Venture Hunt Long Island

Venture Hunt LI was originally intended to methodically and efficiently connect serious investors with the best early stage business opportunities on Long Island.

At the same time that I was developing Venture Hunt Long Island, the NYC startup community was growing rapidly and becoming more open in both entrepreneur development and funding (co-working spaces, accelerators, skill development, pitch nights, etc.) which were are all just a train ride away. In addition, amazing startup resources and market places like Angel List made the location of your startup, less relevant for “access”.

Taking all this in, it was clear that Long Island didn’t need a local deal flow machine, because quite simply, most early stage ventures (regardless of location) haven’t earned a seat at the funding table (even some that get it). Whether it is because of not finding market fit, not enough traction, inexperienced founders or any other number of reasons that could tank a business regardless of the amount of money it raised. With that in mind, I transitioned Venture Hunt LI to be a collection of helpful notes for LI entrepreneurs to take their startup to the next level by leveraging resources unique to Long Island, nearby NYC and those that are location agnostic. All the posts have since moved to this blog after winding down VentureHuntLI.com.

There are still many organizations out there trying to foster a healthy startup community on Long Island (some good, some bad, but mostly ugly). Many of which seem to be failing under their own weight and complexity. Their funding comes from government, academic or other “sponsors” that have overt but mostly covert strings attached and usually end up just paying for staff that attend each others functions, events filled with service providers (who doesn’t need 10 patent attorneys?) and real estate (which is LI’s true economy) that end up as gilded tombs. I give points for trying, but not for the execution thus far. Maybe in a denser population of founders all this activity on its own could ignite something, but I’m not seeing sparks. I would even go a far as saying there are more people involved in running entrepreneur programs for Long Island then there are entrepreneurs with real startups on Long Island.

Recently (2014) my fellow startup friends and I decided to take a different approach based on the premise that all anyone really needs is a bit of guidance to get to the next level in their business (from idea to testing the market, from testing to traction with an MVP, from initial traction to funding and beyond).

To foster this, we took a strategy right out of Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City by Brad Feld and created Started On LI which is a monthly meet up for Long Island founders to share war stories, get advice, introductions and of course a few drinks in the process.

To “make it” on Long Island or anywhere else for that matter you need tenacity AND coach-ability. If you’re looking for similar founders come on down and the first drink is on me 🙂

My friends and I have a few other things in the works for the LI startup community, but unlike everyone else, we prefer to have substance before a press release, so I’ll keep you posted when the time is right.

 

Accelerate Long Island

Accelerate Long Island Logo

Accelerate Long Island’s mission is to foster a unique collaboration among Long Island’s world class research institutions and its business community to commercialize research and create an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

I’ve had the pleasure to attend both Accelerate LI events as well as spend some time with Mark and his team and their actions speak louder than my praise could. In a short amount of (for Long Island) time, they have connected with the Lords of all the local fiefdoms and is actively fostering not just communication but a sense of common purpose.

Aside from the less tangible progress, Accelerate LI has architected 3 core programs to further move the needle for entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists and those looking to support their growth here on the island.

Accelerate Funding

Accelerate Long Island has a $500,000 Seed Fund that invests up to $50,000 in early stage high technology startup companies in the form of grants. The Accelerate Long Island Seed Fund co-invests with the $750,000 Long Island Emerging Technologies Fund (LIETF), which was created by three venture capitalists and typically invests up to $50,000 in early stage startups.

Accelerate Funding is also working closely with the Long Island Angel Network and other early stage funding sources to provide one-stop-shopping for startups companies seeking capital. 

Accelerate Assist

Accelerate Assist is a free mentorship program for early stage high-tech startup companies. 

Accelerate Assist kicks off with a brainstorming session with a team of entrepreneurs-in-residence. The startup company is then paired with an entrepreneur-in-residence and develops a set of milestones for the  over a three to sixth month period. Completion of the Accelerate Assist program may result in an opportunity to pitch to the Accelerate Long Island Seed Fund or connections with other early stage funding sources.

Typical coaching topics include:

  • Developing or refining the market for the technology.
  • Determining the pain in the market and determining the best economic model for the company.
  • Navigating intellectual property issues.
  • Polishing the pitch for funding.
  • Assistance with company formation and management.

Accelerate Ecosystem

Long Island’s startup scene is blossoming – and Accelerate Long Island is supporting entrepreneurs and building’s Long Island entrepreneurial ecosystem. Accelerate Long Island’s networking and instructional events are part of the ecosystem. (editor’s note – this the collection of events Accelerate hosts for various groups that make up the Long Island startup ecosystem)

LaunchPad Long Island Accelerator Officially Blasts Off

Lauch Pad Long IslandThe countdown for accepting applications for LaunchPad LI’s Summer 2013 Accelerator Program has begun. Applications are now being accepted thru May 17, 2013. We will review and select applicants to come in for interviews on a rolling basis. We will notify all accepted applicants by the end of May. The Summer 2013 Class will begin on June 3rd and launch with a Summer Blast Off Party!

What you will get out of the LaunchPad Accelerator Program:

  • Mentorship 
  • Seed funding
  • Free office space
  • Exposure and Access to investors
  • Legal, Financial, Business Development, Marketing & Sales Support
  • Fun Experiences & Lifelong Lessons

The Long Island Angel Network

Long Island Angel Network

The Long Island Angel Network is the most well known forum of angel investors on Long Island. Members can evaluate andexchange information about investment opportunities, primarily in technology- and innovation-focused early-stage and emerging growth companies in the $500,000 – $2 million range.

LI Angel Network screeners endeavors to select companies for presentation that they judge likely to be of the greatest interest to members, but the Network does not make investment recommendations; investors’ decisions are made individually. 

If you are an entrepreneur interested in presenting to the LIAN you can submit your application (via gust.com)and if they feel you are a fit you will be selected to pitch at their frequent “pitch nights”. You can also just attend pitch nights so what they are all about and better understand the caliber of firms you are competing with for the angels attention.

 

Long Island Angel Network Presentation Night

Long Island Angel NetworkIf you’re looking at presenting your venture to the Long Island Angel Network don’t miss their Presentation Night this Wednesday, March 20, 2013 from 5:30 PM to 

Attending this event will give you insight into the Long Island Angels without the pressure of presenting blind. ONLY PRESELECTED firms are presenting. Apply here to present at future events.

LI Tech Comets

LI Tech Comets LogoLI Tech Comets is a business accelerator housed in the LI Tech Mall.

Like most accelerators, LI Tech Comets follows the usual process of…

  1. Submit application
  2. A round of interviews to narrow the pool to a final class
  3. Free office space, legal, account and marketing assistance
  4. 3 months of mentoring
  5. Additional 3 months of mentoring/office space if applicable

There are however, some notable omissions. Most importantly there is no explicit initial investment of capital for companies entering the program and no “demo” day on the calendar for the class to show off what they have accomplished to a definitive list of equally vetted investors.

It is these “book ends of capital” that really define an accelerator but more importantly draw a competitive level of entrepreneurial talent to apply and intern a competitive level of mentors and investors to get involved. So as it stands today, LI Tech Comets smells more like a structured incubator with an eviction date than a typical accelerator the likes of Y Combinator in CA or Tech Stars in NYC.

The phase “Walk before you fly.” is displayed prominently on the LI Tech Comets website and by speaking with those involved, LI Tech Comets as an organization is doing just that. I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labor when the first class is released into the wild. Regardless of their survival rate, if LITC can rapidly evolve based on what they learned running the first class, they have an opportunity to become a keystone contributor to the Long Island startup ecosystem.

Learn more and submit an application.

LI Tech Mall

LI Tech MallThe LI Tech Mall is suite / cube space geared toward fledgling tech firms looking for some camaraderie.

It has all the infrastructure necessities: high speed internet, 2 shared conference rooms, kitchen and a receptionist. The biggest asset however is the close relation to LISTnet, one of the largest technology sector advocates on Long Island.

Offices range in price from  $500 – $900 and cubes are $200 – 250 which is on par with co-working spaces, but the location has more of an incubator feel with less chaos (for better or worse) and a focus on steady progress for its inhabitants. 

It is also worth noting that LI Tech Mall is home of the LI Tech Comets which is an early stage business accelerator.

If you are seeking a price competitive place to setup shop in the heart of Suffolk County that has a soft spot for tech, it is worth checking out.

Location

200 Parkway Drive South Suite 201
Hauppauge, New York 11788

More Information

Pitchcrawl 3.0 in NYC This Week

PitchcrawlFounders and investors, come to one of the most relevant events to build relationships in the industry. What is the Pitchcrawl like? It’s like a speed dating cocktail party, but more interesting.

Everyone pitches. Investors and Founders both get 30 seconds to say who they are and what they do to the group. Investors and Founders break up into one on one sessions. Food is served in-between.

Tickets online are reserved for Startup Founders only. Please do not register if you do not have a startup and are looking for funding, you will be denied entry. If you are a service provider and are interested in attending the event, please e-mail us at the following address to discuss sponsorship opportunities. Investors and media, please contact greg@dishcrawl.com. The event is free for investors and press to attend; investors do not need to buy tickets.

Please note – ticket prices will increase as we get closer to the event.

Confirmed Investors to date Include –

  1. ERA Accelerator
  2. Gen Y Capital Partners
  3. Solomon Wilson
  4. Hafooch Investments
  5. High Line Venture Partners
  6. DreamIt Ventures
  7. BOLDstart Ventures
  8. Metamorphic Ventures
  9. Rosemont Seneca
  10. First Mark Capital
  11. K2 Media Labs
  12. Genacast Ventures
  13. Star Angel Network
  14. New York Angels
  15. CanRock Ventures
  16. 37 Angels
  17. Founder Collective
  18. Arc Angel Fund
  19. RTP Ventures
  20. Golden Seeds
  21. BHV
  22. DFJ Gotham
  23. +Several independent angel investors

A few event logistics:

  • Do not bring Powerpoint files or presentations. Everyone will be pitching verbally only, this is an elevator pitch!
  • After the startups have pitched, the investors will give an overview of what they are looking to invest in. They will then announce which startups that they want to meet with. After those meetings other startups not called are free to approach the investors to discuss their business plans.
  • We will be sending an e-mail two days before the event with location details. The event is being held at a space in Midtown. 
  • When submitting your company description on the ticket page, please note that this description will be provided to the investors.

Also a special thanks to our sponsors!!!

Goodwin Procter LLP is a national law firm with a growing international presence. With offices in Boston, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Washington, D.C. At Goodwin Procter, there is a collective determination and an entrepreneurial spirit. As one of the nation’s leading law firms, Goodwin Procter handles some of the largest cases on record and also works with individuals and investors leading the way in new technologies and markets. Goodwin Procter’s award winning website, www.goodwinfoundersworkbench.com, is a great resource that provides free access to critical start-up forms, memorandum, best practices and other resources to form, operate and protect your start-up.

Trinet. TriNet is a trusted partner to small businesses, providing critical HR-related services on an outsourced basis. TriNet’s solutions help contain costs, minimize employer-related risks and relieve administrative burden to keep an entrepreneur’s focus on core business functions. From employee benefits service and payroll processing to high-level human capital consulting, TriNet’s expertise is integrated with every facet of a client’s business. TriNet specializes in serving fast-moving companies in fields such as technology and financial services, who recognize that top-quality employees are the most critical competitive asset. For more information, please visit http://www.trinet.com

Also, thanks to MatchPuppy for their help with organizing the event. MatchPuppy is the OkCupid for dog playdates, a new way for dog owners and their dogs to meet new friends locally. http://www.matchpuppy.com/

Company Camp for Long Island’s High School and Middle School Students

Company Camp LogoCompany Camp is a 10 week entrepreneurial training course where “campers” form teams, ideate products, test markets, hire web designers and raise capital and at the end of the day, create a business.

Company Camp will be premiering the documentary, The Startup Kids, holding SKYPE and in-person question and answer sessions with tech and entrepreneurial business leaders and one lucky team or individual (assuming a minimum “Camp” of 15″) will receive $10,000 to be put toward their business.

The cost of the program is $1,499 and includes the 25 hour, 10 week program, dinner each week (pizza, salad, water and/or soda).

Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club of Nassau County

money bulbThe Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club of Nassau County is a meeting place for inventors with patents pending, others who have sold or licensed inventions and those who have lots of ideas but know where to start. The club also holds an Inventors Showcase where club members can display their inventions to receive feedback and encouragement from fellow inventors.

Learn more and sign up for the next meetup.

Group Organizer

Brian Fried holds four patented inventions and has an additional three that are patent pending under his company, Think Up Designs. Brian’s inventions were brought to market through manufacturing, as he has appeared on QVC and also has done licensing for retail distribution products from kids toys and infant products to kitchen gadgets. Another specialty of his is to create and license brand art properties that target the teen/tween market. His brands have been placed in several retail chains such as Target, and other well known retailers in the U.S. and Canada.

Government Support

The Nassau County Office of Economic Development is a broad-reaching entity established to strengthen existing communities. The Office coordinates critical services and information to businesses, residents and the community