When Incubators Go Wrong
How an incubator helped doom a start-up. Valleywag has the disheartening story of Jamie Martin, a social-media entrepreneur whose company was accepted into Bootup Labs, a Canadian incubator, and awarded $100,000 to help launch his business idea. Or so Martin thought. In fact, he never signed a contract, and after he and his business partner moved their worldly possessions from Phoenix to Vancouver, they were told that their funding had not come through. At the end of the day, Martin and his partner returned to the U.S. with nothing to show for their trouble but a "bank account that's been negative since January." That said, Martin does say that some good came out of the experience. "What we thought was going to be the rest of our lives in Vancouver ended up being a crash course 3-month 'Start-up Experience.'" Read Martin's complete description of the experience here, and a mea culpa from Bootup Labs here.
Why lawyers shouldn't control your start-up. Yes, every start-up needs a lawyer. But when it comes to reviewing contracts and deals, you want a lawyer "who talks about solutions not problems," writes Steve Blank in his latest blog post. Blank tells the story of a deal that nearly fell apart because his attorney had issues with several parts of the contract. Rather than letting the lawyer handle all the negotiations, Blank worked on the main compromises with an executive at the partnering company and then let the lawyers hammer out the details. "In every company that gives you a contract there's someone who wants a deal," Blank writes. "When you run into contract issues, call them first for advice."
Learning to love the iPad. It's still pretty darn hot. According to the Wall Street Journal, 1.7 million of the Apple tablets are expected to sell this quarter--and the device only went on sale outside the U.S. earlier today. Meanwhile, Fred Wilson, who initially wrote a tepid review of the device, now says he has "fallen in love with the thing." "It feels less like a computer than any computing device I've owned," he writes. "So I'm now convinced that tablets will have important place in our homes and our lives." App developers take notice.
Credit unions vs. banks. Lawmakers are considering allowing credit unions to lend more of their assets, which could free up an additional $10 billion in available capital to small businesses, the Journal reports. Banking lobbyists are trying to sway politicians in the opposite direction, arguing that an increased cap would hurt community banks, which also lend to small companies. But small businesses searching for financing seem to support the shift, says the Journal.
The cost of thinking big. For the better part of the past decade Elon Musk been pouring his life into two wildly ambitious (and wildly expensive) entrepreneurial endeavors: Rocket ships and electric cars. The efforts appear to be paying off--SpaceX is poised to launch its Falcoln 9 rocket, which could replace the space shuttle for taking astronauts to the International Space Station, and Tesla Motors just snagged $50 million from the world's biggest car maker. (We named Musk Entrepreneur of the Year for these accomplishments.) But the endeavors have come at a cost, at least in the short term. Musk is out of cash, Venture Beat reports. Those problems should be moot however, if Tesla completes its IPO, which is scheduled for later this year.
The company behind those robo-calls. The only thing worse than a cold call is an automated cold call, but Steve Patterson, the man behind the robo-calling service Broadnet, tells CNN Money how he has managed to drive the company's growth by revamping his business model. Broadnet had been recording political calls since it launched back in 2002. That was before Patterson decided people might be more likely to respond to live calls from well-known figures they admire, from sports stars to President Obama. The change led to tremendous revenue growth, from $315,321 in 2005 to $8 million in 2008, landing Broadnet in the No. 54 spot on last year's Inc. 500 list. Patterson expects to make upwards of $15 million this year.
The long weekend, part 1. As he watches corporate types flee New York City for the long holiday weekend, Jordan Cooper isn't envious; he's thankful he's not one of them. "Every day I wake up and I am doing exactly what I want," the JumpPost co-founder writes. "Yes, I work hard. Yes, I am tired sometimes. But at the end of the day, I am not searching for a break from my everyday life. There is a fundamental problem with a life where a 3 day weekend puts a hop in your step that won't return until Labor Day rolls around."
The long weekend, part 2. Bluster aside, if you do plan to take three days off, we won't think less of you. You've earned it. And even if you haven't earned it, we won't be around to judge you. So have fun. We'll see you Tuesday.
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