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NYC Entreprenuer Week Finalist Updates:

Pogby at NYC ENT Week

The week was incredible! Not only were we ecstatic to be a semi-finalist, but a finalist was a huge reward!

The intense sessions on Tuesday of that week with Solidea, Connectors, and the other participants were truly a boot camp needed by Pogby. The guidance on our business model and pitch deck was of extreme value and caused our team to rapidly re-think a few things to further ensure we were going down the right path.

The event fostered a blog post by Eric Schonfeld regarding our company...with a comparison to OpenTable. This worked wonders and was a great start in building credibility and spreading the word! In addition, Meeting and Conventions magazine ( contacted us regarding an article in an upcoming issue of their magazine, and killerstartups wrote a fantastic review of our services. Finally, the CEO of BizBash was present at the event and was impressed with the feedback, attention, and the opportunity we presented. More conversations to come on this!

Being able to meet with a group of other entrepreneurs was extremely beneficial. All of us were in the same spot, with similar stories, and shared challenges around a tough economy, developing funding interest, working with little to no pay 100+ hours per week, finding resources to help build product for some equity or a six-pack of their favorite beverage, and dreading another update to the business plan (I am personally on version 45).

Our primary focus now is on sales and continuing the development of credibility for our company. It has been a fun ride and I expect it to continue...

All in all, an excellent week. The sponsors of the event were incredible and I've already contacted and met with most of the judges pick their brain and to get further feedback.

Looking forward to the event in 2010!

- Josh

Who knew?

Having the opportunity to compete as a finalist in this year's NYC ENT business plan competition was invaluable. As a start-up, one of the things you cannot get enough of is honest, critical feedback. In some cases, potential investors cannot share specifics because in doing so, they ultimately reveal their methodology and thought process--basically, their IP. To be even more frank, these people often lack the time, interest, and/or compassion to take the time and sit down with an organization they have no interest in doing business with.

As we discussed in a recent interview on ChubbyBrain, in our experience, a social enterprise may have additional difficulty getting this honest, critical feedback. As a social enterprise, with a mission that is inherently focused on the greater good:

"As I focus on the social sector, I think the fact that social entrepreneurs are doing something positive and focused on making a difference may make it difficult to get critical feedback. For example, I have not spoken to a single individual who said “I don’t get it”, or “Why would you try that?” I actually would have hoped for more criticism, but I think social entrepreneurs face a unique struggle in this sense. The idea is inherently positive. We are trying to do something that has a direct positive social impact. And so you are rarely going to hear negative feedback because of the ultimate goal."

As members of NYC ENT, we received detailed feedback on our business and how we represented our business from a high quality audience. But it is equally important for the recipient of this feedback to ensure it does not fall on deaf ears.

We received volumes of actionable feedback, but perhaps the most important was on how we were approaching the market. As a publisher of children's books, we were focused on developing a series of high quality products and expecting the concept and the product to drive interest and funding. We left NYC ENT with a different perspective, however, and with one word echoing around in our heads: "traction".

Throughout our week at NYC ENT and during all of our follow-up conversations and emails, the folks at Solidea and Connectors Group consistently emphasized the importance of demonstrating traction. The most appealing information for potential investors is a demonstrated audience. The implications of this advice cascaded through everything from our business plan to our short and long-term strategy.

Needless to say, we shifted our seed funding request, reduced it by 75%, and placed the emphasis on marketing and sales. Our goal? Demonstrating traction and using our successes (and failures) to formalize our valuation and finalize our "ask" for Series A. The approach has given us credibility with early stage investors, but also brought a new level of focus (and sense of urgency) to our own team.

Who knew losing would be so rewarding? (Regardless, we plan not to make a habit of it.)

At IndieGoGo, we were very excited to be selected as a finalist company to be part of the Inaugural NYC Entrepreneur Week (NYCENT). Having submitted our executive summary, we had no idea what to expect, but the immediate feedback and relationships built for the future turned it into a very valuable experience. From pitches to parties, work-shops to panels, it was an immersive week of content for any entrepreneur trying to become part of the NYC venture community.

We launched IndieGoGo at Sundance 2008 with a mission to create fundraising, promotion, and discovery tools for the film and media industry. To date, thousands of customers have used our tools in over 80 countries for activities from raising tens of thousands of dollars for film funding to supporting their film festival promotion campaigns. As we look to scale the business we wanted to get more involved with the NYC venture community and figured NYCENT could be that opportunity.

The five days were like a non-stop entrepreneur’s bootcamp. From meeting the leaders in the NYC venture community to sharing with fellow entrepreneurs, we always had to be ready with our “pitch”. Being an entrepreneur, we get stuck in our day-to-day operations, and it was amazing to get the opportunity to share and get unbiased feedback. One venture professional even took a liking to IndieGoGo and we have been able to grow an advisory relationship beyond NYCENT.

MicroGen's BOLT120® power generator product is a global, scalable, green renewable energy power source. MicroGen products will eliminate or extend the life of lithium batteries 6-fold in WSN (WirelessSensor Networks) applications and significantly reduce the cost to deploy and maintain WSNs . Initial application fields are bridges and roads and building energy and security monitoring.

MicroGen received several contacts with interested investors as a result of the NYC ENT event. In addition, using the feeedback provided by the NYC ENT event,

MicroGen Systems recently placed first among pre-revenue companies in the Rochester Regional Business Plan contest. This includes a $5000 cash prize, and services totaling $5000.

MicroGen, with additional partners, including Leveraging Technologies, have received commitments from the Monroe County (NY) DOT and the State Of Michigan DOT to conduct tests on bridges in both locales using wireless sensor networks, software provided by Leveraging though IBM Smarter Planet, and MicroGen technologies.

In addition, MicroGen is raising $1M in convertible debt and has begun to attract investors. The round is expected to close in October. This will enable MicroGen to complete final systems testing and begin engineering sample sales and integration work with wireless sensor network companies.

Reader Comments (1)

Good luck to the finalists. Entreprenerus are surely a big part of the pie when it comes to helping the nation out of this economic slump. Entrepreneurs are the unrecognized hero's of the world's financial crisis. They should advertise any video footage on Adwido and other video networks.

July 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermlgreen8753

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