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How to Fund Your Startup Without Raising Venture Capital

If you’ve watched HBO’s Silicon Valley, then you know how the fundraising process goes: Build some awesome tech, show it to some guys at a venture fund, and get funded. Right? Not really! Even if that was the case, what happens if you need money somewhere between having the idea and getting funded? While everybody knows about angel investors and venture capitalists, they’re generally not going to fund an idea, let alone an untested one from a first time entrepreneur, given the plethora of other…

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Lessons Learned: The Science of Customer Development with Steve Blank

Steve Blank’s 5-Day Lean Launchpad, held at NYU on August 25-29, 2014, was a transformative experience for young entrepreneurs like myself looking to gain experience in and expert insights on launching a start-up.  My team partner, Logan Winston, and I were fortunate enough to be accepted into the program.  For anyone interested in Steve Blank’s methodology, check out his great summary talks online: “Steve Blank on How to Build a Lean Startup” “Steve Blank, Evidence-based Entrepreneurship, The Lean Startup Conference 2013 – 12/10/13” “How to Build…

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Summer Launchpad 2014: Lessons Learned & Demo Day

At the end of the second edition of the demanding 10-week Summer Launchpad program, the ten teams that participated in the accelerator gave one last presentation to the teaching team and friends of the Entrepreneurial Institute.  This final Lessons Learned session was meant to capture all of the work the teams put in over the summer: all the customer discovery, every pivot, every late-night eureka moment. Some teams came away from the program with a clear signal from the market to pursue their business.  Others learned that there’s not  a…

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Startup Showcase: Suneris

Suneris has developed a gel technology that stops traumatic bleeding in seconds without the need for manual pressure. Suneris’ products can be used during emergency situations seen in surgeries and on the battlefield. The company’s first product, VETIGEL™, is designed for veterinarians to stop internal and external bleeding during surgeries and will be released to the market in 2015. Co-founders Joe Landolina (Engineering ’14) and Isaac Miller (Stern ’12) met each other at the teammate hunt for the NYU Technology Venture Competition (part of the $200,000 Entrepreneur’s Challenge) in…

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Lessons Learned: Do Customer Interviews Even When You Don’t Think You Need To

Sensory Percussion builds powerful technologies for creative musicians. Our first product is a new system for electronic percussion that captures the true expressive nature of drumming for artful control of digital sound. I admit to a considerable amount of hubris before entering the Summer Launchpad program nearly 3 months ago. I was excited to have the support and guidance of SLP while my brother (also, my cofounder) and I figured out how to turn our prototype into a business. But, I found the idea of…

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Faculty Entrepreneurs: Meet Dr. Seth Orlow

Meet Dr. Seth Orlow,  Professor & Chairman of NYU Langone’s Dermatology Department, co-founder of Anaderm, a venture capitalist and an investment banking advisor. Dr. Seth Orlow joined NYU in 1990 as a junior faculty member during a period of growing interest in lifestyle drugs, the most notable of the period being Viagra. Soon, Orlow and his dermatology colleagues found themselves in discussions with Pfizer on how to leverage Pfizer’s library of drug compounds to identify  active ingredients for non-traditional medical problems such as skin discoloration and wrinkles.…

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Lessons Learned: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone to Understand Your Customer

VoiceHacker (formerly Speech Empowered), helps busy professionals improve their public speaking and presentation skills through biofeedback and a supportive online community. VoiceHacker began as an iOS app that evaluates a user’s voice quality and walks the user through warm ups to achieve an optimal voice. As a voice teacher, I believed that this fantastic tool could solve a serious need in the market. However, upon initial customer development interviews, I realized that the market I thought would most need the app didn’t seem interested at all. This is how…

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Lessons Learned: How to Rapid-Learn in Brain Paradise

PeekBite started as mobile app for in-restaurant menus, food orders and payment.  Currently working on their next version of the product, they’ve documented their pivot as a comedic spoof here.    Customer development is like hopping on a roller coaster. For my team at PeekBite, our ride was ten weeks long and was called Summer Launchpad. 100 customer interviews mandatory?!? Wait! …but the security bar pushes down and – clunk! – locks into position. Hands on the bar, you turn to the left and to the right. Sitting…

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A Day in the Life: Resy’s Mike Montero

Meet Mike Montero, co-founder and CTO of Resy. Founded just recently in 2014, Resy is a mobile restaurant reservations app. Mike graduated from CAS with a major in Computer Science and Math in 1996. Mike was always interested in computers, but never thought anything would come of it. By age 13, he was already hacking away on his Commodore 64. Much later at college orientation, he hastily and anxiously declared his major as Computer Science, not realizing that he still had plenty of time to…

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Lesson Learned: How to Maximize Mentor Relationships

SPARKBOX is a curated educational toy subscription service. One of the major benefits of accelerator programs is access to extraordinary mentors. As part of Summer Launchpad, my team had access to world class experts who were committed to advising and supporting a single accelerator team for the entire summer. However, while in the trenches of building an early stage startup, it can sometimes be challenging to make the most out of the opportunity to learn from mentors. Our mentors for the program were: Public Company Chief Product Officer…

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