Kickstarter campaigns, wefunder, and equity crowdfunding—we’ve been talking a lot about new techniques for raising capital over the past few months! This week, I’m switching gears and talking with a colleague who works in a more traditional funding field: venture capitalism.
Ben Rifkin, president of Royal Street Investment and Innovation Center and my mentor for the upcoming OWIC Pitchfest, is visiting this week’s Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast to share his experience working in venture capital, evaluating new companies and collaborating with them to meet goals.
Before you even start looking for capital and investors, Ben says you need to know what your end goal is and then think backwards. What kind of company is your startup going to grow up to be? He’s sharing his thoughts on what kind of investments different types of companies might look for. It’s about knowing whose attention you want to catch before you need it.
We’re also discussing how startups can benefit from both crowdfunding and venture investments. Running a strong crowdfunding campaign and getting your product out on time, as promised, can speak volumes to future investors. It says a lot about one of the most important assets a company can have—you, the founders! And these aren’t the only ways you can use successful non-traditional sources of funding to prove your product to traditional investors!
Ben’s also letting us in on what he sees as the difference between tech startups and the outdoor markets, and how this changes the search for investors.
Although crowd funding has given us entrepreneurs some amazing opportunities, this conversation with Ben sheds some really insightful light on what investors look for, how to think about and present the future of your business, and the wide range of options for those of us who might need capital to get to where we want to be.
As you may know, I reserve my solocasts for topics which have been nothing short of monumental in my journey as an outdoor founder. So this week, I’m talking with all of you about something that, having started two companies and been in the outdoor industries for fifteen years, I had never done up until a few weeks ago.
What I’m talking about is . . . writing a pitch deck! In just a few weeks, I’ll be presenting at the Outdoor Women’s Industry Coalition Pitchfest. I’m super honored to have been selected to be one of this year’s presenters, but it’s a new and challenging experience for me. In preparing my own pitch deck for the event, I learned so much about building and rehearsing pitch decks and I’m excited to share this process with you.
When I sat down to write my pitch, I had to really get to the nitty gritty and evaluate what my company needed, what I wanted to get from this experience. I had to know, specifically what my ask was.
And then, I started reading about how to give an awesome pitch. In my solocast, I’m talking about the two most helpful resources to me in preparing this pitch deck, and the hard editing process I’ve been working through to get it just right.
I’m also sharing some of the negative thoughts I’m refusing to believe about my pitch, and three steps for building an amazing pitch.
This pitch deck has been such a learning experience for me and for developing how I think about the needs of my company. I’ve never done one before, but I’m choosing to see this an asset, not a liability. If you don’t know what can’t be done, there’s nothing to stop you.
I hope you’ll learn from my process and the resources I’m sharing. This episode is a must listen for anyone looking to pitch or promote their ideas!
As many of you know only too well, starting a business can take a long time! But what we often don’t count in the time it takes to start a business is all the history and experience from past ventures and adventures that make our skill set. All the things you have learned, ever, work together to make you the person you are.
My guest on this week’s Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast, Josh Salvo, says his newest project has been seven years in the making. The most recent version of the ReddyYeti platform just launched a few months ago in March, but Josh says it couldn’t have happened without his past experiences and websites.
At age eighteen, Josh launched a website to help skiers find the right gear for their needs. He himself will admit he was young, and he didn’t quite realize what he was getting into! Several projects and years later he and his partners are running ReddyYeti, a community for action sport enthusiasts to discover and help startups.
ReddyYeti partners with startups creating amazing products and giving back to their communities. They host a podcast to interview founders, to share the passion and goals of the startups with the community. And they increase visibility of these startups through giveaways. Members of the ReddyYeti community can enter themselves in the giveaways, and gain extra entries by sharing with friends.
Josh is telling me about how he and his two partners started ReddyYeti using The Lean StartUp Methodology: they found a cheap way to prove the value of their product, and took that to companies for partnerships! ReddyYeti is only a few months old and already has 2,400 members.
We’re also taking about how Josh and his partners learned to pivot as they planned for ReddyYeti to launch, and their plans for the future of the site. And, he’s sharing some of the amazing startups ReddyYeti has already partnered with!
What are you passionate about? In the outdoor markets, and especially as entrepreneurs, passion is such an important asset. But it can also, sometimes, get in the way of our own clear thinking about the ideas and projects we’re so in love with.
This is why I’m so excited to be talking with Al Tabor, tech worker and market forecaster extraordinaire about what we in the outdoor markets can learn from tech start-ups. He’s translating what he knows about how tech startups get going and making it applicable to outdoor startups. And it’s working – Al has worked wonders with Sierra Designs, Mountain Headwear and recent visitors to the Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast, Martin Zemitis of Slingfin, and Brad Stewart of Caravan Outpost.
Al and I both know that the outdoor markets are a completely different animal than tech start-ups, but something Al says every entrepreneur should read is The Lean Start-up, by Eric Ries. Al is admittedly not a business book person, so if he says it’s good, you better believe him!
The Lean Startup mentality is all about learning. You need to learn what path your business is on, and if this path will lead to success! And, you need to learn it as fast and cheaply as possible, to save yourself a lot of time and heartache. This sounds overwhelming, but Al’s talking me through the steps on how to evaluate your startup idea and find your minimum value product, your MVP!
Something else that we entrepreneurs in the outdoor markets can also learn from tech—and from basketball!—is to pivot! If you find out your idea isn’t working, keep one foot in it, and spin until you find a new opening. This is where passion can be a challenge to us outdoor market entrepreneurs. We’re so in love with our project, we don’t want to change anything. But Al says, you have to keep one foot in that passion, and use the other to pivot to a new way forward. Who knows what you’ll find!
Al’s giving some great examples of what it looks like to pivot in the outdoor markets by talking about his work with Slingfin and Caravan Outpost. He’s also discussing using the Root Cause Analysis system to hit the hard reality of any problem – in business or in your personal life.
Step 1: Define your value of proposition
Step 2: Validate this proposition.
Step 3: If it’s not going to work, pivot. Keep one foot in what you know, and spin around to find a new opening.
IntrepidEntrepreneur.net/Brad-Steward (Past IE podcast w/ Caravan Outpost founder)
IntrepidEntrepreneur.net/Martin-Zemitis (Past IE Podcast w/Martin Zemitis)
TheLeanStartup.com/ (Lean Startup book website)
YouTube.com/watch?v=fEvKo90qBns (Eric Reis google talk referenced)
The internet has done some great things for us. Especially as entrepreneurs, being involved in the digital community of outdoor sports aficionados and companies is an amazing way to build contacts and stay connected.
But my guest today is taking using his internet platform to launch. . . . a print magazine! As Steve says, there are some things that just don’t work as well online.
Over seven years ago, Steve Casmiro started Adventure-Journal.com, an online magazine devoted to outdoor adventure. Using his experience editing Bike Magazine and Powder Magazine, he was planning to start this project in print. But, as we all know, 2008 was right when the recession hit and it was hard to get support for a new paper magazine.
Today, Adventure-Journal is a super exciting, inspiring and successful online journal. Steve’s here for his second visit to the Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast to talk about finally coming back to his original dream: a print Adventure Journal Magazine. The amazing first issue just came out this Spring!
Steve says that starting Adventure Journal online was great when he got ready to consider print again, because he already had a community of people interested in his product. Unlike when he started out in journalism, he wasn’t stuck using mailings to drum up subscribers! And, he already knew what his readers would be interested in! He’s spent years getting to know them.
Steve also knows how he wants the print magazine to be different from Adventure-Journal.com. He calls it a “luxurious reading experience”: lots of large pictures and plenty of room for the reader to engage with the story. Reading in ink and paper is a special experience, it should take you away from all of your devices and into an adventure. Steve is so passionate about this, he’s not offering the magazine in any electronic forms.
Starting a print magazine is a risky step but hearing Steve’s excitement is inspirational. His vision for this magazine is so clear, and he’s spent so many years honing in on it online. This episode is a must-listen for any of you with a dream project.
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Adventure Journal: Adventure-Journal.com
Print Subscription: Adventure-Journal.com/product/adventure-journal-quarterly-subscription/