organize an informal dinner and invite our mentors to speak on a relevant topic
  9. you can come and go as you see fit. But we do require that you be primarily based here (Boulder, Colorado) during the summer
  10. we don't provide a place to live
  11. we will provide meeting and casual office space with Internet access. This space will be available on a first come, first served basis. We will have space available for the founders to meet, work, and play. We'll fill the space with couches, tables, and some dodgeball equipment.
  12. free legal services to the selected companies
  13. free servers, hosting, and bandwidth
  14. application deadline for Summer 2007 is March 31, 2007

Mentors include:
  • Jared Polis Chairman, The Jared Polis Foundation and Founder of and
  • David Cohen Executive Director, TechStars
  • David Brown Founder and President, ZOLL Data Systems
  • Kimbal Musk Founder and CEO, Medium and angel investor, Paypal,
  • Alex King Independent Developer and Founder of FeedLounge and Contributing Developer, WordPress
  • Mark Sawyer Entrepreneur in Residence, Borealis Ventures
  • Chris Scoggins Principal, Sequel Venture Partners
  • Jason Mendelson Managing Director, Foundry Group
  • Greg Reinacker Founder and CTO, Newsgator Technologies
  • Todd Vernon CEO, and founder of Raindance Communications
  • Terry Gold Founder, CEO, and President, Gold Systems
  • Gary Held President, CTEK
  • Paul Jerde Director, University of Colorado Leeds School of Business and The Deming Center
  • Dave Taylor Serial entrepreneur, author, and consultant
  • Frank Moyes Entrepreneurship Scholar in Residence, University of Colorado
  • Andrew Currie Founder of EMail Publishing, Inc., and Cyberspace Development, Inc.
  • Brad Schell Founder & Board Member, Sketchup (acquired by Google)
  • Brian Makare Founder & CTO, Email Publishing / MessageMedia
  • Michael Platt Partner, Cooley Godward Kronish, LLP
  • Paul Berberian Founder and CEO, Raindance Communications, and Founder Market Force Information
  • Jim Pollock Executive Director, CTEK Boulder Venture Center
  • Darren Crystal Founder and CTO,
  • Wendy Lea Chairman, Newmerix and SVP Siebel Consulting
  • Niel Robertson Founder and CTO, Newmerix
  • Lucy Sanders Founder and CEO, National Center for Women & Information Technology
  • Rajat Bhargava Chairman and CEO, StillSecure
  • Jim Lejeal Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Oxlo Systems
  • Sue Kunz Founder and CEO, Solidware Technologies
  • Ryan Martens Founder and CTO, Rally Software Development
  • Tim Miller CEO, Rally Software Development
  • Ben Casnocha 18 Year-old Entrepreneur & Writer
  • Seth Levine Managing Director, Foundry Group
  • Don Loeb VP of Partner Services, FeedBurner
  • Dan King Founder and CEO, ReadyTalk
  • Lisa Rutherford Venture Partner, Vista Ventures

some of these have excellent blogs on startup life, challenges, success/failure, raising money (or not), failed ideas etc...

this is what the May-Aug months look like ..

Date          Session                   Speakers

  • 05/21/07 TechStars Kickoff   -David Cohen

  • 05/22/07 Talk it up: What we're building -"founders only"

  • 05/24/07 How to start a startup -Brad Feld, Jared Polis, Brad Schell

  • 05/28/07 Early stage: Breaking even -TBD

  • 05/29/07 Tech session: Technologies platform debate (Java/PHP/Rails/.NET) -founders only

  • 05/31/07 Know your market (go to market strategy, market validation, etc) -Wendy Lea

  • 06/04/07 Early stage: Find your calling (visit Webroot, Inc.) -David Moll

  • 06/05/072Tech session: My coolest tools -founders only

  • 06/07/07 Starting off right (legal & financial issues) Paul Jerde, Gary Held, Michael Platt

  • 06/12/07 Transparency - blog or die?- Alex King, Don Loeb

  • 06/14/07 Financing your company -Brad Feld, Gary Held, Brian Makare

  • 06/18/07 Growth stage: Bootstrapping (visit ZOLL Data Systems) -David Brown

  • 06/19/07 Tech Talk: My best tricks -founders only

  • 06/21/07 Technology infrastructure- Todd Vernon, Greg Reinacker

  • 06/21/07 People Power: Recruiting and timing your next hires- Terry Gold

  • 06/25/07 Growth stage: Scaling the company (visit NewsGator) Brad Feld, Greg Reinacker

  • 06/26/07 Show off night: 1 month demos- founders only

  • 06/28/07 What makes angels want to invest? -Panel of CTEK Angels

  • 07/02/07 Growth stage: Surviving Massive Adoption (PhotoBucket) -Darren Crystal

  • 07/03/07 Independent thoughts- founders only

  • 07/05/07 Working with early adopters -Alex King

  • 07/12/07 Nailing your elevator pitch -Panel

  • 07/19/07 Exit strategies -Panel of VC's

  • 07/26/07 Pitching to investors -Panel of CTEK Angels

  • 07/30/07 Success stage: The acquisition (Sketchup/Google)- Brad Schell, Brian Makare, Mark Sawyer

  • 07/31/07 Show off night: 2 month demos -founders only

  • 08/02/07 PR & Buzz: Crank the machine- Panel

  • 08/07/07 Pitch Practice: Would you invest in this company? -founders only

  • 08/09/07 Term sheets: what you need to know- Panel of VC's

  • 08/16/07 TechStars: Goodbye, "now go kick some ass" party -David Cohen

  • Note that the dates are in US format MM/DD/YY

    More news and blog info here
    and FAQ here
    from the blog ....
    We expect to have somewhere around 100 investors present, and it's by invitation only. Our companies will get about 30 minutes each with this audience to show off their stuff and pitch their ideas (we'll help you prepare for that, don't worry).

    The investors will consist of angel investors with strong reputations, as well as top local (Colorado) and coastal VCs. We already have commitments from VCs in Boston, Silicon Valley, etc. to attend. There will be no shortage of all-star investors to look at the companies emerging from TechStars at the end of the summer.


    Get going only 2 weeks left and you could be the lucky one (or ten!)


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    Monday, March 12, 2007

    Want some Honey? with or without a Pot?

    These guys have a good article on how to watch for hackers looking to break into yoru website, what techniques they use and how you can secure your system.

    They offer open systems on the web with 'special' wrappers that allow them to watch their system getting hacked (and not let them get toooo far, I presume).
    Some other good articles here from their other contributors on similiar stuff around "honeypotting"


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    Thursday, March 1, 2007

    Where ave I been?

    Just busy doing that work'n stuff.
    Yikes several weeks and no postings - not that I've a shortage of things 2 write about.

    Just in case u're bored - here's a list of things I'm gonna blog about (I keep a little short checklist)

  • vc stuff -

  • start a blog -

  • check commment I put on

  • success startup

  • funding

  • f&F funding

  • fedex planes

  • linux on mobile

  • funambol licence

  • intel web 2.0


  • crowd/craig

  • note they have a backtrack at

  • cto


  • 4 denver guys xbrl

  • nav

  • maskups

  • wifi cars

  • copy prot

  • diy pc

  • uk passport

  • email blackmail

  • soa

  • saas and small isv

  • dog alarms

  • micro financing

  • crowdsourcing


  • also Amazon Mechanical Turk ?

  • 4 seniors only

  • mycelery
  •  savvy seo


  • worse IT failures heres one - look at, us gov audit office etc.

  • web makeover

  • 40k s/w hacking;jsessionid=4QINKOTSQSRKOQSNDLPCKHSCJUNN2JVN?articleID=1968009

  • undertrained progs serious problem is that currently, too many software developers are undereducated
    and undertrained...

  • hictu/mobile sync ..

  • free int calls

  • talkster voip


  • hullo voip

  • marketing

  • rails?

  • free calls UK

  • grandcentral

  • busta voip

  • ibasis pingo

  • voip

  • fritzblog


  • ajax phone

  • openmoko phone

  • fly on demand

  • 128GB Flash

  • voip background noise

  • phone speller

  • IM

  • dual phone + skype

  • dog collar

  • heavier than air

  • snow effect trees

  • techstar

  • seed funding

  • small startup & $

  • eu ok on OSS

  • startup 2eb 2.0 harder

  • celtic tiger going

  • chandler demise

  • bs

  • free tutorials

  • real world angel stats

  • pitch

  • 10x returns

  • oops - u're hacked

  • skype cmds


  • esoft Broomfield

  • meetup demo's awareo, photovu,

  • cranstone

  • flikr goodies

  • joust,72506-3.html?tw=wn_story_page_next3

  • google n 270+ comments

  • need power

  • iphone n cingular

  • new vc funding

  • why vista will sell

  • email not guaranted

  • voip sniffing

  • free does pay


  • eu money

  • syncMyCal - google

  • goo sync

  • startup

  • cal

  • 3 door trick

  • zyb

  • cornell

  • neg dilution from vc

  • non competes -leave

  • hire smarter people

  • venture debt

  • EU startups

  • local search add in GetLisa

  • vc activity uk 06

  • times reader review

  • sony reader review

  • mmc

  • carson with 4 day week

  • paul G on USA

  • EU startup

  • new UI interface

  • ic prog'ers

  • photo/file mngm

  • review FOWA

  • barcamp irl

  • uk

  • guy in seattle

  • irl startups on map

  • steps irl

  • irl cork guys

  • google maps entry

  • barcamp irl

  • sligo guys

  • open id at fowa

  • startup uk?

  • irish site

  • irl

  • irl mobile

  • irl

  • irl

  • locator gps style uk

  • boulder guys

  • ?

  • ef grp

  • 90% garbage

  • 5 tips 2 raising $

  • $100k 4 utah

  • unix on web

  • mysay IRL



  • it summit

  • irishman (Simon Linscheid) on blogsled team

    and in case u have got this far -- then there's the other stuff I just want to look at :)

  • opendns
  • phishtank
  • clearcube
  • cheap blades
  • attask
  • e project



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