Founders

drag2share: How The Founders Of Warby Parker Disrupted The Eyewear Industry By Going Against Their Original Idea

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/OwHLmxPEpnQ/warby-parker-ceo-neil-blumenthal-on-growth-2013-9

When Neil Blumenthal and his friends started Warby Parker, they wanted to disrupt the optical industry.

But they never expected to do it so quickly.

In three years, Warby Parker has built a recognizable brand with over 300 employees managing a successful online business and retail stores and showrooms in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Despite the fast-changing company dynamics, the four co-founders – Andrew Hunt, Jeffrey Raider, David Gilboa and Blumenthal – came up with ways to keep each other in check, and to make sure they made collective decisions about the direction of the company.

We interviewed Blumenthal about the strategies his team used to get exposure and expand the company, and how betting against their original idea about an online-only business has paid off tremendously.


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Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 news No Comments

Mobile Messaging Apps Continue To Surge

Source: https://intelligence.businessinsider.com/welcome

WhatsApp just surpassed 300 million users worldwide.

In the last four months alone, the mobile messaging app has acquired 100 million users. Users are also now sending 11 billion messages per day, up from 8 million daily in April.

WhatsApp has recently made a concerted effort to attract new users from emerging markets. For example, it has offered residents in Southeast Asia an option to pay a small fee for a data-light version. This allows low-income mobile users to circumvent monthly carrier data fees.

The app is free on most platforms, but charges users 99 cents after one year of use. This business model draws consumers in. The fact that there’s no distracting ads helps WhatsApp retain users. WhatsApp founders have famously said they’re anti-ads and will never include them in the app.

WhatsApp has overtaken China’s immensely popular WeChat, which has an impressive 300 million registered users but only about 195 million that are active. It is also ahead of Line (200 million users), Viber (200 million), and even Skype (280 million).

The large user numbers across services are a clear signal of the overall popularity of OTT (over-the-top) messaging (messaging that goes over the Internet via data connections rather than carrier-controlled networks), and its staying power. OTT messaging threatens cell carriers, who lose voice and text revenue, and social networks like Facebook — which have not been able to maintain control of the messaging market.

WhatsAppUserGrowth

 

 

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Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 news No Comments

A Fake Beef Jerky Kickstarter Campaign Almost Got Away With Taking $120,000

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/fake-kickstarter-almost-took-120000-2013-6

Kickstarter Kobe Red Shut Down

Popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter just shut down a fake campaign for beefy jerky.

Over $120,000 was raised before Kickstarter froze the funds.

The “company responsible” — Magnus Fun Inc. — has since deleted its account, but it managed to pull the wool over the eyes of 3,300 supporters.

The Kickstarter promised the world’s first “100% Japanese Beer Fed Beef Jerky.”

CNN Money reports that policing the large amount of Kickstarter campaigns is an overwhelming task, and the crowdfunding site turns to its users to raise red flags. If there’s enough evidence of foul play, the site will quickly shut down funding — hopefully before the money is deposited into the company’s bank accounts.

The most obvious red flag was the Kickstarter campaign’s lack of information on its founders.

Pitch videos often feature a company’s CEO or founder excitedly talking about how their idea deserves your money — Kobe Red’s beef jerky video doesn’t feature a single face.

A documentary crew vital to the take-down investigated Kobe Red’s campaign, pointing out suspicious comments praising the beef jerky, in their film “Kickstarted.”

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Monday, June 17th, 2013 news No Comments

HOW FADS START: One High School In California Is Responsible For A Mobile Craze 3.4 Million People Use

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-fads-start-one-high-school-in-california-is-responsible-for-a-mobile-craze-34-million-people-use-2013-2

raise hand student

When Evan Spiegel, 22, and Bobby Murphy, 24, launched Snapchat in September 2011, they shared it with 20 friends.

Snapchat is a mobile app that lets users take and send mobile photos to others. Messages can be drawn or typed on top of the photos and the images self-destruct moments after they are viewed.

Today Snapchat has about 3.4 million users and 60 million images are swapped daily. That’s one-tenth the volume Facebook sees.

It may be a fad like DrawSomething proved to be last year. But how do you go from obscurity to mobile virality?

For Snapchat, the answer was a high school in California.

According to The New York Times, the first traffic spike the founders saw occurred a few weeks after launch. There was a flurry of activity between 8 AM and 3 PM that originated in Orange County, California.

Spiegel’s mother had told Evan’s cousin about Snapchat, and he started using it with friends as a way to pass notes in class. Users grew quickly from there.

From NYT:

Snapchat has its origins at Stanford, where Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy first met as fraternity brothers. Mr. Spiegel presented a prototype of Snapchat in spring 2011 to one of his classes, but it was greeted as impractical and silly by his classmates.

…A few weeks in, they started seeing an influx of new users, paired with unusu! al spike s in activity, peaking between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

It turned out the activity was centered around a high school in Orange County. Mr. Spiegel’s mother had told his cousin, who was a student at the school, about the app, which then spread throughout the school.

Other high school students in Southern California picked it up, with the number of daily active users climbing from 3,000 to 30,000 in a month in early 2012. Mr. Spiegel took a leave from Stanford last June and Mr. Murphy quit his job and the pair raised a small round of financing and moved to Los Angeles to work on the application full time.

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Saturday, February 9th, 2013 news No Comments

Source: http://lifehacker.com/5882940/the-best-sites-to-raise-money-and-get-your-ideas-off-the-ground

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground If you have a brilliant new idea for an mobile app, a handy gadget, a smartphone case that does something cool, an album you want to produce, or even a comic book you want to publish, it’s never been easier to get your idea in front of a lot of people and raise money to make it a reality. There are dozens of free and cheap sites designed to boost new ideas, but not all of them are best for your idea. Here’s how to pick the best one for you.

Sites like Kickstarter and many others all cater to people with ideas they believe can make it big, but who need money to get them off the ground. The community supports the idea, everyone chips in, and with luck and enough interest and the right amount of money, the product gets made and the contributors usually get first cut or a special perk. Still, even though Kickstarter gets a lot of press, it’s not necessarily the best one for your idea.

Photo remixed with an original by dinadesign/Shutterstock.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For The Most Attention: Kickstarter

Kickstarter is the major player in this space, and for good reason. The service gets a lot of media attention, and even though the majority of Kickstarter projects don’t go anywhere, it’s become the go-to destination for anyone looking to crowd-fund their projects thanks to a few high-profile projects that managed to raise a lot of money. It’s not the biggest crowd-funding community, and it’s not even the one with the best track record, but it’s incredibly easy to use, popular with angel investors and people looking for the next big idea to invest in and get behind, and well organized. Idea creators can set up their profiles for free, founders can pledge as much or as little as they choose, and no money changes hands until time runs out or the project is fully-funded. If the project is fully funded, Kickstarter takes 5% off the top, and the rest goes to the inventor or creator to make their idea happen.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For App-Builders, Game Designers, and Developers: IndieGoGo

IndieGoGo is actually larger than Kickstarter, and more people there use it for more types of projects. The site takes 4% off the top of your fundraising if you reach your funding goal, and encourages creators and developers to offer perks to the community for funding their projects. Unlike some of its competition, IndieGoGo also has its doors open to charities and non-profits. The site is particularly popular with software and app developers, although all sorts of creative projects are up on the site for funding, including documentary and independant films, education projects, and international aid projects. IndieGoGo also has the benefit of being a global site, available to users around the world.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For Inventors and Gadget Creators: Quirky

Quirky has an excellent track record, and some of our favorite gadgets started as Quirky ideas. The process of getting your idea in front of the Quirky community is a bit more involved than at other sites. You submit your idea, the community weighs in first on whether or not it’s an idea that could be made into an actual product before it goes in front of the world for fundraising. That’s the key, while other sites focus on creative endeavors, most Quirky projects are tangible products that can be manufactured and sold. The Quirky community is active and engaged in idea building and product design and development, and a lot goes on long before the idea ever gets on the site for presale fundraising. Pricing is on a sliding scale—people who get in early can get lower prices than people who get in later, and once the product is made, Quirky can work to manufacture it themselves, or work with a major retail partner to get it on store shelves everywhere.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For Musicians: Bandcamp

We touched on this topic a bit in our previous story on how to release music online so music-lovers can get to it, but while SoundCloud was one of our favorite options for releasing your music for free, allowing people to remix it, and comment on it, Bandcamp is another great solution for musicians looking to set up a free storefront on the web to allow people to buy and download their music directly. Artists and fans both love Bandcamp, and the service handles the entire payment platform, from set-your-own-price albums and songs to artists with a mix of free and paid songs in their discography. Artists can also sell merchandise through their stores, and Bandcamp takes a slice off the top depending on the artist’s sales. Fans and music lovers on the other hand get a social platform where they can follow and interact with their favorite artists, get alerts when new music is released, and discover new artists through their friends.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For Crafty Types: Etsy

Crafty types are already well aware of Etsy and how the platform works. When people who made their own hand-made goods, arts, and custom crafts wanted an online storefront that catered more to their needs than a general auction site like eBay, Etsy was born. The site has dozens of categories, including clothing, art, jewelry, household accessories, and more. While most people know Etsy as a craft-lovers haven, the site is also home to a number of stores that manufacture products you wouldn’t associate with “arts and crafts,” like wall decals, custom motorcycle helmets, and even edible crafts like homemade cookies and beef jerky. Where other similar sites help you get seed money for an idea, Etsy is more of a traditional store, meaning you have to have your idea off the ground and your product ready for sale—even if it’s a single item—before you can sell it.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For Global Users: RocketHub

Many of these sites limit their membership to users in the United States, but RocketHub is one of the largest global communities dedicated to crowd-funding new ideas. RocketHub combines a traditional crowd-funding site where individuals can promote and raise money for their own ideas and pet projects with a funding bank where people with inspired ideas can connect with sponsors, non-profits, and funding groups who are willing to share some cash with a particularly motivated or passionate individual. The service works much like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo—sign-ups are free, and the site takes a 4% cut.


Different crowd-funding sites have different goals and different audiences. Depending on the type of idea you have and the audience you want to reach, you have an array of sites to choose from, and this is just the beginning. For example, if you have a random request or want to get the crowd’s help in funding a life event like a wedding or a vacation, you can try GoGetFunding, and if you’re an industrial designer, Yanko Design is a great resource for like-minded designers.

Whichever site you choose to get your ideas off the ground, make sure it’s one where the community is aligned with and supportive of your ideas, and you’ll have no trouble raising the funds needed to make it a reality. Have you used any of these sites to crowd-fund a project or idea? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

How These Guys Went From Making Music For The Terminally-Ill To Launching An iTunes-Like Startup

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-these-guys-went-from-making-music-for-the-terminally-ill-to-launching-an-itunes-like-startup-2012-1


YogiTunes

It’s the perfect example that doing what you love — and knowing what the market lacks — will eventually pay off.

Alex King-Harris, Craig Kohland and Amani Friend met through the yoga community, but what’s unique about the trio is that they were all musicians making music for those who were terminally-ill or facing chronic illness. King-Harris had been involved in a bad car accident years ago which introduced him to yoga.

As yoga increased in popularity, the co-founders realized there wasn’t a platform for instructors to get recommended healing music or share their playlists with one another or with their students. All three guys immensely believe that the right music is essential for various sequences in a yoga routine.

After initially raising $150,000, YogiTunes, which works a lot like iTunes, but is catered specifically to the yoga community, launched in July 2011. The site currently has around 6,000 artists to choose from and the downloaded music can be played through any medium — unlike iTunes, which requires Apple products.

But people are used to getting their music through iTunes and other popular sources:

“You’re up against people who have really strong habits of consuming through iTunes, or consuming through Pandora,” King-Harris told us. “It takes a little while to shift people’s habitual ways of consuming.”

Eventually, the company wants to grow beyond music and become a community for health and wellness enthusiasts.

“We definitely want to draw people in with the music and then extend to other products, other services, other things that we feel are valuable for people’s lifestyles. It’s kind of taking the Amazon model. They were really good at selling books and now they do everything.”

“We can also scale quite quickly beyond yoga to the health and wellness market. A lot of massage therapists, fitness teachers, tai chi people use our music. I think the yoga market is particularly interesting because, in general, the median income is high so we know we have an broad enough audience.”

For inspiration, the company looks at Beatport, a private company that offers music for the DJ community.

“It’s a similar way that we see ourselves servicing the yoga community. They’re a very successful enterprise, very well-known and well established in what they do. They really know their niche. And that’s what we want to do.”

NOW SEE: A complete guide to what not to do when launching a startup>

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Friday, January 20th, 2012 news No Comments

There’s Only One Way To Make A Ton Of Money And Be Happy Selling Your Start Up

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/theres-only-one-way-to-male-a-ton-of-money-selling-your-start-up-2012-1


Venture Capital Ad

There is a common belief that venture capital has become a necessity to get start-ups off the ground.

The seemingly endless flow of funds is very appealing to the up-and-coming company looking to sling-shot themselves to instant growth.

While VC funding can give an important vote of confidence and is absolutely necessary for large infrastructure projects, there’s another side to VC funding— it can actually become a huge hindrance. As I’ve discussed before, skipping venture capital can leave your company with the freedom to grow in a sustainable way, creating more value for all stakeholders.

This means when you do sell – as my company AdoTube did recently— you are able to reap all the rewards of selling a healthy profitable company while being a big part of its future. Read below for the 5 reasons why skipping the VC can leave you with more money and probably more importantly a better company legacy.

1.       VCs just want their return

Venture capitalists have a portfolio of investments consisting of multiple start-ups, and therefore only care about average portfolio results. On the other hand, founders have all their eggs in one basket. Not only is this company their brainchild, but it is also their savings on the line. While founders are interested in the eventual payout, providing a product or service that consumers are excited about can be even more important. This focus on the long-term can lead to a greater eventual pay-out as well as a better company legacy.

2.       It’s easy to waste VC money, diminishing overall value

It is easy to overspend when it is not your money. When a small company comes across millions of venture capital, a lot of that cash can get thrown out with the bath water. Keeping the company small and growing it with your own sweat, blood and hard earned cash can lead you to be thriftier in your decisions. When AdoTube started, we made sure every purchase would earn us back revenue, otherwise why waste the money? Ultimately, this allowed us more value for our investment and helped us get a better return.

3.       VCs go big or go bust

Multiple rounds of VC can put founders in a situation where the company either becomes extremely successful or goes bust. Venture Capitalists’ are looking for the big payday, and if the instant pay-out is not immediately apparent, the company can come to a screeching halt. Founders, on the other hand, can take their time building the company up growing it organically. Without venture capitalists looking for their end return, there is still a lot of middle ground available to time a company’s growth spurt with the market.

4.       VCs don’t care about company culture

VCs aren’t incentivized to make deals that are best for the company and the founders. They are incentivized to sell for the most money. The problem is that while every founder dreams of retiring to the Caribbean after they sell, the reality is that their role with the company is often far from over. Founders are often needed to stay on board to steer transitions or integrations are also often the best person to run the newly acquired company. Culture is paramount in making sure all of this happens smoothly and benefits everyone.

5.       VCs don’t know what’s best for the company

Venture Capitalists don’t understand your business like you do. They study revenues and look for synergies with other companies. VCs can even value companies differently depending on how they might merge with another. Valuing a company based on this can take away from the goals of founders, forcing companies to work more like a widget factory than a company. A simple sale could also mean the instant death of your company, destroying all the value that you created (just talk with the guys at Foursquare). While the VCs walk away with a pay-day the company that you spent years creating is gone in an instant.

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Thursday, January 12th, 2012 news No Comments

Even Walmart Is Snapping Up Social Media Companies (WMT)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/even-walmart-is-snapping-up-social-media-companies-2012-1


Walmart shoppers

Walmart wants to transform itself into a social media retail mega player and it’s backing that desire by investing millions of dollars into its young, little-known development lab, @WalmartLabs.

Born in April with the $300 million purchase of Kosmix, @WalmartLabs today announced  its fourth acquisition, a mobile app company called Small Society known for writing apps for clients like the Democratic National Committee and Starbucks.

@WalmartLabs had previously bought mobile point-of-sale app maker Grapple. It also snapped up location-aware mobile ad company OneRiot.

The co-founders of Kosmix, Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, are the leaders of Walmart Labs. Each has been granted the title of senior vice president of Walmart Global eCommerce and head of @WalmartLabs.

Their goal is to have Walmart create the next great shopping experience by melding physical stores with online search and social media input.

“We are at an inflection point in the development of ecommerce. The first generation of ecommerce was about bringing the store to the web. The next generation will be about building integrated experiences that leverage the store, the web, and mobile, with social identity being the glue that binds the experience,” said Anand Rajaraman in a blog post when @WalmarLabs was launched.

Using what it calls its “Social Genome” applications, it scans Twitter and other social sites to seek out and analyze consumer trends. The team is also writing mobile apps for shoppers. 

What’s interesting is that Walmart would rather build its own than use some of the many social media tools for retailers already on the market, even from big IT companies like Oracle and IBM.

So far the group has launched a classic iPhone and iPad shopping app and one called ShopCat for Facebook users. ShopCat scans Facebook friends’ profiles to recommend gifts for them from Walmart, RedEnvelope, Barnes & Noble, and ThinkGeek.

But the team clearly has bigger plans for changing the way everyday people shop for everyday items. And it looks like @WalmartLabs has only just begun: it’s got a career section 25 jobs long.

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Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 news No Comments

Here’s Who Owns Facebook

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-facebook-ownership-2011-12

There’s only one reason Facebook is going to IPO: To make its employees and investors rich. Otherwise, Mark Zuckerberg would (somewhat ironically) keep the company private forever.

Who’s getting rich when the company does IPO? Using information leaked to Ryan Tate at Gawker, we have a breakdown here. Assuming Facebook can get that $100 billion valuation being floated in the press, here’s who would be worth what.

chart of the day, who owns facebook, dec 15 2011

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Friday, December 16th, 2011 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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