Google

Guy Kawasaki on becoming a Social Media evangelist for your Start-up

Photo by Robert Scoble

This is long but worth listening to, key points

  • If you are thinking of starting a business, get your social media profiles setup now and start blogging and curating content in your space, it will give you 6-12 months to gain followers for when you are ready to go.
  • If you are not getting the occasional complaint about your social media activities you are not pushing hard enough
  • You should be repeating your social media posts (he has data to back this up), especially if you have an international audience who wont necessarily be hanging waiting for your every tweet or go back through your posts to see what they missed.
  • You need to customise your profiles, great photos of you and for the backgrounds/headers on Twitter, Google & Facebook (and now Linkedin) a big photo about an area of interest in your life (sports, photography, places you like etc)
  • 3 Round rule when it comes to arguing with people on social media, you post, they snarkily reply, you reply once and let it go, don’t keep arguing, it just makes you look like an asshole to the rest of your followers, keep moving and ignore them.
  • You have to keep replying to everyone (above rule notwithstanding) keep the conversation going
  • Get tools (I like Buffer.com and HootSuite) to automate and schedule some of the heavy lifting

 

 

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Acquiree founder leaves Apple launches Photo Mapping Service to go where Streetview cant drive – @jesolem

Kristina Persson

Kristina Persson

From our startup friends http://oresundstartups.com in Copenhagen comes a story by former Australian Department of Innovation Policy Officer Kristina Persson about a new startup from an entrepreneur who originally developed the software that does face recognition which sold to Apple in 2010. Kristina now lives in Sweden and writes for Oredundstartups.com

Lack of capital tends to be a problem for young companies. Mapillary, has no such worries, the founder is Jan Erik Solem who sold his former company Polar Rose and the face-recognition technology (that can tell who is in a photo) to Apple for an undisclosed amount (rumored to be in the ballpark of €22M) back in Autumn 2010.

Jan

Jan Erik Solem, founder of Polar Rose, inventor, surfer dude and fixie enthousiast.

Jan Erik Solem, founder of Polar Rose, inventor, surfer dude and fixie enthousiast.

Erik Solem moved to California, but returned to Skåne earlier this year after finishing up his work there. He’s keeping quiet about his time with Apple, and after 9 years is ready to start something new. He’s keen to start spreading the word about his latest self-funded startup, Mapillary.

‘The idea is that all sorts of people to contribute pictures through crowdsourcing. That way you can build a database that also takes in bike paths, hiking trails, ski trails and all means including streets and environments in small towns where the likes of Google, Nokia or Eniro can not go’, says Jan Erik Solem, formerly of Polar Rose, founder of Mapillary.

Mapillary is a network service that will be able to fill in the gaps in Google Street View or other similar image features linked to maps on the web. He says it’s an idea for a simpler and cheaper version of Street View he’s had for a long time.

‘Google spends enormous money to go around with their specially rigged cars with cameras on the roof and the quality of their pictures is very good. But they are only updated once every four years and there are very many places they’d never image because the cars do not come forward,’– says Jan Erik Solem to Sydsvenskan

He is convinced that additional images can be good business. For ordinary consumers, the service should be free. But there are plenty of commercial entities that may be interested in the contents of the database. An important step in the development of Mapillary is to attract app developers to use the service.

‘A major point is that people can make something more of all the collected data, perhaps an app over the top jogging tracks in Malmö, for example, says Jan Erik Solem.

Mappillary

Mappillary

Mapillary was launched in September and has spent some time in the Minc incubator office in Malmö. Jan Erik Solem and two colleagues Yubin Kuang and Johan Gyllenspetz make up the Mapillary team.

A beta version is already online, pictures have started pouring in and an app for the iPhone was finished in a week.

‘We are ready to start doing business very soon, although there is still much work to be done adjusting the service,’ says Jan Erik Solem.

Jan Eric Solem is presenting along with eleven other Swedish start-ups in Sweden Business stalls at the major Internet Fair LeWeb in Paris, taking place right now (10-12 December) where they’re discussing what’s to come in the next decade (you can watch LeWeb live session streams). It’s about getting the word out there,

‘Today, everyone knows who I am. I will admit that it open doors a little. I know how it was before Apple’ says Jan Erik Solem.

He is a mathematician from the beginning and after a number of years of leave, he’s also back part time at his old department at Lund University.

‘I will probably never completely let go of the academic’ says Jan Erik Solem.

ABOUT MAPILLARY

Because you can take better photos of your neighbourhood than Google can. Mapillary is crowdsourcing map photos using computer vision and smartphones. It’s a 3 step process,

  1. Take photos with the Mapillary app while walking/biking/driving (–> when you’re a passenger and someone else is doing the driving part)
  2. Browse photos online at mapillary.com
  3. Use the API to build stuff

Watch Le Web
and see how it works and sign up

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@Upstart – Crowdfunding for promising people – Your own personal Angel Round

Upstart.com

Getting through college is tough and even more so in a recession. The Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) estimates that Americans are currently carrying $165 billion worth of private student loans and nearly a total of $1.2 trillion worth of student debt.

Dave Girouard - CEO Upstart - Credit Linkedin.com

Dave Girouard – CEO Upstart – Credit Linkedin.com

I recently spoke with Dave Girouard, former president of Google Enterprise and now the founder and CEO of Upstart, a crowdfunding service that helps people who are just starting their careers raise capital from backers in exchange for a small share of their future income.

Upstart provides a way for students not to default on their loans and retire their debts in a timely manner, to invest further on their education, or even to raise seed capital for their startup venture. It creates yet another way for crowdfunding to fill in the gap by getting investors to back not just brilliant business ideas but also the people who could be creating those ideas in the future.

Ed: The crowdfunding market and aggregation of debt is hotting up with many players in the space with AngelList, Lending Club, Crowdcube.com   Tuition.io,  zerobound.com,  YouveGotFunds.com,  FundAnything.com, GrowVC, all receiving either funding or major press coverage.

David Drake: Upstart’s concept is selling your future salary income for cash today. Your firm sets the term of five to ten years from the date that earnings commence, with a minimum $30,000 per year threshold, or the timetable can be extended. You also only allow entrepreneurs or individuals to offer up to seven percent of their future earnings in total, with an average ask of $25,000 and an average received of $17,000. These fund raises take 30-90 days, and Upstart manages the collection and investor relations for the investors and the lenders. Is that all correct?

Dave Girouard: It’s not technically “selling” anything. Upstart is about raising capital (or borrowing) with repayment defined as a fixed and small fraction of income earned, instead of a fixed interest rate. Upstarts can choose either a five-year or 10-year agreement and can share as much as seven percent of their income (they can raise approximately twice as much for the 10-year as the 5-year contract). The average upstart aims to raise about $30,000, and nets about $25,000. They have 60 days to fund. And we manage all distribution of funds, collection and redistribution of repayments etc. Our investors are referred to as “backers.”

Drake: Technically you are crowdfunding future earnings, for which you do not need to register as a security under SEC regulation. Tell us how you see this working.

Girouard: We are a private offering under SEC rules, only available to accredited investors as of today.

ED: Crowdfunding in the Asia Pacific region is still somewhat limited with Government Legislation struggling to keep up. Australia has a new discussion paper (which means changes to legislation are a long way off), there is a good review here http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/it-opinion/crowdfunding-rules-to-change-help-australian-entrepreneurs-20130916-hv1pn.html and a discussion website launched by Andrew Ward here http://www.csef-australia.com.au/

Drake: In your first year last April, you had 83 “upstarts” backed by 135 “backers” with 555 offers, and a total value of $1,030,740. Who are these backers? Do they have to be accredited or can anyone offer to put money in?

Girouard:  As of now, we have 130 upstarts, 200 backers, and 1,000 offers made for about $1.8 million. Backers are a varied lot: successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, other types of investors. You do need to be an accredited investor today. We hope to change this over the next few months by registering the security interest with the SEC, similar to what Lending Club and Prosper did in 2008.

Drake: You’ve raised $7.65 million in funding to date, and previously spent eight years at Google. Where do you want the scale to be 18 months from now? Is it domestic mainly or will it be global?

Girouard: I expect to focus on the U.S. for the next couple of years. Each country has entirely different regulations in this area, so I’d rather get it right in one big market before spreading to others. We’d like to have several thousand upstarts funded within a couple of years.

Drake: Who should be looking to raise money against their future earnings on your site?

Girouard: We’re focused today on people early in their careers who need capital to invest in themselves and their careers. This can include eradicating student debt, starting a business, or investing in their skills in opportunities such as learn-to-code programs that are becoming really popular. We see a huge part of our population that has little or no access to capital on reasonable terms, but who could benefit enormously from a bit of economic freedom.

Drake: Who are the ideal investors that should get the most out of this program?

Girouard: Upstart isn’t about donations or philanthropy, but we are mission-driven. Ideal investors are those who are compelled by a novel new financial instrument, are interested in generating a compelling return, but also want to participate in a network designed to help young people succeed and do compelling things with their careers.

Drake: How do you scale this business, as you clearly have to underwrite all the individuals applying, and what are the challenges to growth for your firm?

Girouard: We’re quickly automating many aspects of the underwriting: the identify proof, credit verification, verifying academic credentials, and more. We are confident we can scale that part of our business very quickly. The biggest challenge in a two-sided market like Upstart is to balance supply and demand, to make sure the marketplace works well for all participants. In our short life, we’ve already experienced times when there are too many backers and not enough upstarts, and vice versa.

Drake: How do you differentiate your service from other crowdfunding platforms out there?

Girouard: Upstart is 180 degrees different than other crowdfunding sites because it has real economics underpinning it. On the upstart side, the idea of borrowing from your future self is liberating and has far-reaching potential to unlock value in the economy. On the investor side, the opportunity to invest in the wages and income of a diverse group of people has been discussed for decades, has a risk/return profile that is really compelling, and provides a way to hedge against your own future earnings. The idea of human capital contracts (the economist’s term for what we do) goes back to Milton Friedman, and has potential to create an entirely new asset class for the next 100 years.

@ David Drake is an early-stage equity expert and the founder and chairman of LDJ Capital, a New York City private equity firm, and The Soho Loft, a global event-driven financial media company helping firms advertise for investors. He writes regularly for Forbes and Thomson Reuters. You can reach him directly at David@LDJCapital.com or make connect on  linkedin.com/in/ldjcapital

David Drake - CEO - LDJ Capital - Credit Linkedin.com

David Drake – CEO – LDJ Capital – Credit Linkedin.com

This article was first published at Venturebeat.com and was republished with permission of the author.

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Hipsters version of Google Glass

Ok Google Glass is an exciting technology, I believe it will be a large tech segment in the near term despite the naysayers and critics. Unfortunately putting them on turns you into a walking advertisement for Dorks Illustrated, witness below the richest guy in the room, almost any room, the Google Glass makes even a billionaire looks like a tool, exciting as the technology is, it’s not beautiful.

Google Glasses Sergey

Google Glasses Sergey

Hipster Google Glasses - Credit - Sourcebit.com

Hipster Google Glasses – Credit – Sourcebit.com

In what will probably go down as one of the highest return on investments projects a San Francisco based design firm Sourcebits has created the “Hipsters Google Glass” keeping all of the tech goodness but wrapping it in cool thick hipster frames.

 

Hipster-Glass-2 Hipster-Glass-4 Hipster-Glass-5 Hipster-Glass-6 Hipster-Glass-7

Sourcebits Hipster Google Glass Side

Sourcebits Hipster Google Glass Side

You can see that they have put a lot of effort into making this beautiful and the presentation and photography is fantastic, but given they have around 800 mentions on Google News in the last few days and 150,000 search results it looks like it was time well spent and they will be swimming in new business for years.

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing. Benjamin Franklin

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