Dave Whelan of Bespoke Business Strategy on the Cult/Tech Podcast

Joining us today is the Managing Director of Bespoke Business Strategy, Dave Whelan. Bespoke is a strategic consulting firm focused on strategy, operations, business development, and marketing in start-ups and growing organizations, with an emphasis on the intersection of technology, health and wellness. As a consultant, advisor, entrepreneur, and operating executive, Dave has devoted his career to building successful businesses.

Key Takeaways:

“I would say the commonalities take a certain amount of curiosity passion and persistence on the part of the entrepreneurs.” Dave at 1:52 “Every leader really needs to set the tone for the organization and help inspire their team members and help connect them to the bigger vision especially as companies get bigger.” Dave at 2:48 “So what are you doing to drive the business toward that moment when you’ve got paying repeat customers.” Dave at 4:50 “And the technology entrepreneurs and healthcare need to realize that disrupting healthcare is not like disrupting music. Health care is really hard and it’s going to take a lot of work and an evolution rather than a revolution sometimes.” …

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Rob Vickery Cult/Tech Podcast Transcript

Listen to the podcast on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/redcupagency/culttech-podcast-with-rob-vickery-of-stage-venture-partners

[00:00:00]

Lee Schneider: It’s the Cult Tech Podcast, I’m Lee Schneider. Joining us today is Rob Vickery, co-founder of Stage Venture Partners. Stage is a seed fund based in Los Angeles that invests in software startups with creative technology. Hey, Rob, welcome to the podcast.

Rob Vickery: Hi, how are you?

Lee: I’m doing very well, excited to do this. You guys are risk takers among risk takers, you invest in new platforms. Define that a little bit [00:00:30] for me, what would you call a new platform?

Rob: Yeah, so being in the seed stage, that means we’re investing in companies that have typically got like a minimum, some sort of a minimum viable product and maybe just the very early stages of traction. Now what that typically means are that some of these companies, they fall into two buckets. The first bucket is that they might be in what we call the frontier technology space, which are things that probably will live in [00:01:00] two or three years in …

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Startups Playing to Win

Ron Miller is a self-described “entrepreneur’s entrepreneur” who has visualized, founded, built, and sold five companies. Speaking in rapid-fire sentences, he gracefully guides the listener through the river of his ideas, and always with a passion for cause-based entrepreneurship. (Ron holds the trademark on the phrase “Doing well by doing good.”) He and Howard Marks founded StartEngine in 2014, originally as a startup accelerator. Since then, it has become one of the best-known sites online to raise money for startups using equity crowdfunding.

You Must Deliver a Message to Win

“My partner and I are both serial startup guys, and we raise capital in just about every form you could imagine—venture capital, private equity, angels, commercial banks, credit cards; I mean, we’ve done it all,” Miller said, “and when we saw this opportunity, we thought it was probably the greatest advancement for entrepreneurship in our generation. Because what makes America great is that we’re innovators, but the thing that holds innovators back is capital, and I think there needs to be a fair and reasonable way where people can …

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Investing in Startups – Pitching Is Personal

Pitching is personal. We can crunch the numbers, scrutinize résumés, and ask the difficult financial questions, but at the end of the day, decisions will be made on intangibles—gut responses and feelings that move founders to create and pitch and angels to act.

Why are these emotional intangibles center stage?

Consider for a moment how risky angel investing really is. It’s highly illiquid. Your money can be parked in the investment for a long time, possibly eight to ten years. That’s a long stretch to wait to see the fruits of your labor. You need to do a ton of research on each and every investment you make, and the startups you look at often have little or no financial history—only projections into an uncertain future.

If it’s so risky, why keep doing it? “Because it’s addictive,” says Ross Blankenship, an angel investor and startup coach. “It’s enrapturing to see a company that was valued at $2 million and then it becomes a public company, now worth $4 billion. I mean, just from a financial standpoint, that’s awesome.” Success …

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Getting Creative to Jump Start Your New Business

by Holly Horsman

If you’re in the process of starting a new business and getting it up and running, you probably know how challenging it can initially be to gain traction.Oftentimes, it takes a lot of creativity and ingenuity, as future clients are usually looking for something they’ve never seen before. They also want to know what sets you apart from the competition. Luckily, there are many ways to promote your budding business that can really leave a lasting impression. Here are a few ways to get your business out there and start attracting customers. (By the way, if you’re looking for a book on this, check out Be More Popular: Culture-Building for Startups. It focuses on startups, but applies to any new business.)

Hop on the Technology Bandwagon

Technology has provided a bigger platform than ever for marketing businesses and you definitely want to be a part of this! Social media has the power to push your new company to tens of thousands of viewers in a short period of time. Use this to your advantage and be …

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Espree Devora is on the Cult/Tech Podcast

Espree Devora runs WeAreLATech, a job board and message center for the LA startup scene. She hosts and produces two popular podcasts, the We Are LA Tech Podcast, and the Women in Tech Podcast, which recently hit #1 on iTunes. Espree shares her thoughts about working in the LA startup scene, spending too much time looking at screens, burnout and how to avoid it, and her trip through Europe talking with startup founders.

Her memorable quote: “The only way you are going to get more market share is to understand that many more people” – her argument for diversity in startup companies.

This podcast is a little different from others in this series – more of a free-flowing conversation about the LA startup scene. You’ll learn how Lee met his wife, why he got tired of looking at screens, and Espree’s prescriptions to avoid burnout.

The interviewer is Lee Schneider. The podcast is produced by Red Cup.

Listen to the podcast on SoundCloud.  Also available on iTunes.

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Babyscripts CEO Anish Sebastian on the cult/tech Podcast

Today on the cult/tech Podcast we are talking about an iPhone app and a medical monitoring program called babyscripts.  Joining us on the podcast is Anish Sebastian, the CEO and co-founder of Babyscripts.

Babyscripts has raised more than $2million to “make pregnancy better,” as its founders would say. The startup is working with OB-GYN practices nationwide, distributing a “mommy kit” which contains WiFi- and Bluetooth-enabled monitoring devices to closely connect pregnant mothers with their health care practitioners.

Working with Florida Hospital’s Innovation Lab, Babyscripts is hosting a conference is December called the Future of Obstetrics Summit. The  cult/tech podcast is produced by Red Cup Agency.  Lee Schneider, communications director, is the interviewer.

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The Means of Production

There has never been a better time to start a blog, launch your podcast, or find your voice online. Powerful forces are driving this openness and freedom. Once dominant media outlets are being unbundled, barriers are being blasted away. There is an opening of the means of distribution.

It started in 1995, when Craigslist planted seeds that would grow like weeds to choke the classified advertising departments of nearly all newspapers. It has continued with YouTube throwing off the chains of network-controlled television production, offering a pop culture audience to just about anybody with a video camera and a Millennial sense of humor. More doors were opened by social channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat, and platforms like WordPress,Tumblr and Medium. Indie publishing is thriving with CreateSpace, Amazon and Lulu. The means of production and expression are wide open. There is even talk of NPR unbundling itself into a network of podcasts. Sound good to you?

Well, there is also chaos and evil.

YouTube is owned by Google, an organization questing after world domination online as much as Uber quests after …

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Will Crowdfunding Replace Angel Investing?

From dating to gambling to getting a degree, it seems there’s little that can’t be done online these days. But would you guess another thing you can now do online is fund early-stage businesses with your own money, and receive equity in return?

Startups must get their capital from somewhere, and two significant sources of it are angel investing and online crowdfunding. Angel investing – when affluent individuals invest their own money into startup companies in exchange for equity – has been in practice since the late 1970s, but saw a resurgence post-2007 when the recession ate up traditional capital. Online crowdfunding, on the other hand – when startups raise funding from a large number of people via an online platform – is a form of “alternative finance” that’s rapidly growing and evolving. So much so, in fact, that there’s talk it will surpass or even replace angel investing.

Is such a shift possible? Crowdfunding was valued at $34 billion in 2015, and is projected to surpass both angel investing and venture capital this year. In addition, …

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Wake Up Early – Learn This Simple Trick to Become More Productive and Have More Energy

Guest Post by Rafi Chowdhury

Waking up early seems like a difficult task and something truly unpleasant for most people. However, there are great advantages to waking up early in the morning. Not only will you feel better about yourself when you start your day actively while others are still sleeping. You will also get more done and have more time for your friends, family and yourself as a result.

Best of all, waking up early is not as difficult as many consider it to be. You just need to follow the right strategy. The biohacking trick you will have a chance to learn below is a real working life hack which helps you reduce your sleep time, enjoy more free time and greater productivity and reduce stress levels, also. The strategy allows you to start your day on the right foot by programming your biochemical functioning a certain way so that you keep your high energy levels throughout the day.

The Strategy

The strategy is quite straightforward and does not require you to be a genius to understand it …

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