Entrepreneurial

MentorMob turns textbooks to playlists

Kris Chinosorn is addicted to online learning. But the frustration of having too many windows open while trying to source good information took its toll. His answer was to create MentorMob, a site that allows users to curate online content into step-by-step lessons on any topic.

MentorMob calls these lessons learning playlists. The playlist topics range from the New Hampshire GOP primary to how to bake sourdough bread at home.

“We’re providing the platform for sharing information, but it’s really about anything you want to learn,” says Chinosorn.

He wants MentorMob to be a good source of educational content through the playlists.

“The learner playlist sets it all up for you into a specific order into a long, deep learning process as opposed to a search to find one specific piece of information. We want to focus on that good, deep information,” says Chinosorn, co-founder and CEO of MentorMob.

Startup BitGym aims to inspire geeks to work out with iPads, iPhones

– Alastair Goldfisher is a contributor for PE Hub and acting Editor-in-Charge at Venture Capital Journal, both Thomson Reuters publications. This article originally appeared here. Any views expressed are his own. –

With more and more VC-backed personal health and fitness companies targeting the hardcore exercise fanatic, it was only a matter of time before a startup emerged to go after the less enthusiastic cardio burner.

Witness BitGym, a startup being launched out of the Rock Health accelerator in San Francisco that says it has raised “some” seed funding.

Seattle startup raises $1.3 million to encrypt the cloud

Kory Gill’s “a-ha” moment came in the form of a lightning bolt that struck his Seattle home and fried his computers. In the aftermath, his wife’s main concern was whether their digitally stored family photos had survived the blast.

“What more of a sign do you need to go start this company?” Gill recalled his wife asking him, who used the scare to leave a 20-year career at Microsoft (MSFT.O) and launch his own online backup company.

Three years later (Reuters first interviewed Gill in 2009), Gill and co-founder Marius Nita – a former Microsoft colleague – are seeing some traction with Newline Software Inc, having launched the first version of their online storage product, Exact, into the market in August.

Bringing order to the unruly world of early stage entrepreneurship

This article originally appeared in the Venture Capital Journal, a Thomson Reuters publication.

Eric Ries, author of the “The Lean Startup”, offers a worthy attempt to bring the scientific method to the often intuitive exploration of young companies.

What leads most startups astray is the lack of a disciplined, empirical procedure for making decisions, says Ries, who also writes on the blog Startup Lessons Learned and is a 2010-11 entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School.

Some lessons learned as an entrepreneur and VC

– Chris Dixon is the co-founder of Hunch and of seed fund Founder Collective. This blog originally appeared here. The views expressed are his own. –

Note: Google was kind enough to invite me to give a short talk at their Zeitgeist conference earlier this week. It was a really interesting conference and I got a chance to meet a lot of people I admire. For my talk, I decided to use material from some of my blog posts over the years that I thought might appeal to a broader audience. Unfortunately, I was still recovering from a nasty cold/flu so I didn’t deliver the talk as well as I’d like. Below is the text.

Today, I wanted to talk about some of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the years from my experiences as an investor and entrepreneur.

Two Degrees co-founders draw on 35-year age gap

With nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, it can be tricky to find a business model to set you apart from competitors.

The co-founders and entrepreneurs behind Two Degrees Food, a company that produces nutritional bars and feeds children across the world, have used one of their best assets to maximize their reach: a 35-year age difference.

Lauren Walters, 60, and Will Hauser, 25, teamed up to found Two Degrees in 2010, a move that Walters said strengthens their ability to tackle everything from solving business problems to embracing social media.

Startup adds Hollywood flare to small business videos

Small businesses have been fast to tap social media platforms like Facebook, but their efforts to provide compelling video about their products and services have fallen short.

That’s the view of L.A.-based entrepreneur and media attorney Sam Rogoway, who is launching Near Networks, a national video service to improve those efforts, while keeping production within the budgets of many local companies.

“We saw this growth in local content and video had not caught up,” said Rogoway, 32. “Given how production costs have dropped, we thought there would be an opportunity to develop not commercials for local business, but real programming.”

Sittercity founder to launch “social recommendation engine”

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

Genevieve Thiers is not a household name in Silicon Valley, but many Chicagoans know her as the founder of Chicago-based Sittercity, a 10-year-old online subscription-service that marries families to caregivers around the country for help with their children, pets, and aging parents.

Thiers is also among a small, but growing number of second-time entrepreneurs beginning to emerge from Chicago’s young, but maturing tech scene. Next month, Thiers officially launches her newest startup, Contact Karma, with co-founder Maureen Wozniak (no relation to Apple co-founder Steve).

How much money do I need for my startup?

– Tim Berry is the president and founder of Palo Alto Software. This post originally appeared on his blog, “Planning, Startups, Stories”. The views expressed are his own. –

It’s an obvious question. And if you’re looking for startup investors you’d better be able to answer it well, and quickly too. No wandering eyes. No doubt. If you’re doing a pitch, have a slide for it. And be specific.

I liked this from Ben Yoskovitz’s Instigator Blog on Use of Funds:

… most descriptions of “use of funds” are incredibly generic and standard, typically involving the following: hire key personnel, product development, sales & marketing. Hhhm…the phrase, “No s!@# Sherlock…” comes to mind.

Boomer sees business in discarded mannequins

Kara Ohngren is a writer and editor at SecondAct. This article originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

Judi Henderson-Town felt trapped. For years she was unhappy as an account executive at such industry giants as Johnson & Johnson and United Airlines. She found corporate life “soul-destroying.”

“I wanted something more entrepreneurial,” said the 53-year-old Henderson-Town. “But I didn’t know it was an option — no one I knew growing up owned their own business.”

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