11.17.14 | mwithers
“Imagine a world where lamp posts double as 911 operators and solar-powered trash cans compact waste on city streets. Where public park benches serve as phone-charging stations and robots go to school on behalf of ailing children. It’s an urban prophecy that could be here sooner than you think.” Those were the opening words in Geoff Weiss’ recent piece in Entrepreneur Magazine on five breakthroughs being championed by the Verizon Innovation Program. Among the featured companies is Betaspring alum HealthID Profile.  The HealthID Band utilize NFC (near-field communication) technology to transmit detailed information about a patient’s medical condition in the event of an emergency. Medical conditions, allergies, and medications are all accessible with the tap of a smartphone, streamlining resources for first responders and potentially saving lives. Check out Geoff’s full story here.
11.17.14 | atear
2014 is the year when mobile takes over the internet. Industry projections for both the number of users and overall web users show that smartphones have overtaken the desktop for good. Social network usage and engagement is mobile-dominant; Facebook alone sees 68% of its usage via mobile devices!  Yet many startups still launch their products for desktop users first, leaving mobile as a product add-on to be developed later. Startups make this choice because the desktop is more mature and has widely-known development tools and third-party services which accelerate early product development. Often, a startup will choose the desktop-first path because they haven’t deeply explored their customer’s needs and behaviors. Often, this is costly mistake, that not only adds unnecessary development and maintenance costs, but causes a startup to miss their initial market altogether.  Here...
10.17.14 | mwithers
We are looking for a high energy project manager who knows how to get a lot of things done (and done well). This position is public facing with opportunities to interact with startups, investors, mentors, corporate partners, students and other folks who orbit around entrepreneurial communities. From events to keeping our coworking community humming, our projects range from quick and easy to big opportunities that take time--and creativity--to build out.  Requirements: Passionate and knowledgeable about the regional and national startup scene and interested in learning more. Strong organizational and communication skills essential. A process-oriented and tools-savvy approach to problem solving, and the ability to work both solo and as a team, is a must. Some evenings and weekends required. 3-5 years experience in a relevant role expected. Interested? Send resume, cover letter, and...
10.17.14 | mwithers
After accelerating 90 companies, we have seen just about everything, from unexpected victories to painful losses, magnificent pivots to total strikeouts. Consumer behaviors and market trends change like the wind. The qualities and benchmarks investors look for before writing a check are always shifting. Meanwhile, startup knowledge and tools keep getting better and more accessible.  Despite all this flux, here’s one thing that hasn’t changed: Building a startup is a grind. Sure, one in a thousand ventures gets discovered its infancy and bought for a zillion bucks. But the rest slog it out for months, often years, before anything resembling a big payoff happens. And the stuff between starting and winning can be pretty grueling.   I was recently asked by Verizon to help put toegther a series of blogs for early stage founders. We asked some of our mentors and friends to...
09.16.14 | mwithers
Betaspring is excited to be among those speaking, mentoring and judging at this year’s TechCocktail Celebrate conference in Downtown Vegas on October 6-7. This two-day conference brings together industry leaders, entrepreneurs, startup founders, creative technologists, designers, investors, community builders, and media to learn, inspire and be inspired, collaborate, and grow - and celebrate together. The payoff for attendees? To learn and collaborate with others who are turning their communities into startup cities, and building ideas into successful companies. Betaspring will be represented by Melissa Withers and Allan Tear, who will be talking about building startup communities, as well as mentoring startups and sharing a little bit of what they’ve learned after accelerating 90 companies. The line-up looks boss, with folks like Tony Hsieh (Zappos), David Cohen (TechStars), Akhil...
09.09.14 | mwithers
This spring, Betaspring reached an important milestone with the completion of our third fund, bringing our tally to 90 companies accelerated since 2009. This fall offers us an ideal time to take stock of what we’ve learned, and support our most promising alumni companies as they tackle the “make or break” moments that define startup success.   How did five years go by so fast? Flashback to the summer of 2009. Betaspring set out to test a new model for helping startups go farther faster. The model was the “startup accelerator,” and in 2009, virtually no one had heard of it.  The birth of startup accelerators was driven by a fundamental shift in how new companies were launched. Before the Web reached global critical mass, technology and access to customers were HUGE barriers to launching a new venture, making new company creation prohibitively expensive. Around 2005, those...
09.09.14 | mwithers
One of the best things about operating a startup accelerator is tracking our alumni. This month, we crossed the $40M in follow-on funding milestone! But beyond fundraising, it's a true pleasure to see our alumni succeed, both in big and small ways. From growing their teams to reaching new sales and user acquisition goals, very few things are sweeter than startups success.  Earlier this summer, Sproutel, launched an Indiegogo campaign to bring their next run of Jerry the Bear robots to as many kids with Type 1 diabetes as possible. The campaign surpassed its first goal within a few days and given it’s importance, Indiegogo extended the campaign.  There’s still time to help. Splashscore offers an influencer activation engine that helps large consumer brands find and activate their most influential customers. Splashscore is on an incredible growth trajectory and is already...
08.21.14 | mwithers
Considering an accelerator for your startup? NuLabel CEO—and Betaspring alum—Max Winograd’s most recent column in Inc Magazine tried to simplify the question with a set questions that every founder should ask herself before joining an accelerator. “An invitation to a startup accelerator presents several positive opportunities for young companies and particularly young entrepreneurs: a stamp of credibility; access to a plugged-in network of mentors and eager angel investors; seed capital; intense strategic, team, and product development support; and colocation alongside dozens of similar-stage businesses experiencing the same highs and lows that come with a newborn startup baby.” But before you jump in, founders should ask themselves some important questions. Sure, you need to weigh the value your company will get in exchange for the equity. But, questions should go deeper than that....
07.28.14 | mwithers
Join us at Betaspring  on Tuesday, July 29 at 3pm for a conversation with entrepreneur and investor Wiley Cerilli.   Wiley Cerilli is a Venture Partner at First Round Capital. Prior to First Round, Wiley was on the executive team of Constant Contact, where he served as Vice President of SinglePlatform, the company he started and led as CEO until it was acquired in 2012.   SinglePlatform was initially funded by First Round, and quickly went on to be named one of the Top 10 and 25 "Companies to Watch" by Business Insider, The Next Web and Website Magazine. Wiley has been named as a "Top 25 CEO" in New York, and "Top 10 People to Watch" by Crains.   The conversation with Wiley will be followed by a beer hour. Free, but register here.    
07.08.14
With as many as 15,000 children diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in the U.S. each year, Sproutel has set an ambitious goal to help all kids affected by T1D. With Jerry the Bear, an interactive teddy bear aimed at helping kids “master their medical procedures, from counting carbs to monitoring their blood sugar levels - all through play,” the Sproutel team is set to do just that. You can help this amazing startup make history by getting Jerry into the arms or every kid who gets diagnosed with T1D. To achieve this goal, Sproutel has created 29 iterations of the prototype, tested with 350 families, set up a scalable supply chain, and shipped their first production run, reaching 2% of children newly diagnosed with T1D last year. Now that they’ve laid the groundwork, Sproutel is raising $20,000 to cover the minimum order quantity for their next production run. You can help but supporting...