Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Season's Greetings & A Kicking New Year......

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dec. Pitching Event Results: Petticoats to Pharmaceuticals

December brought in a new crop of amazing Startups.

The judges were impressed with the high quality of pitches - and also the unusual variety.

As a result, we had a very tightly contested finish with 4 finalists in the shoot-out. 

So.i.Heard Music  Music Education for the 21st Century   
MB Group The largest global supplier of rare African fruits that temporarily alters taste buds for chemotherapy patients and a zero-calorie sugar substitute
HealthMed Corp    Patent protected combination of cholesterol medication for a large long-term user base


Jewel Toned  Unique meant-to-be-seen shape wear and eCommerce site

Rachael McRary, Jewel Toned Founder earns an appearance at the next Private Equity Forum at the Yale Club. 

We hope you will be joining us again. Our next event will be in January when we will present the best of Startupalooza presentations.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Too Old for a Job - Start a "School of Rock"!

My daughter Danielle, makes her debut in the Westchester Business Journal.

You Are Here: Home » Arts & Leisure » Westchester dads open School of Rock in Mamaroneck

Westchester dads open School of Rock in Mamaroneck

Tory and Vanessa Ridder stand behind their son Wolfe, 9, while watching students in the School of Rock’s performance program practice at their weekly band rehearsal. Photo by Danielle Brody
Tory and Vanessa Ridder stand behind their son Wolfe, 9, while watching students in the School of Rock’s performance program practice at their weekly band rehearsal. Photo by Danielle Brody
Fathers in the county are keeping the classics alive with a new generation of rock stars – Westchester kids.
Two childhood friends opened a new branch of the School of Rock franchise in Mamaroneck in September. With corporate backgrounds, Tory Ridder and Ned Kelly, and their business partners Steve Kennedy and Tony Reilly, are getting a taste of what it’s like to be entrepreneurs – and rock band managers.
School of Rock, a company based in suburban Chicago with more than 140 locations in eight countries, is not unlike the 2003 movie of the same name starring Jack Black as teacher to a group of student musicians. The after-school program offers school-age kids and adults private music lessons and an opportunity to join a rock band. Weekly group rehearsals are practice for the live themed rock show the students put on at the end of the season.
“It’s such a great feeling – and this ties into the business – to see the music that I grew up on inspiring the next generation and how they’re able to connect with it and use it as a way to learn music,” said Ridder, 40, of Fleetwood in Mount Vernon. “This type of program teaches kids how music was meant to be played and how the founding fathers of rock, how they did it. It’s a wonderful tool to use that music as both inspiration and teaching material for the kids.”
Continued Here (Westfair)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November STARTUPALOOZA Discovers New Stars

Results from Nov. Startupalooza

The judges were impressed with the high quality of pitches.

As a result, we had a very tightly contested finish with 4 finalists.


Advanced Neural Metrics, Inc. Frank Minella. Pain measurement software.

Milestone Sports Ltd. Jason Kaplan, CEO Free/lowcost wearable technology that keeps manufacturers and retailers in touch with their customers. 

PixelRouter Andrew James, CEO One of the first available games for the coming VR platforms.


Congratulations to Manny Ben-Or of BrideClick the wedding advertising network.

Manny earns an appearance at the next Private Equity Forum at the Yale Club on Dec. 3rd. 

We hope you will be joining us again. Our next Startupalooza will be on December 11.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"Are You Fundable?" Live Presentation (Video)

Live Presentation at Entrepreneurs Group



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Are You Fundable?" Slideshow

Slides from the first public presentation of Are You Fundable? are now available.

What makes a Startup fundable? How to crack the Investors code and launch a billion dollar company. 

• What are Investors secretly looking for? • Who gets money the most? • Is age a factor? • How are startups valued? What's an Idea worth? • How do you become fundable?


Monday, October 20, 2014

Are You Fundable? - First Public Presentation Gets Rave Reviews

by Danielle Brody
Is your business fundable? Three panelists with diverse experience with startups and investing gave advice to help entrepreneurs answer this question at the Entrepreneur Small & Business Forum event on October 17. The panelists included Alan Brody, of events company Startupalooza, Alessandro Piol of AlphaPrime Investors and Tom Wisniewski of RosePaul Ventures.
First Alan Brody talked about the investor code from his new book Are You Fundable. Brody explained his hierarchy of who gets funded the most.
1. Serial entrepreneurs: This is a rare person in the startup world. Serial entrepreneurs have a track record. They’ve already started 1 or more successful companies and won’t have a hard time getting funded. One example, is Steve Jobs. When his company NeXT was on the verge of bankruptcy, he met Ross Perot at an event, they hit it off, and Perot offered him $20 million.

2. Pedigreed: This person has 5+ years expertise in their startup’s industry. They know it well, they have a product, customers and a growth market.
Story continued here.

Startupalooza Report by Danielle Brody

Report from the Event

Winner: Dino Dogan

Triberr, a brand influencer startup with high-profile clients, won the top prize at Startupalooza on October 15. The monthly event, hosted at Hive55 by CEO Alan Brody, brings investors and entrepreneurs together for quick trade-show style pitching that culminates in a pitch-off between the top startups. The winner receives an invitation worth $1,500 to a Private Equity Forum event.
Story continued here in
Judges gather

Pictures: courtesy Vikram (Sunny) Malhotra

Scores from the Event 

Juan Gonzalez InsightMedi

The judges were impressed with the high quality of pitches.

As a result, we had a very tightly contested finish with 3 finalists and 3 runners-up in the final shoot-out.

CREDACIOUS - Credibily ranking for online reviews.

Room - Private, secure online communities.

Strutz - Consumer podiatric products

Triberr - Managing & growing the blogger spokesperson community.

Boston Biomotion - High end physical therapy device.InsightMedi Secure private sharing of medical photography and visual data.

Mike Segal with Winner Dino Dogan, Triber

InsightMedi Secure private sharing of medical photography and visual data. 

The Winner was Triberr - spokesperson community manager.
Congratulations to Dino Dogan of Triberr who earns an appearance at the next Private Equity Forum at the Yale Club.

We hope you will be joining us again.
Our next Startupalooza is on Nov. 11 at WeWork at 28th & Park.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Danielle Brody Debuts on iBreakfast - The Lessons from Peter Thiel

Dear Reader - it is with pride and delight that I introduce me daughter, Danielle, the journalist and graduate of U. Delaware (the home of Joe Biden and tangentially, Bob Marley....!) who is now covering the digital media and Startup scene.

Danielle's first post on Peter Thiel's speech at Columbia and a review of his book Zero to One have made quite a stir!

See for yourself:

When the man behind PayPal and Facebook talks, we listen

Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, spoke in conjunction with the release of his new book Zero to One last week at Columbia University. As an investor and entrepreneur, Thiel based the book on a course he taught at his alma mater, Stanford. Lucky for us, he pretty much gave the Cliff Notes of his book, which came out in the middle of September. But we suggest you read it anyway (we don’t want to hear any of those excuses about how you couldn’t “find the book” or the bookstore “didn’t have it yet.” We’re past that now.)
While not for everyone, Thiel calls himself “contrarian,” peeking into his libertarian ideals to tell you a lot about the way investors think.
For now, here are some takeaways from his recent talk at Columbia, in a list format. (It’s also free with no ads, which CliffsNotes doesn’t even offer.)
1. If you didn’t create Google, you aren’t going to
“I think that all the sort of ‘great moments’ ......continued here.

For a full report of Peter Thiel's speech at Columbia - her sample. (Go to Danielle's blog for more!)
Peter Thiel Discusses Zero to One at Columbia
Hours after PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel provocatively proclaimed Twitter to be “run by potheads,” he kicked off the release of his new book at Columbia University. The entrepreneur, investor and author shared his “contrarian” ideas from Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future on Wednesday, Sept. 19.
“Tell me something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on,” is one of Thiel’s favorite interview questions, he said, hinting at his innovative yet unconventional opinions and affinity for nonconformity.
Click for more more
[Originally written for Office Lease Center's blog]

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Invite to my UN Panel Tomorrow on Global Entrepreneurship

Please join me tomorrow at this Global Conference. Free to readers of this blog. Must preregister.

2014 World Forum on the Diaspora Economy
"Creating New Capital, Jobs & Wealth North-South"

When:  Friday 19, September 2014, 3pm - 6pm
Where: United Nations Headquarters, ECOSOC CHAMBER
Brought to you by the Financing for Development Business Advisory Group (FfD-B.A.G)
Please join my panel at 4pm. (See details below)
The conference is free to attend.  RSVP is necessary for guests outside of the United Nations
RSVP here or reply to reg@ibreakfast.com by Sep 18. 

FRIDAY - United Nations 
SEP 19th, 3 - 6pm

Peter Thiel Speaks at Columbia: Contrarian, Aspergers and One-of-a-Kind

PayPal founder and Facebook investor opened up to an auditorium full of Columbia students last night.

His most compelling observations seemed to be that conformity is the enemy of Entrepreneurship and the high occurrence of Asberger types in the Entrepreneur camp. He also noted that capitalists are anti-competitive in the sense that they are always looking for monopolies - but you already knew that!

It would be hard to draw everyman lessons from what he said, except that when it comes to Entrepreneurship, being out of step with everyone else may be the first sign that you are on the right track.

It's a tricky lesson because being a contrarian doesn't also make you right. But Thiel has made billions by placing big bets on those rare people who can seem wrong but also be so defensibly right. Facebook was unfundable for its first two years - in both Boston and New York - but Thiel wasted no time writing the first $500,000 check before anyone else did.

His craziest bet - at least according to his limited partners - was Elon Musk's Space X. Aside from the fact that he knew Musk as a fellow PayPal founder, when he looked deeper into the business, it made a ton of sense. They had a champion at NASA who was happy to order rockets and who also got Uncle Sam to pay up front. SpaceX, as it turns out, was a great cash flow deal hiding under space exploration! As for PayPal, they were really out to create a new currency but tat the same were responding to a need created by eBay - how to make online payments to individuals.

On a personal level, Thiel is a Stanford grad, lawyer and chessmaster, who hated lawfirms and had an early life crisis that drove him to the "wild west" of the Internet.

If you had to draw an inference from his somewhat rambling philosophy of investing - what he looks for is something like this: a well-structured renegade thinker who has taken on a challenge that could go big and that has no easy competitor.

This sounds obvious enough until you realize that few investors go with renegade because they tend to go with what they know and understand. But we all know that the next big thing never is. As for the renegades themselves, let's just say they are not the most outgoing people either. Hence the title of the book One to Zero - as in one of a kind.

Fortunately, there are more conventional ways to understand Investors. You can get an insight on the rules and mindset of the Investor community from my forthcoming book Are You Fundable? which will be released - finally! - in early October.

Monday, August 25, 2014

July/Aug Startupalooza Results

The judges were impressed with the high quality of pitches at the July 25th event.

Winner: Flower Turbines - vertical windpower with aggregation leverage


Here is an explanation of how the investors ranked the top picks based on our textbook Are You Fundable? 
When Investors look at a startup up they value the idea and the entrepreneur at a ratio of roughly 40% (idea) to 60% (entrepreneur/management).
When we ask Investors to rank Startups, they are looking at the idea and then the presentation to help determine their estimate of the management and their likelihood to execute.
The Entrepreneur estimate is a hierarchy described in Are You Fundable?  
The Idea evaluation is generally based on a 3 dimensional model we call the 3 Bills, that asks:
Bill #1. How many uses are there for this idea? (From William Whewell’s Theory of Induction)
Bill # 2. What is the simplest useful expression of this idea? (Occam Razor’s or William of Occam’s Law of Simplicity)
Bill #3. Who will pay the bill for it? (Does it serve an investor with high growth/returns, a sponsor or strategic partner- and how much?) 


Winner: Flower Turbines - vertical windpower with aggregation leverage
This is clearly a powerful idea - assuming the patents check out under due diligence. The question is one of execution. Can the entrepreneur, coming from an academic environment, assemble a management team that can roll this out? (Bill #1 and #2 are well covered, but Bill #3 is an open question.)

Runners Up:

Potboiler – visually optimized books for mobilephones
The pitch focused on creating custom, self tested content instead of a publishing platform for proven
content. Management complicated this assessment by virtue of having a tech rather than publishing background. (Bill#1 is good Bill #2 is questionable and Bill #3 therefore challenged.)

Celebdare –crowdfunding site based on publicity challenges
This is all about Bill # 2 – a simple, catchy idea. But where do you go with this (Bill #1)? And that puts pressure on Bill #3 – as in, who will pay for it?

90Grand – Hotel loyalty program with premium photographs
This is all about Bill #2 and #3 – a simple idea that is well paid for by sponsors and customer upsell. But where do you go with this (Bill #1)? For that reason, investors see this as a good business but one with an inherent limitation.

We hope you will be joining us again on September 10th.

Ameizen LLC
Central E inc
Digital Oxygen Corporation
ebindle Inc.
Flower Turbines
Just Keep Moving Fitness
Live Dating Advice
Package Park
Potboiler LLC
WasteGate LLC
Wonderreel/The Center for Intentional Media
Woxxer, Inc.