Launchpad LA is coming to SD. Launchpad LA is ranked the #5 accelerator in the United States by Forbes, has the highest median funding rate of any accelerator in the world according to Seed-DB, and is described by PandoDaily as “the top accelerator in Southern California”.
Graduates of the LaunchPad program have raised over $110M since its launch in 2009. LaunchPad offers each accepted company into its classes a $100K investment, as well as a number of other perks, including free office space.
Would you like to join DLA Piper and Sam Teller, the founder and Managing Director of LaunchPad LA, for an informational lunch to learn more about LaunchPad and opportunities to join its up-coming class?
WHO: San Diego Startups and LaunchPad LA’s Sam Teller
WHEN: Wed., Sep. 11th at 12:00pm
WHERE: DLA Piper LLP – 401 B St.- 17th Floor
RSVP: Carol Miller at “carol.miller” at dlapiper (dot) com
** Note: LaunchPad is NOT looking to have companies move from San Diego to LA. Rather, the companies chosen would come up to LA for the accelerator classes and be introduced to investors in the LA area.
I just got a note from Jody Green on a cool event happening before the LaunchPad event:
Hi there Steven,
We are having the first 1 Million Cups event in San Diego on Wednesday and we’d love to invite all those that will be attending the Launchpad event to come to the 1 Million Cups event in the morning and then offer to let them work from Co-Merge before the Launchpad event.
CONNECT FrameWorks Workshops present The Art of the Start-up
Program Overview: For entrepreneurs, deciding to form a company, or become involved with a start-up, presents enormous challenges. Navigating around legal, fund raising and other issues can often seem overwhelming, and traps for the unwary or uninformed are numerous. However, successfully avoiding the most common pitfalls made by entrepreneurs can make a significant difference as to whether or not a company is fundable, the sources and types of capital that will be attracted, who controls the company, the economic impact on founders upon exit, and a company’s likelihood of success. In this interactive half day workshop, Roger Rappoport will discuss these and other issues in three interactive sessions.
What you will learn:
• Start-up Issues Generally—including, choices in entity selection; an appropriate capitalization table, including how much stock to set aside for employees, consultants, board and advisory board members and the perils of Section 409A; Founders’ issues, including amount and allocation of founders’ stock (including Series FF Preferred Stock), vesting, assignment of intellectual property, employment/consulting agreements and more;
• Developing and Executing the Right Funding Strategy—including a discussion related to seed, angel and venture capital funding, appropriate funding instruments for each round, including the pros and cons of selling equity, convertible debt, and venture debt; selecting, and gaining access to, the right funding partner; and valuation, and things to do to increase the pre-money value of the company.
• The Anatomy of a Term Sheet— a brief discussion on the anatomy of the term sheet, including, understanding the structure of, and the provisions that will most likely be included in, a convertible debt and venture financing term sheet; how to arrive at a realistic pre-money valuation; the economic impact of certain terms on existing shareholders; the provisions that affect the degree to which current founders and management will have to relinquish control of major and/or day-to-day decision making; and the most recent trends relating to liquidation preferences, participation rights, anti-dilution provisions, pay-to-play provisions, redemption rights, registration rights, rights of first refusal and co-sale rights, and more.
Who should attend:
Founders, CEOs, and managers who are looking to start a company and develop and implement a funding strategy or are seeking funding, as well as scientists and technology experts considering a business start-up in need of financing.
Event Details: Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 Time: 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (Registration begins 7:30 a.m.) Location: Sanford – Burnham Medical Research Institute 10905 Road to the Cure San Diego, CA 92121 Note: A light breakfast will be provided for participants. Contact: Linda Wells Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 858-964-1319 Fees: Pre-Registration $45. At the Door $65. (subject to availability) *Registration will close on or before September 13.
Congrats to our friends over at Mojo Pages on a new $5mm raise. I believe their enhanced model of providing a white-label solution to news sites is timely and needed. Jon Carder and the team have been working hard on the site for a few years and this vote of confidence is a good sign for the company and the San Diego tech scene.
It looks like its going to be a tough 2009 for start-ups looking for an A or B round. Only 55 funds have raised capital, compared to 78 funds from a year ago. This will trickle down and offer less availability for younger companies looking to get their ideas of the ground.
See post from yesterday. Seek to prove your model on your own dime and with sweat equity. Then, seek expansion capital rather than proof-of-concept capital. Also, look to friends and family (maybe a rich uncle) that believes in you. Remember, at a start-up stage, most people are betting on the jockey, not the horse.
Guy Kawasaki has an excellent post on Plan B: Another way to grow your company. Over the past few years, I've seen so many companies with stars in their eyes. I know what it looks like – I've been there myself. Somehow, the idea of a big round of venture funding solidfies their existence and proves that their concept is destined to be the next big hit.
It's very similar to getting signed on a major record label.
It is imperitive that the artist is solid and can make unbelievable music with or without the label. The label then ads the firepower to get the the next level. But if the artist is relying on the idea that the label is proof of their superiority, then the artist probably won't get traction.
It's the same with your startup. Struggle and fund it yourself. Fail fast. Understand that your model will change 2-4 times in the first few years. Commit yourself to persevere through the chaos and find a way, no matter what, to understand what the market is willing to pay for. Then, focus on developing a service or product that answers those needs better than others.
Kawasaki's best advice on this article: "Rather than trying to boil the ocean, try to boil a tea kettle." We've found that mantra to be true within TakeLessons. Rather than focusing on the entire world/country, we've targeted specific geographies. Rather than focusing on everything related to lessons, we've focused down on what we do best. This allows us to direct our strategy in the areas that will provide us a true competitive advantage. The truth is that we will never have enough time, money, human capital to do everything we want at all times. So the power of focus has proven to be an invaluable tool.
Steven is an entrepreneur from San Diego, CA. He is the founder and CEO of TakeLessons.com, one of leading companies for live learning.