LaunchUp had a great attendance of over 100 people in the library at Utah Valley University. Thanks to all the sponsors, presenters and companies. The startup community in Utah continues to grow thanks to LaunchUp.
BoomStartup announced their 2012 companies tonight, so in no particular order we got a rundown of 9 new startup companies.
John Richards presented:
I am a Professor of entrepreneurship at BYU. I like having a role in BoomStartup. We are a tech accelerator here in Utah and are in our third season. We started in Jan and Feb to find startups and who would like to come here for 4 months this summer of mentor, cash and other services that come with it.
This year has been fun. Robb Kunz, Caleb, who has done a fantastic job for this season, and I. We have an applications program that is “Accelerators”. With that we can apply to other accelerators. We went through tons of applications. Many wanted to come to Utah and we were in competition with other accelerators which is interesting. We are about the 7th one that did it this way.
A couple of more things about the process and then the people will come up for 20 seconds to introduce their companies. We have Paul Ahlstorm, the founder at VSpring Capital here and Nathan Furr. They wrote the book “Nail it and Scale it.” It can completely change your tech entrepreneurial life. This comes from practical knowledgee by Steve Blank. It can change the way you look at business.
With no further ado this is the List of 9:
1) ReferralIM – simplifies the practice of referral passing.
Dr. Robert Barrick. This helps professionals and anyone with referral passing. There is a disconnect back and forth and people drop through the cracks. We are excited to be a part of BoomStartup and are from Southern Utah (Cedar City).
2) BlueRoof 360 – A company that has revenue and is very excited to be a part of our program. They help agents and brokers get on line to improve CMS.
They already have 7,000 agents. Websites for agents and broker and made it through the bad times in this economy.
3) Matchmate.me – Tyler Richards
We’re match mate. Cupid to the 21st century. We know that matchmaking and cupid will have an upgrade. We are grateful for the opportuntity.
Bennet – Our CEO is teaching a class in entrepreneurship in CA. We harvest events locally from anywhere and make it easily accessible about what is going on around you. A lot of times you miss out on local major events that you didn’t know about and City Smart will solve that problem.
5) Akomplish – Billy Bush: CEO of akomplish. We are a productivity tool that marries contacts, task and calendars across all your spaces. It is not just a tool to throw way.
6) XoomPark – A big winner at BYU – Ken Free: Online parking reservations for events. You have to drive around a lot for space but we will partner with parking garages to allow in advance reservations. Xoom Park. Already $100k from East Coast for the idea.
7) TextMeTix.com – Mark
I want to thank BoomStartup. Mark Harmsen- we make it very affordable to get tickets. 90%+ are read in text. 53535 text ‘tix’. We are looking for capable and confident developers. Let’s talk.
8) citygro – John : We help businesses grow real time networks that they can reach out to with control . We have 1600 businesses and 20,000 users. We give businesses tools to reach out with information.
9) BYU business plan competition – Autobid: Jordan: We are simplifying collision repair. We make elegant solutions. We are a SAAS platform to make shops for efficient.
We now have a working concept after just 3 months.
I have a great team. Gabe and Jordan, Don
“Most mobile advertising sucks.” Steve Jobs
1. We need to measure ROI on mobile ads.
2. Most lack targeting features for mobile publishers
3. Curret banner ads as a solution are obtuse and irrelevant (sex during angry birds)
We get businesses to advertiser. We do revenue share with texters and 3rd party texting apps. We use our API and monetize it.
If you are texting about golfing then we will embed Golf in your text and if your friend clicks then you get points. You can see a one click buy option. Then you can use points to pay or buy with a Credit Card.
We are going to be PPC on Mobile Site.
10 days of beat
18-30 year old users don’t mind links if they are relevant and they get paid to do it.
1000 users in 10 days.
CTR of 30%. Impressions over 2500. Users: 1000 users
Version 2 will be dynamic banners and cool stuff like that. World market summary of the market space. 6.1 trillion text messages sent in 2010. Teenage girls send over 4500 messages/month. Mobile ads is around $4 billions
Programmers under Gabe and Jordan
Q? How much is customizable? If my buddy breaks up with a girlfriend he doesn’t want her text.
A. User profiles we are creating. You can choose who you send to and how frequently.
Q? So the texter, do they see things happen or the person who receives it?
A. If you click send we embed the link and we forward on to the user and it is shown to the Sender so you can track.
Q? Can it be manipulated where people could continue to take advantage of it OR game the system?
A. It depends on the advertiser. They may not mind people pointing to their sites and deals. If you want just 3 clicks to the same IP address or unlimited.
Q? Analytics for advertisers?
A. Yes, a lot of analytics. CLick through and impressions. Male, female, and other analytics. The people with mobile expect that. You don’t know if they buy from mobile because return traffic or buy through just isn’t very good right now. That’s what we are trying to change and improve.
Q? How do you deal with privacy?
A. The biggest thing we do is opting in our users.
We use a number of things and don’t want backlash. We have to keep some context and a running history between anonymous people. We do a match of hash and they fall out over memory. We can keep keywords but we do our best to respect the privacy but we are no different than relevant ads. We do everything we can on our side.
Q? What are you building on?
A. There are 3 types of text markets. On Android you can look up our app ‘ferevo.’ We have to deal with your carrier. There are other services that offer texting through IP.
We are using Python, Django as a developer OR connections to advertisers.
Power Practical – Caleb Light
Seen the PowerPot on CNet or $119,0000.00 on Kickstarter
I am here to talk about the power pot. How many of you have a cell phone and need to send a text and your phone dies. That happens all the time for me. 124 million people have electronics.
Fire + Water with PowerPot + Cord in the back = Power to your LED light and you have electricity. This is actually our 5 Watt generator. You can charge this phone as fast as at your home outlet. There are my buddies that built the power pot V, X XV.
We have gone to some trade shows. At the trade shows we call this the PowerPot pile up. How often do you get to see a pot that generates electricity?
We have sold 754 Powerpots on kick starter. Over 100 PowerPots are donated that are being sent to developing nations. There are 200 million people that live off the grid and they also use cell phones. They pay $2-$15/month to get the phone charged.
We are going to work on Ecommerce and website.
Retailers and Emergency prepers. Developing Nations rollout.
We are going to innovate the product there.
Create Future power generators and hopefully see a new generation.
Q? How does it work?
A. Temperature differentiation between flame and water. One pushed hot to cold and we just oscillate back and forth. If you put snow in then it works too.
Q? What happens when the water boils?
A. 112 is okay. There is still a difference to maintain between flame and water.
Q? Can you cook food?
A. As long as it is not solid. We don’t want you to kill your power pot.
Q? Tech is rated for 100,000 hours of use?
A. 200,000 hours of use is a lot of time. Charges an iPhone in an hour to hour and half
Q? Have you considered municipalities for distribution?
A. We haven’t gone there at all yet. We will start to investigate what the best pot is and the best channel.
Q? One of the 3 things is finding your advisors?
A. Networking events. The Foundry was great. Some other activities and some are really in the outdoor space.
Q? How much?
A. $125.00 on kickstarter before tomorrow at 10am or $175.00
Q? Service policy with them who might cook the bacon?
A. On the initial kickstarter orders we are lifetime for now. There are things that they will find for now so that is our policy.
Q? I had a friend show me another idea like this with wood burning stove. They talked about 3rd world also. Why is this different?
A. BioLight we think is very cool. Thermal electric but you have to carry the wood with you. But with the power pot you already cook. People on average cook for 4 hours and they cook over a 3 stone fire. Why not use something that they can use. You can do this without wood. Weighs less and diffuses heat better.
Q? Improve it to avoid bacon?
A. We can work on that but I don’t think it will happen
Q? Cords are fire resistant?
A. We have worked really hard to make the cord flame resistant. You can’t make it flame proof but we have engineered this to be really tough.
Q? Most of startups are software but this is hardware?
A. I have never done software startups. My previous activity was advertising on coffee cups. I went to Alaska and I am an outdoors man. For me to be in a company with that stuff and get paid is awesome.
TaskEasy – Ken Davis
Most of you don’t remember a time of calling a travel agent to make a hotel reservation. Today you can make the choice in seconds. You can purchase the airline ticket on the spot. Compare that experience with hiring a contractor to fix a door, plow snow and mow lawn. It was really hard to find one and get a schedule. Or you had to go through a bidding process. You were probably wondering about the quality.
And then did you feel like you could do it again?
How about if the contractor did a crummy job – did you pay anyway?
How about the service contractor who spends > 30 % of time, money and engergy trying to find customers. Most of them can’t manage their profits and expense and don’t have budgets to compete with larger service contractors.
Task Easy. I am the owner of a variety of properties in Nevada and Arizona. This is my latest effort. What we are creating is an experience of buying services as if they were from a store. You can price things like lawn mowing nationally . So you can choose to decide the price before they come to do the service.
This is the site. Select a service and put in an address. Then get stuff done.
You can even trace the size of your lawn.
So the money that the contractor saves is that he doesn’t have to bid.
We also take care of scheduing and auditing. And the contractor can upload the work before you accept the task. We have identified 23 tasks that are part of this. We have even added a task that the developer can create.
The US is mostly a services economy. We want to help these smaller service companies to be profitable. $181.2 billion go to these shops. We go talk to a partner and they will say from 8-5 they are performing jobs, from 5-12 I am scheduling and working the business. That $500.00 website they bought with someone else, we can do and charge a small fee.
We are in a Private Beta. 3 large property management groups with 310,000 units. This has been self-funded to date. We are almost ready to go fundraising after our beta. We are activley looking for new employees:
Q? Rating feedback for contractors?
A. There are systems out there that provide that. We are going to leave that to them. We are doing something like that. We take the order and process for the customers. We are weeding out poor performing contractors in our system and if they, the customer, doesn’t get what they paid for then they get the money back. The customer can remove themselves from that step They can leave that up to us. We get the ratings from the customers and their acceptance of paying bill.
Q? Have you thought of working with Angies list?
A. There is a great partnership that people are going to get with this service and then we can integrate with Buy it now ability.
Q? Just for property managers?
A. We focused on them however homeowners can use it too. We expect to reach to their services. One guy in North Dakota with oil and shale extraction we will get to later.
Q? ALl the customers can reject?
A. You can choose to have another one to come out or refund the money. You don’t want to worry about bidding and quality.
Q? You don’t know who is going to come until they are there?
A. We are about being transparent and some will do things on the side. The hardest thing to manage has been service contractors.
Q? Good idea but do you have a network of contractors?
A. We don’t need to develop the network in an area until we have a customer. When an order comes in we call a contractor and they get to come and do the work.
Q? How are you protecting yourselves from people who like to cheat?
A. I am not quite prepared to announce the details but we are working with Lloyds of London to solve that problem.
Q? How about when the contractor gets there and it’s a different job?
A. The initial tasks like a lawn are quantifiable. If the problem is my plumbing broke we are not suitable for that task at this time. If the work is significantly out of scope then he has the option to re-scope and re-price. It opens up Pandora’s box but we will likely use that.
Q? Respond.com and servicemagic.com?
A. Their models are different. They sell leads versus customers. We will never go to a contractor to ask them for money for the privilege of bidding. The way we have done what we have is that we have applied for 31 patents. My technical guys have filed and we are basically making this a large data problem that we are defining with statistics. Our pricing is more accurate and is based on hard science and other national statistics so that is our difference. It is interesting and the lead generation business will exist for a long time but we are very different.
Q? How does national sampling take in to account locations?
A. Different addresses have different prices. You have to get approved for the beta.
Q? Services industry sometimes thinks in simple and less tech terms. How do you get these people in this tech world?
A. That is a really good question
1. The world has changed. I had a homeless man who knocked on my door and he asked if he could give me a bid on my windows to clean them. He gave me a bid. I then asked how I could pay and the homeless man had a smartphone. People have accepted Facebook as the medium.
2. I did a sample of 500 services contractors on Facebook. 2.3 likes for each of them. Then they came and spent time and effort and didn’t get it to bear fruit. There is a huge pent up demand but they don’t know how to reach out. We are helping them to utilize technology.
In The Weeds – Carl Richards
Intro) He is my cousin. I should get that out of the way. I have been trying to get him to come for a real long time. Carl has lived in Utah all his life but never gets downto Utah COUnty and came down from Park City. He has undergone a transformation in his career and now proclamins himsel as a artist. He was running along one day and he is now in the midst of the transition. His work is being review by Moen Museum in New York.
We have all decided we have no use for hair. (both bald)
This is my story. I am uncomfortable usually. I don’t want you to confuse passion with arrogance. I can’t take credit for a lot of what has happened. I thought that growth was up and to the right but it doesn’t really work that well (usual Hockey stick graph compared to squiggly line up-ish). I worked for a large company you would recognize the logo that was about a Bull and a Bank. Don’t confuse passion with arrogance.
At work I started drawing things that are obvious for me. I have no art background. I have noticed though that clients understand things better when I draw things. I put some of my drawings on a blog. I assumed my mom was reading it but nobody else would be looking at this stuff.
Later you know I thought it would be cool to throw t-shirts at a crowd of suited up guys. I only threw 5 of the 50 t-shirts since it wasn’t really their thing. But we sold all out t-shirts in 10 days on my blog website. Then some people had videos of opening the packages.
The WSJ ran this t-sthirt Buying High – Selling Low = Dumb.
Then I got this email from Ron Lieber who is the editor of the NYTimes – “We are looking for experts….” I said Yes. He wanted me to do a sketch with 450 words/week.
We ran the sketch Geed/Buy ; Fear/Sell
Herd of sheep, Teenage girls, and Investors overlapping Venn diagram “because everyone else is doing it”
Then Parson the New School for Design in New York contacted me: “We are most impressed by your work in illustration and we would like to present your work on 5th avenue.”
Leading workshop at Parsons!!
Email from Lead editor at Penguin at Portfolie – Seth Godin used them as a publisher. He said that they had put together an outline for a book with chapters and would I be willing to publish with them?
I’m am uncomfortable for taking credit and some people ask me to explain it.
>>HAVE AN OPINION
Be ReMarkAble – worth remarking about
People will start to talk about you. One person will talk about you…
If you have an opinion you don’t have to beg for an audience.
Your opinion doesn’t have to be good. Others would have stopped me from creating my bad ideas … but in this day of the Internet somebody is bound to like it.
>>STOP PLAYING WITH YOUR TOOLS
Do you like this blog? Maybe the spacing needs to be closer, twitter, facebook likes?
So concerned about production values that you don’t get it out there.
>>LIVE WITH THE FEAR
We probably play with the tools because we are scared. It might be time to do something scary. For me it happens every Thruseday, Wed, Friday getting ready for NYTimes article, then it runs on Monday.
I have been two years with NYTIMes and the Fear has not gone away. The only difference between startup success is that the people who are successful live with Fear.
Drawing: Things that matter, things you can control = what you should focus on
Get it out there !!!
Don’t perfect it!
I had to accept, “Don’t just finish the last percent, be an 80 percent guy.”
Frank Sinatra was one take Frank – record and leave.
Focus on the things you can control!
I just finished an 8 week solo exhibit at the Kimbal Art Center and we just did these sketches on napkins, chalk, cardstock and it was the most successful they have had.
Q? How are you monetizing?
A. Oh yeah, I am with entrepreneurs so you want to know where the money is. A couple of things: Book, there is a rumor that books are not a good source of income. That is not the case for me. I am also speaking – 1 week in South Africa. And Art Business – We sell these prints. Online products and courses.
Q? Mostly financial sort of things?
A. The answer is yeah. I have been asked to talk to consulting firms about simplifying. But there is an endless supply of stupid things in money that people do.
Q? What do you do about the Aha moment?
A. Normally I am thinking I can’t believe I am sending it to the Times and I send it on a Scanner. Every week I expected to get an email back saying “Thanks, but sorry we are done.” Sometimes the ones that are the best to me don’t get response and the ones I worry about the most are the best. The whole idea of pivoting and going with what works.
Q? Have you tried Color?
A. I get asked about it and every time I try, I can’t do it. My skill doesn’t let me.
Q? You mentioned shorter is harder. Does your art form have that problem?
A. The contrasts are natural and simple. I felt badly about them. At the art show, next to the pieces I made them put sharpie on cardstock as labels to describe the work.
I ask myself, how much can I pull away? Perfect is achieved when you have taken everything out. Thank you very much.
New Economic Reality – Jeff Bingham
Necessity Entreprehsuerhisp : American Style!
Social entrepreneurship. Taking a social issue and overlaying business principles to solve the issue. Water or affordable housing. There has been a lot of chagne in the industry in making a profit in social entrepresneuship. Hopefully it can help more people because it makes money.
Necessity Entrepreneurship – is about eating and living. As part of the amp session is that the skills you are building right now will become more relevant in the economoy. These skills are critical to the growth of the American economy.
My Bio is on the website
1. Take the LONG view – started tech business when I was at BYU ansd we sold it to a Nasdaq company. I spun proceeds in to real estate and it was way too hot. I called up a couple of Ivy Leaue MBAs who were buddies and I said “hey, lets buy distressed real estate and buy apartments for cash flow.”
In 2006-2008 we started Peak Capital with 10s of millions. It was tempting to deploy the money but we did not buy. We are now buying over 3 million in the last 3 years. If we had deployed too early I would be in a different place now.
2. Persist – I don’t mean a bad idea. But persist in building your skills. don’t let them tell you being here isn’t valuable. We are entering a new reality. The skils you build are going to be eminently valuable. You hear this to persist in what you belive and in the Skils that you are building as an entrepreneur. You can exit a bad idea though.
3. Don’t hesitate; MOVE – some people ask about different ideas and when you are in doubt move forward. You can get direction and information so much easier to “pivot” or take different avenues and prove out your business idea.
Some entrepreneurs are stuck between decisions and they are stuck. I would advise them to move forward wisely and then pivot and change
4. Partners – I love partners. I played college basketball. It’s important to have a good team. I personally love partners. What you are doing is so much more fun if you are not doing it alone. They are going through the highs and lows . It si so much more requareding. Who is a good partner?
1. THis is about you deciding. They should have your same core values. Integrtiy and things you care about. THey have to have the same core values. I don’te mean same religion. Core values and you ahve no questions ehtns happen.
2. THose how copmelment your strenthsg. I ahve a team of guys. Tow MBAS as thet details. I am not the best at details. I get bored to death tiwth diligence. I surrounded myself with partners who could help me be successful.
5. Be a contratiriona – I got in to real estate at at bad time. We look at venture and seed type deail. About sixt months ago if I saw another Daily Deal then I was ready to jump the brideg. GO in to markets where peopel are not. I loved tech wne people didn’t like it. We got a like of notoriariety. I love real estate so I bought it when people were scared.
Q? Partners – how di dyou find them?
A. Being here tonight. Netowkring. You ahve to probel your network. You need to knowhat you rneed and then find it. It minght not be in your mimeeidate network. I have not alwayI have alwasy known my partners really well. YOu need to know whne the chips are down . We kenw the armet aw soing to tip. aiT did not go well if we didn’t know weach other unless we knew each other. We coudl have made money and deployed
Love this question – Ver It was hard. WHere what we did . We aserted with 2 ideas.
distressed assts AND Cash aprtremnts.
We moved all over those two avenues. We now own 25 apremant assets abut now 2 distressed deals. It’s boring. THerea re some reasons it didn’t come fthrou distressed. WeSo we fosuceson the apretmentens aspect.s
We estableishde the realtionshiops then that are paying off now. We bought from a large bnak that you guys would know. THere balance sheets were messed. We needed lqiquid.
We”ll proved it We were moving but didn’t deploy.
Q? Right partners when moving or NOT moving how did you move forward with disagreinments?
A. THe most imporattn thing is that you ahve to have good partners. You ahve to be in it together. Partners argeu all the time. They disagree. It’s like marrigage ou don’t alwas get along but you get it as you go.
Q? Do you see other bubles?
A. I thnk there is a tech bubble and yes we see them and it is good to be a contrarian. A part of being ag od entreprener u is udnerstanding the bubbles. The right time to go in and go out. I do see several … technoloyg, right? The over archign thing now is learning everything. This iwill pay off huge int ehfuret. THere will ened to be more small busienss jobs and less corprate jobs. The skills will be seminentyl more marketaable
Q? Fan of Peter Schick?
A. Fan not a disciple.
Q? Tech comany?
A. Web and branding integrateor. My partner was with moniture. I was the busienss guy adn hew as teh tech guy. We built if from nothgin and had 20 emplpoeys and I was 25/26. It was cool.
June 7 at MATC
UTOS 2012 going on now – STORMING THE CLOUD