Entrepreneurial

5 reasons to join a startup after graduating

– Eric Stromberg joined Hunch in 2010 and works primarily on business development. Prior to Hunch, Eric worked as a summer analyst in Goldman Sachs’ Sales and Trading Division. Eric received a BA, magna cum laude, in history from Duke University. This article originally appeared on his blog. The views expressed are his own. –

After I wrote my last post, a surprising number of people emailed me asking why I decided to join a startup after graduating from Duke. Many of those I heard from face similar decisions today: either they are college seniors choosing between a big company and a startup, or they are recent graduates who work at a big company and are thinking about making the switch.

What’s interesting is that most are already leaning towards the startup career path: it seems they just want someone to assure them it’s a rational move. Their friends and family are skeptical: “How can you turn down a job at Morgan Stanley for a 10-person startup?” Hopefully this post will give those who want to join startups some good points to bring back to the skeptics as to why it’s a good idea to join a startup early in your career.

First, an important point: as much as I’d like to say that everyone should join a tech startup as soon as they graduate, I don’t think it’s that simple. People have different passions, and I’m not a fan of projecting my own interests onto others and assuming that what I did was somehow the “right” thing to do. So, the first piece of advice I’d give is to pursue whatever you are passionate about. What is passion? In defining it, I’ll take inspiration from Steve Blank’s recent graduation speech at Philadelphia University. This quote caught my eye:

It’s your curiosity and enthusiasm that will get you noticed and make your life interesting.

Exclusive: Fewer small businesses shopping for credit: PayNet

When the financial crisis hit, panicked small businesses were scrambling to find credit. Nearly three years later it’s a much different story.

The level of credit shopping – when a borrower seeks a loan or lease from more than one lender – by small businesses has fallen nearly 30 percent since September 2008, according to new data released by PayNet Inc and it may lead lenders to offer better terms said William Phelan, PayNet’s president and founder.

“It indicates that it’s not a very competitive market right now,” said Phelan, whose Skokie, Illinois-based company released the data as part of the launch of its new Credit Shopping Indicator, which measures the number of lenders a borrower shops for business credit. “In 2008 you would have expected it to be high because of the recession and the lack of availability of credit.”

from MediaFile:

Are we living through another tech bubble?

By Kevin O'Connor

The views expressed are his own.

Yesterday’s announcement that Groupon is planning an IPO has accelerated the view (at least in some quarters) that we are living through a second tech bubble, fueled by social media companies.

Perhaps we are, but the conclusions to draw from that are not so simple. I still remember the negative reaction we received from potential investors back in 1995 concerning our forecast for Internet growth.  Well, they were right – our forecasts were way, way off – the Internet grew a lot faster than we or anybody else could envision.

I lived through the bursting of the dot-com bubble and watched in horror as our stock – DoubleClick – plummeted, with 75% of our customers going out of business.  My mother was so embarrassed I was a CEO of an Internet company she began telling friends I was a mid-level crack dealer.

Shaquille O’Neal’s retirement assists startup

– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This story originally appeared here. –

When the manager of basketball star Shaquille O’Neal called Michael Downing one month ago out of the blue, the San Francisco entrepreneur was overcome with elation – and dread.

O’Neal is a savvy social media adopter with nearly 4 million Twitter followers and more than 2 million Facebook fans. He also reads tech press, and he’d noticed a short piece about Downing’s 10-month-old company, Tout. The maker of an iPhone application that will be available on Android phones next month, Tout allows users to film 15-second-long videos, then blast them over Facebook or Twitter accounts, email or SMS with the click of a button.

Wrongful termination law: Avoiding a lawsuit

– Cynthia Hsu is a contributor to FindLaw’s Free Enterprise blog. FindLaw is a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

As a small business owner, knowing some of the intricacies of wrongful termination law can be vital to preserving your business. Illegal firing of employees for reasons you may believe are justified might just land you in a costly wrongful termination lawsuit.

Most employees are “at will” in the U.S., meaning that they can be fired for whatever reason you want. Of course, that reason must be a legal reason.

NEA seeks seed stage deals

– Alastair Goldfisher is the Editor-in-Charge at the Venture Capital Journal, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared on PE Hub. –

New Enterprise Associates is planning to step up its pace of early stage investments, thanks in part, no doubt, to how the plummeting costs of launching a business make smaller investments potentially more lucrative.

NEA, which last month made early stage investments in Inporia, a stealth ecommerce startup, and Grubwithus, a social dining service, has reportedly formed NEA Seed Fund to target seed stage deals.

Hearty 2011 seen for restaurateurs

This year the restaurant industry is poised to put up its best numbers in four years, buoyed by an increase of roughly 2 million jobs since the depths of the recession and improved household income.

Sales are seen rising 3.6 percent to $604 billion in 2011, according to forecasts from the National Restaurant Association, the industry’s trade group.

“When employment moves up it creates additional demand for convenience such as pizza,” said Hudson Riehle, the association’s senior vice president of research and information services. “Barring any unforeseen shocks, the future for the industry will continue to improve.”

As startups ponder the secondary market, more seem to make private info public

– Mark Boslet is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

The secondary markets for private company stock may seem like the Wild West, with unstructured valuations and less than ideal information disclosure.

Yet several securities laws apply to transactions now taking place, and the onus falls on companies to follow rules meant to level the playing field, including making some confidential information about their businesses public.

Small business credit cards not protected by CARD Act

– Robin Enos is a contributor to FindLaw’s Free Enterprise blog. FindLaw is a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (the “CARD Act”) went into effect on March 22, 2009, but Congress exempted business credit cards.

This new consumer protection law changed the game for credit card companies and consumers, as we blogged about in 2009.

Big banks see slow recovery for small business

Marc Bernstein’s response to reports of loan facilitators advising small business clients to avoid big banks: “It’s simply bad information.”

The head of Wells Fargo’s small business lending initiatives then pointed to the $3.7 billion the country’s fourth-largest bank (by total assets) lent to small firms over the first three months of the year – an increase of 27 percent over the first quarter of 2010.

“That’s not small change,” said Bernstein, who added Wells Fargo is the largest national lender of loans under $100,000 and was recently honored as the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 2011 Large 7(a) Lender of the Year. “We are trying to do everything we can to get people who apply for a loan approved, but the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of small businesses that unfortunately have been hit very badly by the downturn and are struggling and it’s hard to see how they’re going to handle more debt.”

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