Saturday, November 12, 2016

What Trump America Will Look Like - From Someone Who Predicted His Succes in 2011

Trump World: The American Pivot?

As a commentator who predicted Trump’s success as far back as 2011 here’s what the future looks like through the crystal ball I used.

Overall, it’s a lot better than most liberals expect although they may not like it for a while and it may never return to the way it is. We may have pivoted out of the monolithic 2 Party State and the classic Labor vs. Corporation conflict.

We are pivoting towards political coalitions and an opportunity economy with more freelancers than salary people and money may actually recede as the primary form of wealth because otherwise, robots would outearn us.

First, consider the reason, I predicted Trump would do well – although honestly, I never expected him to win, especially in light of his many errors and transgressions.

But the message I first heard 5 years ago is what triumphed.

This is what I heard in 2011 and what I think is likely to transpire in 2017.

The first thing about Trump is that he spoke like a world class businessman and not a glorified attorney trying to negotiate legalisms. We forget that most politicians are lawyers, they think like them and they talk like them. That is not necessarily a bad thing but it is nothing like how real people operate and it does not in any way prepare them for true leadership. Trump therefore sounded like a total breath of fresh air t many and made all politicians seems suspect. Suddenly the classic politician’s words, “we must do more” sounded like pure bunkum.

The bottom line is that he tapped a sense among many traditional Americans and older folk that we just don’t carry the same weight in the world that we used to. Regardless of what you think of Hillary Clinton, when her and the DNC’s self-serving activities were revealed, most Democrats sloughed it off, but the bedrock red states dug their heels in with mounting ferocity. While Democrats thought Trump was ignorant and erratic, the “people of the heartland” were just glad to hear someone bring up the issues that seemed so wrong and yet so accepted but the media and political elite. When Democrats called Trump unqualified they saw what “qualified” people were generally up to and it was mostly looking out for themselves. When Hillary labeled them deplorable – as indeed many on both sides were – she reminded them of what a typical discussion with a liberal tended to be: everything you wanted to discuss was off the table and you were a dog/pig/racist/scumbag just for bringing it up. The rioting and occasional Trump voter bashing of the two-fisted and foot-kicking type certainly reinforces that.

The other driving force was  the Obama issue and how, in a strange way, he ushered in the Trump era. Since I voted for Obama, I can say this with open heart: people liked him but they became worried as he backpedaled on American exceptionalism. That was a good thing at first, in the wake of the disastrous Iraq and to a lesser extent, Afghanistan experience. After Bush, it seemed like everyone hated us, so surely a brown man with an Islamic name, no real racial animus and a Harvard pedigree would be the ideal candidate to make the world love us again. Europe agreed and immediately offered Obama the Nobel Peace Prize.

But reality had a different take on it.

The Islamic World didn’t quite agree, which is mighty interesting. In Egypt they thought it meant he wouldn’t support Mubarack and so they felt free to overthrow him only to bring in the Moslem Brotherhood. In Syria, Assad knew we wouldn’t intervene. ISIS saw weakness borne of an apostate who looked Moslem but chose Christian. But regardless, Obama had no real vision about America as the 21st Century Superpower, just America as a power, with a lower case p. Obama was Superman hung up his cloak and just wanting to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, scratch golfer and pickup basketball player if that’s OK with you all. And sure, he’ll have a beer and some fish tacos with you any time he can.

Trump, by contrast was more than happy to play the comical superhero and the elite press made sure we never forgot that. But what they also forgot is that the public long ago forgave comics for being comical. They go to ComicCon. They mostly go to movies based on comic book heroes. So all that pooh-poohing only worked on their elite followers and not on the “people of the heartland”. When most of the media veered from reportage to plain anti-Trump propaganda, the heartland folks noticed while the Clinton/Media followers didn’t, hence the surprise.

The Birth of the Media Candidate
Most people think that JFK ushered in the era of the media-friendly candidate. Indeed, JFK’s imagery is so powerful that no matter how much dirt they have dug up on him, it has not changed our attitudes a whit. He is somehow sainted. The same could be said about Bill Clinton.

Obama took this to a whole other level because he was actually born as President as a kind of an American Moses story: a stranded outsider who became an insider due to thealignment of various stars. The easiest way to see this is to compare him to Jesse Jackson who fell off the map after he uttered the most Biblical of threats, to castrate Obama (how many people remember that?)

Obama was born when Bill Cosby showed America just how cool, intelligent and loving a sophisticated black father could be. He happened to be advised by a African-American, Harvard educated psychiatrist. What came to be revealed about the Cos after the fact will be about as harmful as what was revealed about JFK. His image remains and over time we’ll just get over the bad stuff.

Obama’s leadership role was paved by the nest great African figure, Nelson Mandela. Truly our first African Saint. All that had to happen was for America’s equivalent of the Paharoah’s daughter, Oprah Winfrey, to notice, nurture and then anoint Obama and we had our next President.

While many Republicans and most racists freaked out, Obama didn’t turn out be half bad. He was highly likeable, funny, cool as heck and took us all out to dinner a lot on America’s credit card.

And therein lay the problem. People of the heartland were the ones to realize that we had run out of credit and they were paying the interest by shipping their jobs to foreign lands or become the victims of one kind of regulation or another. Since the media elites were doing just fine they didn’t hear them at all. That is why DC is now home to some of the richest zip codes in the nation. DC produces almost nothing other than regulations and hot air. So when the WikiLeaks double-dealing info came out, there was just no spinning their way out of it. The Clinton foundation may have helped the poor but only while helping themselves and their cronies even more. When you can’t name a substantial accomplishment of Secretary of State Clinton, which is fine for her supporters but then you find  out because she was busier making deals for her foundation, husband, friends and possibly the DNC, the people of the heartland got the picture. Throw in the private servers and all the stonewalling and you get the idea that the political class works for itself and not the people. But the coastal elites weren’t too concerned.

When Trump came along with just enough f-you money to say exactly what he wanted to, blue collar folks warmed up to him. The fact that he doesn’t drink, smoke or drug but has a philandering side, thereby putting him on a par with JFK, Clinton etc. you can see how they just might forgive even if they didn’t like it. At least they know what his vice is. Everyone else was able to hide theirs for some amount to time.

More importantly, Trump too, was born in the media. Most of it was self-driven and at always deliciously controversial. Mark Burnett turned out to be his Oprah by anointing him the “Master” in the Apprentice. To everyone’s surprise – including the NY Times – we liked what we saw. He appeared strangely judicious and he even got to show off his finest assets: his progeny. Anyone who watched the show had to ask themself, how bad can this guy be to have kids like that. Privileged but still grounded and seemingly hard-working. Hmmmm.

The bottom line about Trump’s win is exactly what makes any Social Media campaigns work. You don’t have to have the most fans, you just need a critical mass of the most avid fans. They will come out, they will evangelize and they will go on to the last mile. His rivals who just took their following for granted did none of that and so most followers didn’t even bother to show up. In viral terms, Hillary’s supporters were not carriers. Trump’s supporters were quietly rabid and the media did a great job of inadvertently keeping their blood at boiling temperature.

Trump was a kind of gutter superhero, a Tony Stark with his own jet, suit of armor and cloak of nonsense. People bought it and paid for the biggest tub of popcorn to watch it….

Winning by Losing
Every time Trump picked another fight he seemed to lose another constituency. Yet, he appears to have done better math than most of us. Annoying the right people is a great way of bolstering your supporters. What really surprised people was that he got a higher number of votes from African Americans, Hispanics and Muslims than Mitt Romney. Likewise, driving away all those Republican insiders, the notorious scolds that all progressives hate, helped him too. He won over a lot Sanders Democrats because of that.
Luckily for Trump, the numbers added up in the right places, but only by a hair…..

Into the Future

The Death of Party Politics
What all of this portends is that political parties are not trustworthy and the voters will start to demand direct politics rather than political loyalty.  They will vote for people cliques and coalitions and will learn to benefit by playing them off against each other.. Parties will become more like federations than strict orders. This election set that off, the internet will bring it to fruition. The bigger picture is that the rationale for parties – big business vs. labor is going way. The organizations no longer represent the majority of working Americans and so the battle is no longer center stage. Just as importantly, as we move to more of a freelance economy this will become the silent majority that neither party represents.

That is why Trump’s party crashing looked pretty good to a lot of people trying to make it on their own.

Unleashing the “Dirty Giant”: Why Bankruptcies and Vileness May Have Helped
Trump’s crudeness and bankruptcy-dodging is not necessarily a bad thing. The country is on its way to bankruptcy and we have been way too nice to people who really aren’t nice themselves. Yet, to the powers like the media, business and the political elite that was just fine since they generally profited from those people. Sending our factories overseas, fostering the debt, taking money from foreign interests and acting as if America was some kind of high-minded priesthood suited them just fine. But not the struggling nobodies in the hinterland.

In that light, someone like Trump, a scrappy guy who knows how to dodge bills and is willing take on some sacred cows is not necessarily a bad thing.

What a lot of people forget is that America has become something like a waxed factory-farmed orange – plenty of vivid colory on the surface but empty of flavor on the inside. As we lost our industrial heartland, the great service and financial jobs moved to the coasts, where the political parties and media reside. So yes, the elites have it good and world looks great to the coastal populations but the inlands are hollowing out financially.

This was not a big deal when oil was trading at $100 a barrel. That kept many people employed and flowed enough money through the heartland that they didn’t mind factories slipping off to China or Mexico. They didn’t mind corporate inversions or Apple tax shenanigans in Ireland.

However, at $30 a barrel that has gone away. Yet the Democrats still don’t want us to export oil or more significantly, natural gas. As for coal, it is all but dead. Simply unleashing these energy sources can change the world balance of power. The US can offer to replace Russia as the lead supplier of natural gas to Europe and pull the plug out of their advancing power.

Exporting gasoline means that the middle east may undercut us but they are no longer a monopoly. We can now threaten to leave the key oil sites unprotected creating fear in the Persian Gulf. Yet the Saudis have done nothing to resolve the Syrian Crisis, they accommodate no refugees and have no apparent skin in the game. The same applies to the Palestinian issue. While they may not be the only ones to resolve, no solution will occur without Saudi’s full support. No one seems to have persuaded them to get on board. Oddly enough, Obama’s accommodation with Iran may have paved the road for Saudi involvement in all of the above, including an alliance with Israel in the face of Iranian expansion.

Trump understands that, by selling energy and fighting for America’s place in a new energy world, the US can sway major powers, stem the tide of energy imports and bring in major revenue. The country gets dirtier but we get to keep our homes. Some of the same can be said about infrastructure improvements but paradoxically, better roads make it easier for imports to reach our markets than for exports to leave. But at least for a decade or so, there will be plenty of work to be had but only if the unions are cowed. You can’t build a lot of stuff if you are forced to pay three or four times the standard labor rate to get anything done.

Yet that is what unions have mostly done for the past 60 years and they are likely to continue. However, this time it could be different.

We are about to seriously compete with robots and are about to enter the jobless world.

Jobless America – The Structural Change the Trump Addresses Whether He Likes it or Not
The fact is, we are undergoing a major structural change as the knowledge economy kicks into the super-knowledge economy and middle level jobs disappear. Only the highest and the lowest remain. The rest of us will serve or be on our own.

Here are a few data points to consider.

Self Driving Trucks
About 8.5 million people drive trucks and it is one of the few ways a working person can make a middle-class living. You can live almost anywhere and so many famers stay alive by driving on the side. But in any case, it supports about 19 million American though the industries like rest stops, hotels, repair shops and so on.

Self-driving trucks will destroy about 80% of those jobs.

Robot Factories, Stores, Construction and Farms
As labor flexes it muscles again, robots will strive to become cost-effective. Unlike low cost labor from Central America they will not have to scale any walls or file for any papers. They will sweep through factories than can manufacture that way, they will take you orders at MacDonalds, they will do the work of many construction laborers and white collar workers alike and they will run many farms – especially ones that are close to their markets.

Trump may not have any solutions to this but he does have what no other politician has, no obligations to either corporate or labor interests. He is free to act in the best interests of the country and not his constituency. A new class of blue collar digital literates will take over. They will know how to program, manipulate and otherwise hack robots and other machines. They will form their own idea of unions and the current parties will see their bases shift.

Dealouts? The End of Stringless Handouts
If there is one thing we now about Donald Trump, he does nothing for nothing and he always seeks some type of payback for offenses to him. This does not necessarily make him uncharitable but it does reveal his mindset: every entitlement will come with some type of payback. He will try to give opportunity instead of cash. This is not necessarily a bad thing either but it is very different from what we do now and there will be plenty of push back.

One thing is clear, Trump doesn’t believe in a free lunch and there are lots of ways of putting people to work. This will become a big issue as automation and artificial intelligence takes over more and more rote jobs.

What Trump believes is that people who get something for nothing are at the heart of inner city despair. But can he generate enough opportunity? New kinds of public service and even renumeration may fill that gap. Not everything should be measure in money and as long our basic needs are taken care of, money is by no means everything……

Trump the Dictator?
You may not love Trump’s idea of democracy but unlike most dictators who are extremely fixed in their thinking, Trump is nothing if not changeable. If he becomes a Hitler it will be like the screwball one played by Dick Shawn in the Producers. And if he is an anti-Semite he is one strange version who makes his Jewish son-in-law chief of staff and his kosher-keeping daughter his advisor.

The Next Four Years? Back to the Future, but Still the Future.
In some ways, Trump is reviving an older America when it had swagger and could say fairly arrogant stuff without seeming too ridiculous. Watch any movie from the 40’s and something will make you cringe. It would be the doctor smoking a cigarette while taking your pulse or a comment about broads. Most of all people were fairly free to be who were, warts and all. Now, we haven’t learned to evolve as much as we have learned to conceal our real selves. Not a true evolution. Trump’s funky openness may turn out to be a better impetus to growth than political correctness.

On the other hand, America may have become more racially and political diverse in a way that cannot be bridged.

It’s a huge challenge but given the comparison between Trump and Romney, being tough and outspoken is more impressive to people who are supposed to hate you than being kindly and mealy-mouthed. Trump is likely to keep playing that card and generally winning more than he loses. Likewise, the comparison between Jackson – the angry redux of a tragic racial history vs. Obama, the optimistic straddler of races and history but without the baggage, makes it clear what works.

You can be tough, politically incorrect and worse. You just can’t bring out historical baggage and you’d better come up with ideas, opportunities, jobs and solutions in droves.

The electoral college seems to think Trump can do that.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Great Moonshine Cruise on Oct. 20!

Thanks to all of you who came out for the amazing Cruise-a-Palooza - unbelievable weather, great band and great music by Robyn Adele Anderson. Can't wait for the next one in spring!
Post your pics and vids from Thursday's cruise.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Hottest Tech in Stamford: Language Learning

You wouldn't expect Stamford to be the home of better language learning, but it was Language Zen that won the August 10th pitch.

What was so special about Language Zen.

The multilinguists who made LZ followed the language hacking techniques of polyglots (learn that!) and developed a mobile teaching system with a small but healthy revenue base.

They will be appearing a the next Private Equity Forum in NY.

Full Results

Language ZenMicah  Greenberg, CEO              Language Zen is a web app that uses proprietary machine learning technology to be the most quantifiably effective way to learn a new language (2.2X faster than Rosetta Stone and 3.4X faster than college courses to be exact). We let users learn from music, explore their personal interests and data-mine spoken conversation for relevant content. Language Zen is currently booking $12,000/month in consumer revenues with a 3.5 month payback period and low churn.

Comment:  Savvy startup group tackling a slightly crowded market in a clear new way.                                                          

Mother's Milk Is Best, Inc
Elizabeth Schinkel, Founder 970-556-4780Pure, concentrated human milk promotes optimal growth and contains immune  boosting bioactive nutrients that serve a profound role in the survival and health of a premature newborn. Our solution is simple: using mature technology we remove water from mother’s milk without damage from heat or pressure; thereby reducing the volume while increasing the benefits of the mother’s milk. It provides the nutrition needed in the lower volume a baby can handle and is inexpensive. This system is unique; It alone allows a mother to tailor her own milk’s nutrient concentration for her baby as needed to promote growth.

Comment: Very unusual pitch for this group but show s promise. Heartfelt but needs a little more business edge.  

Pearl's Premium Inc.     
Jackson Madnick, President,, (508) 653-0800Ultra Low Maintenance Grass that needs mowing only once every 4-6 weeks, needs 1/4 the water of other grass and stays green year round without chemicals, now in over 400,000 lawns in all 50 states

Comment:  The grass really looks greener here. Needs a marketing boost.   

Jim Calisi, Founder & president,  (860) 538-4713          At CLENCH, we make custom-fitted sports mouthguards. And using the latest advancements in digital dentistry and 3D printing, CLENCH is offering athletes an affordable alternative to traditional, store-bought mouthguards (aka Boil-&-Bites).

 Comment: Great pitch, promising market looking for a barrier to entry.....

Judges at Work

Judith Benardete from Private Group Networks
Alex Jordan, BookU
Devin Dixon, Sprout Connections



Thursday, July 14, 2016

Can Smart Tech Save Policing?

A few years ago I saw a presentation by Verint, the company that listens in on phone calls with customer reps.

According to them, they they can evaluate the tone of the conversation as well as key words.

If the tone reaches a certain threshold or if certain key words pop up they can predict with apparent certainty loss of the customer.

So when will the police cams get AI and start picking up on he interaction.

There are obviously two sides to this issue and it would help to have an impartial real time evaluation.

Is this the future of Robocop?

What do you think?

Monday, July 11, 2016

June Report: Great Startups Begin WIth a Seed - literally.......

Startupalooza returned as an iBreakfast and attracted one of the largest number of presenters we have seen in years!

We also got a reminder about how great ideas seeds. One of the great books on the spread of ideas, Crossing the Chasm was based on the spread of new seeds.....and that's who won in June!

The Winner:

Pearls Premium Ultra Low Maintenance Lawn Seed
Jackson Madnick, President           (508) 653-0800Ultra low maintenance lawn seed (grass) that you mow only once a month, rather than every week, needs 1/4 the water compared to other grass, stays green year round without chemicals and sequesters 4 x the carbon compared to other grass to help lessen climate change.

An innovative, useful solution for millions of lawn owners. Obviously this existing product hit some kind of wall that investors found to be a workable challenge.

What is most interesting is that while it took tech to develop, it is a non-tech product. Yet seeds are also the product that inspired one of the most useful texts in the tech world: Crossing the Chasm. That book explains how new ideas - particularly in tech - make their way navigating from early adopters to the mass market. It was all based on the case study of new seed adoption in the 19th Century.

Talk about going full circle. Or just going to seed!

The First Runner up was:

The Wealth Factory      Angel   Rich     CEO         2024605627Commentary: The gamifactiation of financial educaton for the young with major corporate backers and some great name dropping (i.e. the First Lady) plus a solid pitch made this a close contender.

The Second Runners Up were:

Yannis  Moati   CEO  2123630120         
HotelsByDay allows customers to book hotel rooms for half a day, to refresh, rest, interview, prepare for a meeting. 
Check-in AM, Check-out PM - Simple! Our company is reinventing the Hotel stay!  Imagine getting into a city at 8am, and have a meeting at 1pm. What do you do with those hours in-between? During those hours, thousands of hotel rooms are sitting empty and millions of people are wandering aimlessly.  There is a massive gap in the market.  And that is why we created HotelsByDay. Through our apps and website, HotelsByDay allows customers to book DayRooms.

Commentary: A new spin on an old, once disreputable idea was credibly and extremely well delivered. A great execution play that could have been the winner if there were defensible IP. (Best wisecrack of the day, Trump could be an investor: "Making Times Square Great Again!")

Kristen Fletcher           CCO            6313983456
MeVee is the social media live streaming platform that allows users to go live, monetize, and share everywhere. Explore MeVee to discover interesting, funny, and premium content. You can also live stream privately with a friend or a group. The Wall Street Journal writes that, “MeVee was designed intentionally to be different from other live streaming apps” while The New York Times says that MeVee is “causing a stir.”

A great solution for the personal video age - one submission to all platforms and direct rev share. Would have been a shoo-in if the advertiser/monetization aspect were more evolved and the IP protectable.

Special Mention
Vivek    Kumar CEO/Co-Founder            678 613 1386
NangioTx was founded in 2015 to provide safe and effective ways to regenerate blood vessels for the treatment of peripheral artery disease.

Commentary: While the judges agreed this may be the most promising and certainly life-changing product in this crowded list, as a biotech product, this was in a special case. It has to navigate FDA approvals and needs startup money in the millions. Nevertheless, the ability to safely regenerate real blood vessels is extremely interesting and the company will pass on to our specialized healthcare startup partners at Health 2.0, MedStartr and MidAtlantic Biotech Angels.          

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Smart Storefronts: Winners from Boston Event at McCarter & English

Here are the winners from our June event at McCarter & English in Boston.

Oleg    Vyadro,           CEO    OLEG@IMAGESURGE.COM         
ImageSurge converts any retail storefront into a through-glass touch interactive marketing and eCommerce platform.

Comments: Innovative solution to make storefronts com ealive. Has revenue. Shortest runway to likely success.

Ernest  Jacquet COO      FROZEN7 is Liquid Nitrogen manufactured natural ("Farm to Table") Ice Cream retail chain opening first store in The Market Place Mall (owned by Irvine Co.). FROZEN7 is trademarked (Disney) and competes with SUB-ZERO and Creamistry- growing over 100% per year.

Comments: Great franchise concept. Has two competitors, no IP but a likely momentum pay.

Private Group NetworksJudith  Benardete, CEO           845-392-2629            Private Group Networks Private Group Networks has developed an app that facilitates communication for groups of all kinds. iSpark- currently in use as the FirstTouch app for soccer teams- will solve problems resulting from the need to improve communication between, for example, health care providers and their constituents. FirstTouch is applicable to affinity groups of all kinds that form community around any issue whether that is political activism, non-profits, medical conditions, greek life, alumni groups or trade associations.

Comments: Good numbers and signs of growth. Buyout possible but some fears of being overtaken by a big player.

QC Check LLC  Marc Blumenthal        Managing Partner       QC Check is focused on helping businesses do better through real time customer & employee feedback which is critical for any business that wants better product & performance, customer retention, business growth and success. When businesses don’t get real time feedback, it can go viral when it’s too late to reverse the damage.  QC Check has a working prototype, a great team, filed IP and an innovative solution to a 7-billion-dollar market that is stuck in the Middle Ages. Smart strategic funding of $250 k is sought in connection with a pending SBA loan.

Comments: Great idea for improving customer feedback but requires some customer effort and does little to improve the actual feedback.

A New Bicycle from Washington? Results from DC

Congratulations to the winner, Wilz Bikes - an expandable bike that grows from a stroller to a tricycle and then a battery-powered vehicle - may still be an idea on a piece of paper but it is clear that we have already helped this idea get off the ground!

The runner-up, Dog Pawz - a dog-walking aggregator that doubles as an in-home pet product retailer - didn't even realize what they had until our workshop helped uncover it.

As for the second runner-up eGrocer, they got an education in having a "Wow" factor - a pantry camera - before getting anyone's interest in the finer points of their plan.

We'll be back in Q3.

Results from the May NY Startupalooza

Here are the results for the May event with commentary.


First Wave
Brian Bell,  CEO,    716-560-2203
Over 80% of patients on life support develop delirium after 4 days adding $65,000 of cost and resulting in 300% higher mortality due to difficulty clearing common IV sedatives from the body. Alternatively, over 1000 patients have been reported in the literature showing inhaled anesthetic are cheaper, more consistent and reduce time on the ventilator.  But traditional OR machines are large, expensive and most importantly, manually controlled. MCD has developed a next-generation anesthesia making delivery of these beneficial gases practical for the first time, and is endorsed by the #1 physician worldwide in ICU delirium.

Comment: Big potential even with FDA hurdles ahead

Bazaar Technologies   
Yasser Toruno  CTO     9174424506  
We're simplifying the entire wholesale distribution process. We are a three-sided B2B marketplace that leverages technology in a way that has never been done before.

We've built a platform to be a one stop shop that allows retailers to see multiple wholesalers, compare prices, product, and inventory to help retailers make the best purchase decisions for their businesses.
- Analytics to monitor your business
- Directly engage with wholesalers
- Browse product listings and make purchases
- Same day door to door delivery"                  

Comments: Useful. Could be hard to sign up small retailers in scale. Great local startup.

Tomer  Dicturel  CEO    
MeVee is the free social media live streaming platform that captures the can’t-miss moments, carries video and banner ads, and shares advertising revenue with content creators. MeVee records your live videos – they won’t disappear unless you delete them. Push the “Go Live” button to start broadcasting worldwide. Share your streams on all major social media channels. Anyone can view your streams, even without downloading the app. Explore MeVee to discover interesting, funny, and premium content. You can also live stream privately with a friend or a group. The Wall Street Journal writes that, “MeVee was designed intentionally to be different from other live streaming apps” while The New York Times says that MeVee is “causing a stir.”

Comments: Compelling but had to clearly differentiate in crowded field.

Future Moments LLC
Gary Levitt, Owner,     323-201-1497
We're a mobile app creation company making fun unique tools for everyday content creators.  As of now we've created ‘MicSwap’ & ‘MicSwap Pro’, the first and only microphone modeler and recorder to hit the iTunes app store. Forbes said it’s “like Instagram for your voice”. We also created ‘Audio Fix: for Videos’, a useful app optimizes and cleans the audio in your videos. Our latest app, ‘Audio Master’, automatically masters your songs, demos, podcasts, etc.

Comments: Clever app. Useful. Needs some marketing help but very promising.

Special Mention

Parabiotic Research & Development Corp.     
Ira Trachtman Founder/CEO    516-650-6416
Parabiotic Research & Development is an early-stage company developing innovative combination antibiotic/probiotic drug products for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel disease-Crohn's and colitis as well as infectious diseases. There is no other drug on the market for IBD that shares the same properties as our lead product PB-1, that are both therapeutic and prophylactic combined in one single dose.                          


Friday, May 27, 2016

Startupalooza in the News: So this is what we do....prepare you for the Sharks!

Startupalooza travels: Still Time to Pitch on June 1st in Boston

Read the full story in the Stamford Advocate

Alan Brody's first question Tuesday was innocent enough: Describe your startup to an “angel” investor you are meeting for the first time.

It was successive variations of his next question — hammered home again and again to individuals attending Stamford “Startupalooza” — that knocked most off their pedestal: “Do you remember what they do?” In most cases, participants admitted they had only a hazy recollection of the business summaries they had heard less than 15 minutes before.

Billed as a chance for entrepreneurs to get coached up on how to get the attention of angel investors — then get the chance to do just that — Stamford Startupalooza was held May 24 at the Workpoint co-working facility at Shippan Landing on Stamford’s waterfront. Unlike Startup Stamford Weekend held annually at the Stamford Innovation Center to convene teams to develop business plans, Stamford Startupalooza included several companies already well down the road of bringing a prototype product to market.

It is one thing to develop a product, and another thing to develop a backer, said Brody, who as president of Convean helps startups connect with investors and who authored a book on the topic titled “Are You Fundable?”

“What I really care about is how do I get rich by giving you a bunch of money?” Brody said of the typical angel investor’s perspective. “The reason they call it the ‘elevator pitch’ is you’ve got 30 seconds — when the door opens, you are free to leave. ... The question is what would you say so that even when the door opens, the (investor) doesn’t leave?”

Workpoint hopes to host Stamford Startupalooza three times a year, according to Sheelah Quinn, the facility’s general manager and head of sales, with the inaugural event Tuesday sponsored by McCarter & English and Fiverr. The forum showcased several intriguing ideas ranging from the Vidpal on-demand video service for broadcaster use — the winning pitch by John Ortega — to a way to help baseball players learn to hit effectively regardless of pitch location. Entrepreneurs struck out time and time again with angel investment experts, however, with their “elevator pitches” eviscerated as woefully forgettable.

In advance of a “Shark Tank” style pitch competition, Brody was joined by Sandy Wollman, an organizer of Westchester Angels in New York, who likewise spared no quarter as participants gave their best efforts at how they would go about chasing down his investment dollars.

“Respectfully — nobody got my attention,” Wollman told workshop participants. “Any time you are talking to an angel investor, you only have one goal: get to the next conversation. One of the mistakes startups make is that they go into so much detail about their product. ... I want to know what you do — in one sentence.”

In the case of the baseball device, Wollman did just that in boiling the concept down to a pitch that might catch his notice: “‘I’ve been a baseball player my entire life and I’ve developed a way to make batters better baseball players; and as a matter of fact, I’ve shown this to ... Joe Torre and he is very interested in my idea.’

“I’m in,” Wollman continued. “You caught me right away with what you do — you’re making a baseball player better (and) you have a proprietary way. ... What you’ve done is you’ve gotten me to the next conversation.”

More Information

Stamford Startupalooza 2016 participants

Vidpal, on-demand video marketplace — winner

CircleLink, preventative health — runner up

Newsfundr, online news resource — runner up

Voco, text matching app — runner up

CLENCH Sports, custom mouth guards

CrowdFlik, online video synchronization

Ergonomic Values, baseball hitting aid

FooNow, web-based food ordering

GiftTitan, social media gifting app

Medsender, digital health record transmission

SnipMe, short-form TV show production

Stash America, data security

Ultima Smart Systems, artificial intelligence

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Putting Out FIres in DC - Report, from May 12 Event

Crystal City, DC
The first Startupalooza in DC was exhilarating and eye-opening. Beginning with the Fundable: Capital Workshop which grew so big it had to be moved to a larger room, this was a great turn-out.
The evening pitching event – with the opening presentation from the patent office about IP protection options and special pricing and the use of provisional patents was very helpful
The pitching was enlightening and revealed a broad swath of new ideas.
The winner was:
Mark   Baldino Owner     703-906-3154
This is a smoke detector that also puts out fires with a sprayed, powdered fire suppressant. Compact, cheap and non-destructive, this has the potential to show up in every home, promoted by stove companies and subsidized by insurance companies.
Mark Baldino of SupressionOne, is going to the Private Equity Forum at the Yale Club in NYC.

The Runners up were:
Gastro Girl
Jacquelin Gaulin
Affinity meeting, advice and referral site for millions of people with gastric issues.
Comments: The founder has experience in the health field and the possibility of a Big Pharma buy in would make all the difference. However, there is a proliferation of patient affinity sites over specific medical issues and there could be competition for sponsor dollars.
Alain  Briançon    CEO         301-972-5380
Kitchology is the first integrated platform for special diets, available through the web and mobile app to the 160 million Americans dealing with special diets. This automodifies recipes for their dietary needs and prepopulates shopping lists and make product recommendations. Extensive use of machine learning, filed six patents, developed a proprietary database, federated 250 food allergy bloggers. Brands pay Kitchology for promotion, referrals and license to analytics. 200,000 monthly users, in discussions with major brands.      
Comments: Strong idea and presentation but business model relies on food company buy-in.
ErgonometriX, LLC
Marc   Cohen  CTO & Co-Founder       301-509-7394
ErgonometriX prevents Lower Back Injuries through the use of technology: a wearable device with the motion of the employee is captured and analyzed in the cloud and medically supervised.
Comments: Intriguing but some considerations of competitive products and then large scale customer acquisition.
Mechanodontics is making a new type of braces which will reduce treatment time significantly, be behind the teeth for aesthetic purposes, and be fully customized through a computer automated process.
Comments: This is a great idea by two young practitioners. However, they lack a good industry adoption plan since they are likely to meet resistance by orthodontists.
Special Mentions for:
DC Gun Range – this one-of-a-kind deal got enthusiastic response from the judges, but can’t scale to other cities
Duck Cancer - helping make the lives of cancer patients better is a great idea and a large market. Although the idea was not fully formed, the judges liked the passion and commitment of the engineer presenting it.

Report from May Philadelphia, May 11

Philadelphia, May 11
As advertised, Startupalooza is truly a pitching network of Angel networks.
Accordingly, the winner was Pinch, a startup that travelled down from Boston and won with their idea for a marketplace of services based on peoples’ unique passions and avocations. This taskrabbit-type service allows people seeking unique experiences to find and hire the providers of these unusual, hard-to-find skills.
This is a new idea with a profit model and followers. It has some questions about its viability but the presentation was filled with enthusiasm and a sense of discovering a new marketplace.
Congratulations to Aakash Goklani of Pinch, who will be going to the Private Equity Forum at the Yale Club in NYC.
The Runner up was Habitat, a food delivery service for campus’ by Andrew Nakkashe. While this business is mildly profitable and seems to be well executed, the startup founded by students is still shadowed but the student-startup syndrome: ideas common in colleges do not necessarily travel to the real world where there is no shortage of competitors. Nevertheless, the founder impressed the judges with his crisp presentation and determined composure.

Monday, May 9, 2016

How Startupalooza Helps Entrepreneurs Raise Millions

In the past year, Startupalooza has helped several companies (HigherMe, Nomi, SeedCX, EventCombo etc.) collectively raise well over $1 Million.

How? One is that we give more Entrepreneurs more access to more investors than any other event - for arguably the lowest possible fee.

Another, even more important reason - is that we monitor the feedback from Investors. We can tell you what they really think and more importantly, what to fix so that you can become Fundable.
A great example is Nomi Beauty (formerly Gloss & Glam) which offered a virtual hairdresser service that spared hotels the expense of setting up and maintaining an in-house hair salon.

What we quickly found was that Investors weren't that interested in helping out hotels. What excited them was that women execs would be highly interested in hair services in the convenience of their rooms which they could also put on their hotel bill making it easy to expense.

That brings up the 3rd reason: the Investor was from out of town. The beauty of the multi-city Startupalooza model is that we have networks of Investors throughout the northeast corridor. The Investor in Nomi was not from New York but in our network from the MidAtlantic region.

So we not only work locally, but we circulate deals throughout the Boston-NewYork-Philadelphia-DC corridor, where everyone dramatically increases their chances of finding the right Investor - and Investors, the right deal.


Startupalooza returns to Philadelphia at Benjamin's Desk Wednesday, May 11, 6 - 9 pm. [Register]

Opening in DC Thursday, May 12th with Fundable Workshop followed by open pitching. [Register]

Startupalooza New York at Microsoft Fifth Ave., May 23, 6 - 9 pm. [Register]

Opening in Stamford, CT at Shippan Landing waterfront, May 24, 4 - 9 pm. [Register]

The Future is Here: Fiverr Helps Discover Young Innovators

Engineering Solutions for Social Good

Just when you despair of America's technology prowess, you find out what the next generation of youth are capable of inventing.

Just as exciting is the fact that this award program was supported by our lead sponsor, Fiverr.

The Dream it. Code it. Win it. program in May, introduced student's ideas that could have an impact on the marketplace today.

Aside from a 3D printed prosthetic hand, visual programming solutions and so on, we loved the stick-on circuit board product. Instead of a "bread board", you can actually build circuits with sensors and so on just by sticking them on a sheet of paper and then illustrating the system flow. This is an amazing bridge between DIY programming, hardware building, prototyping, hobbyist projects and education.

Just as illuminating are the young multicultural teams creating these ideas.

It is not hard to see that tech creativity is alive and well. More than that is the realization that motivated kids with an idea are a fantastic educational paradigm that will fundamentally change how kids are taught: why bore them with the rules of calculus when you can set them a challenge that makes them want to learn and use it?

Hats off to Fiverr, MIT Enterprise Forum, The Internet Society and Cooper Union.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April 19: Pitch 40+ Angel Week's Startupalooza + Party Like It's 1929

Pitch 40+ at Angel Week’s Super Startupalooza

A Week of Startup & Investor Events from Super Startupalooza

• Fintech • Inventors • Cannabis • Healthcare • Moonshine Party

How to raise Millions! Pitch at Super Startupalooza at Angel Week. The big day is April 19 - SuperStartupalooza + Gathering of Angels Awards + MedMo Healthcare Startups. [REGISTER]
This is the one event where Startups like Gloss and Glam raised a quarter of a million dollars! The top 8 Startups at Angel Week also win prizes worth $22,000!


Plus we have a slew of events like:

Party Like You’ve 

Never Partied Before – 

Prohibition Style!

April 16: Moonshine Over Manhattan – 

A prohibition era style party with about distillery startups that includes hot swing jazz and burlesque. 

Our Moonshiners even made it to the front page of the Sunday New York Times and now were selling out like crazy!


You can sign up for individual events - or all of them

Fintech (15th)

SuperStartupalooza, Angel Awards and Healthcare (19th)

We also have events - and a house party on Sat. 16th

Cannabis Investing (18th)

Moonshine Over Manhattan (16th) fun Tasting Party & meeting with distillery Startups (Prohibition dress up optional).


The prime pitching day is Tues. 19th SuperStartupalooza and Healthcare MedMo Startups with Angel Week VCs.

What You Can Win Last year's winner, Gloss & Glam got over $200,000 in funding offers and $4,500 in prizes. This year we have more funders and $22,000 prizes! REGISTER HERE


(You can sign up for any or all of the these events)

April 15: FinTECH (Rise NY) •  FoodTECH (Brooklyn)

April 16: Moonshine Over Manhattan (Startup Party at The Delancey 2:30 - 6pm)

April 18: Cannabis Investing (6:30 - 9pm) Impact Hub NYC

April 19: SuperStartupalooza + Gathering of Angels (Microsoft Times Square 12:00 - 6:00 pm)

April 19: Healthcare Startups
(Microsoft Times Square 12:00 - 6:00 pm)

Just added!

April 21: Pitch Westchester Angels, with VCs, Microsoft and more.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Invite to my April 21st Session on Fundability at the LI Business Expo

Untitled Document
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Long Island Business Expo. An Educational Conference. In partnership with the Long Island Association. April 21, 2016 Hofstra University
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Free Admission to all show features and save $30. Get admission to the Pre-Show VIP reception.
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How I got the Bowie Benefit Concert streamed Worldwide.

Cute story - I was at an Investment conference where I ran into people from, a charity payments co. from Europe. They were hoping to stream the Bowie Benefit concert but just couldn't connect with the organizer.

It just so happened that I had once helped him when he was raising money for his new club, so......things happened!

Backstage at Radio City Music Hall
It's the iBreakfast/Startupalooza way!

Performers included:
Michael Stipe
Mumford & Sons
The Pixies
The Flaming Lips
J Mascis
Rickie Lee Jones
Esperanza Spalding
Amanda Palmer and Anna Calvi with Kronos Quartet
Ann Wilson Of Heart
The Polyphonic Spree, Perry Farrell, Jakob Dylan, Holy Holy
Choir, Choir
Ron Pope and Jherek Bischoff as well as the Donny McCaslin Group, who will joined by guests Mark Guiliana, Jason Lindner and Bowie producer Tony Visconti.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Winning March Pitches

The Winner was:
Power 20

Arshad Chowdhury
Power20 is an exercise app for pregnant women that has over 1 million downloads.

The Finalists were:
Kejia Tang CEO 413-884-4654 is a plug in social layer for mobile apps. We utilize real time messaging and activity feeds to drive user engagement and stickiness inside of apps.

Pulse 24/7 Mobile Ap
Andy Jacques CEO 6172764523
PULSE 24/7 is a mobile app and web based platform that disrupts the way freelancers and small businesses automate their marketing efforts !

SharkStopper, Inc.

Brian Wynne CEO 6318307934
The World's First and Only Acoustic Shark Repellent. Our first product, the Personal Shark Repellent is applicable to anyone engaging in a water activity. The second product to be released is the Watercraft Shark Repellent. This product will protect people engaging in water activities around a boat. The top two products will launch in 2016. The third product that will be launched in 2017 is for the commercial fishing industry. The commercial fishing industry loses more than 30% of their catch due to shark attacks. This product will significantly reduce those billions in loses annually.

John Ortega + Kamron Hinatsu CEO of Vidpal 3477669318
VidPal allows the average person with a mobile phone or video camera to view and film different destinations. In Vidpal's real-time global video marketplace, individuals can find or request the video they only ever imagined.

Special Mention
MedifVU, LLC

Eileen Morrissey CEO 973-570-4784
Our Digital Health App is personalized google for selecting medicines for a consumer choosing Over the Counter or with a doctor choosing Rx. It's a predictor of buying behavior for product advertisers and manufacturers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Why I Predicted Trump's Success - in 2011. An update.

A few more words about why I predicted in 2011 that a Donald Trump presidential run would be sensational.

Before reading this update, please be aware that I am not supporting or otherwise promoting the Trump presidential run. Politically, I am an independent who thinks the binary party system is ridiculous.

All I am doing is bringing you up to date on my original insight (How I Predicted Trump's Current Success) - and taking a victory run while reminding you why I had a 5 year advanced vision that turned out to be incredibly true.

(Sometimes this works with my investments too - but generally, only after they declare bankruptcy first!)

There is also a TV character angle that we need to take seriously because it actually worked for Obama and now seems to be working for Trump.  Yet almost no one acknowledges it - so I will.

The key points are this:

• Big picture guy. Trump, regardless of your opinion, was the first candidate I have heard talking about the world business market and political forces as a big picture - as a game if you will. Just as importantly, he is telling us what we are learning the hard way - we are no longer leading and not willing to make the tough structural changes, show strength or pull rank. We have become a influential player but no longer the leader. Other contenders including ISIS seem to have taken over.

• No politico. Trump came across as an outspoken CEO, not as a politician - and it was incredibly refreshing. Most of all, he did not speak as a lawyer like the typical approach of politician. We have become so accustomed to politicians being lawyers first that we have forgotten that, lawyers are really not trained for leadership but rather to work with rules, make arguments no matter how tenuous and behave cautiously. That is useful most of the time but truly bad if the country needs to reset itself for a new world order.

To this day, no other political candidate has been able to talk about rethinking the US role within the context of the new world realities of the 21st Century.

• What doesn't kill him, helps him. The negatives about Trump - his bankruptcies, sharp business dealings, incessant brand hawking, womanizing and his blunt opinions are actually working to his advantage. Even the virulent opposition and negative press has helped him. Why? Because he has become a proxy for the way the rest of the world now sees us. Most politicians want to be nice and seem able to calm down the rest of the world. Trump is willing to say, "the hell with them."  So the question is: which is more American and which is more likely to work?

Keep in mind too, that, technically, America is bankrupt since it owes more than it sells. Who better to get us out of bankruptcy than someone who actually knows how to bluster and wiggle his way out of bankruptcies! As for the womanizing, Hillary is going to have a hard time taking on the  issue because she is seen as her husband's enabler while Trump, for his infidelities seems to have a great bunch of kids in spite of everything.

On the down side.

Since I haven't heard big picture thinking from any politician since my days of college PoliSci when von Metternich, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger owned that platform, I can see why Trump's statements stand out. Rather like a really strong peppermint - it's not for everyone, but it sure clears the sinuses.

On the other hand, Hitler and Mussolini had their own forms of big picture thinking. So did Mao and Stalin. Much of what has happened since WWII has been the West's aversion to that form of leadership because of the devastating downside. Yet, the US lingered on with Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

But to compare Trump to Hitler or even to Kennedy and Johnson, who escalated Vietnam or Bush's absurd nation-building in Iraq, is a stretch. In that regard, Trump the trickster is more like political inoculation than infection. He is just not likely to swallow some bible or manifest destiny playbook. He'll bluster and bully, carry a big stick and wag it vigorously but probably never use it.

You be the judge.

What Should a Candidate Do?

What does matter though, is if you are a political opponent to Trump, then you need to understand the following:

• Talk the Big Game. This is no time for blocking and tackling. Hail Mary's help. Most of all ,you have to have some really big ideas - or go home. Even Bernie's socialism - American political poison - had a great run because of his conviction.

• Who is your TV avatar? Find it and play to it. (More below.....)

• You can't play Trump's game. Trump's fire-throwing approach is sui generis. But even if you play your game, it has to be about the political revolution, but on the practical side. A definite opening exists for a high tech visionary who talks the new world vision. Obama tapped into it and strangely enough, Trump's crazy tweets send out a roughly similar message.

• Stand up for America? Like it or not, a significant number of Americans think we are being pushed around. Tell us how you would stand up to it. Being lawerly won't help. Your body language helps. Hillary's body language and deep voice mode is pretty good but she has yet to find the right "world fight" approach. Right now, she just has words. Would she really stand up to North Korea and bring back that student? Could she face down an ISIS long knife.....? Can she kick Putin to the kerb?

The TV Avatar issue
This is a high concept issue based on how most people really interact with their politicians. It's the TV, dummy - that's how we know them. Not only that, but it is who you remind them of that matters.

Obama is not the first black man to win worldwide public support on TV. Bill Cosby did it first. He became a Father Knows Best without irony, warm humor and a ton of cool. He was fortified and in some ways may have begot, Nelson Mandela. In archetypal terms, Obama is the redux of Cosby and Mandela. (The fact that Cosby turned out to be a highly questionable character could be a bit of a problem for Obama's legacy.)

Trump is Trump from the Apprentice who came across as a generally reasonable person in spite of his previously controversial reputation. The fact that his children turned out to be as impressive as they did is a huge plus. Trump's issue is wholesome, grounded in his business, unspoiled and highly supportive of him despite his womanizing past. Trump's worst nightmare may be any one of them getting arrested for DUI. This happened to the Bushes but meant little for GW. This would be devastating for Trump who doesn't drink or smoke. (Come to think to, nor did Hitler.....but then his hands were very, very small......).

The fact that people sometimes make fun of Trump as a comic book character like Superman isn't exactly hurting him. Subliminally, it is actually winning over a committed following.

The problem for Hillary is that she comes across as a lot more like Maude than Xenia or for that matter, Rhonda Rousey before losing to Holly Holm. This is main the reason she does not engender enthusiasm and has a bit of a male problem. People tend to resent bossy Mom figures. They just want go out on their own.......

Kasich's aw-shucks persona looks a lot Andy Griffith meets Columbo. Hard to see him commanding the world.....

Ted Cruz looks a lot like an early Nixon crossed with the Joker. He should hire a makeup artist to help him lose the chiseled face look. In his case it looks like sharp practice. As for the bible stuff - it is just way too old school.

So there it is folks. An honest, no-holds-barred view of the candidates.

If the candidates don't adapt, I predict that Trump will squeak by as our next Prez. For sure, every comedian in American will vote for him. But even the minorities that are supposed to hate him would prefer a tough guy who speaks up, than a wishy-washy candidate that says the right things but doesn't really look like they will stand up to bullies. Call it the law of the wild.......

People will also be reminded of just how ridiculous Ronald Reagan looked at the time, but he was the one ridiculous guy who was willing to stand up to Gorbachev, bringing down the USSR and changing the world order.

We still haven't lost our love for the John Wayne figure that Reagan channeled.......and to a lot of people, it looks like he just might be having a third coming....