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STARTUP

Where to Start Your Start-up
 

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Is Boulder really the best place to start a business? According to business location website ZoomProspector, it is. In BusinessWeek, ZoomProspector pinpoints the ten best places to launch, weighing 11 factors like quality of workforce and access to venture capital. Number one is Boulder, Colorado, and ten is Rockville, Maryland. peHUB's Dan Primack calls the list absurd. "Well, unless you'd really prefer to launch your generic start-up in Franklin, Tennessee instead of San Francisco. Or in Boca Raton, instead of Cambridge, Mass. Or in any of the top "Top 10" instead of New York City."

Other companies' trash is Terracycle's treasure. Back in 2006, we dubbed Terracycle the "coolest little start-up in America." At the time, Terracycle was focused almost exclusively on their core product, a garden fertilizer made from composted worm poop, packaged in re-purposed soda bottles. Today the company is still turning trash into new products, only on a much larger scale. As the Wall Street Journal reports, Terracycle has greatly expanded their product line to include everything from backpacks made from reused drink pouches to kites made from old candy wrappers. That expansion, however, hasn't come without some difficulties. To house the mounds and mounds of garbage they collect for their products, the company has had to lease five new storage warehouses. Terracyle's execs have even begun sharing offices and moving their desks into the hallways to make room for trash piles. Terracyle is now banking on increased orders from big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Target to jumpstart their business and keep their warehouses full of trash out of landfills. "The pressure is as high as I can think of," says the company's founder, Tom Szaky.

How a divorce could endanger your business. Not so long ago we were crowing about the bright future ahead of Elon Musk and his luxury electric car company, Tesla. After filing for an IPO earlier this year and completing a successful test of the rocket engines at his space start-up SpaceX, Musk's fortunes reversed and he is now in the midst of a messy divorce that could doom his company (via Venturebeat). If Musk's wife receives a large enough portion of the company, among other problems, it could lead to a default on a loan of nearly half a billion dollars from the Department of Energy, which specifies that Musk must control 65 percent of capital stock. Here's how to protect your business if you (or your kids) get divorced.

A start-up incubator grows in Manhattan. The Web analytics service Chartbeat and the link shortener Bit.ly got their starts there. And as The New York Times explains, Betaworks, a New York City tech incubator, is confident there will be many more successes to come. Can Betaworks do for New York what Y Combinator has done for the Valley?

Breaking down what makes Groupon tick. In a guest post at Tech Crunch, Steve Carpenter, the founder of Cake Financial, analyzes Groupon's financials to find out how the $1.2 billion valued startup is doing with its rapid expansion in the face of a growing number of competitor sites. The key finding: Groupon has seen pretty impressive revenue growth numbers through increases in customers, higher deal prices, and its success in quickly expanding to new markets. "The question remains whether fast followers like LivingSocial and BuyWithMe will be able to grow into mini-Groupons with Groupon already firmly entrenched in a city," he writes. Another intriguing result of his research: Boston residents love laser hair removal (655 purchases), riding on Segways (4,311) and learning how to fly a helicopter (2,575).

The future of online dating. It involves finding a mate whose DNA is compatible with your own. That's the premise of Littlehint, a Swiss start-up, that purports to match people based on a "psychoanalytic assessment and optional DNA matching," according to TechCrunch. Mike Butcher notes that there's something slightly pie-in-the-sky about this business plan--and also something a little creepy. "The site says they will 'inform our singles when a match is found in traveling distance,'" he writes. "As in, perhaps, 'Dear Sir, your Alpha Theta match is 2.5 miles away.' Arousing stuff."

The oracle of Silicon Valley. This month's Inc. cover story just went live. It's about Tim O'Reilly the founder of O'Reilly Media, a little book publisher that has somehow been in front of pretty much every important technology trend of the past 30 years. He's got a few ideas about the next 30 too.

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Last updated: May 3, 2010




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