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Seattle Startup Week | Kicking off with Aviel Ginzburg of Simply Measured

aviel-ginzburg-what-is-a-high-growth-startupYesterday, we spent the afternoon kicking off Seattle Startup Week with Aviel Ginzburg of Simply Measured, which recently raised $20M in venture capital funding. Aviel joined us in our Fremont location to talk about what a high growth startup really means. During his presentation, he mentioned Simply Measured’s first incarnation, Untitled Startup, Inc., which, as Aviel described it, was pretty much two guys with $150K in funding from Founders’ Co-Op “throwing ideas at the wall.”

Which begged the question:

“Why would they put money into you when you didn’t even have an idea or specific plan?”

Aviel smiled and quickly responded, “That is a phenomenal question. You should ask Andy Sack that question.”

But then he explained what investors are really investing in: people. Aviel had a proven track record as a software engineer at Appature, and, during a Startup Weekend, he and Simply Measured co-founder Damon Cortesi built an application called TweetSum. This app utilized something called the DBI, which, no joke, stood for Douche Bag Index. (Now, keep in mind that this was before social media analytics like Klout existed.) The DBI would score your followers from 1-100, letting you know how big of a douchebag they were. The catch?  The only way to see your own score was to tweet it. TweetSum ended up trending on Twitter for four straight days, and Aviel and Damon ended up being approached by Madrona Venture Group.

So why did a company without an idea or a specific plan get funded? According to Aviel:

“We had this track record of being people who could execute and who had interesting ideas…For an investor, it’s like, these guys are going to do something. I want a piece of this.”

For those who were unable to attend the event, watch the full video here:

Seattle Startup Week is in full swing! Join us for one of our upcoming events. Each will focus on scaling up and will feature a speaker sponsored by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization:

Wednesday, October 22 @ 8am | Scaling Sales & Marketing on a Shoestring Budget with Matt Heinz
Thursday, October 23 @ 1pm | Everything I Screwed Up While Scaling up with Andy Liu + Russell Benaroya
Friday, October 24 @ 1pm | Random Acts of Cupcakes with Jody Hall

Seattle Startup Week may be over, but we’re still basking in the event afterglow. Check out these recaps of our other events:

Matt Heinz explains why you have to fail in order to succeed
Russell Benaroya talks night runs and how to ease the loneliness of entrepreneurship
Angel investor Andy Liu illustrates the importance of building rhythms

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CEO & Co-Founder of Avidian Talks Business

James Wong came in and told us all at the December Brown Bag event a little bit about starting up a company.  James Wong  is a seasoned entrepreneur and founder of three successful companies and is currently the co-founder and CEO of Avidian Technologies, the world leader in Outlook based CRM software. Under Mr. Wong’s leadership, Avidian was a winner of the Seattle Mayor’s Small Business Award, honored for excellence in marketing, management, employee relations and community involvement. Avidian was also honored in 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Washington CEO magazine as one of the “Best Companies to Work For” in Washington State. Mr. Wong is a sought after speaker, writer and leading expert on CRM, SFA, contact management and groupware applications.

James was able to share with us a few lessons he’s learned while starting up 3 successful companies. He touched on 3 lessons learned from each of the first 3 stages of growing your own company. I will outline what he shared below:

Formulation Stage:

  1. Know Thyself (Socrates)
  2. There is never a perfect time.  You just have to do it.
  3. What is your commitment to this venture or life? (Time & Money)

 Building the Company Stage:

  1. Know Your Values / Guiding Principles
  2. Building a great company that pays well.    -What can we be the best in the world at?
  3. Be clear about what you want, what the company will look like, what your ideal customers look like.

Running the Business Stage:

  1. Cash flow is the lifeblood of any small business
  2. Startups work in step up trends vs. rounding trends
  3. Slow to hire and quick to fire.

Those were just some of the things that James covered in his talk for December. If you would like to know more abut our Brown Bag events, please email alyssa[at]thinkspace[dot]com.

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How to find funding for a startup: Coffee with an Expert

Carolynn Duncan will be holding a Coffee with an Expert Clinic inside thinkspace on September 18 between 8:30am and 8:00pm. Carolynn works with FundingUniverse.com and Epic Ventures and has a background in venture capital, angel investing, and high-tech entrepreneurship. Carolynn will be holding a free Group Q&A event between 8:45am and 9:30am with time for networking from 9:30am and 10:00am. She is also taking requests for private 1:1 appointments throughout the day.  The cost for the private 1:1 appointments is $25 for a 30 minute session.

To RSVP for the free clinic click here: Upcoming.com.

To RSVP for a private 1:1 event click here: Coffee Clinic at thinkspace.