From the category archives:

Fundraising

Are you a startup in LA looking for funding? Check out the LAVA ICC on June 13th!

by Ryan on June 12, 2012



LAVA Los Angeles Venture Association Logo ICC

If you’re a startup in LA and presently seeking a round of funding, you should check out the LAVA Investment Capital Conference on June 13th (this Wednesday) from 1pm to 8pm at the Skirball Center. Many of LA’s top startups, venture capitalist, angels, incubators, accelerators, and advisors will be there so if you’re looking to get your “pitch on” or otherwise grow your network, it’s a great place to be. More details and registration info here –>  http://icc.lava.org/

Photo credit:  Ryan Born Photography

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I’ve got writer’s block. Help me choose a topic.

by Ryan on October 17, 2011



writers block

So lately, I’ve been suffering from a case of writer’s block .  The blockage has caused what I would consider 2 recent post that were really not up to standard, one of which was a Netflix rant (thanks for listening Reed!).

To help put a stop to the writer’s block, I’m reaching out for assistance (I figure that by putting myself on the spot, it’ll create the momentum needed to get over this).

So please…if you have a moment, help me choose a topic for my next post.  Choose from the among the following topics and let me know in the comments section which one you’d like me to write about next:

1.  Entrepreneurial oversupply and the abundance of startup incubators (LA included)

2.  The primary differentiator between a good VC ‘s / angels and bad VC’s / angels in terms of portfolio returns

3.  How Google Analytics should ignore Digg, Stumbleupon, and Reddit traffic

4.   A simplified explanation of how VC’s determine valuation in a seed / A-round

5.  Taking stock options in lieu of compensation – when it can be a bad idea for both you and the company

If any of these topics sound interesting, please let me know which one(s) you’d like me to write about first and help me get over writer’s block.

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7 DO’s and 5 DONT’s for Entrepreneurs (LA VC Revisited)

by Ryan on June 14, 2011

to do list photo

Ever since my post on Los Angeles venture capital, I’ve been getting a lot of email and phone inquiries from local entrepreneurs seeking advice.  It’s not surprising because the post presently shows up #3 on Google when you search “los angeles venture capital” and the 100+ re-tweets and 20+ FB likes certainly helped solidify this position.

Typically the entrepreneurs that reach out want to meet in person and ask for advice.  I try to disclaim everything in that I OFFER OPINIONS, NOT ADVICE.  I’ve been compiling these opinions and figured I’d jot down the cliff note version here.  Without further adieu, here are some strong opinions on various topics that have come up in my recent correspondences with local entrepreneurs.

7 DO’s:

1. Choose a freaking huge market.  Don’t play around in a small market.  If you can’t quantify the size of your market, that means it’s too small, especially for VC.  Go big.

2. Quit your day job – sooner rather than later.  If you want to build a business, it takes 110% commitment.   You’re never going to get anywhere if you relegate your dream to a side project for nights and weekends.  Quit now, not later or you’re only proving that you’re not as committed as you should be.

3. Learn to use an RSS reader.  If you’re in tech but don’t use RSS, I fear for you.

4. Have founder vesting.  There’s nothing worse than founders not having 4 year founder vesting in place, with or without outside investors.

5. Tell anyone and everyone about your idea.  Ideas are a dime a dozen, execution is everything and you’ll learn far more than you could ever possibly lose by sharing your ideas with all.

6. Fire people as fast as possible. The second you think things are not working out.  Fire away.  You’ll never regret firing, you’ll only regret having not done it sooner.  Everyone is replaceable.

7. Read Mark Suster’s blog.  Pretty much every single question I get asked has an answer on BSOTT – “Both Sides of The Table”.  The answer is already out there.  Do your friggin homework.

5 DONT’s

1. Don’t raise money from non-millionaries.  Raise from deep pocketed institutions and corporations.

2. Regardless of what the lawyers tell you, do not form an LLC.  Lawyers love LLC’s.  You know why?  Because lawyers are not entrepreneurs.

3. Don’t have a 50 / 50 co-founder (or 33 / 33 / 33 for that matter).  One of you needs to be in charge and be in control and if you’re the leader…the real entrepreneurial one bringing this thing to life, then it should be you.  Founder shares must have vesting (i.e. be restricted) and be subject to a buy-sell agreement (aka pre-nup).

4. Don’t get caught up in all the press and attention your competition gets.  It’s truly meaningless and in no way indicative of financial success.

5. Don’t raise a round of convertible debt (exception:  if the terms are so Y-combinator style crazy in your favor that you’d be a dumb-ass not to take the cash).  If someone wants to invest, they should set a price and take an equity stake.  If you want a loan, you’d be asking for one or you’d go to a bank / credit card company.

Now each of these points could be a blog post of their own backed up with experiences and circumstances to help you understand why I’ve formed these opinions.  Maybe I’ll get around to doing a deep dive on each item but for now, the cliff notes will have to do.

Now it’s time to get back to what matters most – executing.

Related articles:

p.s. I use stock photos from Photoxpress.

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Fotolia Invests in AudioMicro

by Ryan on February 1, 2011

Logo fotolia Pictures, Images and Photos

Today marks a major milestone in our company’s history.
AudioMicro has taken on an investment from Fotolia, the leading micro stock photo library in Europe and the # 2 / # 3 player in the world.   Fotolia, which is backed by private equity firm TA Associates, also owns Flixtime.com, a movie maker site that turns photos into videos, and Photoxpress.com, a subscription stock photo service.  Full details on the investment can be found in the press release below.
In collaboration with Fotolia, we plan to incubate and launch new web projects, as well as cross promote our products and services. At the end of this month, we plan to launch 4 new websites, each targeting a specific new content licensing vertical. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes on these new sites for many months now.  Stay tuned for a launch announcement on the 4 new sites!
I’m also doing a little business development for Fotolia.  If you or your company ever have a need for stock photos, we can supply you access to over 12 million images at unbeatable prices and with un-paralleled service.  If you presently license photos from another supplier, contact me ASAP to start saving.  We have a number of packages from free, to low priced subscriptions, to full on custom API access, depending on your size and needs.
I hope that 2011 is your best year ever!
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AudioMicro Receives Fotolia Investment

AudioMicro and Fotolia To Partner in Content Licensing Ventures

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 1, 2011 – AudioMicro, which offers the world’s largest collection of user-generated royalty free music and sound effects, announced today that it has received an equity investment from Fotolia, Europe’s leading micro stock photo site.  Existing investor DFJ Frontier, a West Coast seed and early-stage investor, also participated in the financing.  In connection with the financing, Oleg Tscheltzoff, co-founder and chief executive officer of Fotolia, has joined AudioMicro’s board of directors.

Fotolia and AudioMicro will collaborate on new projects, each targeting a different content vertical.  They intend to launch four of these projects by the end of next month.  Fotolia, which is backed by TA Associates, also owns Flixtime.com, a site that turns photos into videos, and Photoxpress.com, a subscription photo service.

“AudioMicro is a leader in crowd-sourced stock music and sound effects,” said Tscheltzoff.  “We’re pleased to partner with them to accelerate their business.”

“Fotolia’s investment and partnership is a great endorsement of our vision, and recognition of the traction we’ve gained,” said Ryan Born, founder and chief executive officer, AudioMicro.  “We’re delighted to work with the Fotolia team.”

About AudioMicro

An industry pioneer in licensing music and sound effects through credit-based and subscription packages, AudioMicro acts as a discovery and distribution platform for stock audio content.  Its collection of royalty free music, stock music, sound effects, and free sound effects includes over 225,000 tracks of both crowd-sourced and premium, record label-owned content.  AudioMicro also operates the Audioo voicemail sharing service.  The company is venture-backed by DFJ Frontier.  For more information, visit AudioMicro.com.

About Fotolia

Over 2 million people prefer Fotolia for affordable, royalty-free images, graphics and HD videos. With the introduction of the Infinite Collection, Fotolia became the first worldwide microstock organization to offer both crowd-sourced and professional images on one site. Founded in New York City in 2004, Fotolia spans the globe with websites in 12 languages and offices in 14 countries. With over 12,000,000 files to choose from, find it on Fotolia. www.fotolia.com

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Media Contact:

Brian Danella

Prequent, Inc. (for AudioMicro, Inc.)

+1 (408) 275-6455 office

+1 (650) 743-6606 mobile

brian[at]prequent.com

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