Company and Product Launch Events

Startup companies with finished products need publicity, media and blogger coverage, and analysts and reviewers to take note of what they are doing. They also often need investor interest. Since investors often flock to the same hot deals, it can be good to have a large number of investors exposed to your deal at the same time. Some launch events give startups a chance to reach all these audiences at the same time. DEMO is a semi-annual event that has featured pitches from some of the remarkable technology companies of our time. Investors and the media pay a lot of attention to the companies that get selected to present at DEMO. At every DEMO, conference organizer Chris Shipley chooses a number of DEMOgods that are worthy of special attention.

FundingUtah Speedpitching Event Feb. 2nd

If you are an angel investor and want a fun experience, join me and a couple dozen other angel investors for FundingUtah.com's first Salt Lake City entrepreneur speedpitching event Thursday, February 2nd. The staff at FundingUtah.com have selected 10 promising entrepreneurs for the event. They have been coached on how to deliver informative and energetic pitches. It promises to be an exciting day. Last November the first ever FundingUtah speedpitching event attracted journalists, photographers, and even KSL news, which broadcast a 2 minute report of the event on the evening news. Check it out. This is fun stuff. Visit the FundingUtah web site for more information or call them at 801-805-4847.

Official Provo Labs Announcement

Provo Labs is now funded. Our small incubator team intends to launch between 12-20 internet startup companies in the next 2-3 years. We have an office at Canyon Park now (in Orem) but as per our name, we'll be moving to Provo early next year. Our m/o is to generate great ideas, build working prototypes (or live web sites) quickly and by using the best internet marketing techniques, bring enough visitors to each web site that we can prove each concept. If a business idea passes the initial market test, then we will provide enough seed capital to build a team and fund a go-to-market strategy. Our goal is to reach positive cash flow from Provo Labs initial investment. But some startups will need more than just seed capital. If necessary, we'll use FundingUniverse.com to help us find angel capital, or in some cases we might seek venture capital.

Small Business Loans

Many entrepreneurs don't know this, but Provo City has a revolving loan fund that typically makes $10,000 to $100,000 loans to companies that are having trouble getting financing. The Provo web site seems to be down right now, but here is a link to a short description of the Provo BDC. I am serving on the BDC committee. We meet every month or two to consider companies that qualify for these small loans. Roger Andrus works for Provo City and helps companies prepare for their presentations to us.

The Vision of Grow Utah Ventures

I'm sitting inside the old greyhound bus station on Ogden's infamous 25th street. But it isn't a bus station anymore. Utah visionary Alan Hall and his team at Grow Utah Ventures have purchased the old bus depot. They are renovating it and today are christening it the "E Station." E, of course, stands for entrepreneur. Alan Hall's vision is for Grow Utah Ventures to be the most influential private sector force for economic development in the state of Utah, with a focus on Northern Utah.

Josh Coates: Disruptive Entrepreneur Speaks

If you are in Utah Thursday, you have to pay $10 to hear Silicon Valley transplant Josh Coates speak about how to start a company and raise money. He is an incredible technologist with a disruptive business model and he knows how to raise capital. He likes to challenge the way the Utah angel and VC community fund startups. Josh likes the Silicon Valley way. The event will be at Los Hermanos in Lindon at 3:30 pm. Don't miss this.

Don’t Miss Tomorrow’s UVEF Meeting

In May I blogged about Junto and a Salt Lake Tribune article about this super-innovative new business model for creating teams of entrepreneurs. Tomorrow's UVEF luncheon (Provo Marriott at 12:00 pm) will feature Greg Warnock, the visionary behind Junto, and several of the Junto winners (there have been 15 so far who have received $50,000 in startup funding.) I totally love this concept and can't wait to hear more about it.

Powering Businesses with Float

I never had much interest in banking or insurance until reading The Warren Buffett Way last year and realizing how Buffett made his fortune by investing the "float" from his insurance companies. Now I think about this concept all the time and wonder how it might be applied to my internet companies. From the 2004 Berkshire Hathaway Annual report:
"... Berkshire has access to two low-cost, non-perilous sources of leverage that allow us to safely own far more assets than our equity capital alone would permit: deferred taxes and "float", the funds of others that our insurance business

FundingArizona.com Launched

Okay, so our new web site for Arizona has only 1 registered investor with $50,000 of available capital so far. That's not going to change the world. But guess what is going to happen in the next few months? I think the number of registered investors and entrepreneurs on FundingArizona will grow steadily. Arizona has more than twice the population of Utah and it is also growing rapidly. Eventually, there should be more investors and more business plans on FundingArizona.com than there are on FundingUtah.com.