Entrepreneurs lip-synch their way to tech stardom. In a YouTube video worthy of a few laughs--and maybe a few cringes--a bunch of tech entrepreneurs (including Jason Calacanis) lip synch the lyrics to "Tech Star," a Silicon Valley-themed parody of Nickelback's "Rock Star." Check out the (pretty catchy) refrain: "'Cause we all just want to be big tech stars/Second time entrepreneurs with exits and scars/The backing comes easy and the money comes cheap/We'll sell before we get in to deep." A quick note to all involved--Don't quit your day jobs.
A whole bunch of stats about start-ups. Business Insider has everything you've ever wanted to know about start-ups--broken down into a collection of handy charts and graphs. The information is courtesy of Matt Shapiro, a second-year Yale MBA student who collected hard data on start-up and venture-capital activity as part of his project called the "Entrepreneur's Census." Some of the data reaffirms what most people already knew. For example, as proof that entrepreneurs hate to be pigeon-holed, 41 percent listed their start-up industry as "Other." Likewise, 52 percent failed to put their primary revenue model in a standardized category. Some of the info is more surprising, such as the fact that 43 percent of the start-ups surveyed haven't gotten to revenue yet. The data also delves into what start-ups are paying for rent, their employee breakdowns, and their funding sources.
Bad news for BP entrepreneurs. Small-business owners around the Gulf Coast aren't the only ones suffering from the oil spill. BP service station owners around the country are beginning to see their revenues plummet as well. According to the Wall Street Journal, the backlash against the BP brand is driving customers away from these service stations, which are locally-owned and bound by long-term contracts with BP. Not only are they losing revenue from the fuel itself, but many station owners say that with less customers filling up, they're also losing revenue from the merchandise they sell in their convenience stores. In Florida alone, the total sales at BP stations fell eight to ten percent in May. Jim Smith, president of the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores Association, tells the Journal, "[W]e are going to have a lot of small business owners going out of business."
Martha Stewart's Twitter tips. How do you get two million followers in five months? Well it helps to be Martha Stewart, but the domesticity guru has some useful advice for non-celebrity entrepreneurs (via Fast Company). For one thing, she writes all her tweets herself, unlike other Twitter bigwigs such as Britney Spears, Kanye West, and even President Obama. She also uses the platform as a survey tool, to get a sense of which products her customers would most like to see from her company. For more Twitter wisdom, see how a twentysomething parlayed his social media savvy into a bestselling book and a buzzed about TV show.
Tesla to go public in two weeks. The electric car start-up has set a date for its IPO, which, says Valleywag, would be the first for a U.S. automaker since 1956. It would also represent validation for Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has put much of his personal wealth, earned when he co-founded PayPal, into developing the company's electric sports car. The Wall Street Journal has the details from Tesla's latest SEC filing. The company is seeking to raise $178 million, which it will use in part to buy a shuttered GM factory in Fremont, California. The plan is to use that factory to produce a $50,000 electric sedan. According to the Journal, Musk will own close to 30 percent of the company after the IPO is complete.
Twitter on the brink? If it doesn't find a permanent solution for the outages it still experiences four years after its founding, San Jose Mercury News columnist Chris O'Brien thinks it could be. "Its lack of reliability makes Twitter look more like a start-up trying to get its legs than a dependable, stable service poised to transform its astonishing growth into a sustainable business," O'Brien writes. "Twitter...is at risk of being defined by its unreliability."
House approves tax incentives for small-business investors. The U.S. House of Representatives approved to cut capital gains taxes on certain small business investments. The Wall Street Journal reports that the House voted 247 to 170 in favor of $3.5 billion in tax breaks. This measure will be attached to a separate bill, which the House votes on today, to boost lending to small companies. If it passes, both move onto the Senate. Ways and Means Committee chairman Sander M. Levin from Michigan was positive about the outcome. But Representative Dave Camp, also a Democrat from Michigan, thinks it isn't enough. "[The bill] won't actually help small businesses create the jobs we need to reduce our stubbornly high unemployment rate." Current law lets investors exclude 75 percent of income from capital-gains tax. The proposal would let investors exclude 100 percent of gains from stock in small business purchased between March 15, 2010 and January 1, 2012.
Staff editor KASEY WEHRUM has written for Inc. magazine on subjects ranging from the businesses behind professional bull riding to gadget inventor and father of the infomercial, Ron Popeil. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Worth, Budget Travel, and on MSNBC.com. He lives in Brooklyn.