6 tips for startups to take advantage of the recovery

– Chris Lynch is vice president of economic development at the Irvine Chamber of Commerce. The views expressed are his own. –

With recent reports the economy is becoming stable and showing signs of upward growth, the question is what are entrepreneurs going to do about it?

The answer is simple, they can take advantage of the upbeat perception that the economy is in recovery and benefit from the opportunities they didn’t have before. The following are some tips on how entrepreneurs can take advantage of the recovery, based on years of experience coaching successful startups.

1. Get a good start on the recovery. Right now the market is solid for proven ventures, but in about 18 months the market will be ready for riskier ventures. This is a critical time for when opportunities will be made, so start making new contacts, solidifying your business model and creating potential business relationships right away. Look into entrepreneurial or business workshops, such as what we provide at the Irvine Chamber of Commerce and the Irvine Entrepreneur Forum. An economic recovery is a good time to capitalize on the optimistic mood of investors and put your business out there in front of the right people. So make sure to perfect a quick elevator pitch and consolidate all your financial information.

2. Take advantage of the opportunities. It’s important for entrepreneurs and startup businesses to pay close attention to the opportunities and general attitude towards investing during a recovering economy. The fact that investors are becoming more willing and openminded towards investing is a good place to start. This means that the money is starting to flow back into venture capital and other investment options. People are looking for new places to put their cash and every entrepreneur should take advantage of the opportunities by getting their innovation out there to potential investor groups.

VC: “Entrepreneurs have a lot of the power”

Ann Miura-Ko is known for using the term “ninja assassin” in describing the kinds of technology entrepreneurs she likes to invest in as a venture capitalist and co-founder of Silicon Valley’s Floodgate Fund. Reuters recently caught up with one of the country’s up-and-coming VCs, after Miura-Ko attended at a Washington, D.C. conference addressing financing options for small companies.

Q: You’ve said you are concerned about impending regulatory restrictions on small investment firms as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act takes effect. Why?

A: This comes out of the result of some bad behavior on the part of investors. But what they’re (government is) trying to do is mitigate risk for the whole economy by having smaller investment firms also register with the SEC. As a small fund myself, that doesn’t have a lot of overhead, we don’t have a lot of back-office people working for us. The amount of reporting that is required relative to the amount of risk it de-risks for the entire economy, I think that the cost benefit doesn’t really make sense to me. We as a really small fund would have to start registering with the SEC pretty soon, and the amount of back-office work that would be required is kind of ridiculous.

A call to arms on the IPO malaise

– Jeff Bussgang is a general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School. He is the author of “Mastering the VC Game”. This article originally appeared on his blog www.seeingbothsides.com. The views expressed are his own. –

I almost never agree with a single thing written on the Wall Street Journal editorial pages. Yet, I found myself muttering “amen” a few times as I read this morning’s editorial on “Whatever Happened to IPOs?”. It’s just stunning to me how little interest there seems to be on the part of a supposedly pro-business Congress and (more recently) Executive Branch on this one simple thing that would unleash innovation and jobs – watering down Sarbanes-Oxley.

The IPO market has improved somewhat in 2011 and so perhaps that has taken some pressure off, but the fact is that the regulations and costs associated with an IPO are so overwhelmingly daunting for our young venture-backed companies that they simply avoid them altogether. I used to hear from investment bankers that a company north of $100 million in revenue and consistently profitable can find a welcome public audience. But recent conversations that I have had with bankers has carried a different, even more depressing message.

An entrepreneur’s view of the Japan quake

– Matthew Romaine is Co-Founder and CTO of myGengo, a crowd-sourced translation platform launched from Tokyo, Japan. Born in Boston to an American father and Japanese mother, Matt has lived in Tokyo for a total of 17 years. The views expressed are his own. –

As I write this entry traveling 200 kilometers per hour (124 miles per hour) on a bullet train bound for Tokyo, I’m anxiously curious to catch up with my colleagues in person. One returns from Hong Kong today, another from Taiwan. A third is returning from a remote island south of Kobe, and three are making plans to return from Melbourne. Just last week we were all in the same room focused – or at least attempting to focus – on growing our crowd-sourced translation platform myGengo, from Tokyo.

We are a startup that gathers translators from around the world, qualifies them, then unleashes a sea of bite-size content – from emails, tweets, and iPhone app descriptions – for translators to work through. Users enjoy the convenience; translators like the work-flexibility. Our team is small and international, representing 8 nationalities, and our system relies on a stellar 2,000-member strong translator pool from every timezone.

Treasury hosts conference to help startups find capital

Continuing its push to provide small companies with resources necessary for growth, the Obama Administration on Tuesday is hosting an all-day conference in Washington designed to decode the difficult process of raising capital.

Replete with heavy hitters, the speakers include Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner; SBA Administrator Karen Mills; Scott Case, co-founder of Priceline and head of the government’s newly formed entrepreneurship advocacy group StartUp America Partnership; and Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric and chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

The conference — “Access to Capital: Fostering Growth and Innovation for Small Companies” — aims to explore methods of securing investment at each stage of expansion, from the early stages through IPO or buyout.

Will startup visa boost entrepreneurship?

– Stephanie Rabiner is a contributor to FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

The immigration debate continues: Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar have reintroduced a startup visa bill into Congress.

The bill, which has been modified since it first burst onto the scene last year, is designed to encourage partnerships between U.S. investors and immigrants in a way that benefits the national economy. The Senators hope that the StartUp Visa Act will attract innovation and innovators to the country, creating jobs and propelling the United States back to the top in the realm of technological development.

Are NCAA basketball office pools legal?

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

March Madness is here and ready to distract your employees. They will be filling out brackets this week, crumpling them up, picking No. 5 seeds for upsets.

And they’ll be gambling the whole time, too.

You may have let it slide during the Super Bowl, but with office pools cropping up everywhere, you’re probably wondering whether you have a legal obligation to shut them down.

Energy grid startup says not enough electric cars

Carbon Day Automotive, a distributor of electric vehicle charging stations in the Midwest, said interest in its products has been rising along with the high price of gas at the pump. The problem is automakers aren’t keeping pace by delivering enough cars.

“The Midwest has been overlooked,” said Brian Levin, Carbon Day vice president and partner. “We’re definitely the chicken before the egg.”

Cars like the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf are being rolled out initially in more concentrated urban areas such as the coastal regions. That’s because the cars have a limited range that make them somewhat inconvenient in areas where consumers tend to travel longer distances, said John O’Dell, editor of Edmund Green Car Advisor, which tracks the industry.

New York startup funding on fire

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

How hot is the New York tech scene? Maybe a little too hot, suggests Owen Davis, managing director of NYC Seed, a three-year old seed fund that provides up to $200,000 to New York startups via a partnership with the New York City Investment Fund, the New York City Economic Development Corp, and other local organizations.

Davis said seed rounds are up 50 percent from where they were a couple of years ago, and that valuations are up as much as 30 percent over the last year. “A startup says we want an X amount for our valuation, and all it needs is to get a few people to say yes to it. Then it can say to everyone else, ‘Look, this is what the market is supporting.’”

Figuring out Foursquare

– Jeff Bussgang is a general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School. He is the author of “Mastering the VC Game”. This article originally appeared on his blog www.seeingbothsides.com. The views expressed are his own. –

I had the pleasure of teaching a new case at Harvard Business School recently on Foursquare that I co-authored with professors Tom Eisenmann and Mikolaj Piskorski as part of Tom’s new course “Launching Technology Ventures“.

Foursquare executives Dennis Crowley, Naveen Selvadurai and Evan Cohen were kind enough to allow us to interview them in preparation for the case, which framed some of their current key strategic issues and looked back on the choices they made in the early days to draw pedagogical lessons of lean startup best practices, building a platform business, network effects and running monetization experiments.