Tag Archives: venture capital

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Women Entrepreneurs:Learn How to Build, Grow & Fund Your Enterprise!

 

Learn How to Build, Grow & Fund Your Enterprise?      

Last Chance to Book! Good-B readers use Code GF2o for 20% off ticket prices!      

Join this dynamic panel of experts!  June 20, 2014 6-9pm. Centre for Social Innovation NY                                                     

for Women Entrepreneurs (startups/early stage/growth) & the Men Who Support them! 

Funding and financing in today’s entrepreneurial world is booming. Yet  according to Forbes.com, women might hold up half of the sky, but women entrepreneurs only receive 20% of investment dollars. Join this dynamic group of Women’s Funding & Entrepreneurship experts to discover:

Where is the money? How do you access it? What are the steps to growth particular to women entrepreneurs?

Panelists:

  • Christine Janssen-Selvadurai – co-founder Fordham Foundry (Bronx incubator) / Professor of Entrepreneurship at Fordham B School.
  • Kim Wales – CEO Wales Capital –Investment & Equity crowdfunding expert (An early proponent of JOBS Act, KIm is advising the SEC on equity crowdfunding regulations.)
  • Geri Stengel – Forbes.com contributor & founder of Ventureneer.com. Her new book is titled: “Forget the Glass Ceiling: Build Your Business Without One” (Dell Publishing)
Moderators:

Monika Mitchell –founder GoodBusinessNY (ImpactNYCMedia) digital media for social impact. CoHost: ThatMatters Live for Entrepreneurs who Do Good. “Top Thought Leader 2014,” TAA

Amy Cortese: Award-winning freelance journalist; New York Times, Business Week, Portfolio & others. Author of: Locavesting: the Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit from it. (Wiley)

The Skivvy:
An interactive panel discussion and workshop followed by participant Q&A. For women entrepreneurs who want to discover the best ways to fund/finance their enterprises. During this interactive program, our expert panelists will isolate the issues, challenges and options for funding that are particular to women entrepreneurs.
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Why All Business Is Social

All Business Is Social

When I welcomed the morning crowd at Good-B’s MakeImpactNYC conference this past January at Fordham University, I said, “Every business is social.” This shocked B School Dean Rappaccoli so much that she mentioned it in her address. She stated, “I never thought of that before, but it’s true.” So what happened to our world between the late 18th century and the 2008 financial crisis?

The distancing between the individuals at the other end of the transaction and the digital blips on the screen they had become has allowed us to forget the human foundation of business.

Somehow between Adam Smith & Michael Porter’s “shared value,” 19th & 20th century technological advancements and the rapid growth of industrialization changed it all. From Herbert Spencer & Carnegie’s adapting “survival of the fittest” to standard business models, to “the business of business is business” philosophy of Alfred P. Sloan, (CEO of General Motors), to Milton Friedman’s “the social responsibility of business is to maximize profits” to the 1980s dog-eat-dog mantra “greed is good,” the singular focus on profits overshadowed ethics. Not only did “profits at any cost” diminish a company’s commitment to employees and customers, it also completely obscured the responsibility that business has directly to the society that supports it.

Business, whether small or large, whether it is the used car lot on the corner, the Wal-Mart down the street, or the investment bank 3,000 miles away, directly impacts everyone seen and unseen that are connected to it. The bigger the business – as we saw in 1929-1932 and again in 2008-2010 -the bigger the impact on our society.  

What do you think? xo Monika

Below is a compelling post on the social aspects of business from traditional venture capitalist. Deborah Mills-Scofield (Glengary LLC):

Every Business Is (Or Should Be) a Social Business

by Deborah Mills-Scofield

We talk about “social businesses” — those that are mission-led and focused on creating positive social change — and “non-social businesses” — those that focus on revenue and profit. Social entrepreneurs launching ventures may ask themselves if their business models need to be different. Does pursuing a social purpose require something unique to describe and structure your business

As someone who works with a variety of organizations in my roles as strategy and innovation consultant, venture capitalist, professor, and mentor, this question intrigues to me. To answer it, I evaluated a few years worth of business models created and implemented by clients (usually established, mature businesses), invested companies (early stage), entrepreneurs I’ve mentored, and college students starting new ventures. The results? I found that both social and non-social businesses focused on making sure revenues were greater than costs, either through selling something, raising money or getting grants. The differences were more along traditional business characteristics: virtual vs. physical product or service, B2B vs. B2C, etc.

That said, this initial evidence showed that social businesses focus more on achieving a positive impact in each of the nine business model elements — value proposition, customer segment, channels, relationships, key partners, key activities, key resources, costs and revenues — as well as the whole model. Many of the non-social businesses in my sample also focused on the impact of each element and interestingly, they are very successful businesses (might there be a correlation?).

All businesses are social. All companies have people as customers, employees, and suppliers. At some point, in deciding which supplier to use, in engaging your workforce, and in getting your product into users’ hands, relationships with people matter. Improving these their experiences always improves the outcome for your company.

If a business isn’t providing valuable, meaningful solutions to real customers’ problems or delivering outcomes that both make a positive difference in the customers’ lives and support the company’s mission, the business won’t have to worry about profits or outputs for long. The market has a way of taking care of that.

The historical division between social and non-social business and “purpose” vs. “profits” is artificial and antiquated. Almost exactly two years ago, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer called for a new definition of capitalism — “shared value” — to unify this false choice. I think this is how Adam Smith envisioned capitalism; we just redefined it to serve our purposes. In fact, our financial crisis in part stems from non-social businesses divorcing impact from profit and the outcome will haunt us for a long time.

Read More at HBR

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Garden of Edyn for Impact

This week the Edyn “Smart” Garden System is Good-b’s  favorite Kickstarter campaign:

Edyn is a smart garden system that monitors and tracks environmental conditions, helping you help your plants thrive.

Connect, Cultivate, Thrive

“The Edyn smart garden system lets you know what’s happening in your garden at all times. Whether you’re a novice gardener or managing a small-scale organic farm, Edyn is there to take the guesswork out of gardening. Inserted in the soil, the Edyn Garden Sensor gathers and analyzes data about changing weather and soil conditions. The Edyn App displays this data as a real-time snapshot of your garden, and pushes alerts and suggestions to maximize plant health. A separate component, the Edyn Water Valve, uses the data collected by the sensor to smartly control your existing watering system, watering your plants only when needed. With advanced tracking technology and intuitive design, the Edyn smart garden system keeps you connected to your garden or farm so you can grow healthier plants.”

Editor’s Note: The Edyn Kickstarter campaign has already raised $126,799 (over its $100k ask)  in pledges for the first production run of sensors and valves.

Venture Capital invests in IMPACT

Edyn’s founder, Jason Aramburu’s received $1.6million from Silicon Valley investors. 

One investor, Yves Behar, the co-founder of the industrial design firm Fuseproject, also signed on to design Edyn’s soil sensor, valve and smartphone app.” 

“Campaign backers will receive Edyn sensors and water valves in the spring, which is when Home Depot will also begin selling them.”

From NYT: read more

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Fred Wilson on the Sharing Economy

The Sharing Economy

There’s a piece in the NY Times this weekend about Lyft and Sidecar changing the dynamics in the Los Angeles taxi market. Get ready to read lots more pieces like this in the coming years.

The internet, mobile phones, native transaction systems, and a global network that connects billions of people in real time are changing a lot of things and assets that sat wasting are now going to get activated.

None of this is news for readers of this blog. In fact, this is all old news. But I think we are just seeing the start of this trend.

Let’s look at self driving cars, another topic that the NY Times wrote about recently. Maybe we won’t all own one of them. Maybe investors will own them and put them into networks like Lyft and Sidecar which will then dispatch them to pick us up and take us where we want to go. Self driving cars may turn out to be more like income producing homes, apartments, and oil wells than something that sits in your garage.

Investing in the networks that light up the sharing economy, like AirbnbLyftSidecar, and many others certainly looks like a good idea. But they may just be opening up a massive new investment market in physical assets that produce income. We are seeing lenders move their money from banks and bonds to peer lending markets like our portfolio companies Lending ClubFunding Circle, and Auxmoney. I think in time investors will move their capital into the assets that power the sharing economy as well. And that may turn into a very large capital asset class.

More From Fred Wilson

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Is SEC Helping or Hurting Start-Ups?

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The Proposed SEC Rules Undermine The Goal Of The JOBS Act

VC Brad Feld on how Lifting the Advertising Ban Affects Start-ups

The JOBS Act, which was approved by Congress and signed by President Obama with much fanfare over a year ago, was intended to help small business. It is, after all, called the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act. A number of the provisions have been slow to get written into law and the SEC has missed their deadlines on a bunch of stuff, including the often talked about equity crowdfunding activity.

Recently, the SEC weighed in on a number of the things they were required to with much fanfare. Fred Wilson wrote Let The Games Begin in response to the SEC lifting the General Solicitation Ban. However, Fred, and many others, missed the new proposed Amendments to Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156 under the Securities ActAnd they look like one scary mess that could undermine the whole thing if approved.

Some posts with analysis of this have finally started to appear. A good summary is by Joe Wallin at his Startup Law Blog titled Proposed Rules Hard on StartupsAnd I’ve gotten a number of emails with similar analysis. My favorite summary was from a very experienced law firm.

“The SEC giveth (as mandated by Congress) and taketh away (by its own mandate).

It is incredible that the SEC finally got around to implementing rules to remove the ban on solicitation (as it was required by statute to do so in 2012), but concurrently proposes new rules intended to retard the benefits of easing the capital formation process (the goal of the JOBS Act).

The new proposed rules will require a Form D to be filed 15 days in ADVANCE of a Reg 506 offering and after, substantially expand the scope of information required to be disclosed in Form D and disqualify an issuer from relying on Rule 506 for one year if the issuer does not comply with the new filing requirements (including a requirement that the Form D be timely filed). The new rule also would require filing with the SEC of all written general solicitation materials. So much for deregulation!”

Seriously? More commentary from one of the emails I received follows:

“The new rules and rule proposals were a kind of packaged effort to address the Congressional mandate in the JOBS Act, while attempting to maintain investor protection. Apparently, the package was enough to mollify Commissioner Walter, but Commissioner Aguilar was unwilling to go along. In his view, the rules adopted come at the expense of investor protection. He reiterated that the record supports the argument that elimination of the ban on general solicitation will facilitate fraud and viewed the adoption of the rules without appropriate safeguards as “reckless.” He also contended that the proposal to study the practical effects and then adopt rules if necessary would come too late – closing the barn door after the horses have already escaped. Although he voted for adoption of the disqualification rule, he also objected to the narrowing of the categories of individuals covered, as well as the application to only prospective events, especially given the two-year delay in adoption of the final rule. On the other side of the aisle, Commissioners Paredes and Gallagher both objected to the proposal to facilitate monitoring of market changes resulting from elimination of the prohibition. They both viewed the proposal as placing an undue burden on capital formation and undermining the objectives of the JOBS Act.”

While the “proposed rules” are still “proposed”, hopefully the SEC will reject these new proposals, especially in the context of Congress’s mandate to Jumpstart Our Business Startups.

Read More from “FeldThoughts” 

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To Eat Or Not to Eat Eggs!

America is hooked on eggs. We use a lot of them in our favorite foods from pancakes to bagels, to cupcakes and cookies. Many of our egg-happy foods are borrowed from the French: soufflés, quiches, omelettes, remoulades, mayonnaise – just to name a few! Yet increasingly, reports of the egg distributing industry reveal the ghastly treatment of mother hens, toxic chemicals in the processing, and generally unhealthy care and feeding of the chickens that lay these ungolden eggs! The entire eggy mess makes the egg one of the more unhealthy foods we can eat, not just for our hearts, but for our souls too!

So what would you think of an egg that is not an egg at all?

Specifically: What would you think about an eggless omelet made from plants? A plant-based egg that doesn’t taste like mass-produced synthetic “egg beaters?” (What is maltodextrin anyway? Whatever it is – I don’t want to eat it!) Plant-based eggs may not sound too yummy, but we are told that they will be by Hampton Creek Foods and its new product: “Beyond Eggs.”

According to the New York Times, the next big thing into terms of VC investment are alternate food products that resolve environmental, animal rights, and health issues. “That idea is enticing a wide group of venture capitalists in Silicon Valley into making big bets on food.” But why, you may ask ,would you even want an alternate to traditional eggs?

Well, first and foremost: Your Health.

Even your parents knew that too many eggs were hard on the heart due to high cholesterol levels. Further reports claim that chickens are fed unhealthy soy and grain products and antibiotics. These additives make it into our bodies when we eat under-regulated eggs.  You can avoid all that by eating free-range (better than cage-free) organic (non toxic soil) eggs. Okay, they probably cost about 4x more, but who’s counting? You want your eggs and to eat them too!

“Beyond Eggs” are plant-based products and therefore “bad” cholesterol free. Also, plants aren’t fed antibiotics, are they? If the soil and water used for production is kept pure and simple, these egg substitutes would be far easier on the body.

Second & equally important: The Environment (ie: everyone else’s health!)  

All animal waste produces killer CO2 levels. Chicken CO2 waste is arguably not as copious as CO2 waste from cows and pigs. Yet the amount of CO2 from chicken waste would be eliminated completely from the equation without mass egg production.  The water and land used to maintain and feed these egg-producing chickens according to Beyond Eggs’ own unscientific calculations would be substantially less.

Third and All Important: Animal Rights!

Chickens are treated abominably by humans. Factory farming of chickens is among the cruelest of food industries according to Farm Sanctuary’s Bruce Friedrich:

“Battery cages are small wire cages where about 95 percent of laying hens spend their entire lives; each hen is given about 67-76 square inches of space (a standard sheet of paper measures 94 square inches). To get a sense of a hen’s life in a battery cage, imagine spending your entire life in a wire cage the size of your bathtub with four other people. You wouldn’t be able to move, so your muscles and bones would deteriorate. Your feet would become lacerated. You would go insane. That’s precisely what happens to laying hens.”

Last but not Least: Your Karmic Soul!

“Crazy eggs” aside, for Vegans, eating eggs is just plain disgusting. After all, they are chickens-to-be if they were left alone. Vegans view eggs as baby chick embryos; since they don’t eat chickens, they don’t eat their babies!

Okay, so lots of reasons to either go completely free-range and organic for your eggs or to stop eating them all together. But as many vegans and veggies already know, it is often challenging to cook without eggs and even more difficult to bake without them! “Beyond Eggs” is a new company out of San Francisco (where else?) that has a solution to this environmental and social dilemma: plant-based products that mimic the cooking and eating quality of eggs. Interested?

Many socially conscious consumers will not be fascinated with egg alternatives. Preferring instead to spend the extra bucks to insure their eggs are as healthy as possible and as environmentally least-damaging as possible, egg fanatics can assuage their conscience.  For those folks, Whole Foods, Garden of Eden, Chelsea Market and any number of local shops have plenty of reasonable options. Not to mention greenmarkets like the Union Square Market that welcome sustainable egg farmers within the 200-mile radius of the city.

But for those vegan minded souls out there or veggies that might get a little repulsed by egg products, there may be a sustainable and delicious alternative soon. “Beyond Eggs” is innovating a food product that will mimic eggs in taste and function.  Whether you are in the food preparing business or just an egg-happy eater, this might be an exciting egg alternative coming soon to a green grocer near you! Hampton Creek Foods egg products are enjoying a media blitz right now in advance of their market introduction from their deep pocket Silicon Valley investors.

Here is what they promise in the soon-to-be-released “next best thing to eggs” products. If they taste as good as they good as they promise to be, well, that would be pretty darn cool for vegans and heart conscious eaters alike!

From Hampton Creek Foods in its own words:

Dissecting the egg…and matching parts with plants.

This has been a process. Our team of food science professionals, culinary scientists, and professional chefs brought their best to the table to create something extraordinary. We meticulously dissected the egg, looking deeply at its molecular makeup and nutritional profile. Then, we matched the functionally relevant components with plant-based ingredients.

Our search for plants. It has been extensive. We’ve run thousands of tests with hundreds of plant species, always looking for that precise functional profile that matches the egg. The plants we’ve identified not only achieve this, but are able to be sourced at a price that is disruptive to the long-term price of egg ingredients.

Functions Matter. It all comes down to the functional properties. Does it emulsify? Coagulate? Replicating the functional properties of eggs required deep knowledge of biology, food science, and culinary science. Our team and product development partners have achieved something extraordinary.

Price. Our work was grounded in the idea of creating something so simple that replacing even the cheapest eggs would be a no-brainer from a cost perspective. Additionally, all elements of our product are available commercially and in large quantities.

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What Can Rap Teach Us About Leadership?

You’re just a rent-a-rapper, your rhymes are minute-maid
I’ll be here when it fade to watch you flip like a renegade”
—Rakim, “Follow the Leader”

 

The New York Times published an article about Silicon Valley VC wizard Ben Horowitz’ propensity to source Rap Music for management wisdom. Rap you say? Yes, RAP!  While some Rap continues to be about cashing in, getting more “money in the bank,” and blatant sexcapades, other rap according to VC Ben, like the Rakim lyrics cited above,  are applicable to the leadership skills needed for successful entrepreneurs. He cites three essential ingredients for founding CEO success of start-up ventures:

  • Comprehensive knowledge
  • Moral authority
  • Total commitment to the long-term

Read Excerpts from the NYT article  and Ben’s Blog  Below for tips on Entrepreneurial Leadership:

“Ben Horowitz, a prominent venture capital investor here, says rap holds a trove of lessons for tech entrepreneurs. Throw business classes and books out the window, Mr. Horowitz says, and listen to rap lyrics instead.

He applies his theory on his blog (see below), where he has attracted a following of tech readers and other executives by offering business lessons, almost all of them preceded by a rap lyric that summarizes a moral, and with recordings from Grooveshark, the music site.

In the process, he has linked two cultures in Silicon Valley, which is not exactly known for its racial or cultural diversity.

Entrepreneurs may do well to listen to Mr. Horowitz’s advice. He started the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz with Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape, and the firm made vast amounts of money on investments in companies like Groupon and Skype, and stands to make more on Facebook’s initial public offering.”

Read More

From “Ben’s Blog”(Ben Horowitz of Andreesen Horowitz – A Technology Venture Capital Firm)

Why We Prefer Founding CEOs

When my partner Marc wrote his post describing our firm, the most controversial component of our investment strategy was our preference for founding CEOs. The conventional wisdom says a startup CEO should make way for a professional CEO once the company has achieved product-market fit. In this post, I describe why we prefer to fund companies whose founder will run the company as its CEO

The macro reason: that’s the way most of the great technology companies have been built

At Andreessen Horowitz, our primary goal is to invest in the great technology franchises. As we looked at the history of great technology companies, we discovered that founders ran an overwhelming majority of them for a very long time…

Two more quick data points before I move on to explain why this happens.

First, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business just published an analysis of recent exits for high technology companies such as BlackBoard, BladeLogic, Concur, Danger, Liveperson, LogMeIn, and Netsuite. Looking across these nearly 50 companies, the study finds that founding CEOs consistently beat the professional CEOs on a broad range of metrics ranging from capital efficiency (amount of funding raised), time to exit, exit valuations, and return on investment.

Second, for folks keeping score at home, this phenomenon appears to extend beyond high-technology companies. Felix Salmon, for instance, points out that Fortune’s editorial staff considered twelve other candidates including Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim, and Martha Stewart before naming Steve Jobs the best CEO of the decade in November 2009. Salmon points out that “not a single one of the 12 [candidates] is a CEO who was hired to run a company by its board of directors.”

There are certainly exceptions to this rule, most notably Google and Cisco (I will address both exceptions later in this post), but the evidence is one-sided and overwhelming.

The underlying reasons

From a pattern matching perspective, it makes sense that we’d prefer founding CEOs, but as I said in an earlier post, pattern matching is not knowledge. So, why are great technology companies so often run by their founders? And why do professional CEOs sometimes succeed?

The innovation business

The technology business is fundamentally the innovation business. Etymologically, the word technology means “a better way of doing things.” As a result, innovation is the core competency for technology companies. Technology companies are born because they create a better way of doing things. Eventually, someone else will come up with a better way. Therefore, if a technology company ceases to innovate, it will die.

These innovations are product cycles. Professional CEOs are effective at maximizing, but not finding, product cycles. Conversely, founding CEOs are excellent at finding, but not maximizing, product cycles. Our experience shows—and the data supports—that teaching a founding CEO how to maximize the product cycle is easier than teaching the professional CEO how to find the new product cycle.

The reason is that innovation is the most difficult core competency to build in any business. Innovation is almost insane by definition: most people view any truly innovative idea as stupid, because if it was a good idea, somebody would have already done it. So, the innovator is guaranteed to have more natural initial detractors than followers.

On Steve Jobs:

Steve Jobs’ return to Apple provides an excellent example. At the time Jobs regained control of Apple, the conventional wisdom said that Apple was getting killed by “PC Economics” and had to separate the operating system from the hardware. Specifically, Apple couldn’t compete with Microsoft unless it became more horizontal and let commodity hardware manufactures compete while Apple focused exclusively on the OS. The professional CEO who preceded Jobs (Gil Amelio) took the conventional wisdom to heart. He set out to create an ecosystem of Mac cloners who would provide the commodity hardware complement to Apple’s famous OS.

When Jobs came in and reversed those decisions, most industry analysts thought Jobs was insane. Jobs not only killed all the commodity hardware and the horizontal strategy; he went radically vertical. In addition to the basic hardware and operating system, he added applications (iLife, iWork) and peripherals (like the iPod). He even added retail stores.

Today, people would let Steve Jobs make such a radical turn at nearly any company because of the outcome he’s achieved at Apple. But remember that when Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, he was doing so as the co-founder and CEO of NeXT computer, a marginal computer workstation company which Apple purchased for less than $500M. Let’s just say he didn’t have the benefit of the doubt. What he did have: the founder’s courage to innovate despite the doubters.

Innovator’s requirements – what does it take to find the product cycle?

So where did Jobs get this “founders courage” and what is it? In addition to general brilliance, we see three key ingredients to being a great innovator:

  • Comprehensive knowledge
  • Moral authority
  • Total commitment to the long-term

Great founding CEOs tend to have all three and professional CEOs often lack them.

Read More Here

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2012: Good Business Gets Personal

Hi Good-b Friends!

Our Business is Your Business!

Riding down my elevator the other day, my fellow travelers and I were unusually giddy and joyful. We discovered that our enthusiasm among strangers was due to the fact that a new year had begun and hope was in the air!

Good-b is headquartered in a large loft building in the Flatiron neighborhood – kind of Start-Up Central. It’s a fun location just across from Danny Meyer’s popular Shake Shack and newly polished Madison Park.  Full of techpreneurs, webpreneurs, nonprofits and new ventures, the spirit of enterprise is alive and well.  Any given day walking down the wide art deco halls with their 18 foot ceilings is kind of a cool carnival atmosphere. Rock and hip-hop music permeates the air; innovative entrepreneurs work with their doors open, coffee cups stacked high, piled into small spaces, mac laptops flipped open, sporting sandals, t-shirts, pj’s or anything they feel like. It’s like the Bay area in the 90s, but this is the Big Apple. These days New York City is alive with innovation and possibility. The energy is contagious!

Welcome to 2012!

It promises to be an awesome year full of innovation and transformation in the world of business. We have been busy brainstorming here at Good-b headquarters and planning the year ahead. I hope all of you have made your resolutions and are developing your growth strategies too. In 2012, Good Business gets personal! We want to get to know you and your business better and ask: how can we support your good business goals? Because your Business is our Business!

So watch out for new surveys designed to detail your wants and needs from Good-b. And yes, we do read all your emails and are introducing some new products and services based on your requests!

First the Good-b News!

2011 was one of the worst years on record for many businesses: small, medium and large. Wall Street and the world of finance – especially in the bond markets and hedge fund world – has been tumultuous. The U.S economy continues to stagnate; Washington leadership is at best a circus act; and the normally prosperous Europe is in a state of economic chaos. As a result, we have all felt the pinch. Including us at Good-b, there are many things in the hopper to serve your business that are still in the incubation stage.

I am an eternal optimist and prefer to focus on the positive! Good-b in its current form as a socially responsible new media business journal is less than two years old. In the past 18 months, we have doubled and tripled our readership, added several thousand subscribers, attracted top business leaders as bloggers, developed multi-media strategic partnerships (including Huff Post & 3BLMedia) and established ourselves as one of the leading sources, locally and nationally, for Good Business news. Our community stretches from the east to west coasts and as far away as Germany, Sweden, France, UK, Netherlands and even further still in India. Good-b has earned a reputation for top quality reporting, cutting edge blogging and thought leadership on 21st century sustainable business trends.  It was only 13 months ago, that we were dubbed, “The Little Engine That Could,” by the Washington Post Leadership Playlist and named “Standout Company of the Year 2010” along side of Starbucks (our fav), General Motors and Honest Tea! (Look for WPLP Bloggers Dan Leidl and Joe Frontiera to contribute a new feature on Good Leadership in the coming weeks.)

So Good-b keeps chugging along and the engine is picking up steam. In May of 2011, I huddled in a Martha’s Vineyard weekend with two highly innovative and brilliant minds, the enormously talented former deputy editor of strategy&business Ann Graham, and her colleague and peer, former securities attorney (Cantor Fitz), now business strategist Nicole Valentine-Moody. We mapped out the next three years of Good-b and re-imagined its business model. More on that as we roll it out this year…

You Asked for it!

This month, we are bringing in new team members to juice up the creativity at Good-b. We will be introducing a more up-close-and-personal Facebook initiative designed to bring our growing GB community together. Our newest bloggers will be reporting on trends in “Going Local,” “Women in Business,” “Green Economy,” “Social Enterprise,” “Better Banking” and “Responsible Investing.” In response to requests, we are launching a new series called: “The Entrepreneurial Economy” that will report on crowdfunding, venture capital, angel and impact investing, events and resources for Start-Ups, early stage and growth companies. We are also developing a series of multi-media initiatives with the purpose of entertaining and educating at the same time. Education and entertainment at Good-b is always the underlying goal!

Because let’s face it – business can (and should) be fun!

Since the world of business is in flux and financial reform is front and center, it is important to bring good news about big business in a two part series: “What’s Good about Wall Street?” highlighting integrity-based finance models. And introducing a new feature called: “Corporate Champions of Change” inspired by the Clinton Global Initiative and our friends at CR Magazine reporting big business efforts towards solving social problems.

In response to our subscribers, Good-b will be integrating a low-cost membership program and social business networking platform to connect you to your peers in the coming months. We will also be providing more support for our small  biz entrepreneurs, big biz mavericks and business book authors, through paid promotions, sponsorships, reviews and awards programs.

In terms of events, we are sponsoring more live programs this year. Currently, in the hopper is an “Impact Investing” conference for later this year inspired in part by Good-b blogger and Hotfrog entrepreneur Laurie Lane-Zucker and his witty and popular blogs! The Sustainable Small-b workshop will be rescheduled later this year.

Our first event of the year is coming up soon (January 19) in midtown Manhattan called A Conversation with Wall Street” based on my recently released book of the same name. The event is co-sponsored by our friends at the Values & Business Roundtable and presented by Yours Truly and my co-author and former business partner Peter Ressler. The purpose of both the event and the book is to start the conversation on how to bridge the gap between Wall Street and Main Street and make the system work for the 100%. Already confirmed attendance includes members of Wall Street firms, We Campaign & NGO reps, and local business people. So come on down and join the conversation!

The event launches our Hope for 2012 to turbo-charge the rebuilding of our economy into the vital and robust engine of innovation and prosperity it once was. Only this time, we build it upon a sustainable foundation of transparency and integrity! The result of our 2011 economic misery was the emergence of Occupy Wall Street and the start of an important national conversation on what kind of world we want to co-create for ourselves and future generations. Good Business is part of that conversation and we will continue to be in the year ahead.

Thank you for your emails of support and enthusiasm. We hope you continue to spread the word! Together we can inspire business to do its part to help make the world a better place!

This year, Good-b has even bigger plans and dreams! We want to be your business one-stop support and are developing ourselves toward that goal. So keep us posted on all your doing. We will want to hear about it! Our purpose, like all businesses, is to serve you – our customers and community. So help us help you by responding to the Good-b surveys in the coming weeks, so we can tailor our products, services, and news to YOUR needs!

And always remember in 2012… Good-b is Your Friend in Business!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful 2012 and to thank you for the opportunity for us to grow along with you! After all, it’s just good business!

With Love & Gratitude!

Monika

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The Empowered Entrepreneur

Good-b’s Special Fall Issue: The Entrepreneurial Economy

In today’s tough economic climate, entrepreneurs are hardier and more innovative than ever. They have to be in order to get the attention of investors. This fall’s line-up of entrepreneur gatherings is power-packed.  Full of exciting new ventures, entrepreneurs and the VC world are exploding with opportunity and innovation.

One of the highlights of the season was Bloomberg Link’s “The Empowered Entrepreneur,” #BBempower, featuring some of the hottest companies on the web. The event began with the A,B,C’s of catching the eye of Angel Investors.  Jeff  Clavier of SoftTech VC, Eric Hippeau of Lerer Ventures (former CEO of Huff Post) and Mike Maples of FLOODGATE detailed the advantage of Angels for start-ups and pre-revenue companies. Angels can add street cred to a start-up before it is ready for bigger venture capital.  The advantage to securing an angel investor is a more hands-on role in the early development stages to help jump-start a new company. Clearly articulate your market, customer and value proposition, mix in an innovative platform and go out and find an angel to put a halo over your enterprise. The consensus is that investor cash is tight these days, but new ideas and solid business models are always attractive to the entrepreneurial investor market.

The afternoon proceeded with top VC’s including Andy Weissman from Union Square Ventures, Jeremy Smith from Second Market and Esther Dyson at EDventure Holdings. Dyson said, “There’s too much money going to too few companies.” She detailed the overlap of so many new e-company product lines and stated that many would be merged, bought, sold or closed as the market heated up. Weissman at USV mentioned that American business “karma” is shifting. He noted, “”The U.S. is moving from an industrial economy to an information economy, so the opportunities are vastly higher now.” That is good news for anyone in the online information industry (like us at Good-b!). Yet Eric Hippeau reminded the crowd that, “The volatile market has an impact on all sectors of the economy.”

The talk centered on whether there is a “tech bubble” or not.  Most of the experts felt hot new tech companies were overvalued in the market not unlike the late 90s and the dot com era citing Groupon’s changing valuation as an example. Groupon, the wholesale web discounter, is valued at $12.7bn and opened at $26.75 a share in early November. The stock is already trading at 20% less than its initial share price. But market volatility due to European Union debt and Supercommittee challenges has affected the entire market. Groupon, however, has many copycats and wannabees biting at its heels and more seem to be popping up daily. Its profitability in the competitive marketplace remains to be seen. But where Groupon profits go, the rest of the tech IPO market follows.

The three well-seasoned venture capitalists, Dyson, Smith and Weissman, also discussed the importance of exit strategies. Investors want a concrete plan and not all companies will go public. Yet a key factor to an entrepreneur’s proposal is how long will it take to pay investor’s money back and how do you plan to do that. Buying the VC’s out with revenues, or new rounds of investor capital, or planning for an IPO are the common options. Yet entrepreneurs should remember many VC’s don’t want to invest in companies where the founders will not consider selling the firm if an IPO is not in the cards. For many founders, the idea of selling their company to an unknown entity is unfathomable. Yet for other entrepreneurs this is the way of the VC world. Selling your company doesn’t mean a CEO is replaced. Sometimes it just means you have more working capital and a bigger platform and that is an entrepreneur’s dream-come-true.