1871 http://www.1871.com Where digital startups get their start Tue, 07 Jul 2015 19:31:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 the.1871.scoop 7.2.2015 http://www.1871.com/the-1871-scoop-7-2-2015/ http://www.1871.com/the-1871-scoop-7-2-2015/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 19:26:38 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=13008 Welcome to the.1871.scoop – your source for interesting news from the 1871 team, members and friends. From mergers to member ... » Continue]]> Welcome to the.1871.scoop – your source for interesting news from the 1871 team, members and friends. From mergers to member opportunities, this is the new place to stay updated on all things 1871.

Words of WiSTEM: We’re thrilled to announce the first cohort of WiSTEM – 1871’s first-of-its-kind program for women entrepreneurs. The thirteen women joining the program are an experienced, diverse group of entrepreneurs, including Alex Buck (Plumwise), Amanda Greenberg (Baloonr), Annie Mohaupt (Mohop), Catherine Merritt (MUMZY), Elena Valentine (Skill Scout), Holly Bellmund (Werenro Group), Julie Novack (PartySlate), Linda Zabors (Honorary Chicago), Michelle Smyth (Pay Your Selfie), Parminder Batra (Sekure Trak, Inc./TraknProtect), Reva Minkoff (Digital4Startups and DigitalGroundUp), Rose Afriyie (mRelief), and Veatrice Glenn (Insightful Decisions, Inc.). Congratulations to current 1871 members and soon-to-be members on joining the program! bit.ly/1H3yneC | bit.ly/1LFQCdk

Because Simple Rectangles didn’t sound as nice: If you’ve read Michigan Ave Magazine lately, you may have noticed a familiar face! 1871 member Kimberly Crupi Dobbins spent time with Michigan Ave Mag staff talking about founding Simplified Foods, creating her Simple Square bars, and becoming a member of 1871. Check out the full interview here on page 72. @simplesquares

Panel of techsperts: Last week, Techweek brought thousands of tech professionals, companies, and people interested in tech to The Mart to learn about the latest tech trends. Following his own solo talk during Friday’s Techweek events, 1871 CEO Howard Tullman moderated a panel discussion with local CEOs George Bousis (Raise), Shawn Riegsecker (Centro), Justyn Howard (Sprout Social), and Shradha Agarwal (ContextMedia). The panel shared a lot of inspiring advice on developing a successful Chicago startup, and even took a few moments to wish Howard a happy birthday! bit.ly/1HzE3jN | @TechweekCHI

And apparently it’s always sunny there: The Bunker just announced the launch of their newest location in Philadelphia. The organization has been expanding quickly since their launch at 1871 last year, and the newest location has already attracted six startups to join the first cohort. To top it off, The Bunker also just celebrated their one-year anniversary! Congrats to the team! bit.ly/1BYORWr | @TheBunkerLabs | @TheBunkerPHL

The Rithmio’s Gonna Get You: 1871 member Rithmio, which creates software that integrates with wearable technology to more accurately measure movement, just announced a $3 million raise from investors that include Intel and KGC Capital. The company plans to use the new funding to add staff and continue developing its gesture recognition technology. Congrats to the Rithmio team! bit.ly/1BYORWr | @rithmio

Jobs is my third favorite four letter word: Junior Business Development Specialist (eBoundHost) – Partner Relationship Manager (Tempesta Media) – Senior UI/UX Product Designer (SpotHero) – Associate Product Manager (SpotHero) – Senior .NET Developer (BayBee, LLC – Earnhoney.com) – Senior Fullstack Engineer (Classkick) – Lead Software Engineer (Mac and Mia) – Senior Developer (Options Away) – Senior Front End Developer (Rippleshot) – Senior Ruby on Rails Developer (ThinkCERCA) – Mobile Developer (uBack) – Senior Full-stack Rails Developer (Wellthie) – QA Engineer (Options Away). See a full list with job descriptions on our jobs site. bit.ly/1EdvfJq

Tweet of the Week:

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 1.12.12 PM

 

Welcome new members! Pooja Ganesh (Maestro) – Kwaku Ofori-Atta (Maestro) – Jason Field – Sheila Shenoy (Sprig) – Kiera Cole (Sprig) – Muda Khan (CRETMO) – Kenny Olson (DART Displays) – Sam Chadwick (ThinkCERCA) – Russell Levine (ThinkCERCA) – Gioconda Cristina Alfonso de Sousza (Designation Labs) – Israel Bruno Rabela Marques (Designation Labs) – Michael Thies (Designation Labs) – Hannah Alvarado (Elmspring) – Amutha Muthkumar (Hyde Park Angels) – Kristina Pouliot (A Baker’s Tale Mail Order) – Isabel Mayoras (Simple Squares) – Nadiya Ali – Ty Findley (SparX Technologies) – Dan Mikolsz (Venture Connects)

Also, a special welcome to Bob Karpiak, who joined Bonfyre App by way of 1871 Recruiter Laura Fendrich! Bob has joined Bonfyre App as the Sales Director and will be working out of the shared space alongside Jake Bernstein.

Just For Fun: Check out this video that a dad shot of his daughter having a less-than-fruitful conversation with Siri. If you’ve ever had an extended conversation with Siri, you’ll probably understand her pain. huff.to/1LTku3N

Birthdays this week: Tuesday 6/30 – Kristopher Craw – Wednesday 7/1 – John Pytel (Conferences i/o) – Yazin Akkawi (Pixl) – Friday 7/3 – Ian Greig (Verde) – Jamie Damato Migdal (FetchFind) – Saturday 7/4 – Gerhard Boiciuc (Parknav) – Reva Minkoff (DigitalGroundUp) – Austin Grandt (Export Abroad)

*Don’t see your birthday here? Make sure you fill out your Weave the People Profile!

Photo of the Week: Congressman Steny Hoyer stopped by 1871 on Tuesday to learn more about the Chicago startup ecosystem and discuss his “Make It In America” initiative.

Photos by: @[323996727756972:0], a CloudSpotter company

Photo Credit: Gregory Rothstein, 1871/Cloudspotter

Essential Links: @1871Chicago | http://www.1871.com | weavethepeople.com/w/1871/2015/ | http://www.facebook.com/1871Chicago

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1871 Welcomes Sente International Startup Accelerator http://www.1871.com/1871-welcomes-sente-international-startup-accelerator/ http://www.1871.com/1871-welcomes-sente-international-startup-accelerator/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:40:31 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12964 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 2, 2015

CONTACT

1871

Melissa Wooten

press@1871.com

 

Sente Advisory Services

Michaela Neatherton

michaela@sente-advisory.com

... » Continue]]>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 2, 2015

CONTACT

1871

Melissa Wooten

press@1871.com

 

Sente Advisory Services

Michaela Neatherton

michaela@sente-advisory.com

 

1871 WELCOMES SENTE INTERNATIONAL STARTUP ACCELERATOR

Sente International Startup Accelerator at 1871 to Create Opportunities for International Technology Startups; Encourage Expansion in the United States via Chicago

CHICAGO (July 2, 2015)—1871 joined Sente Advisory Services today to announce the launch of the Sente International Startup Accelerator at 1871. The program will bring groups of international startups to 1871 for specialized programming designed to facilitate the development process for companies seeking to expand in the United States.

“As the center of Chicago’s entrepreneurial community and the nation’s largest digital startup hub, 1871 is uniquely placed to showcase the abundant resources that allow entrepreneurs from across the globe to come to Chicago and thrive,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “We are excited to partner with Sente Advisory to expand our international involvement and look forward to welcoming future cohorts from Sente to Chicago and 1871. We believe Chicago is the premier point of entry to the US market for any international company.”

The standard program with Sente Advisory is divided into three stages over twelve weeks. During the first stage, participating startups spend six weeks with the Sente team in their home countries to validate the global strength of their ideas. Selected startups then dedicate the next two weeks to preparing for their transition to Chicago by receiving direct mentoring and participating in specialized programming. Finally, the cohort moves to 1871 in Chicago for four weeks to immerse themselves in Chicago’s technology startup ecosystem while completing their business development and fundraising strategy. Throughout this last stage at 1871, the startups develop a list of potential American clients and business partners and receive coaching on how to pitch their businesses in the US market. 1871 has hosted three groups of Turkish startups through its partnership with Sente Advisory, and will welcome the fourth cohort in August of this year.

 

“Chicago, with its successful business heritage, its technology ecosystem led by 1871, and its strong talent base, provides the best and friendliest launchpad for international startups that are looking to expand and enter the US market,” said Sente Advisory founder Serhat Cicekoglu. “The program that we run at 1871 has proven to be an effective bridge between emerging ecosystems with global solutions and the US market.”

Since its opening, 1871 has hosted thousands of foreign dignitaries and entrepreneurs seeking to explore the entrepreneurial and technology industries in Chicago. In addition to the Sente cohorts, 1871 has hosted international startups for the US Department of State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology Initiative (GIST). 1871 also has formalized agreements with incubators and co-working spaces in London, Tel Aviv and Mexico City. This international involvement not only highlights Chicago’s growing ecosystem for digital entrepreneurs, but also provides 1871 members with an expanding set of tools and resources so that they can remain globally competitive as they develop their businesses.

About Sente Advisory Services

Founded in 2008, Sente provides incubation and accelerator services to startups in Turkey and other emerging startup ecosystems. Sente facilitates entry into US markets for startups with strong opportunities for business development and fundraising.

About 1871

1871 is the home of more than 325 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 75,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, Techstars Chicago and Impact Engine; half a dozen industry-specific incubators in key areas such as real estate, education technology, food and financial technology; several emerging tech talent schools (Flatiron, The Fullbridge Program, Designation and the Startup Institute), and the state’s leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, MATH Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city’s entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

 

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Tullman: 3 Reasons Your Smartphone Is Stupid http://www.1871.com/tullman-3-reasons-your-smartphone-is-stupid/ http://www.1871.com/tullman-3-reasons-your-smartphone-is-stupid/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 21:58:58 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12955 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/3-reasons-your-smartphone-is-stupid.html

Contrary to both common wisdom and our ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/3-reasons-your-smartphone-is-stupid.html

Contrary to both common wisdom and our own expectations, video didn’t really kill the radio star after all. We continue to re-learn the same lesson over and over again: that in media and communication, the majority of our new distribution technologies and channels are consistently cumulative rather than destructive. We’re also seeing that the “second” screen – the phone or tablet that sits beside us while we watch TV these days- is also adding to and enhancing the viewing experience rather than degrading or replacing it in our homes.

Having said that, there are clearly devices and products that are well on their way to the dustbin. As an example, I definitely wouldn’t want to be a fax machine manufacturer these days for love or money. There’s probably still a residual space and market opportunity for document scanners for a little while longer (although the next generation will likely be single-shot, image-capture devices rather than the painfully-slow, mechanical transport beasts we use now), but for the moment, “Send me a fax right away” is pretty much right up there with “Buy me a buggy whip while you’re at the general store” in terms of comments we rarely expect to hear any more.

At the same time, from the Department of Unintended Consequences, there are a host of changes and new behaviors coming down the pike that we really didn’t expect or anticipate and these are going to impact our day-to-day behaviors and our businesses in a number of challenging ways. Here are a few – mainly driven by the merger of mobile and social and the advent of constant connectivity that you should be thinking about.

 

Whither Wikipedia?

If everyone’s on their phones and other mobile devices, who’s actually gonna be left sitting in front of their desktop every day editing articles for Wikipedia? And honestly, are they the kind of people whose hands we want on the levers anyway? There seems to be a real risk of seeing the Groucho doctrine of adverse selection at work. You’ll recall that Groucho Marx famously said that he wouldn’t care to be a member of any club that would actually have him.

Nobody knows the answer to these questions, but what is very clear-; from the recent New York Times article and others-; is that (a) it’s getting harder and harder for Wikipedia to attract and promote new editors and (b) it’s obviously a challenge for even the most digital of us to do any serious editing on a three- inch mobile screen while you’re on the move. So stand by and keep your fingers crossed because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

 

So Long, Search

Guess what else sucks on your phone? Search. Search is a big pain and getting answers back is even worse. Try accurately typing in a long-tail, multi-term, reasonable search request for anything that really matters and you get a boatload back of “stuff”, but very little of substance or consequence. It’s just more lists and more links and more work. We don’t really want ads or alternatives on the run-; we want fast, simple answers. We want to ask our phones for answers-; not interact with them or be interrogated by them while we struggle to get to the right result. How about the helpful hints and shortcuts they offer? To date, not so much of either. So we need to be thinking about new solutions and new protocols for search and we need them soon.

 

Paperless is Pretty Much a Fantasy

Anyone who thinks that digital technology to date has helped us make a big leap forward in the paperless revolution should take a look around any office, business or school in the country. We’re still drowning in paper for a variety of reasons and it’s not going to change any time soon. In fact, as we find more and more occasions when we need to convert something digital to a hard copy to share at a meeting or sign on the fly, we’re actually going to see the return of more printer stations that connect wirelessly to our devices at places like airports and more paper all around.

But, in many other cases where we’re being aggressively encouraged to use our phones in lieu of paper, I’m pretty sure it’s still a bad trade. I especially love to watch the daily juggling acts of the digital mavens that take place in the TSA lines at the airport. You think that it’s fairly easy to exhibit your boarding pass on your phone (don’t let it go to sleep while you’re waiting in the line), and you also need your driver’s license or passport; you’ve got to dump your drinks; slip off your shades so they can see your eyes; get ready to bust your laptop out of your briefcase unless you’re TSA-Pre; and remember to put your little cosmetics baggie on the conveyor belt as well. The reality is that it’s easier to have a printed copy of your boarding pass with you as you enter the gauntlet. And forget about the iWatch being that much better since it’s almost impossible to contort your arm and your body to swipe the thing without dropping something else or inadvertently turning the watch display off.

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Statement on the Passing of Jerry Roper http://www.1871.com/statement-on-the-passing-of-jerry-roper/ http://www.1871.com/statement-on-the-passing-of-jerry-roper/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 21:32:00 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12937 » Continue]]> ​”​We join the Chicago business community in mourning the loss of Jerry Roper. Jerry was instrumental in helping to found the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and remained a steadfast advocate of CEC and 1871. The entire Chicago business community is better for Jerry’s lifetime of work and his timeless spirit will live on through all of the organizations he touched.​”​ ]]> http://www.1871.com/statement-on-the-passing-of-jerry-roper/feed/ 0 1871 Announces Members of First Cohort of WiSTEM http://www.1871.com/wistemfirstcohort/ http://www.1871.com/wistemfirstcohort/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 18:30:23 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12924

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 26, 2015

 

CONTACT

1871

Melissa Wooten

press@1871.com

 

1871 ... » Continue]]> wistemlogo

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 26, 2015

 

CONTACT

1871

Melissa Wooten

press@1871.com

 

1871 ANNOUNCES MEMBERS OF FIRST COHORT OF WISTEM

Innovative Program To Focus On Connecting Women Entrepreneurs To Capital, Technology, And Community

 

CHICAGO (June 26, 2015)—1871 today announced the thirteen members of the inaugural class of WiSTEM, a first of its kind program designed to foster opportunities for women in technology. The thirteen members emerged through a lengthy selection and application process and will begin their participation in WiSTEM immediately. WiSTEM is part of Google for Entrepreneurs’ #40Forward initiative, and is also supported by the Lefkofsky Family Foundation and the Motorola Mobility Foundation.

“A significant component of the work of CEC and 1871 involves fostering diversity and inclusion in the technology and entrepreneurial communities,” said Laura Ferris Anderson, CEC Treasurer and Chief of Staff, Office of the Midwest Chairman, JPMorgan Chase. “WiSTEM is a key resource for supporting women entrepreneurs, and we believe that more women will be inspired to develop businesses with the launch of the program.”

The members of the initial WiSTEM class are:

  • Alex Buck – Co-Founder and CEO, Plumwise
  • Amanda Greenberg – Co-Founder and CEO, Baloonr
  • Annie Mohaupt – Founder and CEO, Mohop
  • Catherine Merritt – Founder and CEO, MUMZY
  • Elena Valentine – Co-Founder and CEO, Skill Scout
  • Holly Bellmund – Founder and CEO, Werenro Group
  • Julie Novack – Founder and CEO, PartySlate
  • Linda Zabors – Founder and CEO, Honorary Chicago
  • Michelle Smyth – Founder and CEO, Pay Your Selfie
  • Parminder Batra – Co-Founder and CEO, Sekure Trak, Inc./TraknProtect
  • Reva Minkoff – Founder and President, Digital4Startups and DigitalGroundUp
  • Rose Afriyie – Co-Founder and CEO, mRelief
  • Veatrice Glenn – Founder and CEO, Insightful Decisions, Inc.

Further descriptions of each member are below.

WiSTEM will be focused around three primary areas – connecting women technology entrepreneurs to capital, technology, and community. Those three pillars were overwhelmingly the consensus reached during a year-long evaluation process run by 1871, which included multiple forums and discussions to determine the nature of the program.

“Women entrepreneurs play an important role in the growth of Chicago’s economy, and WiSTEM supports this growth by making more opportunities available for women,” said Parminder Batra, Co-Founder and CEO of Sekure Trak, Inc. “The program creates a singular place to connect with resources and learn from fellow entrepreneurs, and I look forward to building my business while also being a part of other women entrepreneurs’ journeys.”

The capital pillar will include connecting women tech entrepreneurs with potential investors, supporting women with additional training as they seek investment, and working with investment groups that are seeking to invest directly in women-owned businesses.

The technology pillar will focus on providing technical resources to women tech entrepreneurs and fostering opportunities for women entrepreneurs to understand their technical requirements and the best solutions available. There will be a further focus on placing technical women into key roles in these businesses.

Finally, the community pillar will revolve around mentorship, workshops, and community facing events for the participants in WiSTEM. This will include individual mentorship, group sessions, a lengthy curriculum, and more. It will also include a series of larger, public facing events for the general technology community.

“A key focus of WiSTEM is to develop and advance women-owned businesses and raise awareness of the opportunities presented to our local economy by supporting ‘nontraditional’ entrepreneurs.” said Maura O’Hara, Executive Director of the Illinois Venture Capital Association and CEC Board Member. “Through educational resources and public-facing programming, WiSTEM supports not only the participants in the program, but also the wider community of women in technology and entrepreneurship.”

The curriculum for the program will begin in September. During the summer months, the women business owners will be working individually and collectively to determine their individual areas of focus, begin mentoring relationships, and take introductory meetings with potential partners in finance and technology. The curriculum portion of WiSTEM will last three months; there will be a demo day at the conclusion of the program.

“Our goal in creating WiSTEM has been to produce a purposeful and long-lasting program that meets real needs and creates impactful opportunities for women,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “WiSTEM does exactly that by focusing on three critical areas for women entrepreneurs. We are excited to kick off the program and welcome the incredibly accomplished group of women in the first cohort to WiSTEM and 1871.”

For more information, visit http://www.1871.com/WiSTEM.

About 1871

1871 is the home of more than 325 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 75,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, Techstars Chicago and Impact Engine; half a dozen industry-specific incubators in key areas such as real estate, education technology, food and financial technology; several emerging tech talent schools (Flatiron, The Fullbridge Program, Designation and the Startup Institute), and the state’s leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, MATH Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city’s entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.


 

About the WiSTEM Cohort:

 

Plumwise – Alex Buck, Co-Founder and CEO

Plumwise is a private online community that connects members to providers they will love for services they need without endless reviews, vendor influence, or mediocre options. Members search for and contribute recommendations for service providers—we scrutinize, investigate and interrogate to determine whether a provider is Plumworthy. In short, we do the work you would do, so that you have more time to focus on what really matters.

Baloonr – Amanda Greenberg, Co-Founder and CEO

Baloonr is on a mission to unleash the hidden creative potential of every team, company, and organization in the world. Built on the well-studied, best practices for successful ideation, their app is the most efficient way to get the highest quality and quantity of ideas and information from any group.

Mohop – Annie Mohaupt, Founder and CEO

Mohop manufactures sustainable, ethically-produced footwear that delights customers with its comfort and versatility. Mohop’s talented team combines traditional footwear production techniques with emerging on-demand 3D fabrication techniques.

MUMZY – Catherine Merritt, Founder and CEO

MUMZY exists to help moms bring brilliant ideas to life by raising capital to launch and grow their businesses. It is a well-known fact that moms are inventive and resourceful and MUMZY’s mission is to support moms whether they are starting a company, developing invention new product, creating a non-profit, or simply looking to raise funds to help a fellow mom.

Skill Scout – Elena Valentine, Co-Founder and CEO

Skill Scout is an innovative HR services company that elevates how companies attract and identify talent. The company is turning the transactional nature of online job boards and applicant tracking systems into a relationship and brand building capability through video job postings, social recruiting, and hands on interviews. Skill Scout’s approach enables clients to build authentic workplace equity and an ongoing pipeline of qualified and engaged talent – one of the scarcest resources in building and growing companies today.

Werenro Group – Holly Bellmund, Founder and CEO

Werenro Group’s main product is iTravel Benefits. iTravel Benefits is a shared, elective benefit that rewards employees who save for personal travel by providing a company match. This is a new type of benefit for employers and employees. It can be customized by employers to meet the strategic HR needs of their organization: reduce turnover, reward savers, improve financial acumen and improve well-being by giving their employees something to look forward to – a planned and paid for vacation.

PartySlate – Julie Novack, Founder and CEO

Launching later this year, PartySlate will be the first digital platform specifically designed for party hosts and event professionals. High quality content posted by event professionals will be housed in an elegant user experience and curated by a topnotch editorial staff.  Event professionals who are interested in elevating their brand on PartySlate to drive more leads will have the opportunity to highlight their services through a local marketing program.

 

Honorary Chicago – Linda Zabors, Founder and CEO

Honorary Chicago is the source of gifts, tours, and events based on the stories behind the honorary streets, days, tributes, and other commemorations bestowed by the City of Chicago. Explore the who, where, and why of Chicago’s famous, infamous, obscure, and just plain odd honored folks. This one of a kind entertaining, informative, and inspiring content is curated by Honorary Chicago for Chicago enthusiasts and tourists in a selection of mobile, multi-media, electronic, and real-world formats.

Pay Your Selfie – Michelle Smyth, Founder and CEO

Pay Your Selfie brings brands and consumers together using selfies as the medium. For advertisers, we offer a performance-based mobile marketing platform that drives visibility, brand engagement, social exposure, and sales opportunities to enhance digital, mobile, and cause marketing campaigns. For consumers, the company pays cash for selfies, transforming their social currency into real currency. Pay Your Selfie is free and available for iOS and Android (July 2015).

Sekure Trak Inc./TraknProtect – Parminder Batra, Co-Founder and CEO

TraknProtect is a hardware tracking solution for the hospitality industry that provides real-time location of items such as rollaway beds and cribs on the hotel property to increase efficiency so that employees can focus on activities that create an exceptional customer experience for the hotel guests.

 

Digital4Startups and DigitalGroundUp – Reva Minkoff, Founder and President

DigitalGroundUp is an award-winning innovative technology platform that offers short, interactive online courses in digital marketing. DigitalGroundUp is also working with Facebook to provide courses on Facebook advertising to small and medium size businesses in the financial services industry. Digital4Startups is a digital marketing consulting firm that has worked with over 30 companies in the last two years, grosses six figures in revenue, and prides itself on doing digital marketing “The Right Way.”

mRelief – Rose Afriyie, Co-Founder

mRelief is modernizing public benefits through web tools and an unprecedented use of text messaging in social services that empowers people with whether they qualify and tells all users their best next step. For more information and to view the redesigned site, visit mRelief at http://www.mrelief.com

Insightful Decisions, Inc. – Veatrice Glenn, Founder and CEO

Insightful Decisions, Inc. is an ed-tech startup developing an engagement platform for middle through high school students to take ownership over their development process. Our one-stop platform support students with becoming the drivers of their own destiny, finding colleges aligned with their trajectory, and keeping them engaged and accountable to their process to meet their goals. Through their use of skill assessments to discover and develop talents and abilities, gap analysis that assesses performance, and customized road maps and action plans, students will go from being just another college applicant to their ideal incoming student.

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Three Keys to Becoming an Intuitive Sales Wizard http://www.1871.com/three-keys-to-becoming-an-intuitive-sales-wizard/ http://www.1871.com/three-keys-to-becoming-an-intuitive-sales-wizard/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 17:45:33 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12914 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/three-keys-to-becoming-a-sales-wizard.html

There’s nothing quite like the feeling you ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/three-keys-to-becoming-a-sales-wizard.html

There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when your intuition pays off and people behave exactly as you predicted (and hoped for or dreaded) or when things turn out precisely as you expected. You could also call these moments the result of educated guesses or extra-sensory perceptions. However you describe the process, the exhilaration’s exactly the same. It’s always a rush to be right.

It’s not just a game of “I told you so” (although you did), it’s really the satisfaction of knowing in your heart that these kinds of outcomes aren’t actually just happy accidents or good breaks – they’re another example in the long line of things that happen because you worked hard to make them happen. You always want to be driving the train, not chasing the caboose.

And there’s nothing that makes the selling process easier than getting a jump on the customer and getting out in front of the competition by doing a little precision guesswork. It’s just human nature that we’d all much prefer to be pulled in the direction we’re already inclined rather than pushed into something which we’re not really sure is right for us or our business. Pounds of persuasion will never make up for even a little insight into what’s really important and what’s driving the customers’ decisions. That’s why I often say that, while it’s hard to push a rope, it’s actually pretty simple to pull a string. Or, as The Lone Ranger used to say: it’s so much easier to ride the horse in the direction it’s headed.

I have come to approach intuition the way that Penn & Teller do magic – they show you how the trick is being done and you still can’t figure out what exactly is going on. And what you take away from the experience of watching them perform is not some mystical sense (we all know these are tricks); instead you leave feeling that you’ve witnessed the highest level of professionals executing difficult tasks in a craft that takes hundreds of hours of preparation, patter and patience.

Intuition – which can make or break so many things in your business and in your life – isn’t something that’s given only to the few. It’s a skill, one that anyone can develop and one that grows more powerful as you use it. Everyone has the same chance to build his own crystal ball – you just have to do the work and spend the time. It’s exactly like the old saying about luck – the harder you work; the luckier you get. But first you have to know what the tools and techniques are that you should use in order to turn yourself into an intuitive wizard.

1. Get a Calendar and Track Your Customers’ Schedules

So much of the world of business happens on a schedule and yet way too many people are either ignorant of that fact or oblivious to exactly how important timing is to successful sales. If your customers aren’t ready to listen or you’re pitching them at the wrong time or place, it just doesn’t matter what you’re saying or what you’ve got to sell. I’m not talking simply about Salesforce ticklers or remembering someone’s birthday; I’m talking about becoming a stone-cold expert on each client’s procurement process and internal timing and planning cycles so you know how to be there when the customer is ready to buy. Too many salesmen in my life have returned empty-handed to report that they just missed the boat, they got beat out by someone who was there at the right time, or they got misled or misinformed by the client about the purchase schedule. You learn that in a lot of selling situations, the client doesn’t want to say “No” to your face. So they tell you it’s too soon or too early in their cycles to buy or commit until one day they finally break the bad news to you that they went elsewhere. Just remember that in sales “it’s always too soon until it’s too late.” Do your homework.

2. Anticipate and Prepare for the “Second Sale”

There’s really no telling what’s going to happen in the room when the customer and his finance team get together to review and decide whether to renew your arrangements with them. This is the “second sale” and it’s even more critical than the first. Sadly, you won’t be there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t influence the outcome by making sure that you have an advocate in the room (word to the wise – it will never be the bean counters) and that you have provided your spokesperson with the support, the cost benefits, the time savings, and the other justifications – basically all the ammunition necessary – for supporting the idea of staying in business with you. This stuff doesn’t happen by itself and the customer rarely takes the initiative to go to bat for you.   It’s on you to make sure that there’s a compelling case and lots of reasons to renew and that you get it in front of the right people at the right time.

3. Listen to the Customers and Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Many of us think that our customers are really good at complaining and making their feelings known, but the truth is that they aren’t. They don’t want to spend their time telling us what isn’t working for them (or why) and they certainly don’t want to argue about whose fault that is. Anyone who tells you that the customer understands that a given problem is their fault is an idiot. There are no customer problems. By and large, unhappy customers don’t typically spend a lot of time sharing and communicating because they don’t think that’s their job. They get nervous or unhappy and things build and develop from there, but they rarely go out of their way to let you know. When they reach their limits, they just pick up and leave. It’s your job to read the tea leaves, ask the questions that no one else is asking and get them the answers before the building burns down. Sometimes no one wants to ask the critical questions because it means hard conversations, tough choices and more work for people who are already busy and otherwise occupied. But that’s small potatoes compared with losing the business or the customer or the tenant.

The bottom line: renewals are just business; terminations are personal and surprises are the worst of all. But, if you do your job and pay attention to your business and your customers – meeting their current needs and expectations – and anticipating their future desires and requirements, they’ll think for sure that you’ve got a crystal ball hidden somewhere.

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1871 Community at the 2015 Moxie Awards http://www.1871.com/1871-community-at-the-2015-moxie-awards/ http://www.1871.com/1871-community-at-the-2015-moxie-awards/#comments Sat, 20 Jun 2015 19:13:35 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12883 Last week’s Moxie Awards brought Chicago’s digital business community together to celebrate the city’s thriving ecosystem of innovation. Now in ... » Continue]]> Last week’s Moxie Awards brought Chicago’s digital business community together to celebrate the city’s thriving ecosystem of innovation. Now in their fourth year, Built In Chicago’s Moxie Awards recognize exceptional leaders and companies. Fifteen awards were given across four categories that include Startup Awards, Supporting Awards, Individual Awards, and Headline Awards.

 

In past years, 1871 companies and other community members have been frequent nominees and winners at the Moxie Awards. This year was no exception, with 1871 companies, mentors, partners, and CEC Momentum Award finalists represented across each of the four categories of awards. After over 22,000 people cast their votes, the 2015 Moxie Award winners from the 1871 community include:

 

Best B2B Startup: SimpleRelevance

SimpleRelevance helps marketers send personalized, targeted messages to their e-mail lists. The company uses technology to gather purchasing and browsing insights linked to an e-mail address, empowering marketers to create targeted campaigns.

SimpleRelevance is a recent graduate of 1871.

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Best Startup Co-Founders: Eileen Murphy and Abby Ross (ThinkCERCA)

Eileen Murphy and Abby Ross are working to improve education with ThinkCERCA, and recently closed a $3.2 million Series A Round for the company. ThinkCERCA is an online platform designed to empower teachers to personalize literacy instruction across disciplines and increase engagement.

ThinkCERCA is an 1871 alumni company that has returned to the 1871 space, and is now the largest employer at 1871.

 

Startup of the Year: SpotHero

SpotHero is an on-demand parking app and website that helps drivers find parking and reserve a spot with convenient garages, lots and valets for up to 50% off the drive-up rate. Founded in Chicago in 2011, the company is now active in Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Boston, and a number of other major US cities. In addition to being the top downloaded and top rated parking app in both iTunes and Google Play App Stores, SpotHero was also the first on-demand parking app to offer Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

SpotHero is an 1871 alumni company.

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Investor of the Year – Adam Koopersmith (Pritzker Group Venture Capital)

Adam Koopersmith joined Pritzker Group Venture Capital in 2004 and has focused on SaaS applications, interactive marketing solutions and health applications. He also sits on the board of organizations like TechStars, Sittercity, Advantage Optics and Firm58.

Pritzker Group Venture Capital is a tenant of 1871, and Adam Koopersmith is a frequent mentor of 1871 startups.

 

Best Software Company AND Best Company Culture: Jellyvision

Jellyvision is one of Chicago’s most successful digital communications firms. In 2009, the company launched ALEX, an employee engagement platform that communicates matters like health benefits to new hires and current staff. The software is used by over 300 companies, 52 of which are Fortune 500 companies that have hundreds to millions of employees.

Jellyvision was a 2014 CEC Momentum Award Finalist

 

CEO of the Year: Amanda Lannert (Jellyvision)

During her time at Jellyvision, Amanda Lannert has doubled her company’s revenue in three out of the last four years and has built an award-winning company culture. After so much success, it’s not surprising that this is the third year in a row Amanda has taken the coveted CEO of the Year title at the Moxie Awards.

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Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners at the 2015 Moxie Awards!

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Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center Announces New Board Members http://www.1871.com/chicagoland-entrepreneurial-center-announces-new-board-members/ http://www.1871.com/chicagoland-entrepreneurial-center-announces-new-board-members/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 18:28:28 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12897 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT

1871

Melissa Wooten

press@1871.com

 

CHICAGOLAND ENTREPRENEURIAL CENTER ANNOUNCES NEW BOARD MEMBERS

» Continue]]> FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT

1871

Melissa Wooten

press@1871.com

 

CHICAGOLAND ENTREPRENEURIAL CENTER ANNOUNCES NEW BOARD MEMBERS

Twelve New Board Members Increase Diversity, Entrepreneurial Experience, And Connections To Corporate Community

CHICAGO (June 19, 2015)—The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) today announced that twelve new board members have joined the Board of Directors of the CEC in the last six months. This brings to fifty the total number of board members leading the organization, whose flagship project is 1871.

“We are thrilled to welcome vibrant and diverse directors to our organization,” said Jim O’Connor Jr., Managing Director of William Blair and CEC Board Chairman. “The board members reflect all aspects of Chicago’s economy and will be crucial in supporting entrepreneurship and fostering opportunity in the Chicagoland area in the coming years. We are excited to get to work on some new initiatives and support the growth, expansion, and advancement of 1871 and the CEC.”

The new CEC board members include:

  • Adam Stanley – Global CIO, DTZ
  • Brenna Berman – Department of Innovation and Technology Commissioner and CIO, City of Chicago
  • Jai Shekhawat – Founder and CEO, Fieldglass
  • Jeff Miller – Corporate Vice President, Motorola Mobility
  • Lloyd Semple – Managing Director, Accenture
  • Matt Maloney – Co-founder and CEO, GrubHub Inc.
  • Matt Summy – Vice President, Comcast Business Class
  • Mike McMurray – President, Globetrotters Engineering Corporation
  • Pam Netzky – Founder and former President, SkinnyPop
  • Rishi Shah – Founder and CEO, Context Media
  • Sunil Garg – Senior Vice President & Chief Information & Innovation Officer, Exelon Corp.
  • Suzanne Muchin – Co-founder, Mind + Matter Studio

“Chicago’s startups benefit from the unparalleled connectivity between entrepreneurs and business leaders in the city,” said Matt Maloney, Co-founder and CEO of Grubhub and CEC Board Member. “The CEC and 1871 play a key role in furthering these relationships, which help contribute to Chicago’s growth as a global leader in the startup community.”

“The CEC and 1871 provide critical resources that help entrepreneurs have a better shot at creating successful businesses,” said Pam Netzky, Founder and former President of SkinnyPop and CEC Board Member. “I look forward to working with the CEC to promote innovation and foster entrepreneurial spirit throughout Chicago.”

“New technology businesses make significant contributions to job creation in Chicago and throughout Illinois,” said Rishi Shah, Founder and CEO of Context Media and CEC Board Member. “By supporting digital startups, the CEC and 1871 are facilitating major growth in the local economy.”

The CEC Board of Directors is responsible for a number of activities. Most notably, it supports the operations and activities of 1871, its flagship project. 1871 was founded in May 2012 with the intention of becoming Chicago’s premier entrepreneurial hub. Presently, 1871 has 800 individual members and 350 companies operating out of its space.

“The insight and experience of the CEC Board of Directors is critical to the success of 1871,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “We are honored to welcome these business leaders to the CEC board and look forward to working together to contribute to the current and future prosperity of Chicago.”

The CEC Board is also responsible for the production and execution of the annual Momentum Awards Dinner. Last year, the dinner honored Carole and Gordon Segal as the Entrepreneurial Champions, Motorola Mobility as the Corporate Champion, and kCura as the Merrick Momentum Award winner. This year, the eighth annual dinner will be held on October 8 at the Radisson Blu Hotel. It is the single largest fundraising dinner and gathering of Chicago’s tech community.

The CEC is involved in a number of activities supporting entrepreneurship, including the hosting of Startup Bootcamp workshops and support of other organizations that work on entrepreneurial activities. In addition, the CEC is focused on fostering opportunities for women and entrepreneurship through 1871’s WiSTEM program.

“The CEC plays a pivotal role in facilitating opportunities for women entrepreneurs and technology professionals,” said Laura Ferris Anderson, CEC Treasurer and Chief of Staff, Office of the Midwest Chairman, JPMorgan Chase. “These efforts include supporting 1871’s WiSTEM, an innovative program designed to improve the connectivity for women entrepreneurs to capital, technology, and community.

All of the board members are serving one-year terms. The full CEC Board of Directors includes:

  • Chairman of the Board: Jim O’Connor, Jr. – Managing Director, William Blair
  • Adam Stanley – Global CIO, DTZ
  • Andrew Skoglund – Director, Private Banking, Credit Suisse
  • Brenna Berman – Commissioner and CIO, City of Chicago
  • Bret Maxwell – Managing General Partner, MK Capital
  • Bryant Keil – Founding Chairman, Potbelly Sandwich Shop
  • Chris Gladwin – Founder and Vice Chairman, Cleversafe
  • David Tolmie – Partner, Edgewater Funds
  • Dean DeBiase – Chairman, Reboot Partners
  • Ellen Rudnick – Executive Director and Clinical Professor, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Genevieve Thiers – Founder, Sittercity.com
  • Gregg Kaplan – Operating Partner, Services, Pritzker Group Venture Capital
  • Hank Adams – CEO, Sportvision, Inc.
  • Howard Tullman – CEO, 1871
  • Jai Shekhawat – Founder and CEO, Fieldglass
  • Jeff Miller – Corporate Vice President, Motorola Mobility
  • Jim Dugan – CEO & Managing Partner, OCA Ventures LLC
  • Joe Shenton – Director, Barclays Capital
  • Kevin Willer – Co-founder and Partner, Chicago Ventures
  • Larry Eppley – Partner, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
  • Laura Ferris Anderson – Chief of Staff, Office of the Midwest Chairman, JPMorgan Chase
  • Leslie Anderson – SVP, District Market Manager, BMO Harris Bank
  • Linda Darragh – Executive Director, Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice, Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital, Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • Lisa Portnoy – Technology Partner, EY
  • Lloyd Semple – Managing Director, Accenture
  • Lon Chow – Partner, Apex Venture Partners
  • Mark Tebbe – Operating Executive, Lake Capital
  • Matt Maloney – Co-founder and CEO, GrubHub Inc.
  • Matt Summy – Vice President, Comcast
  • Matt McCall – Partner, Pritzker Group
  • Matt Brown – Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  • Maura O’Hara – Executive Director, Illinois Venture Capital Association
  • Mike McMurray – President, Globetrotters Engineering Corporation
  • Pam Netzky – Founder and former President, SkinnyPop
  • Pat Ryan, Jr. – Founder & CEO, Incisent Labs Group
  • Rishi Shah – Founder and CEO, Context Media
  • R. J. Melman – Executive Partner, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
  • Robert Blackwell Jr. – President, Electronic Knowledge Interchange
  • Sam Guren – Principal, Guren Capital Management, LLC
  • Sam Yagan – CEO, Match Group
  • Scott Swanson – President, PNC Bank
  • Sonal Mane – National Programs Director, Microsoft
  • Steve Collens – CEO, MATTER
  • Sunil Garg – Senior Vice President and Chief Information & Innovation Officer, Exelon Corp.
  • Suzanne Muchin – Co-founder, Mind + Matter Studio
  • Talia Mashiach – CEO and Founder, Eved
  • Ted Souder – Head of Industry, Google
  • Tim Stojka – CEO, Agentis Energy
  • Tom Thompson – Managing Director, WP Global Partners, Inc.
  • Troy Henikoff – Managing Director, Techstars Chicago; Managing Director, MATH Venture Partners

About 1871

1871 is the home of more than 325 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 75,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, Techstars Chicago and Impact Engine; half a dozen industry-specific incubators in key areas such as real estate, education technology, food and financial technology; several emerging tech talent schools (Flatiron, The Fullbridge Program, Designation and the Startup Institute), and the state’s leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, MATH Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city’s entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

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Tullman: The Seven Scars of an Entrepreneur http://www.1871.com/tullman-the-sevens-scars-of-an-entrepreneur/ http://www.1871.com/tullman-the-sevens-scars-of-an-entrepreneur/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 20:32:56 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12869 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/seven-scar-of-an-entrepreneur.html

When most people talk about how difficult ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/seven-scar-of-an-entrepreneur.html

When most people talk about how difficult and challenging it is to be an entrepreneur, they actually focus on the most obvious things that, frankly, every entrepreneur should already know-; how long and hard you have to work, how risky and difficult it is to try to start something new, how unclear and uncertain things are going to be throughout the journey, etc.  But honestly, you can learn about any of these things from about a billion different books that deal with the trials and tribulations of starting a business. None of these concerns should come as a surprise. Entrepreneurs may have been kidding themselves about how hard or easy things were gonna be, but they can’t really say that they didn’t know.

However, it’s not these bumps in the road that are the make-or-break considerations, or even the highest hurdles for entrepreneurs to deal with as they’re building businesses. And they’re also not the ones that create the heartaches and those early gray hairs. The toughest and most painful parts of the process are all about two things: personal-;and sometimes moral-; choices and decisions about people. If you haven’t had to deal with some of these problems yet, just give it time. Soon enough, whether your business is going gangbusters, slipping sideways, or slipping into oblivion, you’re going to have to deal with them.  These really aren’t matters of if; they’re all about when.  Part One of your job is to be ready. Part Two of your job is to decide how to handle each situation. Here’s a hint-; there will be plenty of tough questions and hard choices as you build your company. But you’ve only got one reputation.

(1)  You Miss A Milestone

It happens to almost everyone at some point, but it still hurts. A miss is hard to swallow and even harder to explain to all those folks who thought you walked on water. This is one of the relatively easy situations to handle after you get over the initial embarrassment and wipe the egg off your face. Just explain the situation to everyone (insiders and investors) clearly and quickly; describe the proposed next steps and concrete solutions to get the business back on the right track. Don’t play the blame game and don’t ruin a good apology with excuses. And don’t waste too much time dwelling on the past, playing “woulda, shoulda, coulda”, or looking backwards. Learn what you can from the mistakes you made and keep moving forward.

(2) You Break A Promise

In Hollywood, we used to say that the most important rule of all was also the simplest. It succinctly described celebrity, business and life in the movies all in a single sentence: “I’ll love you ’til I don’t.” Similarly, when Steve Jobs would abruptly change his mind and his direction on a project or a product, he wouldn’t explain or apologize. He’d just say: “I’m doing what’s right for the business right now.” Whatever went before was past and quickly forgotten. He had plenty of issues-;remember, he once got canned by Apple-; but once he was back in the saddle he had almost no business baggage. In tennis or golf, it’s called “in-game amnesia.” If you’re thinking about the last error, you’re far more likely to blow the next shot as well.

The moral of these stories is a pretty basic tenet of Startup Management 101. If you’re stuck in the past (or bound by your best guesses from back then), you’re not going to change the future. Despite our best intentions and best-laid plans, the world keeps spinning and changing. Which means our commitments and even our most sincere and well-intended promises sometimes don’t survive the chaos of rapid change and the required responses as well as the back-and-forth that goes on in between and -; as often as not-; they shouldn’t.

None of us has a crystal ball so we can only do the best we can in the moment. Keeping your word isn’t some antiquated Victorian virtue or a nonsense notion in today’s world of sadly situational ethics, but it’s only one very important consideration as you balance and try to triage the onslaught of confusing challenges and either/or choices that your business is going to inevitably face. There are no magic solutions or easy resolutions to these dilemmas. All you can do is to do your best under the circumstances.

(3)  You Tell A White Lie      

Sometimes a little inaccuracy can save tons of explanation and many hours of arguments and lectures, but it’s a slippery slope. And the sins of omission in this department are just as bad as white lies or taking advantage of the fact that some director, investor, customer or employee just neglected to ask the right questions. It’s not on them to tell the truth, it’s on you. You’ll learn over time that the truth only hurts when you don’t tell it. No one likes bad news, but everyone in the investment world really hates surprises and the longer you wait to tell someone the right story and the whole story, the more damage you do to the relationship and to your reputation. It’s never easy to say what no one wants to hear, but it’s often absolutely essential and it’s always the leader’s job to do the deed and take the heat that’s sure to follow.

(4)   You Make A Payroll from Your Pocket

Sometimes enough is enough, even for an entrepreneur and, as obvious as it may seem to outsiders, it’s still never that easy to admit. Dreams die hard, but there are plenty of times when a horse breaks down and you need to put it out of its misery. There are rarely skid marks in a startup-; you hit the wall pretty abruptly when the show is over. And yet, there are other cases when it seems that there’s just one more hill to get over or one more sale to make and then the business will be in the clear and on its way. But, as you look around, you realize that you’re the only one left in the room thinking about reaching into your pocket for further funding.

If you’ve got more cash than sense, this is usually a pretty easy decision. But, a much harder choice arises when you have limited funds and you’ve already bet the ranch and borrowed as much as you can and now you have to choose between competing mouths to feed and one of those competitors is your family’s and your kids’ futures. Business doesn’t get more personal than this and you have to be VERY careful that your ego and your stubbornness don’t overcome your common sense and your most critical responsibilities and obligations.

One of the skills that makes someone a great entrepreneur is tunnel vision, but when it’s not just you on the cutting edge, you’ve got to make sure before you plunge deeper into the tunnel that it is a light you see at the end and not a big nasty freight train coming the other way. And, like it or not, it’s also not a call you get to make on your own because it’s not just your future that you’re foolin’ with. This is another really hard conversation to have with all of the interested parties, but you owe it to everyone who helped get you started and stuck with you through all the ups and downs to make sure that they’re there when the business hangs in the balance.

(5)   You Give Yourself Some Goodies      

Entrepreneurs are basically big crybabies who spend a fair amount of their time feeling sorry for themselves about being grossly under-appreciated. They feel taken advantage of, conspired against, and constantly let down by people who don’t share their crazy zeal.  And I’m talking about the healthy ones. You can forget about the truly paranoid and you’d do well to steer clear of them. A good rule of thumb is to never work for someone who has more emotional problems than you do.

So, you might ask, what does this have to do with you? Well, it turns out that it’s a pretty short step from feeling victimized to deciding, in your own addled brain, that you’re pretty much entitled to take whatever you can get or get away with. And it always starts small and gets worse over time.

Whether you believe it at the moment or not, you will be there one of these days. It’s just another inevitable part of the process. Too much work, too little family time, too much stress, too few strokes. And one day the switch just flips: Expensive meals and travel, hi-tech gadgets and gear you’d never pay for yourself, sports tickets, special events and other goodies for the guys, etc. All “justified” in the name of marketing, morale, and media among other claims and excuses. And what’s basically going on is that you’re taking your company’s and your investors’ money and putting in your own pocket.

Believe me, once this bullshit begins, there’s no end to the dollars that can disappear and no limit to the rationalizations and outright deceptions that accompany this kind of sick and deluded behavior. Once you start feeling that the business owes you a bunch, it’s amazing how quickly that comes to include just about anything you can imagine. Redecorating your home “office,” loans and advances of all descriptions that never seem to get repaid, cash advances at the strangest times and places, etc.

The truth is that you wouldn’t begin to believe these crazy justifications to explain what any sane person would simply call stealing. You may feel that this shoe will never fit you and that’s great. But I’d say it still makes sense to be on your guard and watch your step.

(6) You Fire A Friend

When you’re all sitting around in the garage getting started, it’s pretty easy to say just about anything about the future and (mostly) to convince even yourself that you mean it. In your heart you probably do, but your head already knows better. “Friends forever” is one of those promises that, in the world of startups, are almost always made to be broken. As time passes and your company grows and the demands of the real world start to intrude, you’ll quickly discover that: (a) you don’t get to make all the decisions by yourself any longer; (b) that the needs of the business can quickly outgrow the talents and skills of even the best of your friends and co-founders; and (c) like it or not, in building a business and especially a company culture, majority rules. If your closest friend can’t cut it with his or her co-workers, you absolutely know who’s got to go. That doesn’t make it any less painful to disappoint and fire a friend (and you’ll find yourself getting mad at the faceless others who are “making” you do it), but in the end it’s the right and only thing to do for the good of the company. By the way, you need to “own” that particular decision. Don’t complain or tell anyone that “they” made you do it or that you had no choice (even if you didn’t) because when you blame these hard decisions on others, you’re giving up your own credibility and authority. If it’s the right decision and the right call, then it’s yours to make and yours to live with.

(7) You Do It All Over Again

They say it’s hard to go home again and I think that’s probably right. But I know for a fact that it’s sheer torture to have to blow up your whole business and start all over again. Most people just aren’t up to the task-; they give it the good old college try, it doesn’t work out for them, and then they go get a day job to feed themselves and their families. There’s nothing wrong with that for them-;it’s just not how it works for a true entrepreneur. And frankly, I’m not sure that you can even call yourself a true entrepreneur if you haven’t had to go through one or two of these near-death experiences yourself.

People who get it right the first time and never have to re-trench or re-load might be the smartest folks around. Or they could just have been remarkably lucky-; right time, right place, right investors, connections, etc.  For myself, I like to bet on the ones who’ve been through the Valley of Death and come out the other side (maybe not smiling), but with their energy unchanged, their passion intact, their commitment strengthened, their teams largely still together, and their eyes always on the prize. They are the scarred and battle-hardened pros that I call real entrepreneurs.

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Our Interview with Techweek CEO Katy Lynch, Part 2 http://www.1871.com/our-interview-with-techweek-ceo-katy-lynch-part-2/ http://www.1871.com/our-interview-with-techweek-ceo-katy-lynch-part-2/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 17:13:33 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12856 1871 COO Tom Alexander chatted with Techweek CEO Katy Lynch about her new role, her plans for Techweek, and the ... » Continue]]> 1871 COO Tom Alexander chatted with Techweek CEO Katy Lynch about her new role, her plans for Techweek, and the Chicago tech scene ahead of Techweek 2015. Here’s what we learned:

TA: What do you think of where the Chicago tech scene is right now? What are the biggest challenges and opportunities?

KL: There’s never been a better time to start or join a tech company. Chicago is a market with diverse industry and millions of hard-working people with all sorts of skills. People who execute well have access to capital and those who are struggling don’t need to look for help and advice.

The biggest challenge is going to be summer time!  I can’t wait to get outside and be distracted!

TA: What are you hoping to do differently or new?

KL: We have a lot of cool initiatives that we’re rollin’ out.

First and foremost, we are expanding both domestically and internationally. We’ve got our eyes on Denver, Dallas, Seattle, Boston and Toronto.

Additionally, we are changing the name of our Launch competition to the Techweek Launch Championship, which will now be a 2-day pitch tournament where startups compete to win cash and prizes. Think of it as our version of Shark Tank. It’s pretty rad.

We’re also starting a fund, the 100 Cities Fund, an investment vehicle that will financially back the winners of the regional and national Launch champions!

TA: You and Craig are sort of a modern “tech family.” Tell us a bit about your tech life, if you would.

KL: We sure are. I met Craig at his startup, Where I’ve Been. We immediately hit it off, probably due to our dry British humour, as well as our love for gadgets and robots.

In fact, Craig built a house robot for us. Its name is ‘Jarvis’ and it performs menial tasks, like opening the drapes and turning on relaxing music in the morning. I have absolutely no idea how it works, but I love it. (Craig, if you’re reading this, please program Jarvis to do some new and exciting things!!)

TA: What are you most excited about at Techweek Chicago this year? What should everyone make sure they see?

KL: I’m definitely pumped up about Launch. It’s so wonderful to see so many entrepreneurs gather in the same place, showcasing their startups to attendees and VC’s. It’s truly one of the most popular events at Techweek in every city.

We’ve also got a fab line-up of speakers as well as great sponsors. If you haven’t bought your pass yet, get on it!

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